|by VCS and Michael Yeo||24 October 2016|
The AUSTRANS Victorian Country Series rolled into Hamilton Go Kart Club a week ago to be greeted by glorious weather and a perfectly manicured facility. On Friday as practice got underway, the track was fast with plenty of grip. Karter’s got down to business working on setups in the great conditions.
Above: Nicholas Schembri & Jobe Stewart grace the front row of KA4 Junior Light (pic - Paul Feely)
With the stars out there were plenty of families camping while lots went back to town and the comfort of their accommodation and out for a meal. Saturday brought a beautiful sunrise and the morning track walk a pleasurable one. Two practice sessions to get through before the heats got under way. While all this was happening everything in the back ground was being put in place.
There were 13 classes on offer over 11 races, and our pioneers were...
Right from the gate opening Brad Marsh-Stepney was looking very hard to catch in qualifying. Kyle Rethus, who coming into this round was leading the series, could not post a time that threatened the top 3 of #24 Brad Marsh-Stepney - #11 Ashley Lear - #54 Jordan Pianezzola.
Heat 1, Jordan Rae split the 24 and 54 and was looking increasingly fast. Ashley lear decided to bring his A game and started to move forward finishing 3rd in the next 2 heats in the dry conditions from 24 n 54.
But the final in damp conditions the cream rose to the top and for most of the 18 laps Brad was in the clear with Pianezzola gaining pace and track position in 2nd with Kyle Rethus finding the gaps needed to join the duo and the battle raged until Pianezzola hit the lead and drove away with a commanding lead only to suffer a right front puncture with 4 to go. Rae made a move on Marsh at the last corner with 2 to go and this small pile up allowed Kyle Rethus to slip up the inside of both – it took Brad a little while to get going and in the end Kyle Rethus took the win from Rae and a limping home Pianezzola.
This almost was a 2-horse race between Ben Holliday and Jesse Lacey that was split in qualifying by the 86 of Rock Han and 94 Caleb Spence. Good clean racing was on display in the starter class but the cream rose very fast here with Holliday and Lacey controlling everything in all the heats with a big gap back to the field of eager 7-9 yr. old’s. One of those was 26 Robbie Turmine who took a little while to get in the groove, but finished with a wet sail to hunt down Ruby Gibson and secure 3rd in the final. In the end Turmine closely matched the pace of now leader Lacey after an enjoyable battle between the hotshots 1 n 16, the field crossed the line drenched but in high spirits.
Above: #1 Ben Holliday had some great battles with #16 Jesse Lacey, Cadet 9 (pic - Paul Feely)
Super heavies were very close on times in the dry qualifying; so with 11 in this class there were going to be some good stoushes. In the heats Nathan Van Es was on fire and cleaned up heat 1 convincingly. A retiring #15 Andrew Hayes was also the man (being his local track) on pace and made his presence felt throughout the heats finishing in the top 3. # 73 Michael Angwin was just lurking in the back-ground waiting for the opportunity to make his move and claim the top spot. With 3 to go Hayes came together with a backmarker in what he would later describe as an “Unfortunate situation”, Hayes managed to keep going (And claim the series win), but allowed #73 to jump into the lead and take the flag with a very close finish from #11 Martin Golledge #82 Aldo Distefano.
Above: #46 Nathan Van Es in front of #73 Mick Angwin early, but he would be chased very hard by title contenders Angwin and Hayes in TAG Restricted Super Heavy (pic - Paul Feely)
To open his account #19 Matthew De Stefano put it on pole; only to be jumped by a dream start from the #82 Luke McPherson. #80 Ben Armstrong just outside the top 3 in qualifying made his number known by splitting the 19 and 82 in the first heat. This was an omen of what was to come as he stayed in the top 3.
#99 Barry Clough was experiencing a difficult time in making his way forward in the field during first 2 heats, but managed to hold 3rd in the last 2 heats and the final. The #80 of Armstrong tried multiple times to take the lead providing the crowd with an awesome display and mastery in the wet conditions but in the end #82 Luke McPherson stole the chocolates on the day. #11 Wayne Armistead was starting to get used to the conditions and his kart started to show some good speed passing multiple others to look like he was going to be a contender but on lap 7 a wheel departed his machine heading in to Siberia and he was forced to watch from there.
Above: Luke McPherson took a first round win in TAG Restricted Heavy (pic - Paul Feely)
This class was hotly contested with any one of 6 having a chance to take the win. Nikki Watson had a scary moment in Fri practice rolling her kart on the entry to Siberia. After being checked out and given the all clear the determined young lady got on with the job.
#16 Cody Gorringe blasted out the gate to claim pole only to be kept honest by a very quick #30 Jobe Stewart and #62 Amber Miller. The first heat was looking like the excitement level was going to go off the scale however on the first turn #16 Cody Gorringe exited the island and was forced to watch as #45 Nicholas Shrembri got the jump and took the chequered. The 2nd and 3rd heat produced some of the most exciting and entertaining racing of the weekend as #30 Jobe Stewart lit up the score board with some blistering laps not far behind making him work for it was #62 Amber Miller. #14 Watson and #45 Shrembri were dicing for the minor placing. In the wet conditions for the final, series leader #31 Jaxson Cox decided it was time to stamp his claim and after a fierce battle with the top 5 positions changing every lap the #94 Kobi Williams took an opportunity that would see him finish the final and greet the chequered flag.
Above: KA4 Junior Light Jaxson Cox ahead of Nicholas Schembri (pic - Paul Feely)
A small but determined class of racers were here to take part in this one and with the absence of #17 Naomi Brady, who was in 3rd position in the series, it was down to #66 Benjamin D`Alia and #22 Wil Kelly – Merryfield to fight for the remaining points. #33 Aidan Solomon kept #66 D`Alia on his toes and made him work for the outright victory across all heats and the final. #95 Daniel Hookway showed some pace early on but the wet conditions saw him fall back into the clutches of #22 Will Kelly Merryfield. #66 Benjamin D`Alia drove with controlled aggression throughout the weekend and deserved the win.
Above: Benjamin D'Alia was dominant all saeason in KA4 Junior Heavy (pic - Paul Feely)
In the light brigade #98 Jacob Dowson seemed invincible by claiming pole and the first 2 heats with ease. But the wet weather had other plans and a wet coil saw him dnf the 3rd heat leaving the battle to #89 Haiden Smith and #28 Giles Rogers with Rogers prevailing to take the 3rd heat. Dowson went to start the final only to have a flat right rear on exit to the track. His pit crew frantically called for a pump, but were denied the time to sort it and the starter let them go for the 18-lap journey. In the end #89 Haiden Smith would greet the chequered flag followed by #28 Giles Rogers and #42 Todd Chambers.
The heavies would throw up a completely different environment with the #20 Remo Luciani showing the class how it’s done by taking pole and the first 2 heats. His challenge would come from #92 Ryan Aitken in Remo`s old chassis in the dry and grippy conditions. On Sunday and on a wet track positions were about to change as #13 Aaron Jackson relished the wet conditions, taking the 3rd heat and final. #40 Bryce Woollard made a showing in the 3rd heat. With the weight advantage the heavies were getting amongst the lights which made for interesting commentating. #26 David Rinaldi was on pace just not track position in the dry but in the wet his machine came alive securing him a 2nd place in the final.
Above: Jacob Downson had no fortune on Sunday, but would still claim the series in in KA3 Senior Light (pic - Paul Feely)
Above: Ryan Aitken delights the photgrapher by getting both air and sparks off of the KFC esses (pic - Paul Feely)
Class Class Class; with the top 10 ten separated by less than 7 tenths of sec in qualifying the pace was set to hectic. #12 Ryan Morgan put it all together to surprise the #66 of Will Harper and #23 of Joseph Fawcett by taking pole in the dying seconds of qualifying and taking the first 2 heats convincingly. Meanwhile #71 Bronson Boult was dialling in his machine and drove to a victory in the 3rd heat. The wet track on Sunday proved to be a game changer and one young racer was about to put his hand up for the final. #92 Matthew Domachenz left the best till last and drove with class and skill to work his way through the top five that were so close over the 18 laps. This made for very exciting racing, with the spectators on the fence and around the track treated to one of the best finals of the day.
Above: Matthew Domaschenz would take out the final round in Cadet 12 (pic - Paul Feely)
Down on power, but not on pace, the field of 16 had to chase hard as #23 Brayden Flood made it look all too easy with effortless wins from pole in the first 2 heats. #2 of Billy Westerveld didn’t show in quali but made his presence felt by coming in 2nd for heat 1 and 2. Meanwhile #14 David Schulz was having a difficult time threading his way through the field but his perseverance paid off by meeting the chequered flag first in the 3rd heat. In the wet final, the cream rose to the top fast and we were treated to a battle that would see the #23 go wide on the last cnr with 2 to go as he diced with a fast finishing #30 Tom Owen. #14 of Schulz created a small buffer between himself and #30 Owen, but Owen was not done yet having a brilliant exit from the centre esses he was now in striking distance to Schulz. #14 David had plans of his own and hunted down Flood, launching a move in the downhill last corner wet kerb that bought the crowd to its feet as underdog Schulz took the flag ahead of rarely defeated Flood. Schulz’s move allowed Owen to slip through for 2nd and demote Flood to 3rd, but an appeal would see Owen win, Flood 2nd and Schulz 3rd.
Above: David Schulz would cross the finish line first, but take home 3rd in TAG 125 Restricted Light (pic - Paul Feely)
Action packed is the only way to describe this class and the contenders all giving their best to claim the prize. #42 Jay Coul stunned the class with a late pole quali time that was very quick, #95 Nathan Williams also showed he might have something along with #5 Jordan Sinni. Coul got the dream start in the first heat to walk away with it from Sinni and now #12 Domenic Romeo was getting noticed coming home in the 3rd. In heat 2 the tables turned with Romeo taking the win and Coul in 3rd as Sinni remained in 2nd. #95 Nathan Williams dropped off the pace in the wet conditions but #90 Henry Johnstone put the nose cone in every now and then to up the ante. While in the final Coul and Sinni battled it out for bragging rights Coul managed to skip away with a slight buffer on the 2 behind as they diced clean and fair. In that dice was a new face; #65 Tyler O`Leary set the fastest lap near the end of the race to take that honour and if there had have been even 5 more laps with his pace he may have caught Sinni.
Above: Jay Coul is too cool for school, claiming the series win in KA3 Junior (been waiting all season to make that pun :) (pic - Paul Feely)
#92 of Ryan Aitken took the pole and the first 2 heats with #97 Glenn Croxford never far behind in 2nd. #86 Brad Anderson was contesting with #4 of Scott King until Scott lost brakes and this also allowed #2 Aaron Jackson to have a go at taking the chequered first in the 3rd heat. By the final Scott had sorted the brake issue and was having a cracking battle with the #92 of Aitken. In the end Brad Anderson was in the hunt but a spin forced him to drop off the 2 in front leaving all to go to the line.
Above: Aaron Jackson, fully prepared for the wet, took home 1st in TAG 125 Heavy (pic - Paul Feely)
#7 Matthew Crane launched out of the blocks and starting from pole like others claimed the first 2 heats in the dry. #14 Anthony Warner stepped up early, however dropped down the order in the first heat, this allowed #9 Clinton Gobourne to snatch a 2nd place. #12 Steven Malkin was just content to keep it on the island and out of trouble to defend his top spot in the series. The other series contender #18 John Page showed his intentions by claiming 3rd in heat 3. #7 Matthew Crane was decisively out classed in the wet final to witness #14 Anthony Warner receive the chequered flag.
Above: Anothony Warner came up trumps in TAG Restricted Masters with a convincing win in the wet (pic - Paul Feely)
Round and series presentations followed the conclusion of racing on Sunday in the nearby hall.
Officials were bought out for a thankyou from the packed out hall, and David Hayes was awarded a lifetime membership by Hamilton Kart Club for his many years of hard work for the club.
Winners are grinners, and the series winners all came away with their share of $30,000 worth of prizes and trophies. One Cadet racer even battled to lift her haul of loot :)
Hamilton Kerbriders of the Day:
Each Kerbrider of the day received an X’Zuit race suit.
The VCS committee wish to thank the six participating clubs, all the hard working officials and volunteers, the competing karters, attending family and friends, and our wonderful sponsors for a great 2016 season.
The 2016 Victorian Country Series has been proudly bought to you by
Above: Domenic Romeo grabbed 3rd in KA3 Junior (pic - Paul Feely)
Above: Brad Anderson was 3rd in the series for TAG 125 Heavy (pic - Paul Feely)
Above: Jordan Pianezzola claimed 3rd in the wet final of TAG 125 Light (pic - Paul Feely)
Above: Brad Marsh-Stepney cools down on the in lap after one of 3 heat wins, but the final would not go his way in TAG 125 Light (pic - Paul Feely)
Above: #86 Brock Han had a great day on Saturday in the dry, but a wet Sunday did not work as well in Cadet 9 (pic - Paul Feely)
Above: Ruby Gibson pulls the brightest kart in the series into the pits to secure 3rd for the series in Cadet 9 (pic - Paul Feely)
Above: Margin Golledge tacking down the hill in TAG Restricted Super Heavy to claim 2nd for the weekend (pic - Paul Feely)
Above: Can anyone spot Jobe Stewart's carefully camouflaged umbrealla man? Jobe took out the pre-final, but did not have the same run in the final of KA4 Junior Light (pic - Paul Feely)
Above: Luke McPherson TAG Restricted Heavy (pic - Paul Feely)
Above: #8 Koby Sheedy fighting hard in the fierce mid pack of KA4 Junior Light (pic - Paul Feely)
Above: #87 Simon Smith chasing #30 Bryce Woollard in KA3 Senior Heavy (pic - Paul Feely)
Above: A determined KA3 Junior field takes the first turn in the wet (pic - Paul Feely)
Above: Jordyn Sinni would take out 2nd in the KA3 Junior Final after misfortune in the pre-final (pic - Paul Feely)
Above: David Rinaldi loved the wet conditions to claim 2nd over #24 Sam Preece and series champion Remo Luciani in KA3 Senior Heavy (pic - Paul Feely)