What a race & what a finish! 1st Place only decided with 5 minutes to go in a Four-Hour Enduro in sweltering conditions
16 Teams entered for the first AKRA 4 HOUR Hire Kart Enduro at Wollongong Kart Raceway.
- More photos HERE
The mixture of drivers competing was sensational. From full Family Teams of Husband & Wife, Daughter & Partner and Grandma to teams who have been competing in karting Enduro’s for a long time and had all the Professional looking RaceGear and 2way helmet communications.
From first time karters to long time Racers like 81 year old Bruce Stewart with 26 Bathurst 1000 starts. The Race had them all. All up 67 drivers lined up for the challenge
The Karts all had New Dunlop DF2 tyres which are the Dunlop’s Hire Kart Tyre very similar to the Dunlop SL1 tyre. The team at Wollongong Karts had done testing on the leadup to the event with 4 different tyres with the DF2 Dunlop performing well. Every kart was tested with the new tyre and lapped in the 37 second brkt ready for the race.
Practise was split up into 4 x 5 minute sessions to give everyone a few laps each and their best lap time was taken as qualifying results to determine the starting grid order.
Kart 14 Junior Race Team (Lewis D’Amore, Daniel Frougas, Shannon Mortlock and Max) took the Pole and the only kart into the 36 second bracket. The boys were on fire.
Kart 8 Team OBR (Isaac, Flynn and Rhett O’Brien and Jake McMinn) just missed out on breaking into the 36 sec mark with a 37.02 followed by WKR Driver Team 2 (Yuhan Chen, Bugsy Borromeo and Terrance Trindle). Kart 11 Team Kustom (Benjamin Kus, Andrew & Mathew Evans and Matthew Fedele-Sirotich) sat outside on Row 2 with a best time of 37.18 sec.
The rest of the grid was
- 37.33 BJ Racing
- 37.40 Central Automatics
- 37.69 WKR Driver Team 1
- 37.93 Byron Pearce Team
- 37.94 Preston Hire Racing
- 38.07 Wannabees
- 38.27 RAG Racing
- 38.31 Oddbods
- 38.58 Hot Wheels
- 38.68 Just For Laughs
- 40.33 KJLT Racing
- 41.36 3883 Racing
4 HOUR RACE
16 karts faced the starter for a standing start and at the drop off the Green Flag it was Team OBR that took the hole shot and grabbed the lead from Junior Race Team. OBR started to stretch their lead while the Junior Race Team held the other karts at bay. Making progress was Team Kustom and Central Automatics who both moved up into 3rd and 4th and within a few laps of trying got past the Junior Race Team into 2nd & 3rd. The leader OBR had now established a great lead of 2.3 seconds but new 2nd & 3rd place karts now had a clear track ahead and were working together to close the gap to 1st. They both got there and the battle for the top spot was now a 3 way dice. The lap times were all fast with all 3 teams recording their fastest laps of the race in this duel. OBR 37.25 Team Kustom 37.18 Central Automatics 37.22.
Both Team Kustom and Central Automatics got past OBR and then started to pull away and this was now the 30 min mark.
An incident on track caused the pace kart to be deployed on lap 50. Pace Kart driver picked up the lead kart and completed 5 laps until the track was clear to go back to racing.
Team Kustom held the lead till lap 94 when they went into the pits for a driver change giving the top spot to Team OBR. OBR now held onto the top spot until lap 123 at their pit spot for a driver change under green racing conditions. This stop dropped OBR to 7th place showing how close the field was even after 123 laps.
New leader was now Central Automatics but they too did a driver change only 3 laps later on lap 126 dropping back to 3rd behind new leader the Junior Race Team. The Junior boys had already made a driver change earlier on in the race and after the first 2 pace kart deployments they now sat at the top of the standing in 1st place.
It was now lap 127 and the Juniors were settling sail to the chequered flag. They had good pace reeling off laps in the 38 second brkt. Team Manager Captain Frank had the boys all primed up for the challenge.
The boys looked well in control up to the final driver pitstop. Having led the last 164 laps of the race from lap 127 to lap 291 and with the lead fluctuating between 2-3 laps it all seemed like it was looking good. But the last pace kart put a spanner in the works and the Juniors lost too much time on the pits. They came out still in front but 2nd place was now on the same lap and in the train and 3rd were not far behind also now on the lead lap.
So now it was a sprint to the flag, just like the Bathurst 1000 you have to get yourself to the lead bunch with 30 minutes to go.
The Juniors were lapping around 38-39 seconds while 2nd was closing about a second a lap and 3rd was faster again. Ist had a 26 second lead with 30 minutes to go and it was going to be close. Doing the maths meant it was going to be a fight right at the end and that’s exactly what happened. Team Kustom reached the leader with 6 minutes to go and searched for a way past immediately. Darting and diving at every chance and after 3 laps a move at turn 5 gave a little opening towards turn 6 and the Junior Race Team tried to stay around the outside but Team Kustom driver Ben Kus made it stick. Little Frankie tried to fight back at turns 2 and 3 with a little bump but Team Kustom driver Ben had eyes forward to the chequered flag.
Unbeknown to these two was 3rd place Central Automatics and they were flying and closing even more. If the race went another 10 minutes it would have been a different story as they only finished 2 seconds behind 2nd and 7 seconds off 1st place. Team OBR also unlapped themselves in the last 30 minutes and finished only 26 seconds adrift in 4th.
So the top 4 teams finished on the lead lap after 350 laps and 4 hours – quite an unbelievable achievement from the drivers and team and staff at Wollongong Kart Raceway.
1 TEAM KUSTOM 350 laps
2 JUNIOR RACE TEAM -5.221 sec
3 CENTRAL AUTOMATICS -7.034 sec
4 OBR -26.019 sec
5 PRESTON HIRE RACING -5 laps
6 WANNABEES -6 laps
7 WKR DRIVER TEAM 1 -7 laps
8 RAG RACING -10 laps
9 JUST FOR LAUGHS -14 laps
10 ODDBODS -19 laps
11 BYRON PEARCE TEAM -22 laps
12 KJLT -27 laps
13 HOT WHEELS -37 laps
14 WKR DRIVER TEAM 2 -48 laps
15 BJ RACING -101 laps
16 3883 RACING -103 laps
17 Safety Kart -340 laps
The Fastest lap of the race was by the Winners Team Kustom on lap 12, 37.18 seconds which you would expect as tyres were fresh and still new and 13 of the 16 teams all recorded their fastest laps of the race in these first 12 laps. What was remarkable was 7th placed WKR DRIVER TEAM 1 recorded their fastest lap on 275, Team Byron Pearce lap 287 and Team Hot Wheels lap 280.
The race was a great success, many drivers commented they had a ton of fun just competing and were keen for the next enduro. So it looks like there are some new raving fans for the AKRA Enduro Races at Wollongong Kart Raceway.
Moving forward for 2021 – there will be an AKRA 6 Round Hire Kart Endurance series for both Teams and Drivers. So get your team ready, shoot a message to the team at Wollongong Kart Raceway if you want your team on the short list for next year and Watch this space.