Braden Clark took to the Victorian Open Kart Championship over the weekend looking for a strong result. Clark has had a busy start to the 2021 season after the covid 19 affected year in 2020. Young Clark had put in a lot of practice pre-event, raced at the nationals round two event earlier this year and jumped in a new Exprit chassis looking for a podium finish.
Qualifying was a tough start to the weekend set up wise, with challenging conditions all morning. After showing strong pace in practice Clark headed out for his qualifying session and hovered around the edge of the top five looking to improve position. Due to incorrect tyre pressure call, Braden struggled to improve pace as the session went on. Clark with a never give up approach qualified in position seven overall with improvement and work to do.
Heat one was again in tough wet conditions with tyre pressures and set up crucial. Young Clark got away cleanly but again lacked a bit of set up in the wet conditions and due to this struggled to attack the top five group. Braden in trying fashion continued to circulate and moved up one spot from his starting place, coming home in position six overall getting good points towards his starting spot for the final. With a disappointing start to the weekend, Heat two couldn’t come quick enough.
Heat two and the conditions had changed and track had dried out so Clark was confident of an improved performance. Clark had a clean get away and stayed in position seven on the opening lap. Young Braden then went on a charge forward making his way into the top five by lap four. Clark then fought his way into position four and was closing in on position three. Just when Braden’s weekend was looking like turning around a mistake was made going for position three, resulting in a DNF and a DSQ for the incident.
After a tough Saturday Clark was looking forward to Sunday and trying to turn his weekend around. With heavy rain overnight the Oakleigh Go Kart Club was flooded on circuit, resulting in a late start and track draining needing to take place. Due to the conditions heat four was cancelled and it was straight into the twenty-four-lap final for the Victorian Championship.
Clark starting near the back end of the field got a lighting start jumping to fourth by then end of the opening lap. Braden made a clean move for third spot on the second lap and was looking to make up more spots. On lap six Clark made the move on Benjamin Mouritz with the gap to reigning champion Taine Venables nearly ten seconds. After trading times for the rest of the race Clark come home in for an exciting podium in second spot.
Clark after what was overall a tough weekend was happy with the final result. “I am happy with how the kart handled especially in the wet. Dylan (DJM Race Engineering), Dad and I worked well together to produce the best result”.
Clark will have a short break but when next hitting the track will be a force and a driver to watch.