WA KZ Series - Round 2

by Lee Foster

22 March 2014

The second round of 2014 FMA Motorsport WAKZ Series was held at the Albany City Kart Club on Saturday the 1st and Sunday the 2nd of March.

39 karts took to the track for the round, the biggest field of karts seen at Albany’s newly extended, refurbished facility just off Albany Highway. The small south west club did an absolutely fantastic job of hosting the nearly 200 karters. The meeting ran smoothly and the hospitality was second to none. All of the drivers really enjoyed the new layout and there was even a live band on the Sunday evening, which saw 9 year old Cadet racer Mitchell Russ take to the stage and bang out a couple of songs on drums with the guys!

Above: Video from the WA KZ round at Albany

Topping the time sheets after the 2x 5min qualifying sessions was FMA Motorsport driver Darren Burke setting a pole time of 41.948 and a new lap record for the new Albany circuit. Qualifying in 2nd position was WAKZ rookie Amrit Kandola with a 41.953, only 5000ths off the time set by Burke!

Times were close within the top 10, qualifying 3rd with his usual steady performance was Simon Gwilliam with a 42.113, 4th was Jake Klarich just back from competing overseas with a 42.163, and rounding out the top 5 was BD Soutar Dawson with a 42.190. Ray Cochrane also made it into the top 10 for the first time in qualifying, a bit of guidance from former world cup winner Joey Hanssen paying off I’m sure.

The top 5 drivers we covered by less than 2.5 tenths and the top 10 by less than half a second. If qualifying was any indication the racing was going to be epic.

RECORD LAP – Darren Burke set a new lap record in qualifying on the newly extended Albany circuit
Above: RECORD LAP – Darren Burke set a new lap record in qualifying on the newly extended Albany circuit
pic - O’Keefe Photography

After a slightly shaky first attempt, top qualifier Darren Burke lead the field away in the first heat, the FMA driver having found his form and was coming to grips with the new Albany circuit better than most. Burkey led from start to finish taking out the victory in heat one.

The race was on for the minors however, a freight train was starting to form led by Klarich after passing Amrit Kandola for 2nd, Gwilliam, BD, Sutherland, Currey up from 10th, Kosteki, Queenslander Jason Faint and Blake Mills still finding his feet on the new Albany circuit rounding out the top ten. Peter Newland also showed good pace in the first heat moving up from 16th to finish 11th with one of his best results in the WAKZ series so far.

albany start.JPG
Above: PICTURE PERFECT – The 39 kart WAKZ field form up for the start of race 1 at the Albany City Kart Club’s newly extended track
pic - O’Keefe Photography

The start of heat 2 saw a spectacular accident take place just seconds after the lights went out. James French was unlucky to stall on the grid from his 18th starting position. This caused a number of drivers to make contact, taking no further part would be Jason Lecoq, Pavan Kandola, Lke Gabin and Josh Merritt.

Young gun Jake Klarich was starting to find his rhythm out on the new Albany complex passing Darren Burke for the lead on lap 6 he saw out the rest of the 10 lap journey at the front, taking a fairly comfortable 1.5sec win. Following up Klarich for the minors was Amrit Kandola, Darren Burke, Simon Gwilliam and Lewi Surtherland putting in another solid heat race performance to round out the top 5.

klarich leads.JPG
Above: SUPER ROOSTER – Jake Klarich showed them a clean pair of heels in heat 2, here followed by Amrit Kandola, Simon Gwilliam and Lewis Sutherland
pic - O’Keefe Photography

The track was in perfect condition and most of the WAKZ drivers had their setups more finely tuned into the circuit, ready to put on a cracking show in the prefinal. Jake Klarich more than most though, he led from start to finish in a dominant professional display of driving. Maintaining the gap to the rest of the field, he made sure he looked after his engine and had plenty of tyres left up his sleeve for the all important final. 2nd again this race was Amrit Kandola, looking comfortable and ready to make life difficult for Jake Klarich and Co in the final. 3rd place in the prefinal went to Darren Burke. Burkey had cemented himself into the top 3 this weekend and was looking threatening, did he have enough left though to stay in there and challenge for the #1 spot in the final.

The big man and the big mover in this race however was Blake Mills. Millsy had managed to overcome his heat 1 and 2 issues to climb his way up from 7th starting position to finish 4th. Last years champion was on the gas and ready to go all out to win. Lewi Sutherland put in another solid 5th place finish just ahead of Gladstones Jason Faint. Another young driver, Kurt Kosteki had a nice run in the prefinal, starting out of 9th position he carefully picked off a couple of much more experienced drivers to come home in 7th position. Dan Currey crossed the finish line in 8th position and rounding out the top 10 were Deepal Kandola and Hayden Patrizi.

The 25 lap final was going to be anyones race!

Above: YOUNG GUN – Kurt Kosteki in his 1st year in seniors has jumped straight into a KZ kart and has put in some very mature performances in the first 2 rounds of the series
pic - O’Keefe Photography

It was finals time on Sunday at the Albany City Kart Club and the atmosphere was electric, the pit area had cleared out, and another crowded fence line greeted the 39 starters.

The first start had to be aborted, Amrit Kandola unfortunately jumping the start from grid 2 and Hayden Partizi suffered what looked like a clutch failure, both being sent to the rear of the field.

Klarich finally led them away on the second start, plenty of jostling for position on the long straight, but everyone making it through the first corner unscathed. The race settled down to a fairly comfortable rhythm, led by Klarich, Mills, Burke, Sutherland, Faint, Gwilliam and Currey. 25 laps was a fair old distance around the 1000m Albany circuit and everyone wanted to be there to fight it out at the end. Jake Klarich though had other ideas, and pulled out a comfortable gap, in the end taking a 6.3 second win over Blake Mills who was being hunted down by a fast finishing Lewis Sutherland and Simon Gwilliam. Kurt Kosteki rounded out the top 5 just ahead of Darren Burke who didn’t have the final he was hoping for, passed by Kosteki on the last lap, 7th was Daniel Currey, followed by Deepal Kandola, Jason Faint and 10th was BD Soutar Dawson. Amrit Kandola put in drive of the weekend, starting the final at the rear of the field after stalling on the grid, he made his way past 20 karts in the first 3 laps(!) eventually finishing in 12th position. Other drivers to put in solid performances in the final were Tyler Peel, moving up from 23rd to finish in 15th, Luke Gabin went from 25th to 16th and former senior national Australian Champion James French went from 29th to finish in 19th spot. Our round 2 top qualifier Darren Burke didn’t have the final he was hoping for finishing in 6th place, he was passed by Kosteki on the last lap, 7th was Daniel Currey, followed by Deepal Kandola, Jason Faint and 10th was BD Soutar Dawson.

Above: DC – Dan Currey put in his usual tidy top 10 performance eventually finishing the 25 lap final in 7th position
pic - O’Keefe Photography

klarich single.JPG
Above: OUT ON HIS OWN – Jake Klarich romped home in the final race of round 2 taking the win and a healthy bag of points home from Albany with him
pic - O’Keefe Photography

The WAKZ committee and drivers would like to thank the Albany City Kart Club committee, members and South Eastern Zone competitors for hosting round 2 and series sponsors: FMA Motorsport, Newland Associates, Country Builders, Revolution Racegear, Fastlane Racing Driver School, DPE Kart Technology, MG Tires and Smartarts Creations helmet painting.

Round 3 of the 2014 FMA Motorsport WAKZ Series is being held at the Tiger Kart Clubs Cockburn International Raceway on the weekend of May 24th and 25th.

We hope to see you all there for another fantastic show !


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