by David Sturgeon
Mackay Kart Club played host to the Final round of the 2017 QLD State Championships over the weekend of 29/30 September, 1 October.
The club would like to thank all the drivers that participated along with all the officials and volunteers that helped to make the event possible. Also a big thanks to the sponsors of the meeting, major sponsors DBCT, MRC, TFH Hire, Rio Tinto and Sullair Australia. There were, of course, numerous other sponsors that helped make the event a success and the committee would like to thank them all for their support, without which the event would not have been such a success.
Mother Nature, in the form of cyclone “Debbie” had caused the original first round date in April to be postponed. Ipswich ended up hosting round one at the end of June and a date for the final round was to be set. In the end the best date available were these school holidays in September. This of course made it difficult for some drivers to get to the event, but overall most drivers were able to adjust their schedules and make the trip North to Mackay.
Conditions on Friday and Saturday were hot to say the least, but thankfully conditions on Sunday for the finals were a little cooler with cloud cover helping bring the temperatures down. So on to the racing!
KA3 Senior Medium
First class out for their final were the KA3 Senior Medium drivers. Robert Thorburn, a former Mackay junior, now a member of Whitsunday Kart Club, was the pace setter all weekend and the final was no different. After a lap or two Thorburn had a lead on the following pack and managed to keep that for all 27 laps, a great display of his skill and ability in setting up his kart for the demanding Mackay layout. This result plus his win at Ipswich for round 1 gave him a clear lead and a deserved win, he will now be able to display his No.1 Blue plate as the 2017 QLD KA3 Senior Medium Champion, congratulations and well done Robert.
The rest of the pack though were having a ding dong battle and final placings were never secure until the last few laps. Bevan Garioch (MKC) a former State Champion himself managed to clear away early on and was doing everything he could to catch Thorburn, but by mid race he had started to fall back to the chasing pack which included, Gladstone driver Dennis Butler, Peter Hill (TKC), Thomas Janusz (CDKRC) and Dean Muscat (MKC). Janusz and Muscat had a coming together, which unfortunately left Janusz on the side of the track unable to continue. Garioch, Butler and Hill were locked together and any one of these three had the chance at second, Hill had been playing a waiting game and in the final couple of laps saw an opening when Butler made a move on Garioch. He swept past the 2 drivers to take second, Butler held on to take third with Garioch fading to 4th only just managing to hold out Muscat home 5th.
A quality field of cadet 9’s were on hand and did not disappoint. With some second generation drivers in the class it was always going to be a tough final. Lincoln Taylor (IKC) had been chased hard all through the heats, but had always managed to stay in front of the following pack, he did the same in the final keeping a small gap on the field to cross the line first. Behind him it was again a case of who would be second, with the remaining 7 drivers all bunched together, there were passes made on almost every lap of the 27 lap final and it was Max Walton (IKC) who eventually held off Max James (CCKC) and Jaxson Burns (IKC). Great job by all the drivers, one of the only classes that all the drivers finished the final.
TAG 125 Heavy
This class was another that produced some close racing all through the heats. Kris Walton (IKC) had a bad run in heat 1 with engine dramas, but managed to sort that out and work his way back to the front for the remaining heats and a win in the final. He was closely followed by Damian Ward (IKC) who was certainly leaving nothing on the table in his pursuit of the leader. Gavin Whitmore(CCKC) had been almost there for the heats but made some changes and stepped it up for the longer final to reel in and pass Jason Price (MKC) who showed good speed all through the heats, but found his kart going off in the dying stages of the final, leaving him with little to fight with. As much as the front guys were putting on a show, back in the pack Mitchell Wood (WMC) and Kory Jennings (RKC) kept the crowd on their feet for the final. In the last 2 laps each driver managed to pass the other at least twice per lap, without so much as a wheel rub. Wood held his nerve and pulled off a final pass on the last corner leading onto the main straight, carrying enough speed to hold out Jennings for 6th place. Great to see such close racing all through the field.
The largest field of drivers to take the starters orders and they certainly put on a show all weekend. Racing was tight and some of the passes that were made by these still very young drivers were nothing short of spectacular. There were battles all through the field throughout the heats and this didn’t change for the final. Carter Mobbs (EKC) was a deserved winner always in the lead group, he was being shadowed by Marcos Flack (IKC) and Max Deguara (MKC). Deguara and Flack swapped positions a few times in the final, with Deguara keeping his nose in front until a decisive move by Flack on the final corner of the last lap relegating him to 3rd.
A little further back from the leaders was a pack of angry karts all jostling for a better position, Remy Haller (TKC) and Damian White (MKC) were both in the might of this battle, they managed to break away from the pack mid race, with Haller holding down 4th and White 5th. As much as they tried they just couldn’t bridge the gap to the front 3. Another notable performance was from Max’s younger brother Drew Deguara (MKC), who has only just moved up from Cadet 9, competing in 2 race meetings prior to the Final of the State Championships, he did a great job to finish in 6th position in the final. Not an easy task with the quality of the field and his somewhat limited experience in the more powerful karts, well done Drew. From 6th position back it was a case of stay in front or be prepared to lose 3 or 4 places which happened to a number of the drivers in this bunch. The action was fast and furious and unfortunately ended in a last lap collision which saw Dominic Attard (MKC) spinning across the track leaving Samuel James (CCKC) with nowhere to go. James and his kart got airborne and rolled out of the race along with Attard, both recording DNF’s which wasn’t a true representation of the speed shown in the earlier heats. Both drivers were ok and walked away from their karts after the incident which was great to see.
KA3 Senior Light
The crowd didn’t know where to look watching the final of the KA3 Senior light class it was all action up and down the field. Local Mackay drivers Jayden Muir and Nicholas Garioch often battle out this class at the Mackay track, always up the front, but Nicholas in particular had a weekend to forget, being the first to try out the gravel trap at the end of the main straight, not once but twice in the heat races. He was consequently buried deep in the pack for the final and was pushed wide off the start, which put him to the back of the pack, to his credit he pushed as hard as he could avoiding a number of incidents to finish the final 7th. Muir who had been getting faster and faster through the heat races was running with the leaders for much of the final until he too was forced wide off the end of the main straight, this ended with his kart being beached in the gravel trap, race over! Hard luck boys.
Eventual winner Joel Jamieson (RKC) found his kart working better and better as the rubber went down on the track surface, he was followed home by Daniel Murrell (IKC) who found the opposite to be the case, needing to make changes to lose grip. Jarrod Costello (IKC) was lucky he got his bad luck out of the way in the heats, only finishing 1 of the 3 heats prior to the final. His third place finish in the final was a great result considering his issues during the heats.
KA4 Junior Light
Thirteen of the best drivers in Queensland in KA3 Junior Light gave it their all to make it onto the podium and hopefully pick up the coveted blue plate. Ryan Newton (IKC) fought the hardest and in the end made it across the line in 1st place for the weekend. He was followed home by Kurtis Tennant (IKC) 2nd and Jacinta Hoey (IKC) 3rd. Riley LeGarde (MKC) and Kyle Evans (WKC) were also looking like contenders, both had the speed in the heats and both finished well. Unfortunately neither driver made it very far in the final, there was a coming together at the end of the main straight and both drivers ended their race in the gravel pit at the start of the first lap. Certainly could have been a different outcome to the final results if these young chargers had made it past the first corner.
TAG Restricted Light & Medium
You could tell these guys and girls were going to put on a show for the assembled crowd in the grandstand, the heats were frantic and the final was shaping up as real crowd pleaser. Dylan Rudd (IKC) TAG Restricted Light, stamped his authority early winning the heats convincingly and then doing the same in the final. Behind him though it was anybody’s race, none of the drivers had a clear advantage, Paul McNeil (CCKC), Brendan Fitzgerald (RKC), Andrew Rankin(IKC) and Layton Smith (TMBA) all ended the final watching the race from the infield after a collision which saw Fitzgerald’s rear wheel part company with the kart and bounce through the traffic, miraculously missing all the karts and coming to rest up against the tyre barrier in front of switch back 1, not something I’ve seen happen at the Mackay track that often. After this the race settled down a little with the remaining light drivers all pushing hard to make position. In the end Rhian Ramsay (TKC) and Leesa Jones (GKC) made up the rest of the podium. A great drive by both ladies holding back Jackson Smith (TMBA) who ended the final in fourth.
As for the TAG 125 Restricted Medium drivers they all managed to make their way around the track without getting caught up in any of the fun the light drivers seemed to be having, with Zari Patrick (TMBA) bringing his kart home in 1st place, followed by Lachlan Palmer (WKC) 2nd and Dale McDonnell (WMC) a credible 3rd place. I’m sure all these guys would have needed a comforting ale at the conclusion of their final, as it was hectic to say the least.
One of the smaller classes at the event, but still some tight racing to be had. Harrison Hoey (IKC) had an issue in heat 1 which made him work hard for heat 2 to get back to the front. He did this well and was never headed in the final. Thomas Cooper (IKC) was threatening Hoey throughout the final but just couldn’t make a pass, settling for 2nd. Taylah Agius also worked hard all meeting coming home with the 3rd place trophy. Agius also managed to amass enough points to take the Championship win for 2017 in her class, a great result for the up and coming driver.
TAG 125 Light
Also not a huge field, but certainly some of the fastest young drivers in Queensland in the TAG 125 class. The heats only really served to prove that it would be a close fought battle in the final, with 3 different winners for the 3 heats. Joel Jamieson (RKC) didn’t have much luck in the heats ending up with 2 DNF’s and a 5th, always a hard spot to be on the Mackay track leading into turn one. He made a good start in the final and managed to make his way forward as the race went on. Scott Sorensen (IKC) was the pace setter in the final and was also moving up through the field. He did make it to the front and was able to keep the lead and take top spot on the podium. Benjamin Deissler (IKC) managed to hold of Jamieson to take 2nd place in the final. The hard luck award from this class had to go to Hayden Schneider (MKC) who was up with the leaders during the heats, but ended up way back in the pack after heat 3 which left him with a hard road back to the front, unfortunately for Schneider around midrace distance he got himself a little too wide making a passing move and once his front got onto the dirt there was no coming back and he ended up in the gravel, just like a number of other drivers had done in previous finals. A sad end to a promising round for young Hayden.