by Paul Griffiths
Here we are for Day 2 of Junior Top Guns in 2018 – a cloudy Saturday with a forecast that includes the phrases “rain” and “hail” – so look out!
We need to thank the generous sponsors of our Top Guns meeting who include Page Bros RV, Baron Karts, Melbourne Kart Centre, Kerbrider, Kingston Trophies, J&A Kart Tuning, Shamick Racing and of course DPE Kart Technology for their generous donation of the Arrow chassis that will be drawn following tonight’s presentation – their support has covered many years of Junior Top Guns. See the end of the report for details of the lucky winner!!
I don’t think anyone turned a wheel with a slick on it last night, so let’s hope we get at least some dry racing today. Qualifying began on a wet track but the rain had stopped, by the time we went racing it was damp but not raining.
Note that at the end of each class I have listed the overall winners who are decided by the results from both nights of racing. Please also note that while the combined results are confirmed, the report itself lists karters as they crossed the line and subsequent penalties may have changed the race result.
KA4 Junior Heavy C&D
A new pole man here as Riley Jabke pops up in P1, then Braden Clark, Billy Bishop and Ryan Cook, and as the Heats begin it pours with rain (of course) and Clark gets the best of it to lead Jabke around for the first lap, then Bishop and Cook, but Bishop finds the trap at Arrow corner at the end of Lap 1, so now Bastian Mullan into 4th, Cook 3rd and Jabke meanwhile finds his way to the lead. The rain and the gloom increases, but Jabke pays no heed and drives off into it, Clark, Mullan then Ben Taylor and Cook strung out behind him. The longer the race went the bigger Jabke’s lead became and he went on to take a comfortable win.
Heat 2 here sees my report pruned down by some distractions, but I see that Jabke makes the most of it to lead Mullan early on, then with 4 to go Jabke runs wide at Arrow and goes for a swim through the puddle on the edge of the track allowing Mullan through to the lead, which he maintains until the end.
Jabke off the front with Mullan beside him and Mullan gets the best of the start, Stirling Angus back in 3rd then Clark leads a gaggle of them: Winston Smith, Taylor, Bishop and finally Cook. After 3 laps it is Jabke right on the back of Mullan, a gap then to Angus and daylight back to 4th – although not much daylight, as by now we are under lights – the setting sun pokes through a gap in the otherwise all-engulfing cloud. Mullan looks settled out front and has pulled back away from Jabke – we’ll see what happens. What happens is it starts to rain again – of course! This has little effect on Mullan or Jabke who circulate around in front. Then the sun pokes through again, it’s so glary you can barely see – and we’ve got the lights on! A magnificent rainbow appears and seems to end in the pits; some pots of gold there apparently. Meanwhile Mullan is making amends for last night and continues to lead Jabke around and looks like he will do so until the flag – he does!
- Braden Clark 2. Riley Jabke 3. Billy Bishop
KA4 Junior Light
Your top 4 qualifiers here were Fletcher Harris, Bailey Collins, Jobe Stewart and last night’s victor Steven Tsesmelis. The first heat was delayed as we had to clear some water off the track – then the rain had eased so hopefully no more trouble – and we got going with Harris then Collins, Stewart and Kobi Williams, as Tsesmelis dropped back to 5th. Despite the drenched track and terrible conditions, or perhaps because of them, there was little change in positions from here – the front 5 unchanged for a number of laps. Then Stewart had a spectacular spin in front of the starter’s box – all over for him, so Williams now 3rd with Tsesmelis 4th – and out front Collins was catching Harris big time. With 4 to go he looked like he would have time – so did Tsesmelis who was right on Williams, so things getting closer now. And then the rain came back….. but at the flag we still find Harris in the lead, Collins, then Tsesmelis had made his way through to 3rd, Williams and Samuel Gibson behind him.
Heat 2 gets underway with Harris leading Collins then Tex Starr-McKoy who shoots through from 7th, Hugh Barter then Stewart as we settle in. A lap or two in I find Harris back in 4th in a move I missed, so Collins now leading Starr-McKoy and Barter, further back Williams does some mowing outside the starter’s box but keeps going. From there they pretty much held station and Collins cruised to a win.
As soon as the final started I had to have a look at a tree out the back of the starter’s box, so I didn’t see how Starr-McKoy went from 3rd to have a huge lead at the end of Lap 1, ahead of Hugo Simpson in 2nd, who started in an unbelievable 12th (I must have missed a lot!) then Collins and Harris who had both dropped off their front row start position. Starr-McKoy was not mucking around and took off like a scalded cat with Simpson well back and soon under pressure from Collins for 2nd, behind them now Barter and then Harris – not making up spots like I thought he perhaps would, through the grass out of Page Bros a few laps later, but got back on. Starr-McKoy the real McCoy up front and goes on with it, Simpson also still holding onto 2nd as Collins drops back a whisker in 3rd. With 3 to go Collins is back onto Simpson but no one will catch Starr-McKoy out front – and they don’t. He wins with Collins and Simpson swapping spots behind him a number of times on the last 2 laps, until Collins makes the final move at Page Bros to seal 2nd, Simpson, Barter and Harris behind them.
- Tex Starr-McKoy 2. Steven Tsesmelis 3. Bailey Collins
The Domaschenz Domination continues with another pole, a whole second clear of the next best Cadet 12 in Ayrton Filippi, then Brodie Thomson and Damon Woods as we get a soggy first heat going and Domaschenz again gets going well to lead Thompson, Filippi, Iannella and Maynes-Rutty – then disaster for Domaschenz as he drops back with a problem! Seems like the bucket he is running to cover his air box might have come adrift as he fiddles around with it to get it back into position – he’s now back in 11th. So Thomson the beneficiary of Domaschenz’s misfortune and inherits the lead with Filippi, Maynes-Rutty, Woods, Jesse Lacey and Iannella behind him. Domashenz now back in 14th and looking to have almost removed the bucket altogether, but having to hold onto it at the same time – a tricky business. Thomson doing a good job out front and Filippi not far back in 2nd with 4 to go, but in the end that’s how they cross the line, followed by Maynes-Rutty, Lacey and Iannella, with Domaschenz and his bucket still back in 14th.
Domaschenz, replete with new air box bucket (red this time, they’re faster) leads them off, followed by Filippi, Thomson, Maynes-Rutty and Woods in Heat 2, and we’re back to the sort of domination we saw yesterday as Domaschenz pulls away. He keeps doing this until we reach the chequered flag with Filippi and Thomson in his wake, as the sun finally breaks through on a wet shiny track – how long for I don’t know.
Filippi and Thomson, then Maynes-Rutty and Woods and back in 5th we find Domaschenz courtesy of his heat 1 air box incident – he’ll be quick and has the laps to do it, so we go green and Thomson the best of it to lead Filippi, but Domashenz through to 2nd by Tony Kart turn and sets out after Thomson. Behind these 3 we find Toby Dvorak through to 4th, then Woods, Lacey and Maynes-Rutty further back now than he would have expected to be. Meanwhile Thomson continues to lead Domaschenz – not by a lot, but Domaschenz is not just driving up to the back of him and finding a way through; he has some work to do here. Dvorak moves into 3rd behind the lead pair and we wait to see what happens up front. With 2 to go Domaschenz had drawn up on Thomson but wasn’t looking like making a pass – then at the Grid hairpin Domaschenz goes under, but Thomson good enough to switch back and takes the win, then Domaschenz and Dvorak in 3rd.
- Matthew Domaschenz 2. Brodie Thomson 3. Ayrton Filippi
KA4 Junior Heavy
A much closer qualifying in KA4 Heavy as for a long time only 3/1000ths separated Lachlan Ward on pole from Joshua Hocking in p2, and they were followed by Bodhi Bright and Daniel Hookway, then at the last gasp Hocking jumped to the lead by a tenth, but still going to be mighty close racing if this keeps up. Hocking makes the most of his P1 start and goes to the lead, Ward then Hookway behind him, Liam Hall through from 8th, then Bastian Mullan, Bright dropped back to 5th, Hamish Allan, Billy Bishop, Benjamin Moss and Joel Johnson with Madisson Jess a DNF at JSKC. Halfway and Hocking and Ward have pulled well away out front but Hocking looks settled in the lead, Ward with the work ahead of him. I’m sure Ward tried hard, but Hocking was good enough to hang on and take the win.
Heat 2 was interrupted report wise – all I can advise is that Ward crossed the line first ahead of Hocking, Mullan, Jess and Bright.
In the final it was Ward away just ahead of Hocking and all goes well for about 50 metres until, at Arrow corner, Hocking goes around and ends up at the back; Ward, Allan and Bright the first 3, then Hookway through to 3rd after starting 9th, so good race for him so far. Hocking back to 8th now and with 12 laps still to go he has time if he’s quick enough, but Ward has done a bolt at the front so he’ll be hard to reel in; we’ll see about the rest. By halfway Hocking is 5th, but they are pretty well spread ahead of him and Ward is a mile ahead in the lead, Allan then Hookway and Bright, with Bright now under some Hocking pressure – and sure enough Hocking moves to 4th. Ward is comfortably in the lead but Allan and Hookway are locked in combat in 2 and 3 which might draw Hocking up onto them, although he has a long way to go – they’d need a big fight. Last lap and it’s Ward, a big gap to Allan and Hookway, then a gap to Hocking, and that’s the way it ended.
- Joshua Hocking 2. Lachlan Ward 3. Hamish Allan
Pole here goes to last night’s winner Lewis Francis, followed by Rock Han, Peter Bouzinelos and James Anagnostiadis and Francis takes it away ahead of Han, then Plumb through to 3rd ahead of Bouzinelos as further back Anagnostiadis spins in the Dipper and is collected by Charlie Nash on the way through – Anagnostiadis out, Nash continues. While all this was happening Francis has piled on a huge lead ahead of now Bouzinelos, Plumb finds himself in 3rd, these two having got past Han at some stage as he is now 4th, then Jensen Marold, Jett Taormina, Xavier Avramides and finally Nash who must have suffered a further setback I didn’t see. So it’s all Francis here with 4 to go, although Bouzinelos is perhaps closer than he was a few laps ago – nevertheless, Francis splashes his way to the flag in 1st place (did I mention it was raining again?) and Bouzinelos home in P2.
It’s as close as we have been to a dry track for this heat, but all still on wets as it’s cold with no wind to dry things out and Francis goes away again ahead of Han and Marold then Avramides and Bouzinelos. Marold spins in the Dipper and goes back to 6th as Francis continues on his merry way, back in 3 and 4 Bouzinelos is putting the pressure on Avramides and gets under him with 6 to go, while Nash and Taormina pirouette together at Page Bros corner and then continue some way further back than they had been. None of this troubles Francis though, as he circulates in the lead with Bouzinelos still in 2nd. With a lap to go, the heavens open again, so any chance of a dry race in any class seems to have disappeared – Francis takes the win.
Francis gets away well again, ahead of Bouzinelos and Han, Marold and Plumb and we sit back to watch the Cadet 9 final. What we see is no change in this order as Francis extends his lead. Not that I want to speak too soon, but I think he’s the only karter to have won all races to date over the 2 days. Halfway and Francis looks like the most unflappable Cadet 9 I have ever seen – he just keeps going around and around and getting further ahead. Now he starts lapping karts, behind him still Bouzinelos, Han and Plumb. Plumb is actually right on Han now so we might see some moves back here for 3 and 4, but then Han gains the upper hand and pulls away somewhat. Last lap and Francis would have to lose a wheel, and even then he might still make it! Make it he does – all four wheels intact, Bouzinelos 2nd, 3rd Han and then Plumb still the order behind him.
- Lewis Francis 2. Peter Bouzinelos 3. Rock Han
In the premier class which delivered such great racing last night, we find Corey Herbertson the fastest qualifier followed by Cooper Webster, Kai Allen and Matthew Hillyer and Herbertson takes it away with Allen, Webster, Samuel Downing, Reef McCarthy and Oliver McNaught in his wake (literally!) as the first few laps unfold. From here they all spread out a bit and this takes the pressure off Herbertson somewhat as he has some space behind him, further back Matthew Hillyer is working up through the field after a spin on lap 1 – now in 9th after starting 4th. Herbertson begins his last lap with what looks like an unassailable lead and so it proves to be, Allen and Webster behind him, Hillyer working through to a creditable 6th.
The start of Heat 2 resembles the start of the Sydney to Hobart more than a go kart race as rain pours down, welcome to Melbourne in summer – it feels like about 11 degrees (it was!). At the gun Webster gets ahead of Herbertson, Allen and Hillyer as water streams from the karts. Webster’s good start pays dividends as he gets out of the Heads in clear air, now leading Allen, Herbertson back in 3rd, while Webster prepares to unfurl his spinnaker in the lead. A few laps in and karts are passing Green Cape Lighthouse with Webster still leading Allen and Herbertson, and these 3 have pulled a gap on Hillyer in 4th with Conor Somers now pressuring him – further back it’s Downing, Allan and Thomas Dixon. They all cross Bass Strait without incident and prepare to sail down the east coast of Tasmania. As they turn up the Derwent it’s still Webster, Allen now under pressure from Herbertson who moves through in the Dipper, but Allen gets him back by tacking well on the way out, behind them Hillyer and Allen rub bow rails and Hillyer gets the better of things in the end, but all this is allowing Webster to sail ever closer to Constitution Dock and a line honours victory, which he takes ahead of Herbertson and Allen.
The KA3 final was delayed by a couple of hearings and so was the last class to go out, and Herbertson was to lead them off, followed by Webster, Allen, Hillyer, Downing and McCarthy. Always a fast start and no exception this time as Herbertson gets away ahead of Allen, Hillyer and McCarthy, while Webster and McNaught DNF’d in the opening lap so no luck for them. Herbertson, Allen and Hillyer continue up front, Downing further back with some issues that see him pull in and give it away, so another one having a crook final. By halfway Herbertson and Allen have an enormous lead from Hillyer back in 3rd, then Somers, McCarthy, Allan, Dixon and Potter as they slide around in the gloom. Finally we approach the end and it’s still Herbertson leading Allen, Somers now 3rd ahead of Hillyer until they tangle out of JSKC (Somers later cops a one place penalty to put him back behind Hillyer) but Herbertson knew none of this and went on to take the last win of the night ahead of Allen.
- Kai Allen 2. Cooper Webster 3. Corey Herberton
KA4 Junior Light C & D
Zaiden Barry and Charlee Richardson share the front row here, followed by Chloe Potter and Toby Waghorn and my report was somewhat interrupted by some guests but by halfway we had Barry leading Potter then Richardson and well back to Jett Wilson. At the flag it was still Barry, Potter and Richardson.
Not a great start for Barry this time as he first drops behind Richardson, then finds himself 2nd last in a tangle at JSKC. So he has the work to do, and he begins by passing three karts at Grid corner half a lap later, another a few corners later to be back to 4th, so well done Barry – into 3rd half a lap later. Out front it’s Richardson, then Waghorn, behind them the rampaging Barry, then Potter, Tyler Knowles and Wilson. Halfway and Barry into 2nd under Waghorn, so he sets out after Richardson. With 7 to go, the rate he’s going Barry looks like he’ll catch Richardson – we’ll see. Meanwhile Potter in 4th is chasing down Waghorn for 3rd. Two laps later and Barry is on Richardson and passes her at Grid corner – a great drive considering the start he got, and further back Potter gets into 3rd ahead of Waghorn. Potter goes on to put a huge gap on Waghorn so well done to her, Barry meanwhile still leads Richardson, not by a lot – but by enough, as he takes the chequered flag.
Final starts with Richardson into the lead, but only as far as JSKC where Barry regains the upper hand then Potter through to 2nd on the first lap, Sterling now 4th, then Ferentinos, Wilson and Knowles, Lee and finally Waghorn who had been all crossed up at the start. So Barry now starts to show the form that allowed him to reel in the whole field in heat 2, except when you start from the front it means you pull away from the field – which he does in style. The real race is between Potter and Richardson in 2 and 3, then a big gap to Knowles, Wilson and Ferentinos all going around together. With 4 laps to go it starts pouring (again!) and karters have to tip toe around, their wets getting very tired by now – nice fresh slicks back in the trailer though! Barry proves as nimble in the wet as he does in the dry and continues to circulate – last lap and he’s still well out front and goes on to see the chequered flag 1st, followed by Potter and Richardson
- Zaiden Barry 2. Charlee Richardson 3. Jett Wilson
Cadet 12 C&D
Cadel Ambrose off the front here with Marcus Pisani set to do battle beside him, then Kristian Janev and Thomas Patching. Another brief report for this Heat as we see Ambrose lead Pisani home, then Patching, Janev and Ethan Wilson working through from 13th to 5th.
Heat 2 and the rain has stopped but it’s slick and greasy still – and cold (did I mention it’s cold?) as we get going here with Ambrose and Pisani and they streak away to a lead with Janev back in 3rd then, Hunter Salvatore through to 4th, behind him Jake Krasna but they really are spread out all over the place – Ambrose and Pisani the only close pair in the lead and that’s how they finished.
So the final final (were it not for the postponed KA3 race) and Ambrose and Pisani lead them off, Pisani makes the move into JSKC and leads, then Ambrose, Janev, Salvatore, Patching and Karadagli the next 5 karts. Four laps in and Pisani and Ambrose have done a runner, although Ambrose still has some work to catch the leader, but these 2 are well clear. In the inky blackness, as the rain continued to sprinkle, it was hard to see what was going on – lots of karts slipping and sliding, but Pisani and Ambrose still up front, Janev and Salvatore in 3 and 4, but so far back they were almost in another race. Finally the leaders come on some lapped karts, but Pisani goes through unhindered, Ambrose too – so no change in our order at the front. Last lap Ambrose has to have a go; he drags himself onto the back of Pisani’s kart, has a look at JSKC and pulls back, then just cannot make up the ground and Pisani takes the win – a good race by the 2 of them.
- Cadel Ambrose 2. Marcus Pisani 3. Kristian Janev
So Junior Top Guns for 2018 is run and won and was probably the coldest, wettest one I can remember. While there was some practice on slicks, not a single karter turned wheel in a race on anything that wasn’t a wet tyre.
After the presentation was complete, we drew the winner of the Arrow chassis and it was won by the winningest guy all weekend – Lewis Francis!! Would you believe it? Pole on both days, then wins every race in his class over both days, then walks away with a brand new Arrow chassis courtesy of DPE Kart Technology. Talk about a good weekend!
See you all next year!!!