by Russell Innes, Ipswich Kart Club
A massive 248 entries arrived for Round 4 of the Ipswich Kart Club Championship on September 26th. This meeting the feature classes were TAG Light and Heavy and the Graham Acreman Memorial Perpetual trophy was on offer. With the Qld State Championships to also be held at Ipswich the following weekend, most classes were very full and the quality of entries was extremely high.
TAG Light was full of very talented drivers in the 26 kart field, led by previous Graham Acreman Memorial winners, Tyler Greenbury, Scott Sorenesn and Marc Tulloch. Greenbury had a horrid start to the day though with a breakdown on the first lap of qualifying and failed to record a time. His comeback drives during the day was going to be impressive though. Harrison Hoey stamped his authority early with quick time in Qualifying, ahead of Luke Pink and an impressive Alexander Hadden, followed by Jordi Marcon and Ben Jurczak.
Hoey led from the start in Heat 1 whilst Marc Tulloch quickly moved up to 3rd behind Luke Pink and took 2nd off him on lap 4 of 8. Hoey led all the way to finish ahead of Tulloch and Pink, Marcon 4th Hadden 5th, Dylan Drysdale and Greenbury all the way up to 7th and with the fastest lap. Hoey led all the way again in Heat 2 from Pink and Marcon. Hadden got the best of the pack behind to come in 4th from Jurczak, Tulloch and Greenbury again coming all the way from the back of the field to 7th in the 8 laps and again setting fastest lap. Heat 3 was led away by Hoey, Pink, Marcon, Tulloch and Hadden as the top 5, from Jurczak and Greenbury. Hoey led comfortably from the start with Greenbury hugely impressive in quickly moving up to 2nd from Marcon and Hadden. Greenbury again set the fastest lap in his pursuit of Hoey but he could not reel him in over the 12 laps. Marcon followed, from Tulloch who moved to 4th late in the race. Pink went backwards early on but recovered to 5th, whilst Hadden went backwards to finish 6th, just ahead of his brother Ryan.
The Final grid was Hoey, Marcon, Pink, Tulloch, Greenbury, Alexander Hadden, Ryan Hadden and Jace Matthews the first 4 rows. It was a disaster though for Tulloch and Greenbury, Tulloch not getting to the line and Did Not Start, whilst Greenbury along with Drysdale and Matthews were all out on the 1st lap. Hoey led every lap in the Final, but Pink and Marcon were very close behind. Marcon held 2nd early on before Pink got through on lap 4 and in the process of pursuing Hoey then set the fastest lap of the final. It wasn’t quite enough though, Hoey winning the Final marginally from Pink and Marcon close behind. Alexander Hadden was very impressive throughout the day and was rewarded with 4th in the Final, whilst Bailey Sagaidak saved his best for the Final to come home 5th. Hoey was superb throughout the whole day and will now have his name added to the impressive list of winners of the Graham Acreman Memorial.
TAG Heavy had 13 starters and again was full of talent with multiple National and State Title holders amongst the field. Brendan Nelson was going in as an obvious favourite and set the benchmark in Qualifying 4/10ths quicker than Blayke Wagner. The returning to karting Kel Treseder qualified 3rd from Jared Neinert and Scott Gray. Nelson went to a comfortable lead early in Heat 1 whilst Treseder was an early retirement. Wagner, Neinert, Gaven Whitmore and Gray made up the top 5 and ran that way throughout apart from Whitmore taking 3rd off Neinert on lap 6 of 8. The boys all settled in to a top 5 of Nelson, Wagner, Treseder, Neinert and Whitmore in Heat 2 and stayed that way throughout. Things were mixed up a little in Heat 3 with Nelson dropping back early and Wagner leading from Whitmore and Treseder. Treseder then moved past Whitmore and pursued Wagner and then took the lead off him with a lap to go. Treseder winning narrowly from Wagner. Whitmore for possibly the first time in his life came in underweight and was disqualified from the Heat, elevating the recovering Nelson to 3rd, from Neinert and Gray.
The grid for the Final had Nelson, Wagner, Neinert, Treseder, Gray and Andrew Gilliam making up the first 3 rows. Nelson did not muck around in the Final and launched out to an early comfortable margin. Wagner likewise was comfortable in 2nd, but a battle was raging for 3rd with Treseder leading Neinert, Whitmore and Gray. Neinert moved to 3rd on lap 8, Gray following him through as they passed Treseder. Treseder quickly recovered to take 4th back when Gray faltered and fell back to the tail of the field. Nelson had a comfortable win from Wagner, Neinert holding out Treseder and Whitmore rounding out the top 5.
The 25-kart Cadet 9 field would see the resumption of the regular battles between Basilo (Dima) Micale and Sebastian Eskandari-Mirandi and whilst the random grid draws allowed a few others some laps in front, these two ultimately got to the front. In Heat 1, both Dima and Seb started in the back half of the field, with Zack Hilder and Riley Curtis on the front row. Hilder and Curtis didn’t miss the opportunity and cleared out early and whilst Eskandari-Mirandi and Micale came through the field to 3rd and 4th, Hilder and Curtis had cleared out in 1st and 2nd. Micale led from the start in Heat 2, with Eskandari-Mirandi close behind. The lead changed several times as they battled, but they still moved out to a big advantage over the 3rd placed Seth Huth and 4th placed William Calleja. Micale went back to the lead on lap 6 of 8 and held on to win narrowly from Eskandari-Mirandi. Huth has been making the long trip down from Gladstone to do Ipswich club rounds and this has paid dividends as he has improved considerably and is now one of the regular front runners, finishing 3rd ahead of Hilder and Calleja. Huth made a brilliant start in Heat 3 to take the early lead from Hilder, Eskandari-Mirandi and Micale. He was able to hang on to the race lead for a couple of laps before Eskandari-Mirandi took over at the front. Hilder fell out of the lead group on lap 4, whilst Micale left it to the last lap to steal 2nd off Huth, with Calleja following him through and relegating Huth to 4th. Gabriel Elkayam rounding out the top 5. On to the Final and Dima and Seb were a class above and pulled out a huge lead from 3rd placed Calleja. Huth dropped out of 4th place on lap 4. Curtis, Hilder and Elkayam then took over in the battle for 4th. Micale and Eskndari-Mirandi took turns on the front early before Micale settled in for a few laps in 1st place. Eskandari-Minardi came back though with 2 laps to go and they put on an intense battle over the last two laps, with Eskandari Mirandi winning by a very narrow margin from Micale. Calleja was over 9 seconds back in 3rd, followed by Elkayam and Brock Helm in 5th.
Cadet 12 is shaping as one of the must watch classes at next weeks State Championships and this would be the final hitout for most of the contenders. A few of the expected leaders had not entered to save their equipment for the State Champs, but the 28 kart field was full of talent. IKC Club Rounds feature Random Grid Draws regularly and whilst some people complain about the random grid draws, there is no doubt that it creates a challenging environment for the drivers and provides an opportunity for these youngsters to develop their race craft and passing techniques. Watching some of these Cadets masterfully working their way through a field from a low starting grid spot is a pleasure to watch and the skill levels displayed are exceptional. Heat 1 had a few of the favourites starting on the 1st 2 rows and they took advantage of this to dominate the race. Jenson Burns, Isaac McNeill, Luke Trost and Max Walton ran close throughout. Burns and Walton swapped the lead a couple of times, before Burns led the last lap and narrowly winning from Trost with McNeill close behind. Walton was a couple of seconds back with Jaxson Burns in 5th, a great drive from Jordan Sell in 6th and then Michael Janusz and Jackson Cooper who has made a great improvement lately. Rounding out the top 10 was Toby Musico and Darcy Herne. Heat 2 was the challenge for some of the favourites though with the reverse grid draw and some were able to maximise their gains whilst some struggled to move forward. Ky Burke and Janusz started off the front row and took advantage of the opportunity to clear out early, Burke leading for the 1st 5 laps before Janusz moved past in to the race lead. Musico was a big mover early and got himself up to 3rd by the finish of the 8 lapper, whilst Zac Butler also made the most of a good starting spot to finish 4th. Walton showed why he is probably the favourite for next weeks State Championship with a great drive to 5th from the middle of the field starting spot. Baxter Jarrett has shown improved speed in his new chassis lately and grabbed a good 6th place. Jaxson Burns and Trost also had to come from the midfield to move forward to 7th and 8th at the finish. Copper and McNeill rounding out the top 10 finishers. With the combined points from the first 2 Heats, the grid for the 3rd Heat was Janusz, Walton, Trost, Jenson Burns, Jaxson Burns, Musico, Burke, McNeill, Sell and Cooper. Walton led from the lights out, ahead of an intense battle between the Burns brothers, McNeill and Janusz. Janusz held 2nd for a long time before a bit of jostling late in the Heat saw him drop back to 5th with McNeill moving up to 2nd and Jaxson Burns a DNF. The final order, Walton, McNeill, Jenson Burns, Trost, Janusz, Musico, Sell, Cooper, Butler and Burke.
On to the Final and the top 5 of Walton, McNeill, Burns, Janusz and Trost were joined by Burke to put on a thrilling display. Although the margin was tight throughout, Walton seemed to have them covered, although McNeill got pretty close on the final lap, the winning margin only 1/10th of a second. Jenson Burns was 3rd, followed by Trost and Burke. Janusz dropped out of the lead group on lap 8 and was a DNF. Musico continued his consistency with 6th in the Final, followed by Cooper, Jaxson Burns, Jarrett and Riley Harrison.
4SS Junior continues to grow in numbers and a few more first time P Platers joined the field for this race meeting. Jack Stimson had an early heat win from Coby Tucker and Jordan Briggs first time off his P Plates. Miles Bromley had a 1st Heat DNF but came back to win Heat 2 from Stimson and Tucker. The same result again in Heat 3, before they lined up for the Final, Stimson on pole from Bromley, Tucker, Briggs and the P Platers, Jacob Thompson, Finn Woodley and Liam Thompson. Tucker saved his best for last in the Final and after Bromley retired from the lead when a chain came off, Tucker pursued the new leader Stimson and on lap 3 went through in to the race lead and steadily edged away to a comfortable win from Stimson and Briggs.
KA4 Junior Light has been building up over the last month to be a hotly contested class and next weeks State Championship will be a spectacle to watch. Pretty well all the main favourites for next weeks State Title were in attendance amongst the 28 starters and results were influenced a fair bit by the random grids for the first 2 Heats. In Heat 1, Ryan Macmillan in his first race in KA4 Junior after just stepping up from Cadet 12 had a fantastic result, rising from the 10th starting spot to take the lead on Lap 7 and then win by a comfortable 1.3 seconds. Ari Wedlock took advantage of a 2nd row start to move to the lead by Lap 4 before Macmillan came through, but he held on to 2nd by the finish, with Matthew Boylett coming from a 12th starting spot all the way up to 3rd. Most of the fancied front runners drew lower starting spots in the random grid draw and found it challenging to make progress. Things changed in the 2nd Heat however as most of the favourites were starting towards the front, Lachlan Platten jumped to the front early, with Ryan Silcock and Alex Gardner swapping the minor placings, Gardner winning that battle to come home 2nd with Silcock 3rd. MacMillan went from Pole in Heat 3 from Gardner and Jack Wells who had been consistent with 4th and 7th in the 2 Heats. Silcock, Wedlock and Platten filling out the first 3 rows. In what was a very close contest amongst a large group, Macmillan and Gardner swapped the lead a few times early before Jordan Ensbey who had come from a 13th starting position went to the front on lap 7 of 10. Ensbey winning from MacMillan and Silcock after Gardner fell out of 3rd on lap 8. Henry Titman was 4th from Wells in 5th. The grid for the Final was Macmillan, Wells, Silcock, Ensbey, Titman, Platten and Gardner the front 7 and in what was a great display of driving, the podium would come from that lot in the Final. Ensbey wasted no time getting to the front early from Wells and Macmillan, Gardner in 4th, whilst Platten was back in 7th. Gadner was the big mover early, getting up to 2nd and on Ensbeys tail. Platten started making his move on lap 4, moving up to 4th and then 3rd on lap 5. He then latched on to Gardner and Ensbey over the later stages of the Final in what was a great exhibition of driving from all 3, crossing the line barely separated. Ensbey taking an amazing win from Gardner and Platten. McMillan held on for 4th with Wells in 5th.
KA3 Junior continues to grow in numbers and a field of 22 fronted for what was to be some great racing. Leo Iannella took advantage of a good draw in the 1st Heat Random Grid to take the lead from Ryan Laycock who led the first few laps. Marcos Flack, Ethan Feather and James Logan showed early on that they would challenge for the podium later in the day by filling 2nd through to 4th. Shaun Jaques close behind them in 5th place. Keegan Fraser went well early sitting in 2nd spot and setting the fastest lap, but got shuffled back to 8th on the last lap.
Heat 2 saw Rhyan Mueller from pole lead all the way until the last lap when Zane Rinaldi took over with Marcos Flack close behind. Mueller unfortunately fell back to 16th at the finish. Slade Orsmond drove very well to finish 3rd from Stewart Hare and Ty Spencer. Iannella and Rinaldi shared the front row for Heat 3 and these two along with Flack were the lead pack throughout, Rinaldi in front all the way and just holding out Iannella. Fraser moved forward from his starting spot for an excellent 3rd across the line, from Flack and Feather.
On to the Final and Flack went from pole and led every lap, initially from Lodge, before Feather came through in to 2nd. Lodge held on to 3rd. Hayden Hume an impressive 4th and Hare 5th.
Only a small field of 5 4SS Seniors entered for this club day, Harrison Conroy winning 4SS Senior Light, Timothy Baker winning 4SS Senior Medium and Anthony Tucker winning 4SS Supermaxx Heavy.
TAG Restricted Light is one of those classes going into the State Championships with no real clear favourites and it could be a quite open contest next weekend. The placings throughout the early Heats were shared around between Nathaniel Harrison, Lachlan Murphy, Riley Van Den Broek, Robert Mortensen, Allan Mayes and Dallas Oksanen. Mortensen led throughout to win Heat 3 from Murphy and Harrison, but Harrison took charge of the Final and led all the way for a very comfortable win from Oksanen and Murphy.
Tom Steinfort has been in superb form in TAG Restricted Medium and 4 more wins from 4 starts has him as a rock solid favourite for the State Championship next week. Joshua Betts, Lewis Morgan, Ben Lillis and Pete Sattler were amongst the placings throughout the Heats, whilst Nickolas Lorenz was learning the track and just off the leaders during the Heats. Steinfort led all the way in the Final, but Lillis stayed close, not quite close enough to challenge and settled for 2nd. Lorenz saved his best for last and took a comfortable 3rd in the Final.
Michael McLean was pretty dominant throughout the day in TAG Restricted Masters, winning 2 Heats and the Final and setting the fastest lap in all 4 races. Nick Newman was able to get the win in the 2nd Heat just holding out McLean, but McLean won the Final convincingly from Newman. John Heath had a 2nd and a 3rd in the Heats and came home 3rd in the Final.
KA3 Senior Light is another class which will be eagerly anticipated next weekend as a quality field of drivers offers many chances for the State Title. Joel Jamieson just held out Jace Matthews in Heat 1, with Lachlan Nichols 3rd. Mathews winning Heat 2 from Harvey Price and Kurtis Tennant. Tennant pursued Matthews early in Heat 3 before going past for a good win. Ryan Uhlmann finishing 3rd. In the Final Matthews and Tennant were a class above and moved clear of the field. Matthews leading every lap but Tennant close behind. Uhlmann again best of the rest across the line in 3rd.
With the king of KZ2, Troy Loeskow, having a weekend off before next weeks state championship, the opportunity was there for the youngsters in the field to impress. Jac Preston has been the closest to Loeskow all year and he was quick to establish a dominance with the win in Heat 1 from Ryan Suhle, Lachlan Hughes, Oscar Targett and Taylah Agius. The random grid draw made it a challenge for Preston in Heat 2, only able to work his way up to 5th from his starting spot of 11th. Flynn Jackes made the most of a 2nd row start to work his way to the front and have a comfortable win over the old boy of the field Sam Houston. Agius was 3rd, Hughes 4th and then Preston. Preston had it under control in Heat 3 though with a good win from Jackes, Suhle, Agius and Hughes. Preston led away again at the start of the Final, but Jackes and then Suhle were keeping him honest. He had enough up his sleeve though to win narrowly ahead of Suhle, and Hughes in 3rd. Jackes slipped back to 4th with Agius 5th.
The Ipswich Kart Club, Clubday Challenge Program continues to offer opportunity for many drivers who regularly compete in the midfield or are newer to karting, to have a race within a race in their driver ranking groups and rewards many who don’t normally get the opportunity. Once again, the program was able to acknowledge some new winners across the Clubday Challenge program classes, as follows, Cadet 9 Group 2 Winner, Brock Helm. Cadet 9 Group 3 Winner, Hunter Fischle. Cadet 12 Group 2 Winner, Jackson Cooper. Cadet 12 Group 3 Winner, Madhava Sternbeck. KA4 Junior Light Group 2 Winner, Matthew Scholten. KA4 Junior Light Group 3 Winner, Max Chattin. TAG Restricted Light Group 2 Winner, Robert Mortensen. TAG Restricted Light Group 3 Winner, Noel Smyth. TAG Restricted Medium Group 2 Winner, Joshua Betts. TAG Restricted Masters Group 2 Winner, Darren Wong.
Attention now turns to the Queensland Kart Championships at Ipswich on the 2nd to 4th of October. Jointly hosted by Cooloola Coast Kart Club, Ipswich Kart Club and Warwick Kart Club, a massive 246 entries have been confirmed.
Practice and Qualifying will be conducted on Friday the 2nd of October, with 3 Heats for all classes held on Saturday and then the 4th Heat and all the Finals held on Sunday, to be completed by about 2.00pm, followed by Presentation at 2.30pm.