Saturday September 2 was Race Meeting Number 7 at the Wollongong Race Track in Kembla Grange for Australian Kart Racers Alliance.
The weather was perfect and a strong field of 13 Clubman Karts showed up to race in the Wollongong sunshine.
With plenty of chatting on Facebook and a bunch of messages having been passed around the field of Clubman karts will grow even more in the meetings ahead.
As usual it was Wollongong Wiz Greg Mackay setting the pace early in Clubman Light but a DNF in a heat and then while moving forward in the Pre-Final Mckay had the misfortune of his spark plug parting company with his Engine. A very rare mechanical failure but nonetheless it meant an end to Mackay’s race meeting.
This allowed the opportunity for a young Chris Green and even younger Jarred Kershaw to take the lead roles in the Final 20 lapper. Green managed to get to the lead early and build a quick gap which he held for half the race. Kershaw finally got his mojo and closed the gap to be right behind Green and patiently waited for his opportunity.
With 3 laps to go Kershaw made his move down the main straight after getting a better exit from the corner before.
Mackay watching from the pits commented jokingly that “Green would be having a heart attack if he didn’t win” and true to style and on the last lap with two corners to go Green pulled off a great move to dive underneath Kershaw and held on for a fantastic win. So happy was Green that still after 35 plus years in karting Green took his 1st Place Trophy to Bed with him that night – this was confirmed by his beautiful wife who had to share the bed with said trophy…… now that’s love……..hahaha
3rd place was a surprised Ethan Bentley who hadn’t been in a kart for a few years and took up the opportunity to hire one of the arrive & drive karts available in the AKRA stable of karts.
Ethan started the meeting getting grips with the kart again and steady progress through and minor tweaks here and there the combination was strong enough for a podium result for the final. Job well done.
The Clubman Heavy class has a strong support from the Strudwick Kart Racing Team of drivers and Jason Strudwick proved too good on this occasion with the rest of the field choking on his exhaust fumes. Andrew Woods having survived a spectacular cross country excursion in the heats was next in line in the 20 lap Final coming home 2nd ahead of another Strudwick Racing Team driver Craig McMullen
The National J class turned out to be a walk in the park for Andrew Grima yet again. Grima having won last month for the first time and now having tasted Victory was not going to let this opportunity slip by. Grima got to the lead early and built up a comfortable lead and was never headed. Mark Owen’s drive in 2nd was impressive to watch. There were times when Owen was the fastest on the track and even closing on the leader Grima but as the race wore on the pace dropped off but still plenty good enough to hold onto 2nd place ahead of 3rd place finisher Kosta Gazilas. A trouble free run for Gazilas was good reward for a great drive and podium result.
New driver to the AKRA fold was James Caprin in his Tony Kart. Caprin had the pace from the outset but a few Engine dramas in the earlier heats held up his progress and potential speed. But by the 20 lap Final Caprin had all the gremlins sorted out and once in the lead was never headed. 2nd in his Birel Kart was Rob Gallota who also overcame some earlier engine drama’s in the heats but finally got on top of it to back up his last round win in TAG Light. 3rd place was young Kemble Walsh who stayed out of trouble to record his first podium result after a troublesome outing last meeting.
TAG Heavy and it was Paul Charlesworth who was too good for 2nd placed John Guest and 3rd placed David Patch. Both Guest and Patch threw on new boots for the meeting but Charlesworth still had the measure while Guest and Patch battled it out for the last two places on the podium.
And to top off a great meeting was the Final Race of The Day, and starting to become the draw card for all AKRA events at Wollongong Track is the “Butchers Picnic”
The Butchers Picnic is a timed race with the time set on the day just as the drivers line up for the Race on the dummy grid. This was a 4 minute race and the clock started as the Start Flag is dropped and the first kart to cross the line after the 4 minute finish time is the winner. The Butchers Picnic is offered to all the drivers who hadn’t placed in the top 3 in their class. Also added to the mix was the Father’s Day Race for our trusty pit crews – our fathers – to join in the fun.
So in the end, and at the 4 minute bell, and after the final results had been taken upstairs to the bunker and review committee it was Simon Grima that took home the Butchers Picnic Crown for the month of September and it was Father John Strudwick who took out the Father’s Day Race and added to the Strudwick Kart Racing Team’s haul of trophies.
All in all a fantastic day’s racing with the great help from Starter Jayson Darke who controlled the fields from the get go and know doubt is keen to be back in the seat for next meeting in October over the weekend of 21/22. Special thanks to the volunteer flaggies, And a special thanks to our presentation team of Rolly, Yvonne, Sue & Steve who bring and organise the very important Beverages (BEER) and nibbles and snacks for the drivers and AKRA team at the end of a fun day’s racing.
So see you all next time in October on the 21st,
cheers Over and Out