Karticle, by Bailey Dixon
Welcome to Rochester. Last weekend saw Rochester Kart Club host the fourth and penultimate round of the 2019 Golden Power Series, at a crucial stage where championship positions were being defined. This 778-metre track is nestled in the pleasant farmlands of rural Victoria, 184 kilometres North of Melbourne, 63 kilometres North-East of Bendigo and 29 kilometres South of Echuca. The track features nine corners and some significant elevation changes that send Karters downhill and uphill throughout a lap. Turn one, the race defining corner of the track, saw multiple incidents, including one in the KA3 Junior category involving some five or six karts, while the uphill hairpin of turn seven saw many drivers misjudge the braking zone and fly off into the grass.
- full round 4 results HERE
Vic Combined Heavy
Vic Combined Heavy were the first out of the gate, with Ryan Van Ree dominating the day and appearing unstoppable! However, after pole and three clear heat wins, Van Ree was overtaken by Aldo Distefano for victory in the final when the latter made a neat move on the leader through turn three, with only two laps to go! Van Ree tried to fight back and retake the lead in a thrilling concluding lap, but to no avail. Distefano held his line, and victory, for the day. This was not the regular course of events for this class throughout the weekend though. Far from it. The regular entertainment involved a tight battle pack from second down to fifth. While the leader generally scampered into the distance, the fight for second was where the action was at, with Distefano, Joe Brancati, Brent Opie and Brett Jenkin maintaining a weekend-long fight for the second step of the podium. In the end, it was Distefano who claimed the top step, with Van Ree in second and Brancati in third, while Jenkin took fourth and Opie rounded out the top 5.
KA4 Junior Light
The first of the substantial Juniors field were out next, with KA4 Junior Light providing another thrilling battle for top spot and the podium positions. Out of the four possible wins, three different drivers took the chequered flag first. Jaylen Paragreen won in the first heat on the Saturday, and then again in the final at the end of Sunday, while youngster and Junior’s newcomer Ayrton Filippi took heat three and Brodie Thomson won heat two. Throughout the weekend, Paragreen, Filippi, Thomson and James Ceveri were the ones to watch in their ongoing battle for the lead, chopping and changing places throughout the races. Yet in the end, victory came down to a duel between Paragreen and Filippi for top spot on the podium in this final-only-counts race meet. Filippi got the jump and held the lead for some fourteen laps, and then, on the second last lap, he dipped a wheel on the grass at the exit of turn two. From there, Paragreen was all over the back of him, before managing shortly to execute an overtake, and thus, win in the final, with Filippi second, Thomson third, Jake Krasna fourth and Chas Luscombe taking fifth.
Vic Combined Masters
Straight out of a victory at the Australasian titles, and sporting a red plate, Mark Appleby achieved first position in the Victorian Combined Masters for heat one, heat two and the final to take victory for the weekend. He was not without competition though. David Galley, Phillip Stradbrook and Herman Van Ree were hot-on-his-heels, while still maintaining an intense battle for second place that saw Stradbrook come out best in the final, with Galley third. Further down the field, Mark Tracey, Andrew Jackson and Jason Cassidy were involved in their own close fight over fifth. If you weren’t entertained by the frontrunners, these three were there to spice things up. In the end however, victory went to Appleby, the second step to Stradbrook, third to Galley, fourth to Van Ree and it was rounded out with fifth to Tracey.
Vic Combined Medium
Victorian Combined Medium saw another red plate winner in Jackson Rice, fresh off his Australasian titles win. He dominated the entire weekend, clean sweeping all of his races; including the final, with a margin of five and a half seconds over Rochester local Jake Gibson, his fiercest competition. Gibson in second was under constant threat from third-place runner Scott Roberts, with these two battling the entire day, especially the final. And then there was the midfield battle pack, with Michael Goodfellow, Jason Gambold and James Reynolds slugging it out for sixth, while Layne Siekman and Clayton Groves battled for fourth position.
The final results ended up – Rice came out on top, with Gibson second and Roberts third. Then, to complete the top 5 – Siekman in fourth and Jason Gambold fifth.
KA4 Junior Heavy
The largest of the Junior class for the weekend, with a substantial seventeen entries, KA4 Junior Heavy was one to watch. At the front, Riley Jabke, Zackary Thompson and Maximus Fahey were in an enduring – and thrilling – battle for the lead throughout the weekend, that included Jabke taking victory in all the races, but often by the smallest of margins. Heat one saw him win by a tiny half a second over Thomson, who was only half a second ahead of Dylan Muller. The latter had an up and down weekend, holding position well through the first couple of heats, and chasing after the leaders. The last two races – including the final – saw him relinquished to around fifth and sixth, after some contact and unfortunate circumstances. Overall though, it was Jabke, Thompson and Fahey who provided the standout battle for this class, shaking things up a little in the final with Jabke on the top step and Fahey and Thompson in second and third respectively. Fourth went to Charlee Richardson, while fifth went to Laura Fahey.
Vic Combined Light
Second largest class of the weekend went to the enormous Victorian Combined Light category, who had twenty-three drivers racing at the Rochester round. Boom. That huge amount was often taxing on the eye; but in a good, where-on-earth-do-l-look kind of way. Everywhere you looked on the track there was a kart racing around, or a close battle to be had. In short, there was no lack of excitement. The top six were always scrapping away, and it was truly anyone’s game. The battle pack for the lead, and overall victory, included Matthew Ferrari, Ross Stubbs, Ethan Warren and Mitchell Sutej, with three different drivers taking out four different races. Ferrari was the biggest winner of the weekend, having not taken any wins until he claimed the final, and thus, top step for the day. Sutej was punted off the road in the first corner of the final, and had to enact a sterling recovery drive from twentieth to tenth position. Disappointing for him after he managed to win both heat one and heat three. The podium saw Ferrari triumph, with Stubbs slotting into second and Warren third, while Nathan Brown and John Reynolds just missed out, but completed the top 5. This class was unpredictable, and the final exciting, as it was anyone’s game.
TaG 125 Light & TaG 125 Heavy
The combined classes. Whew! It’s adrenaline pumping to watch the double form up of TaG 125 Light with TaG 125 Heavy forming up behind. The dual starts, with the dash off into turn two for the lights while the heavy class is only just taking the start. From this, we have two chaotic turn one events within the space of thirty-seconds! And this is where the officials and stewards deserve an enormous amount of credit, for all of the effort they put in over the weekend. TaG Heavy saw Billy Westerveld dominate, taking all the race wins for the weekend, with Beau Humphrey running consistently second. The battle for third was where the action was at. Geoff Whyoon, Aaron Jackson, Zach Morris and Jason Mckay were all in the hunt, and a four-kart-long battle pack soon formed and endured. The final saw a marginal tenth between Whyoon (who took third place) and Jackson, with the others hot-on-their-heels. TaG Light saw a similar format, with Troy Alger clean-sweeping for first, Curt Sera clean-sweeping for second and Rhys Kemp taking third. The battles in this category were more defined than some of the other classes. Blake Worboys chased Clayton Richards for fourth place, and Thomas Beattie chased Codey West for fifth, so if you weren’t watching what was going on at the front, there were loads of other great scraps to be easily found.
In the end, the final of the 125 Light saw Alger take the top step, followed by Curt Sera, Rhys Kemp, Clayton Richards and Blake Worboys completed the top 5 places.
The 125 Heavy was won by Billy Westerveld, with Beau Humphreys in second, Geoff Whyoon in third, Aaron Jackson fourth and Zac Morris in fifth place.
Now we come to the largest class of the Rochester round, and perhaps the most competitive category in Australia at the moment. Ladies and gentlemen, fasten your seatbelts. It’s time for the Cadet 12s.
The lead battle in this class was epic, involving Caleb Spence, Cadel Ambrose, Angus Hall and Anthony Alessi. After taking pole, Ambrose was taken out of contention in heat one, allowing Spence to claim victory. Then came the rest of the heats. No position was certain, with Hall and Alessi chopping and changing, and Spence chasing hard for the back of Ambrose. This is where the action started. Emphasis on the started. The rest of the field was anything but calm, with the other twenty-two kids slugging it out for anywhere between fifth and twentieth position. Joanne Ciconte, Nate Young and Harrison Strik had their own little fight going on for seventh in the final, Jasper Frith, Blake Tracey and Jackson Stone fought over twelfth, and Harrison Martin, Bree Scouller and Xander Henderson scrapped for nineteenth. In the final however, Ambrose took victory, with Hall second, Spence third, Pip Casabene fourth and Alessi fifth. Similar to Vic Combined Light, there were battles everywhere you looked in this class. If there was one class to watch and be entertained by the most, it would easily be the Cadet 12 youngsters. Well done all!
KA3 Junior held two major battles; one for the lead between Ethan Brown and Bodhi Bright, which ended with only seven-tenths between them in the final, and one which involved the battle pack of Ethan Smead, Zackary Thompson, Riley Jabke and Isaac Woodhouse. Smead, in the final, lost out, with a collision and spin in turn three sending him back to sixth, while Woodhouse benefitted to achieve third behind Brown (first) and Bright (second). Fourth and fifth places went to Thompson and Jabke. It was clear in this category the leaders were where the eye was naturally drawn, with them providing some millimetre-close racing to stay entertained.
Then came the Cadet 9s. Throughout the round, Chelsea Humphreys held first position close, finishing on the top step in every race, while Noah Dixon was on her tail and James Brett was pushing hard to catch the leaders. Blake Purvis, Charlie Damaschino, Jackson Pinczuk and Isabel Baker followed behind, enjoying their own race. Then, in the final, it all changed. Making it clean through turn one, the leaders flew into turn two, where Brett dove down the inside of Dixon and sent him spinning causing Pinczuk and Baker to come off in avoidance. It was an unfortunate incident for Baker at her home track, and for Pinczuk, who had made his way gallantly into fourth before the incident. The two latter racers got stuck in the grass, while Dixon managed to recover and spent the rest of the final setting fast laps to reach the leaders again. Unable to get right up there, the final podium-places were Humphrey, Brett and Purvis. However, due to the incident in turn two at the start, the order was reshuffled, leaving the podium as Humphrey, Purvis and Damaschino, with Dixon in fourth and Brett rounding out the top 5. The entire Cadet 9 field were so resilient, determined and persistent. Well done guys!
KA3 Senior Light & KA3 Senior Medium
Finally, KA3 Senior Light and Senior Medium. Cooper Johnstone clean-swept the day in the Light class, keeping over two seconds ahead of his nearest rival, Michael Bantick in the final, who was two seconds over Christian Viggiano. Senior Medium saw Taine Venables take the top step, with Daniel Hookway and James Taylor behind. These two classes combined saw fifteen Karters on track, yet they skilled in their lines and managed to spread right out. The combined classes soon intermingled, leaving Light battling with Medium, and vice versa. The excitement for this one was the first lap, and the extreme jostling for position that took place through turns one, two and three. In the first heat, turn one saw four karts side by side through the sweeping right – Four karts!
In the end, the final saw first place in the Senior Light taken by Cooper Johnstone with Michael Bantick in second, Christian Viggiano in third, Zane Bright in fourth and Jackson Lee rounding out the top 5.
While in the Senior Medium victory was taken by Taine Venables, followed by Daniel Hookway, James Taylor, Ben Chapman and Ryan Aitken completing the first 5 places.
So concludes another great round of the Golden Power Series, with the drivers making their way onto the podium to collect their trophies and head on home. Next round will see us in Puckapunyal, for the 2019 GPS finale. This is where we will see the championship positions set in stone, and the final results calculated.
Looking even further ahead, next year will see six rounds for the Golden Power Series, with the addition of the Goulburn Valley Kart Club in Numurkah to the line-up.
Lots to get excited about and lots to think about, as we move on to what promises to be another thrilling round in Puckapunyal.