Preview: National Festival of Superkarts

This weekend August 17 & 18 Superkarts return to the Phillip Island Grand Prix circuit to contest the 2019 National Festival of Superkarts, in conjunction with the Phillip Island Auto Racing Club’s August Access event.

The Event Doubles as the National Championship for 125cc Stock Honda and Non-Gearbox Classes and is set to be the biggest event of the year for Superkarts in Australia. A record 78 Entries for the event has been set with common names in new categories, and interstate travellers keen to take the crown from the Victorians at their home Circuit.

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Rotax Light Non-Gearbox

Defending Champion Nick Schembri will take on 18 other Rotax Max’s this weekend, and will have his hands full with Russ Occhipinti coming off the back of a dominant weekend at Broadford in July. James Gorman and Sebastian Amadio have made the trip from South Australia and will be hoping to step higher on the podium than last year, having a year to suss out Schembri and get the better of him. The dark horses will be Hayden Veld and Sanuja Perera, with the latter consistently presenting himself on the podium in the last year.

Rotax Heavy Non-Gearbox

Anticipated to be the closest of racing all weekend, 125cc Max Heavy has a strong contingent of drivers all desperate to take the Title. Ian Williams has led the South Australians to Phillip Island in force, with Brendon Stillwell aiming to take back the national Title he lost to Jarrod Sanfilippo in 2019. Sanfilippo has dominated Phillip Island in recent races but team-mate David Murphy is attending with Aero Upgrades which hope to see him back in front. Rod Clarke has remained consistent up front with Jeremy Crust, but the biggest threat for the title remains Colin McIntyre coming off a commanding win at Broadford.

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Junior Rotax Max

The ever increasing Junior Class will be present at Phillip Island, excitingly returning the younger competitors to a National Title Event once again. Lucas Quartocchi has been the class of the field so far this year but the rise of Hayley Thomson – competing in two classes this weekend – and Kobe Veld has shown that Quartrocchi may not have it easy this weekend. Finn White and James Strah have been itching to get up to the top step of the podium showing that they can shed some pace but the unknown interstate fighter Christian Amadio may catch the Victorians napping

Stock Honda

Another National Title on goes on the line in Stock Honda with Jeff Duckworth Defending his Number 1 plate from last year, his massive pace has been tough to challenge but Shane Varley has been stepping closer and closer at each event and comes high on confidence after his Vic Club Championship Round win in Broadford. Jim Gorman leads the interstate charge and dominates in South Australia with Sokhon Pin close behind, but Stephen Morling and Rick Hobman’s local knowledge may keep the South Australians at bay.

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250cc International

The Twin Cylinder Kart races will be a battle of experience and speed, with Anton Stevens and defending Festival Champion Kristian Stebbing hoping to keep the young chargers at bay. Coming hot off lap record pace in Broadford, Tim Clarke along with round Winner Jamie MacDonald will be serious challengers having had plenty of seat time around Phillip Island in the past twelve months. Warren Thompson’s Double Duties in 250 International and 125cc Max Heavy will keep him on his toes, but fending off the experienced Ralf Rupprect and Chas Maddern, along with Simon Goyne’s new kart with previous national championship success, it will be the cherry on top for Thompson’s busy weekend. The 250cc Single cylinder racers Peter Kay and Raff Pironti will keep the tail enders of the twins honest, sticking their nose up through the infield with their lighter karts.

125cc Open Gearbox

Twenty-Two Entries makes the 125cc class the biggest of the weekend and is anticipated to be enthralling. Brad Stebbing will have a target on his back, holding the National Festival Title that any one of the 22 drivers could be in contention for. Notably, Nick Schembri’s Anderson/DEA powerplant has had recent success around Phillip Island with Brad Tremain close behind, but if the previous race at Broadford is any measure, Marc Hugelshofer, Garry Pegoraro and Blake Purdie may break Schembri’s reign. There are Dark horses, Geoff Lawrence and John Bakker, Martin Latta and Todd Gardiner who all know success, but there will be a freight train of South Australians joining the front of the pack lead by Tony Lappas. Tremain is hoping for revenge after narrowly missing out on the title last year with mechanical gremlins, as Jordan Ford throws his hat in the ring to experience the close racing the 125cc Open Category showcases.

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