Mills Back In Contention In WA KZ2 Championship

from Paul Williams 14 June 2013
  • Mills and Hanssen neck and neck as Klarich wins round 3
  • Full results on AKA CMS HERE

Blake Mills (Energy/TM) has clawed his way back into contention for the Auto1 West Australian KZ2 championship helped along by a broken chain to Joey Hannsen (Lenzo/LKE) with only 1 lap to go.

The Auto1 West Australian KZ2 series visited the tight confines of the Bunbury track for the first time since the series started. The track, which is rated for 30 karts, was packed with the 25 KZ2 drivers and forced the group to be split for the qualifying. This left for a pleasant surprise with new faces appearing at the pointy end of the grid. Last Year’s Champion Simon Gwilliam (DR/TM) managed to pole followed by the ever improving rookie driver Dean Whittome (Intrepid/TM). They both managed to outdo the Flying Dutchman Joey who rounded out the top 3.

The KZ2 drivers at the FMA Coastal Classic
Above: The KZ2 drivers at the FMA Coastal Classic
pic - Hayden O’Keefe Photography

Qualifying Results
Simon Gwilliam          32.125
Dean Whittome           32.221
Joey Hanssen              32.226

With Qualifying so close there was set to be some tough racing as the tight Bunbury track leaves little room for passing. Joey stamped his authority on the track and stormed to the front after Gwilliam got the jump off the line. Jason LeCocq (Birel/TM) continued his rise in the class going one better than his qualifying position to move up to 3rd and more importantly ahead of fellow Rookie Of The Year contender Dean Whittome who fell back in the pack to 8th. Blake Mills (Energy/TM) moved his way up from a rare poor qualifying position of 12th to get up to 4th. PatriziCorse driver Hayden Patrizi (RK/BMB) rounded out the top 5 after missing the first 2 rounds with other sport commitments, but his lap times suggest he never left.

Gwilliam again got the jump from Joey but was unable to match the consistent pace the Dutchman was showing. Joey coming home with the win, Gwilliam in 2nd. Blake Mills had another storming drive, this time getting to 3rd place. Jason LeCocq failed to finish after his nosecone was removed in an altercation while in a battle for 5th. This helped Patrizi go one spot better than his first heat performance to get 4th and Surprise packet Dean Whittome Rounded out the top 5. LeCocq’s DNF also helped Whittome cut into the Rookie of the year lead that LeCocq currently holds.

Turn 1 karting actionkz2
Above: Turn 1 action
pic - Hayden O’Keefe Photography

Gwilliam got away to a handy lead in the Pre Final, but it wasn’t long till Hanssen would again catch up and inevitably pass for the lead. From here Gwilliam fell back to 4th as Jake Klarich (Lenzo/LKE) started to make his charge from 7th to 2nd and even started to pull in the Dutchman. Blake Mills was able to finish solidly for 3rd after dropping back in the pack and passing Gwilliam in the dying stages. Daniel Currey (RK/BMB) rounded out the top 5 but still needed to find more to match the pace of the top 3 drivers for the final.

The Final was held under lights as the crowd gathered around to watch the action packed starts always on offer in the KZ2 class. If Jake and Mills had any chance of beating the Dutchman they had to do it early and keep him at bay. Klarich got a great start and led for the first 7 laps. Mills tucked in behind but lost ground early, he was able to challenge again but faded late in the race. Hanssen then stepped it up. Passing Klarich and putting together a couple of great laps to put some distance between himself and Jake.

Further down the field Gwilliam was having a relatively boring race by himself, but behind him on the charge was young gun rookie Jason LeCocq. Starting last because of another DNF in the Pre final, Jason took full advantage of the better tyres. Able to come through the field with some great passing and lapping as fast as the front runners. Hayden Patrizi rounded out his great comeback weekend with a solid 5th.

Paul Newland aboard his RK kart
Above: Paul Newland aboard his RK kart
pic - Hayden O’Keefe Photography

Then it all went bad for Joey. With only 1 lap to go and with Klarich hot on his heals Joey broke a chain, handing Klarich the win.

It was a bitter-sweet victory for Jake. As Joey and himself have become very close since his arrival in Perth. Joey even lived at the Klarich Family home.

Driver Quotes

Jake Klarich
“Qualifying was a struggle for me, I was half a second off of pole position, Qualifying in 11th place. We made a front end adjustment for heat one and the kart handled well, I was able to finish in 7th position which we still weren’t happy with. With heat 2 we didn’t touch the kart and once again finished 7th so we decided to check over a few things. We found out our reed pedals were broken so we changed them and the engine came to life for the pre final. Made my way from 7th to 2nd, the kart was on fire.

"This was also the first time I have ever started off of the front row in the KZ2 category. I got a good launch and went to 1st position, led the race for 7 laps until Joey passed me. Once he was in front it was very tough to hold with him, we were doing very similar lap times so any little mistake and you would lose a lot of time. With 2 to go I was about 3 kart lengths from his bumper and his chain snapped!!! Very intense race up until then, unfortunate for Joey but I'm sure he's happy to see me win with his Hanssen Racing Engine.”

“Big thank you to Joey for his engines and driver tuition. The Klarich Racing Team, Lenzo Kart Australia, Super Rooster and A & R Klarich transport.”    

KZ2 Final winner, Jake Klarich
Above: KZ2 Final winner, Jake Klarich
pic - Hayden O’Keefe Photography

Blake Mills
“After Cockburn I been putting more effort in my training and driving to help try close the gap to Joey. I have been struggling a lot with my driving style on entry to corner so I spent another day with Joey working on this and believe we made improvements. The weather didn't help on Friday as we never did a dry run, so Saturday we were going in blindfolded like the rest of the teams. Qualifying didn't go to plan with a jet in the carby coming loose and losing all bottom end. We were lucky to put a lap together and got 12th. I knew I had to put together two really good drives and make my way up the front, and the Bunbury track being the smallest I raced on was going to be hard to pass.
The pre final I struggled a little with setup and was finding it hard to pass Currey. Once I got past I then made my move on Simon with two to go and finished 3rd.

"The final I had a good start but put two really bad laps together where Joey and Jake pulled away by a fair way. I was then able to catch them both back up and try and challenge for position. The kart started to go off and was then just a matter of gaining some good points for the championship which we achieved. Jake drove a very good and smart race and was a well-deserved winner.

"I’m looking forward to our next stop which is CIK round 3 this weekend. Of course I would Like to thank my Dad Clayton, pit crew Matty for all he's help, Mills Drainage, Energy Karts, ‘Big Pete’,  Prime power, BD, and Joey for all of his time and help he has made for me it been fantastic."

Simon Gwilliam
“We got no practice in Friday because of the rain and carby tune was even damp. So to pull out pole was a real buzz for our team. I'm glad they split qually’ into 2 groups as I was able to find some clear track. Heats 1 and 2 I lead for a few laps before joey got me, I just couldn't quite go with him and if I tried I would hurt the tyres. Pre final I got the jump again on joey and led, but my kart wasn't great and I faded to 4th.

"The Final was pretty boring, I pretty much had to settle for 4th until Joey went out at the end. My donut effort was probably the worst effort seen by a crowd as it was my first attempt but I got a laugh. Happy with the day and to win on points gets me back into contention for the series. Know I still need to find more pace & consistency.”



kartsportnews promo banner