Hard Racing at Lithgow

by GoRace Promotions

What a day! Once again, Combined Districts Kart Club delivered an incredible day of racing in all 4 classes! Fight backs, final lap dices, heroic drives and smiles on the return grid were all we saw all day long, and safe to say that our spectators were thoroughly entertained!

Let’s kick things off with Superpole, and the first class out was the NSW 4SS Thundersport Tour Light class. Paul McKinnon was winding himself up for another dominant performance in the 4SS Light class if not for a rear hub parting ways from his kart, sending the #17 kart spinning off the track with only one flying lap completed. This left the pole position wide open to anyone to take, and it was a very close finish, with Mat Nipperess edging out Silver Trophy driver, Russell Newell by less than a tenth of a second. This was the Canberra driver’s first ever Superpole hat and to say he was very happy, is an understatement.

Next up was the NSW 4SS Thundersport Tour Heavy class, and it was Steve Russo took home another Superpole hat, edging out Tour newcomer, Michael Russell and Tour leaders, Brent and Greg Dickson, while round 1 winner, Nathan Terry struggled for pace, ending the session buried in the pack.

To round out Superpole for Round 2, it was the KZ2 Super Series turn and these guys definitely put on an awesome show as usual! Taking out her first Superpole, after the exclusion of Christopher Sutherland from the session, was Ashley Chebaia. The TB Kart driver put in the drive of her life to put the number #52 on the front row for the very first time, picking up a very cool Traxstar Racewear hat for her troubles!

For the KZ2 Masters, Greg Holden took his own first Superpole Hat, the third of the day, edging out Daniel Orsini, reportedly on his very last flying lap by mere hundreths of a second, making the KZ2 Superpole awards a pair of TB Karts for another first in our events!

When racing came along, the cream rose to the top, with Paul McKinnon making a heroic comeback throughout the heats to put his PCR back on the front row alongside Nipperess. From the first corner, McKinnon was unstoppable, driving away from the rest of the field and was almost forgotten due to the raging battle between Nipperess, Brad Caldon, Richard King and AJ Lewis, which went down to the final turn and bumpes the former pole sitter down the order to finish 5th once the melee cleared, Caldon taking home 2nd, King 3rd and Lewis 4th by mere milimeters.

The Heavies was a similar duel to the end, but, included much more karts than the Lights for the top step of the podium! Russo did his absolute best to hold off the advances from the snarling pack, but, just couldn’t hold off the charge from Kevin Buhagiar, with a similar final lap shootout to the finish shuffling the pack. Buhagiar took out a well deserved win in the Heavies after picking off his opponents not just in the Final race, but, all day long, after a mediocre Superpole session saw Buhagiar buried deep in the pack.

It was time for the big one! 20 laps, 13 KZ2 competitors and a track built for racing warfare! What more could a motorsport lover want? We have seen a lot of hard KZ2 races over the last four years, but, today’s KZ2 final left us lost for words! At the start, Dean Starling took the lead, but, had the rest of the pack, lead by Chebaia breathing right down his neck, right up until an early play for position by Yu-Jin Lee baulked the entire field at the hairpin causing enough chaos for Starling to make his break. Behind, it was KZ2 debutant, Brad Cady, leading the charge to catch the KZ2 veteran. That proved to be easier said than done, as Cady was placed under a blowtorch from Lee, Chebaia and later in the race, another heroic fight back from Christopher Sutherland saw the Canberran join the melee for 2nd place. As the race went on, Cady began to show signs of fatigue from the sheer forces that a KZ2 karts puts on a driver, compounded by the pressure put on him from the chasing pack, and eventually, Lee found a way through and not long after, Sutherland found an opening, as well, pushing the #45 back to 4th place, ending the debut podium dream, but, still managing to hold off Chebaia for a 4th place finish. Out in front, though it was a case of simply not putting a wheel wrong for Starling as he drove on to another win, Lee 2nd and Sutherland 3rd

The KZ2 Masters proved to be a chaotic day for a few drivers, but, Greg Holden would go on to eventually convert his Pole Position to another round win, taking advantage of a terrible day for Daniel Orsini, after the #19 PCR was caught up in the melee in the bottom hairpin, ending his day in the gravel trap. It wasn’t exactly smooth sailing to the flag for Holden, after the Combined Districts local fell behind KZ2 Masters stalwart, Michael Pesce. Pesce was putting in the drive of his life, matching the pace of the younger KZ2 drivers ahead of him, before he left a gap just wide enough for a TB Kart for Holden to squeeze through. From that point on Holden would go unchallenged as the #21 would drive away for a very lonely drive to his second KZ2 Master win, leaving Pecse and Craig Deans to fight for 2nd place. Deans piled the pressure on Pesce for lap after lap before finally exploiting a mistake from Pesce to move the #25 CRG up another step to take home 2nd place in the KZ2 Masters, while Pesce would round out the podium with nothing, but, daylight between him and KZ2 Masters debutant Glenn Linnett.

GoRace Promotions would like to thank each and every competitor for their support of this event. An incredible 46 entries across all 4 classes was a number that caught us by surprise and we are humbled by the enthusiasm of all you. The camaraderie between everyone is something that so many series would be envious of!

Once again, Combined Districts Kart Club put on yet another well run and organised day of racing for us. We can’t thank the club, their volunteers and their officials for another awesome day of racing. We can’t wait to come back in November for the Grand Final!

Our next event takes place at Orange Kart Club, where the NSW 4SS Thundersport Tour goes their own way and heads to war one more time at another iconic NSW racetrack on the 12th of May.

We hope to see you join us there for what is sure to be another thoroughly entertaining day of racing!

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