AKRA Easter “ Green Plate “ Australian Championships
Karters started setting up and camping from (Good) Friday Night at Wollongong Kart Raceway in Kembla Grange. Karters came as far away from South Australia and even an International Family Team from South Africa have been doing plenty of practise in recent months. It was a perfect weekend of karting weather of mid to high 20 degrees.
The Cadets and Juniors were the highlights of the day. So good to see these little pocket rockets put on a great show on track and carve each other up, then after the days racing they all go & play on the track together with a soccer ball.
Even the campers are developing & growing into a prestigious lot with some bringing along 2 storey camping accommodation and trying to outdo the Joneses… and then getting in on the action around the night campfire, with some of the Super Heavies wanting to order KFC at 2am Saturday morning to go with their happy beverages, but MenuLog weren’t delivering then.
First challenge came Sunday morning when our timing guy Joel had to make an emergency trip to Wollongong Hospital with his little girl at 7am. It meant, and understandably so, Joel had to look after his little one first. It caused a few panics at the track but the team reverted to the manual system of an old Abacus and all was ok. We are happy to report that Joel’s little girl spent some time with the doctors and is all good, safe and healthy now.
Saw Dalton Haroon and Mason Andaur take heat wins with Jack Buggato winning the pre-final ahead of Mason with Lawrence Rosenberg storming through in the Pre-final from a grid 6 start to finish 3rd.
Jack led the way at the start of the final with Lawrence moving into 2nd early. Mason followed in 3rd with Dalton behind in 4th. Lawrence tried at turn 1 everylap closing in on Jack under brakes but Jack was a solid leader. Unfortunately Lawrence and Mason got too close together at turn 6 with only a few laps to go and the end result was a learning lesson for both and an addition to their personal growth and karting skills.
Mason continued in 2nd with Dalton now 3rd. That’s how they finished but the other highlight was all the kids kicking the soccer ball after the days racing all as mates.
And it was Presley Hovananyecc and Deniel Vermeulen who stole the show with both winning a heat each. Deniel had the KA100 straight away pace but young Presley in his Yamaha J was ferocious in the turns and wouldn’t allow Deniel to get away. These two would carry on the same in both pre-final and final with Deniel crossing 1st in Junior Performance and Presley 1st in Junior National. Maksim Petrovic and Ben Malouf played for 2nd and 3rd in National class all day and that’s what they both brought home in the final, 2nd & 3rd rounding out the podium.
SENIOR NATIONAL LIGHT
Was a father and adopted son affair. Young Ross Jones (adopted son) made a meal of the heats with parts falling off and black flag incidents but made up for it in the prefinal with a 5th place start and got to 1st by chequered flag time. Father Michael Russell and Cousin to Jack Russell did a bit better in the heats with 1 win and 1 DNF but he told this reporter that he was protecting the young fella in the pre-final so followed home in 2nd but would let loose for the final. Kieran Eccles was best scorer in the heats with a 1st and 2nd but had to make way for the other duo of Jones and Russell in the Pre-Final. Rhys Birkett was shadowing in the wings in 4th place.
The Final turned out to be a continuation of the Pre-Final with Jones and Russell neck and neck, but Eccles was close behind pressuring the shoulders of Russell and a slight error from Russell at turn 6 was just enough and he couldn’t keep up with the Joneses.
Young Ross was solid out front and reeled off the 20 lap Final with Pappa behind in 2nd and without a threat. Eccles made a few attempts to close the gap to Russell but in the end 3rd was the best for Eccles. Birkett tried the speedway line at the start of the race and went for the high line and found himself in the gravel trap instead and no grip there. Birkett managed to get back on but lost a lot of ground and many places but a strong drive got him back to 4th.
SENIOR NATIONAL HEAVY
Heat winners were current Green Plate Holder and National Champ Joshua Lennon and Wynter Smith with placings going to David Patch and Andrew Patmore.
Pre-final was an early battle with Smith and Lennon until Lennon had to make an avoiding move to miss a spinning kart at turn 1 and took to the gravel trap route. Lennon managed to escape alcatraz and got back onto the track but had lost touch with the front leaders now of Smith and Troy Boldy. Smith and Boldy duked it out, out front while Lennon made a great recovery for 3rd.
The final had Smith on pole but it was a resurgent Lennon who was right on the bumper of the pole man out of turn 1. The front two jostled and jived trying to pass and trying to cover while the rest behind sorted themselves out into order with David Patch, Andrew Patmore, Brain Quill, Troy Boldy, Paul Reynolds and Joshua Reynolds mixing it all up. Lennon got past Smith through the turn 5 and 6 complex and was off. Boldy now in 3rd followed Lennon past Smith a few laps later then off chasing Lennon out front. The gap closed and the pass made for 1st at half distance but Boldy’s engine must have got too hot in the chase and lost the lead straight away next time down the main straight.
Lennon continued out front with Boldy on his tail and with 5 laps to go Boldy started looking again for a way past and made it back into the lead with 3 laps to go. This time holding onto the lead till to the chequered flag followed by Lennon and David Patch, Brain Quill and Paul Reynolds rounding out the top 5.
Tim Hudson and Scott Appel took heat wins with Jordan Duff and Taree’s Josh Woods filling up the top 3 spots. Hudson looked the goods in the Pre-Final just edging out Duff but well in control of the situation. Appel followed in 3rd with Woods 4th and Charles Psaila 5th.
Hudon won the start in the final but Appel found some pace or just grew Big Balls and moved from 3rd to 2nd with a great move on Woods then next time round did the same to Hudson around the outside. Appel looked so strong the spectators thought he was just going to pull away but it must have been a wake up call for Hudson who had 2 wins out of 3 so far that the idea of missing out on 1st in the Final was just not acceptable.
Hudson fought back after a few laps and made his move stick and back into 1st. Now Hudson started to gap Appel ever so slowly but was enough to stay safe in front. Woods after a slowish start and a watching brief of the front two’s battle took his chance soon after Appel lost the lead and relegated Appel to 3rd place.
This is how they would continue to the Chequered Flag with Hudson a well deserved winner ahead of Woods now the Queen of Taree (the win would have made him the King of Taree) and 3rd place to a contented Appel ahead of Duff in 4th. Jake Greentree reversed the Pre-Final order with Paila by finishing 5th with Psaila 6th.
Raymond Stilp was in a class of his own in TAG Heavy. The local Wollongong resident had all the local knowledge and answers to a fast kart, fast lap time and the art of staying out in front. Stilp won both heats. Did the same in the Pre-Final and reeled off the Final 20 laps from the pole in style. A very controlled and smooth win.
Chris Jackson followed home 2nd in every race just waiting for Stilp to make a mess up that never came. John Glassington and Bruce Scott picked up a 3rd each in the heats with one of the class favourites Michael Heavey having a crap run in the heats with 2 DNF results. Heavey upped his game in the pre-final for a 3rd and did the same for the 20 lap final ahead of Scott, Glassington and Mista Sauer.
Current AKRA State Champion Ian Beeraz was on fire. Speed and style was on show and he didn’t disappoint. Beeraz is making a habit of this, rocking up to the track 2 minutes before the race, plonking his kart onto the grid, push starting himself and then showing the rest of the class how it’s done. Skipping and sliding into a corner sideways with locked brakes then just punching out of the turn with a nitro blast. Beeraz nearly led every lap of every race to comfortably win the 20 lap Final.
Nicholas Hogan was next best and Alan Price tried to implement the “Bernie Ecclestone Formula” Ecclestone was the team Manager of the Brabham F1 team of the 1980’s and famous for a pit stop at half distance for fuel. Price tried a similar formula for a spark plug but instead of extra pace he got a Black Flag for his trouble. Silly boy.
CLUBMAN HEAVY / CLUBMAN SUPER HEAVY
Chris Green looked a bit pensive as he was obviously missing his good mates CRG Brothers Greg Mackay and Dean Dyason. The two CRG pilots had visits from the Highlands Easter Bunny and couldn’t get away. The idea of stuffing their faces with chocolate eggs all day was just too much. Anyways young Green got to play with his new mate Tony Smith and the Super Heavy class as well.
Green was on pole for the final and won the start but his new pal Smith chose the high line around turn 1 and the grip level was like picking up a slimy fish with your bare hands and so Smith slipped off. Smith recovered but not after most of the top Super Heavies went past. Green was off sailing into the distance now until Super Heavy Troy Boldy got past and set off for the chase. Boldy had just got past Denis Smith and James Miller and later told this reporter that once he saw Green ahead he was 10/10ths doing qualifying lap times for 20 laps to try and catch the old fella in Heavies out in front. But as it turned out the extra visits to KFC, Hungry Jacks and McDonalds the day before ment the extra 15 kilo’s was just too much to carry.
Fello Super Heavy Matt Robbins suggested at Presentation that Boldy needed to add the Domino’s diet as well so the others could come play too. Miller reversed the order at the chequered flag finishing ahead of the Smith Brothers of Denis and Tony.
In the end it was a great day. The 50 or so karters that stayed for the presentation got fed by Vonny & Tara’s Cafe who put on a great spread FREE for all the karters and added were our favourite beverages and soft drinks for the kiddies, it’s like party time every time at Wollongong Kart Raceway.
There were plenty of well deserved winners, a lot of fun had by all, the campers all made it home safely without blowing the booze bus off the scales and the kids finished off with ball games on track after racing.
Next time racing at Wollongong Kart Raceway Kembla Grange is May 16. See you all then.
1st Jack Bugatto
2nd Mason Andaur
3rd Dalton Haroon
1st Presley Hovanyecc
2nd Maksim Petrovic
3rd Ben Malouf
1st Deniel Vermeulen
SENIOR NATIONAL LIGHT
1st Ross Jones
2nd Michael Russell
3rd Kieran Eccles
SENIOR NATIONAL HEAVY
1st Troy Boldy
2nd Joshua Lennon
3rd David Patch
1st Tim Hudson
2nd Josh Woods
3rd Scott Appel
1st Raymond Stilp
2nd Chris Jackson
3rd Michael Heavey
1st Ian Beeraz
2nd Nicholas Hogan
3rd Alan Price
1st Chris Green
2nd Tony Smith
3rd Alan Price
CLUBMAN SUPER HEAVY
1st Troy Boldy
2nd James Miller
3rd Denis Smith
1st Craig Deans
2nd Trevor Hall
3rd Robert Wardle