Albury-Wodonga Kart Club, August Club Day Karticle
by Bailey Dixon
It’s hard to know which of these elements was better at the Albury-Wodonga Kart Club; the perfect weather of clear skies, a warm sun and a subtle breeze, or the right-on racing promoted by driver-trainer Dave Sera.
Either way, both featured over the weekend, and combined to create an August club day to rival all other club days. Following the exclusive training day on Saturday, the main event on Sunday the 25th was shaping up to be a cracker, and it didn’t disappoint.
The boisterous and eager Cadet 12s were first out the gate, meaning that when the lights went green, the excitement was not long coming! Anthony Alessi quickly pulled a commanding lead, while Blake Tracey and Eddy Cooper fought tooth-and-nail over second place, with mere inches between them. The end of heat 1 saw a dramatic photo finish, as the two boys flew round the last corner and onto the final straight side-by-side, before Blake managed to put his nose ahead by a tenth of a second. Eddy fought back, claiming victory in heat 2 and the final, while Blake snagged heats 1 and 3. So, who won? It came down to Blake’s higher qualifying position, in which he pipped Eddy by 0.043 of a second! Having won by 4 hundredths of a second, Blake, ever the good sport, invited Eddy up to share the second step of the podium with him. Great to see such respect between the boys!
The Cadet 9 class was championed by Noah Dixon and James Brett, and their intense battle for first place. At least, it was intense for those watching on the side-lines. After David Brett was up all night preparing James’s quick new Energy Corse kart, heat 3 saw James risking it all round the outside of Noah, through the tight left-hand corner of turn 1 at the race start. Noah, never one to be left behind, stuck to the back of James and kept the pressure on masterfully, waiting until turn 4 to make his move. This led him to win heat 3, as he did heat 1 and the final. Further down the grid, and Benjamin Roberts was running a successful campaign for third in his new kart – the number 10, Mini-Rok equipped, green and black speedster, that helped him achieve his best ever time around Albury, while Ashleigh Brett and Taylor Taborsky, who was on her first club day, were having their own little scrap over fourth position.
Third class out was that of the Vic Combined Medium folks, who were always ready to shake things up. Steve O’Hare took off into the distance, leaving Rob Mullavey, Corey Drummond and Jason Gambold to slug it out for second and third on the podium. The battle between the latter of these gents, Corey and Jason, was the standout in this class. Corey would lead down the straight, Jason would dive down the inside and take the lead, Corey would stay on-line, they’d come out of the corner side-by-side and then Corey would slip ahead with the extra grunt from the normal racing line. Imagine slot cars, and how they cannot leave their racing line; that begins to describe how poised these guys were in the switcheroo.
As for the Vic Combined Light class, well, where do I even start… There were SO many battles in this class that it was hard to keep up with them all. Daniel Taborsky raced hard against Joel Tyrrell for the top step in a series of close races, while the midfield was anyone’s game. Heat 1 saw Mitchell Currey and Mark Chaston participate in some great racing, as did Kevin Mullavey, Ron Lonsdale and Christie Reynolds, who had their own scrap for heat 2. Then, in heat 3, Daniel wound up on the side of the track and Christie swept through to take victory for that race, and thus, second on the overall podium of the day. This made it her first ever podium, a fantastic achievement, one that I’m sure she hopes to replicate at future club days.
The Juniors, after the excitement of last month, were more toned down. Dylan Muller disappeared into the distance in his faster KA3 kart, while Toby Robins chased Flynn Twyford with all his might the entire day, despite their different classes. Heat 2 saw Piper Muller make an impressive move up into third place, while in the final, Ashton McPherson was involved in a three-long battle-pack for the duration of that race, spicing things up and adding to the atmosphere.
I think, if I were to put my own spin on a podium speech after this month’s racing, this is what I would say: “I’d like to thank the weather for shining down on us, as well as Dave Sera and Daniel Rochford for coming out to Albury. Thank you to the officials for putting on such a fantastic meet, and giving the karters the opportunity to battle hard and keep us spectators engaged. Thanks also to the karters, whose close nose-to-bumper battles kept my heart racing, and had me on the edge of my seat. See you all in September, when the battles continue.
“Oh, and one last thing. I’d like to thank my mum and dad for bringing me here. Seriously. I had a great time, and I’m sure I’m not the only one.”
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Driver Profile: The Ronny Write-up
Upon entering the pit area of Vic Combined Light racer Ron Lonsdale, there were two immediate factors; one was the shared space, and the second was the joviality. He had his trailer parked in a small section along with the two Mullavey boys Rob and Kevin, and Junior Toby Robins. These blokes were not averse to a good chuckle, or a good prank.
“His favourite TV show is The Bachelor,” Rob immediately told me at the start of the interview, “and his favourite food is KFC.” This caused a hearty laugh from all in the vicinity, as well as Ron pulling me away from the jokesters to chat.
“Rob started, and he said to me ‘oh, you want to come over and have a run in my kart,’… so I came over and had a run around in his, and loved it.” This started him off with the racing fever, as his wife soon bought him a kart for his birthday.
“The bug bit me and I’ve stayed with it,” he told me. This is his fourth year in a kart, and he still loves it. However, karting for him isn’t so much an intense competition, as it is a chance to fang around and hang out with mates; a social exercise.
Ron is one of the more exciting Vic Combined racers to watch, due perhaps to his skill at working his way through the field and being able to fight in a large class with many other karts around him. When he gets the opportunity to show his stuff – as in any heat but the first one, when he ended up on the side of turn 8 – he is impressive to watch. He knows when to make the move, and can closely follow other karts, as well as giving room when being overtaken. In reality, he is a well-rounded driver with a variety of skills. However, karting is not his only passion.
“I’ve got two expensive hobbies: karting and a horse. I ride as well. That keeps me busy.”
No-one else in his family races, leaving him on his own in this regard; yet others in his family did have an affiliation with horses.
“77 (his number). That’s an old story that. My father-in-law always used to bet on a horse in race 7, in number 7. He reckons it was always lucky. So, I went 77… He passed away, so it’s a bit of a remembrance of him,” Ron shared with me.
We then moved on to the training day. “It’s been terrific. Both Dave and Dan, helping me out with kart setup and driving. They spent a fair bit of time out there yesterday afternoon, moving cones around for me so I’d get the right line…that’s why I did the training yesterday. To find out where my mistakes were, and I dropped a second off my time from last year.”
Now, all jokes aside – and that’s hard to say after conducting my funniest interview to date – I’d like to thank Ron for helping me out and sharing so many stories with me; he’s a real humdinger of a bloke, a great racer, and a jolly addition to any AWKC club day.
So, thanks mate.