by Mitchell McLellan, MMS Commentating
Troy Alger and Aaron Jackson both took victories in their respective classes at the opening round of the Golden Power Series at the Bendigo Kart Club on February 16-17 under sunny conditions for both days racing.
With over 150 entries for the opening round of the five round series across 11 classes, the racing was to be slick and fast.
Alger had battles throughout the weekend with rivals Curt Sera and Clay Richards but after showing great pace all weekend was able to break clear in the final and opened up a margin of around three seconds over Richards and Rhys Kemp in position three.
Jackson was another to have a strong weekend and dominated his final while breaking clear and winning by around 7 seconds over his nearest rival.
Local driver Chelsea Humphrey and Tyce Hodge took out their respective Cadet classes over the weekend to take the opening round win of the year.
Humphrey showed a clean set of heels and was one of the most dominatant drivers of the weekend taking out pole position and winning all four heat races by a significant margin, her biggest win coming in a dominant final by over 14 seconds!
Hodge, in an oversubscribed Cadet 12, was able to take pole position and all of his heat wins putting him in the best possible spot for the final. Hodge had a race long battle with Anthony Alessi and in a tight finish Hodge was able to hold on and take the win by a small two tenths of a second.
Cooper Johnstone and Ryan Aitken took their respective KA3 Senior classes out to start their championship assault.
Johnstone, in his first Golden Power Series round in the senior ranks, in a big field of drivers was able to show a clean set of heels in the final on Sunday after battles throughout the weekend with Gippsland drivers Zane Bright and Michael Bantick to take a final win by just over three seconds.
Aitken, a former winner of the series, also got his championship assault of to a great start taking the final over State Cup winner Todd Chambers in a close finish of under half a second.
Jake Krasna and Johnny Hill were off to strong starts to their series by both taking out the final in their respective KA4 Junior Light and Heavy classes.
Krasna, who has had a strong start to the season, qualified in position four but after that didn’t look back, taking a clean sweep in the races and being able to break clear in the final and take the race win by around three and half seconds.
Hill hadn’t taken a race win all weekend coming into the final after Josh D’Ambrosio had dominated proceedings. Running second in the final, Hill took the most of some back markers to help him take the top spot and hold off a hard charging D’Ambrosio which is setting up an intense battle between these guys.
Rustyn Willett and Todd Chambers took tough victories in their respective classes in KA3 Junior and Victorian Combined Light.
Willett, after qualifying third and not winning a race in the heats after Bodhi Bright took all heat wins, managed to find something in the final to take the win from his fellow rivals. Willett took the lead and didn’t look back taking the race by over a second and the opening round win, with Bright leaving the championship leader.
Chambers had an intense battle all weekend with local ace Matthew Ferrari and after another close race was able to take the final by a small 0.144 seconds.
In the other three Victorian Combined classes, Billy Westerveld in Medium, local ace Cameron Austen in Heavy and another local ace Heath Jelbart in Masters, all took victories in the final.
Westerveld, the current State Cup winner, had challenges from Jackson Rice and Layne Siekman throughout the weekend but was able to take the final out by a couple of seconds.
Austen had his challengers also with Blair Van Ree looking the driver to beat. Austen, with his local knowledge and pace, was able to take the win in the final by around a second.
Jelbart was in a battle all weekend with current state champion Phil Smith who threw everything he had at him throughout the weekend. Jelbart held his nerve in a close final, taking the win by under seven tenths.
The Golden Power Series, after an action packed start, continues at the next round of the series at the Albury Wodonga Kart Club in April.