Another great showing at Wollongong Kart Raceway for AKRA Championship
Round 5 as karters came out again and filled the car park & pit area with a strong showing of 70 entries and good numbers in all classes.
TAG had 18 karts lined up while the surprise was Clubman with 19 Yamaha ‘S’
and 1 lonely PRD rolling up. 18 karts for Senior National and 9 Juniors with KA100, Yamaha J, MiniRok and Comer S80 all in attendance. The Open class (Shifter, DD2, Twins) were still spectacular with 6 karts.
The usual morning practice followed by 2×10 lap heats, a 15 lap PreFinal and a 20
lap Final Only counts was the format of the day.
Trophy Presentation – Vonny & Tara’s 5 Starr catering – FREE food, soft drink for the kids and Beers for grown ups – and unbelievable family smiles is just what you get at Wollongong Kart Raceway.
If you haven’t yet experienced the fun everyone has, the commandery between
the karters, the Juniors having fun both on and off the track and how well the karters are looked after by the AKRA Team you are truly missing out. A Great Show is put on by all.
Another highlight for the day was the Parade Laps by Chad in his stunning White
Lamborghini LP560-4 Gallardo Spyder – the car looks fantastic and the sound was
Music to the ears. The track fence was lined up by all the karters for a looksey… and the Parade laps were… let’s just say, no street speed signs were found nearby.
As usual the Juniors were the first class to line up onto the grid and it was Round 3 winner Jack Wallace (KA100) who stole the show. Jack started grid 4 and moved his way forward to take the lead by half distance in heat 1 and did the same in heat 2. From the pole in the Pre-Final and then the Final, young Jacky-boy controlled the race till the Chequered Flag for a well deserved win. Nicolas Ricci (Yamaha J) was best of the rest and pushed hard but didn’t quite have the pace to match Wallace.
New boy Jacob Henderson (KA100) put in a stellar drive all day placing in the top 3 in all races and ending the final in 3rd place for his first podium result. Job well done. Following home in 4th was Angus Mackay (MiniRok) and 5th Presley Rosenburg (Yamaha J). Commendable drives from all the Juniors including Presley Hovanyecz, Zachary Lamaro, Drew Robbins and Lawrence Rosenburg.
Stuart Ridgwell’s first race in his new kart from Wollongong Karts was a success with a win from the pole. Ridgwell held on strong, with a perfect drive to just hold out Darren Watkins and David Aoun. The top 3 just had broken away from the following pack.
Heat 2 it was all 2019 AKRA TAG Champion Scott Appel who took the Chequered Flag ahead of Watkins and old man John Goode. Goode finally doing good (pun intended) for an old fella, Watkins had the pole for the Pre-Final with Goodie alongside but it was grid 3 man Aoun who managed to get his way to the front and win. First time karter Charles Psaila IAME X30 was a new revelation. Psaila just recently bought a kart. Drove it for the very first time the weekend before. Then had the kart tweaked and prepared by Rolly at Wollongong Karts and for a first time racer he was flying. Psaila started the pre-final in 5th and finished in an impressive 2nd ahead of Watkins, Google and Appel.
The final was all Aoun. Once Aoun got the lead at the start he never looked like losing it and raced off for the win ahead of Watkins. Unfortunate for Psaila as it looked like he ended up with a dude spark plug and had to retire but he sure made people notice. This allowed another new Karter to shine. Chad Hazouri was fighting for 3rd with his mate Ridgwell until a friendly love tap from Chad gave Ridgwell the wobbles giving Hazouri an easier path to 3rd. A 3rd place Hazouri took and never let go. Jake Greentree had been running under the radar all day and put together a fine drive and stayed out of trouble for 4th place in the final ahead of Manuel Velasco, David Perace, Ridgwell and Goode.
Appel’s fortune went KAPOW when some debris (was it a bird, was it a plane, was it superman, or the Bathurst Dick Johnson Rock, no one knows) hit Appel’s battery hard enough that the battery parted company with said chassis and kart no longer was alive with RPM’s. A very exciting and interesting class TAG Light was and sure will make for some extra spice for next month.
Raymond Stilp was the man to beat in the heavies. Raymond overcame his lack of lead last meeting by having a few extra dieting visits to McDonalds this month, so weight was never an issue. Stilp’s pace was strong enough to challenge some of the Light drivers ahead and easily claimed 1st place in the heavies. 2020 New Karter Brent Taylor who only first drove a Hire Kart atWollongong Kart Raceway in January this year is loving his New Karting Hobby. At least 1000 laps later and a few worn sets of tyres and Taylor pace was plenty strong enough for 2nd place. Michael Heavy continued his good form from last dry meeting with again placing in the top 3. Andrew Key and Craig Wynn rounding out the top 5.
ARRIVE & DRIVE
The arrive & drive class is the perfect situation for those new people or past karters who either want to have a try before they buy, don’t have all the equipment anymore or simply just want to have an great experience racing a proper 2-stroke race kart for a day.
This is an Australian First introduced by AKRA a few years ago and now the Wollongong Kart Raceway Team has introduced this system as an affiliation with AKRA a fleet of Racing Karts just for this purpose. And working well it is. Last month 1 driver took part in this offer, then bought himself a kart and was in the Clubman class this meeting.
Yuhan Chen was the star performer once again. Having won 2 months back Chen came back for another crack at racing. Chen grabbed some extra practise laps on Friday to make sure he was set for Sunday’s race and it proved very helpful once again. After a mishap and a spin in heat 1 Chen recovered well to win the next 2 races and walked away for the Final Win. Frank Stillone got an entry for his son Alessadro then thought he couldn’t let the young fella have all the fun so grabbed an entry for himself as well. But it showed that Junior Stillone had the speed over Pappa and after some earlier excursions young Alex put it all together for a fine 2nd place in the final ahead of 3rd placed Joram Salisbury. Salisbury was followed across the finishing line by Michael Burgess and Pappa Frank rounded out the top 5.
Clubman is a growing class at Wollongong Kart Raceway with 19 karters showing up. The lights had their own class and once again Ian Beeraz in kart 27 was all class and unstoppable. Beeraz set the pace winning both heats and PreFinal and took a well controlled win from the pole in the main 20 lap Final.
Jacob Fripp from Canberra was one half of the Fripp Racing Team with Brother Rohan the other, and both had an interesting weekend. Having been out of karts for a few years the opportunity to get back into karting at a more affordable level by buying some second hand karts and building them up so both he and brother Rohan can go out and have fun and race each other was something attractive. As it turned out Jacob’s first Clubman engine needed a rebuild so lucky enough Track Owner Troy Boldy had a spare available that got Jacob back on track.
Jacob made good his second chance and a strong solid 2nd place was the result. Beeraz’s Team Mate Nico Jamsek put in a fantastic drive for 3rd after starting from the rear from a DNF in the PreFinal. The 3-way fight between Jamsek, Alan Price and Rohan Fripp was the highlight of the race with Rohan following Jamsek in 4th and Price 5th.
After having recorded 3 out of 3 DNF results in last month’s rained out shortened race meeting, a record that Chris Green took 48 years of racing to achieve. (Chris didn’t want this reporter to mention these unique 3 from 3 DNF’s but his promised $100 from Pensioner Racing Fund didn’t eventuate). Young Green put together a clean sweep of the heats and PreFinal just holding out Josh Craig. Josh found lurking in the garage at home one of his Dad’s 1990’s winning Topkarts. Josh’s Father Tim Craig was a Guru in Clubman Light back in the day so the gear was going to be good and Josh was surely showing it.
Comes finals time Josh finally got all the cobwebs out of the kart and fought Green for the whole race finally pipping Green with 2 laps to go. We are still not sure if it took Craig all 4 races to sort out the kart, or he was just foxing through the heats
giving Green some hope, or just being polite to the old old man or Rumour has it that Green slipped Craig that $100 bill that was originally reserved for this race reporter to let him win a few races no one knows for sure.
Aaron Flamish and Dean Dyason fought over the final spot on the podium all day and the final went the way of Flamish with Dyason lacking his usual pace followed by Tony Smith and Jeff Tynan.
CLUBMAN SUPER HEAVY
Phil Trott was on fire. Trott had just acquired a newer Engine and it gave him a great big boost that Trott was able to mix it with some of the Heavies. Trott was seen wearing a smile like a Cheshire cat all day with his new found pace as he led home the other Big Mac Drivers. Trott took a comfortable Finals win ahead of returning karter Starr Kopa. Kopa had major surgery performed on his kart leading up to the race meeting. Kopa’s kart unbelievably succumbed to the pressures and broke in half in the exact same spot on both sides of the chassis. The only part holding the kart together was the side pod bars, something never seen before. Major Kart surgery was done by Wollongong Karts Legend Rolly. Rolly was able to throw enough magic dust around the workshop and fix said kart back to winning ways.
Matt Robbins recently graduated from the National Class to Clubman Super Heavy as the little Yamaha J was screaming please leave me alone. Robbins gave the Yamaha J duties to his son and looked better suited to the Clubman and a top 3 result was well deserved. Paul Melross and Paul Sutherland rounded out the top 5.
The open class is always spectacular to watch. These shifter karts with their standing starts, their wheel spinning power slides and raw engine sound just draws the crowd to the fence. Craig Deans continues to be leader of the pack in his CRG winning in fine style followed by Glenn Matthew Linnet, Trevor Hall, Peter Bryant, and Robert Wardle rounding out the top 5.
Senior National saw 13 karts line up for the start with 11 4-stroke engines, 2 of which were twin Honda’s, the rest Single 4-stroke Torini, Briggs and Subaru engines, and 2 Yamaha J’s. Matt Small had the measure of the field in his twin and was another karter who went 4 from 4 all day. Matt later said that he just had too much pace compared to the single engine karts and his exact words were “ The twins have such a big advantage over the others to have a fair race. Would you look at
something in the future. I’ll 100% be back. I had a ball, very relaxed and fun too. Maybe just say singles only as most of us that have twins generally have a single with a Torini or Briggs”.
Stuart Reid in the other Twin Honda was runner up showing that the twins ruled in the National Class. Jeff Emr was the best of the rest and the first single engine home in 3rd place. Paul Reynolds recorded his PB on his way to 4th place and first time under 31 seconds around the Wollongong Track. Rounding out the top 5 was Yamaha J driver Simon Grima .
With the introduction of a new 6 week NSW Covid 19 rule by the health authorities only days before the race meeting that put a stop to some karting events in the state it has been decided to push back the AKRA State title event to October, so past this 6 week rule. Therefore the next meeting on September 20 will be a Club Championship Round and the AKRA State Title will be on October 18.
Cheers, take care and stay safe to all.