Chaotic Start to SKA Nationals Final Round

The second and final round of the Superkarts Australia National Series was held at Sydney Motorsport Park on the weekend (in conjunction with the Muscle Car Masters), but got off to a chaotic start with a multi-kart accident at the beginning of the opening race.

SKA press

RACE 1

The final round of the 2019 Superkarts Australia National Series got off to a chaotic start, when an engine seizure in the middle of the field caused chaos and inevitable contact between a number of competitors at turn two on the opening lap. This saw the safety car introduced for four laps while order was restored and karts were collected from the circuit.

At the restart however, it was quickly back to chaos at the front as Ilya Harpas jumped the start to overtake leader Gary Pegoraro before the control line and Laurie Fooks and Lee Vella came together and both spun out at the start line. Ilya Harpas earned himself a 30 second penalty for the jump, which saw his race win turn into a sixth place finish. Pegoraro battled the race with Jordie Ford, with Pegoraro leading most of the way until Ford found his way past with only moments to go to record the first 250 International win of the weekend.

The 250 National category saw John Dunn sail away to an easy victory after John Pellicano’s engine expired early on in the race and Josh Miller struggled to make an impression, coming home in second place.

Ilya Harpas

125 National was full of surprises including a number of casualties at turn two on the first lap including Chryss Jamieson, Scott Jamieson, and Mark Robin. Whilst under safety car Mehmet Sinani managed to spin out to the inside of the circuit causing yet more confusion on lap three. Nothing however was going to stop Nick Schembri who lead from start to finish to win. This was an impressive performance as he lead home defending champion, local driver and championship rival Paul Campbell. Nick also set a new 125 National lap record at SMSP of 1:35.7266. For reference, this is under 6 seconds slower than the current V8 Supercar lap record!

In the Stock Honda class, Michael Doherty claimed victory from Arthur Magaitis by six seconds, but it was a three-way battle for third with Shane Thompson coming out on top from Warren McGrouther and David Fimeri respectively.

RACE 2

At the front of the field, Jordie Ford took off into the lead at the start whilst bad luck struck championship leader Gary Pegoraro, as he was hit almost immediately with mechanical dramas, forcing him to retire. Championship rival Ilya Harpas had a fantastic drive, and fought his way from 6th on the grid, battling once again with Ford but clearing to take a win with a 7 second margin. Debutant Lucas Vitale recorded his best finish of fifth position, the former superbike rider having switched to the 250 International superkarting category this year.

Jordie Ford

The 250 National class had a spinner before it had a winner with Josh Miller loosing the rear of his 99 machine and sliding backwards into the turn nine hairpin on lap one. As Miller watched from the sidelines it was Pellicano who had luck on his side with a return to form, fighting back to take victory following a hasty engine rebuild after race one. John Dunn was unable to continue his run of reliability with technical dramas bringing his race to an end.

The 125 National class was dominated for much of the race by Nick Schembri who looked set to repeat his race one performance and take a lights-to-flag victory. However bad luck struck only a few laps from the end with a water pipe coming loose, denying the young Victorian of certain victory. Sadness for Schembri was surely joy for Aaron Cogger who had suffered a DNF the race before. He was running strongly in second and was in a position to inherit victory when it came his way. He finished ahead of Lee Vella, with reigning champion Paul Campbell in third place.

The Stock Honda class saw Michael Doherty unchallenged for the second race in succession with Arthur Magaitis following him home in second place. David Fimeri went one better to claim his first podium finish of the weekend.

Nick Schembri

RACE 3

Race 3 saw a clean start under warm sunny conditions for 250 International championship leader Ilya Harpas as he jumped into the lead and began extending his advantage over his rivals immediately. Jordie Ford was struck by bad luck at the start of the race as his engine let go almost immediately to put a serious dent in his championship challenge to Harpas. It was Anton Stevens who settled into a nice rhythm in second place to finish ahead of Gary Pegoraro who came home third after battling handling difficulties

In the 250 National class it looked like John Pellicano was set to take his second victory of the weekend before further mechanical dramas struck. This allowed John Dunn to inherit the lead, the veteran sealing victory from younger rival Joshua Miller.

Aaron Cogger (74) and Paul Campbell (20)

Nicholas Schembri returned to winning ways in race three, with the seventeen year old taking victory by over 13 seconds whilst running in a piston. The battle for second place was intense with Paul Campbell all race until Aaron Cogger swept around the outside at turn four, and holding the inside line into turn 5. Campbell attempted a switchback move at the final turn to out-drag Cogger down the start/finish straight but missed out to finish third by one tenth of a second. Adam Stewart picked up another fourth place finish to do his points tally no harm.

The Stock Honda class came down to the wire with Michael Doherty picking up a hat trick of victories but this time only crossing the line only four tenths of a second ahead of Arthur Magaitis after an intense fight over eight laps of racing. It was Shane Thompson who finished in third place to complete the podium positions.

RACE 4

The fourth and final race of the 2019 Superkarts Australia Championship at the Australian Muscle Car Masters was held in beautiful conditions at Sydney Motorsport Park.

250 International championship leader and pole sitter Ilya Harpas took the lead at the start and never looked back, lapping quickly enough to take his third win of the weekend to score double points, take the round win and wrap up his fourth SKA Nationals championship in succession. Gary Pegoraro continued to show his fighting spirit by dragging his misbehaving kart into second place after earlier disappointment in the weekend realistically hurt his championship chances. Anton Stevens claimed third place to finish second for the meeting and Matt Bass fixed his handling issues to ensure he came across the line in fourth place to claim third for the round. It was no fairytale ending for Jordie Ford who was unfortunately unable to take the race start after his kart’s engine damage from race 3 was not able to be repaired for race four and he did not take the start.

Pegoraro and Harpas head the field into turn 2

The 250 National category saw John Dunn push Pellicano hard enough to induce another DNF for the Avoig manufacturer, leaving Dunn to collect the victory. Josh Miller was in the mix as well until the last few laps when his kart began slowing, but he was able to push on until the flag to ensure he crossed the line to ensure second in the race and second for the round.

The 125 National class was the closest fought category all weekend. Nick Schembri showed his talent with his third victory of the weekend finishing well ahead of the chasing pack on track. The battle behind was intense with Aaron Cogger, Lee Vella and Paul Campbell crossing the line within 1.5 seconds of each other after a race-long battle that would decide the round and the championship. Because Campbell was unable to climb one place higher it meant that he tied for the round on points with Schembri, who took the round victory due to his three victories to Campbell’s none. Meanwhile Cogger and Campbell tied on points for the championship but on count-back Cogger claimed the championship victory for 2019 on count-back.

There was plenty of action early on in the Stock Honda class with Mike Fischer losing his kart under braking and taking out round leader Michael Doherty as he tried to overtake on the inside. As both karts sat abandoned on the infield it was Shane Thompson who drove away to take his first victory of the round, and Arthur Magaitis who finished second. With Doherty registering a DNF Magaitis’ haul of extra points in the final catapulted him into first overall to take the round win in his first appearance in Stock Honda in the SKA championship.

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