by Michael Yeo
AUSTRANS Victorian Country Series Round 3: Portland District Kart Club
Perfect Portland; 198 entries, sun, grip and lap records for round 3 of the VCS.
Saturday morning was cold and wet, so not many chose to practice in the slippery conditions knowing the weather would change. The clouds cleared, the track dried and was soon filled with the sound of 2 strokes. By late afternoon we were treated to a picture perfect sunset.
Come the morning and an orange glow appeared in the east and as it rose so did the speed. With very grippy conditions racers tested their courage on the turns to set some very quick times, and this made for some of the best racing yet at the half way mark of the series.
TaG 125 Restricted Medium class would see 21 drivers roll out the gate
Fresh off his red plate victory #2 Billy Westerveld was looking to dominate again, but carrying over his speed from Cobden was #16 Phillip Zentai who took the pole and cleaned up in both heats. #4 Anthony Warner (who qualified 6th) made his presence felt, along with #99 Barry Clough, #19 Mathew De Stefano and #57 James Stewart; all of them battling hard to provide some of the best racing through the heats.
#57 James Stewart and his Rotax looked to be getting quicker over the day, and come the final his kart was primed. In the final Zentai was reeled in by the #2, #4 and #57 and over the 16 lap journey the positions changed multiple times. Stewart had made his way to the front with 2 to go and was looking like clearing away from the pursuing pack.
But going into turn 4 the #16 of Zentai lost a rear wheel which proceeded to bounce at pace across the centre of the horse shoe and straight into the leader’s path several kart lengths ahead. It struck the #57 on the forearm on the exit of turn 5, and as he reacted with a mixture of confusion and pain the chasers punished him for his momentary lift of the throttle pedal.
In an heroic effort James managed to regain focus and come home in 3rd position with a very sore arm. So with the #19 of Zentai DNF #2 Billy Westerveld was handed the victory.
1st #2 Billy Westerveld (Rochester Kart Club)
2nd #4 Anthony Warner (Ballarat Kart Club)
3rd #57 James Stewart (Go-Kart Club of Victoria)
KA4 Junior Light class – 16 drivers
#23 Jai Stephenson claimed pole by a slim margin to start his day off. The #25 of Corey Herbertson had some insane top end (Or a different gearing approach) in his machine and kept Stephenson under pressure the whole day by winning the first heat. The #23 fought back to take the 2nd heat but was under constant pressure from #31 Jaxson Cox, #10 Nerinda Beard, #12 Ryan Morgan and #94 Kobi Williams.
Lap 9 would see Jai loose the lead to Williams who was having pepper applied in copious amounts by Herbertson. While this was going on it allowed the #10 and #12 and #31 to concertina the group. Beard got to 3rd at one point and Morgan looked to seize an opportunity, but found a very quick shutting door to cancel the move. In the dying stages of the final Kobi and Corey drove away, leaving Jaxson .04 of a sec behind in 3rd and then the rest of the chasers a further 1.7secs back due to lots of overtaking manoeuvres in the closing laps.
1st #94 Kobi Williams (Oakleigh Go Kart Racing Club)
2nd #25 Corey Herbertson (Portland District Kart Club)
3rd #31 Jaxson Cox (Ballarat Kart Club)
KA3 Senior Light class – 15 drivers
#37 Jack Bell was on fire as soon as he hit the track, taking pole and sweeping the field with 3 wins. #72 Toby Pope and #14 Nikki Watson were literally the only two that posed a threat to Bell with both trying as hard as they could to steal the number one spot. At one point #55 Jordan Dudfield showed some pace but was locked in battle with #42 Joel MacPherson, #86 Nicholas Trebilcock, the three trading places throughout the journey. #14 Watson made a move for second on lap nine of 16 and this gave Jack breathing space while Toby re-applied the heat to wrestle back 2nd on the last lap of the final in a thrilling race for the lights. The #14 Nikki Watson claiming a lap record on the day.
1st #37 Jack Bell (Oakleigh Go-Kart Racing Club)
2nd #72 Toby Pope (Go-Kart Club of Victoria)
3rd #14 Nikki Watson (South Go-Kart Club / Barossa Go Kart Club)
KA3 Senior Medium class – 7 drivers
In the medium class #20 Remo Luciani took it all in his stride with convincing wins in all heats and the final. Patting the airbox like a pro, a distinct puff of smoke could be seen from Remo’s kart at the apex of turn 1 every lap, a tactic that only appeared to be attempted by other KA driver: #7 Chris Thomas.
#13 Aaron Jackson showed pace at Cobden but just couldn’t get it to come out at Portland. #7 Chris Thomas looked like he was the only one that might have given Remo a challenge but once in front Remo steered his way to a comfortable lead. Jackson challenged for 3rd with #19 Alex Baker and managed to get there on laps 9 and 10 only to see Alex regain this spot and finish the day in this order.
1st #20 Remo Luciani (Wimmera Kart Club)
2nd #7 Christopher Thomas (Oakleigh Go Kart Racing Club)
3rd #19 Alex Baker (Wimmera Kart Club)
Cadet 12 class –18 drivers
Dare I say it, but the (Harpoon) strikes again with outright speed and talent #66 Will Harper did enough to keep #92 Matthew (The Dominator) Domaschenz at bay. The #92 tried with all of his skill to put moves on the #66 but they were countered quickly with speed and precision. #82 Corbin Bailey was in a class of his own and with a paddock in front and behind in the final all he could do was watch the Harper/ Domaschenz show, however on crossing the line to start the last lap the pair would come across back markers at the sweeper, #92 went for a move on the inside but the front left caught the kerb and Matthew had to wrestle the kart off it and regain control. At this point #82 of Corbin literally did a (Bradbury) of sorts and casually drove around the outside of the sweeper into second as Harper drove off into the distance. (Making up handsomely for a big rollover at the same track in 2014)
Meanwhile #51 Lucas Quattrocchi #17 Thomas Patching, #57 Akasha McEachran , #7 Brocklan Parker, #21 Isaac Woodhouse, #33 Jaxson Johnstone were having a cracking battle amongst themselves throughout the 16 lap final as the field was spread across the entire PDKC track.
1st #66 Will Harper (Geelong Kart Club)
2nd #92 Matthew Domaschenz (Geelong Kart Club)
3rd #82 Corbin Bailey (Geelong Kart Club)
KA4 Junior Heavy class – 16 drivers
Like bullets from a machine gun the #9, #70 and #99 set fire to the PDKC circuit every time they hit the track. #9 Nathan Williams had genuine pace, but the #99 Adam Slattery Junior grabbed pole in a thrilling qualifying session which saw the positions change every lap until the time ran out. #70 Aaron Oliver was on the front row to make it an SA lockout. Once racing commenced he became the proverbial meat in the sandwich. #99 had driven to the front in both heats but in the final it got even tighter at the pointy end with only a handful of laps to go Slattery Junior had an incident at the hairpin.
Aaron Oliver kept the pair honest and in check, taking the lead on lap 7. Oliver led until lap 14 having defended against a very determined #9 Nathan Williams.
#99 Adam Slattery Junior would limp home in 3rd. Further back #95 Daniel Hookway , #33 Aiden Soloman, #39 Max Green, #46 Keean Ferguson, #7 Nicholas Ryan and #71 Maximus Fahey were having an epic stoush trading places on many occasions delighting the onlookers.
1st #9 Nathan Williams (Go-Kart Club of Victoria)
2nd #70 Aaron Oliver (Southern Go-Kart Club)
3rd 99 Adam Slattery Junior (Southern Go-Kart Club)
TaG 125 Restricted Light class – 27 drivers
A solid field of Restricted Lights took to the track and for their first heat as the sun started to shine properly on what would become a glorious autumn day.
#5 Corey McCullagh missed Cobden (After his VCS return at Ballarat) and came back with pole to start the day. Turn one and you couldn’t see any bitumen for karts spread across the Kerbrider Sweeper, most making it through only to be caught up in soft tangles at turn 2.
#7 Gerry Westerveld (who also recently claimed a red plate) could only manage to qualify in 4th and had his work cut out in the heats. The battle raged between the #7, #5, #33 and #98 of Andrew Sotiropoulus but the stand out on the day was #94 Joseph Clough. Once he had clear air in heat 1 he drove away from the sprint car drivers of McCullagh and McFadden and kept that going through the next heat and final to claim his first open meeting win. #33 of Alexander Barallon (who showed glimpses of speed at Hamilton last year before losing a wheel) worked very hard moving forward in each heat to eventually claim 3rd in the final. #5 would only last 7 laps in the final before becoming a spectator and watching his good mate making his bitumen debut; Aussie Speedway Champ #20 James McFadden would finish in 10th .
1st #94 Joseph Clough (Warrnambool Kart Club)
2nd #7 Gerry Westerveld (Rochester Kart Club)
3rd #33 Alexander Barallon (Ballarat Kart Club)
TaG 125 Heavy class – 10 drivers
A small but classy field of heavies put on a display of great driving with multiple passing and lead changes in the early stages until the #3 Adam King hit his stride.
Kerbrider`s #6 Aaron Rintoul was very quick out of the gate in his new Energy machine and led a number of laps throughout the day, never far from the front. Local #4 Scott King had mechanical problems in qualifying which made his day a little harder. #54 Aaron Hindle hasn’t been seen for a while but came out showing he hasn’t fallen of the bike with convincing pace.
Round 2 winner #6 Aaron Jackson had a mysteriously quite day and was never in the hunt; unable to get near the times of the lead pack. #80 Bjorn Schultheiss wasn’t too far off the money, but just not quite enough to rattle the front pack. However starting from 7th in the final he made it to 4th place after #6 Rintoul and Hindle touched at T3, which saw the #6 fall back through the field. #4 Scott King got it all sorted in the final but a hectic battle with Hindle and Rintoul in the early stages left him a way behind the #3 Adam King finishing in 2nd.
1st #3 Adam King (Portland Kart Club)
2nd #4 Scott King (Portland Kart Club)
3rd #54 Aaron Hindle (Geelong Kart Club)
KA3 Junior class – 13 drivers
#16 Cody Gorringe went from a red plate weekend to remember to dramas and frustration of what could have been. #95 Nathan Williams was convincing, taking pole with a blistering 36.8. The heats saw some tremendous racing with the #62 of Amber Miller. Williams and Miller would be 1 and 2 for the heats, but in the final it was outside suicide for Miller at T1. Amber dropped down the field faster than the titanic, but drove superbly to get back to 4th. Meanwhile at the front Williams defended the onslaught from #90 Ethan Church, who due to the melee of the first turn took advantage to lead the final for 7 laps.
Although #41 Marty Wright didn’t have the speed of Williams he made his machine fast enough to secure a 3rd place finish. The entire field was only separated by 7/10s of a sec however on track they covered at least 50%of PDKC. With two of the quicks back in the pack the spectators were denied a cracking final that was building through the heats. In the end Williams drove well to secure the win with Church only .4 of a sec behind.
1st #95 Nathan Williams (Go-Kart Club of Victoria)
2nd #90 Ethan Church (Geelong Kart Club)
3rd #41 Marty Wright (Oakleigh Go-Kart Racing Club)
TaG 125 Light – 21 drivers
The #72 of Toby Pope put in a dominant performance to take the honours of the fastest class. While #15 Harley Benson took pole the competition from #9 Jordan Rae and #54 Jordan Pianezolla was electric having 3 different leaders in heat 1. Heat 2 saw a frenetic start but the race turned into a single file with no-one attacking the front pack. The final would see Pope blast away from the pursuing pack while Rae and Benson would dice for the minor places. Lap 14 Jordan Rae made his final move and got into 2nd. At one point #82 Conner Farr and # 11 Ashley Lear loomed large in Pianezolla`s peripheral vision, Farr pushed hard and was rewarded for his effort by claiming 4th having made his way from 6th.
1st #72 Toby Pope (Go-Kart Club of Victoria)
2nd #9 Jordan Rae (Portland District Kart Club)
3rd #15 Harley Benson (Hamilton Kart Club)
Cadet 9 class – 14 drivers
Rusty (the Rocket) Ponting in his #21 machine literally blasted off in qualifying and left a stratosphere of space behind him in the heats and final with a very dominant display. This left the fight for the minor placings up to a handful that had the speed to challenge. #42 Annalise Ellis qualified 2nd and in heat 1 matched Rusty`s best time 41.3, #5 Leo Iannella found some pace and made a move early to take sec in the first heat to sound a warning. #36 Thomas Schmidt was also around the mark dicing with #85 Tyce Hodge and #9 Caleb Spence. The 94 of Cadel Ambrose didn’t show up on the score board until heat 2, and his presence would make it a 5 way tussle. The start of heat 2 would see several karts come together at T1 and after the shuffle #42 Annalise Ellis would go from 2nd to 8th the young South Aussie would face tough competition from #86 Rock Han, #16 Bodhi Stevens and #9 Caleb Spence to get back to 6th.
The final was one to watch as the pack left behind by the Rocket battled it out over the 16 laps. Positions were changing every lap every corner. Leo Iannella made a lunge to take 3 spots in one corner, however on the very next lap at T3 he would lose them as Thomas Scmidt and Spence would come together. Annalise Ellis seized the moment and went from 5th to 3rd but would end up finishing in 4th. A deflated Iannella would be shuffled back to 7th
Tyce Hodge, who was running 3rd, came under fire from Schmidt to cross the line in 5th. Meanwhile #94 of Cadel Ambrose took on the pack from 7th to finish 2nd and #36 Thomas Schmidt defended aggressively to claim 3rd.
1st #21 Rusty Ponting (South West Kart Club)
2nd #94 Cadel Ambrose (Oakleigh / Eastern Lions)
3rd #36 Thomas Schmidt (Geelong Kart Club)
TaG 125 Restricted Masters class – 10 drivers
#12 Steve Malkin Brought his A game from Cobden to take pole but couldn’t do a lot more than that against Taylor and Stubbs. Malkin had a DNF the first heat after tangling with a lapped kart while chasing the leader in 2nd . But he drove well to claim 3rd from 6th on the grid. #11 Leon Forrest split Stubbs and Malkin to take 2nd in the 2nd heat.
However the class would have a new standout: #92 Ronald Taylor once in clear air drove away from the field to not be headed for a clean sweep after qualifying 3rd. Stubbs gave all he had to throw at Leon, but it wasn’t enough with the #55 coming home only .3 of a sec behind Forrest.
1st #92 Ronald Taylor (Hamilton Kart Club)
2nd #11 Leon Forrest (Wimmera Kart Club)
3rd #55 Andrew Stubbs (Hamilton Kart Club)
TaG 125 Restricted Heavy class – 8 drivers
Nathan Van Es Ruled the roost again in this class however Billy Askew put up a good fight along with Andrew Harvey and Michael Angwin. With a small field combined with the masters on track once the heavies had settled it was pretty much processional racing. In the final Billy and Andrew were only .3 -.4 of a sec from Van Es but ran out of laps to threaten.
1st #46 Nathan Van Es (Geelong Kart Club)
2nd #13 Billy Askew (Warrnambool Kart Club)
3rd #51 Andrew Harvey (Mount Gambier Kart Club)
VCS Portland Kerbrider of the day (each winner picked up a bottle of Maxima Oil and Motul Chain Lube):
- Cadets: Annalise Ellis
- Juniors: Corey Herbetson
- Seniors: Ron Taylor
Our Dunlop Kartsport random draw winners for Portland were:
- David Stewart
- Corey Herbetson
- Brocklan Parker
- Corbin Bailey
- Joel McPherson
- Maximus Fahey
Round 4 is at Wimmera Kart Club (Horsham) on July 16.
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