Cooper Stapleton moved into the KA4 Junior Light ranks to start season 2022 over the weekend! Stapleton had a great season in the Cadet 12, where he regularly challenged for podiums and wins at the Australian Kart Championship’s and many other state meetings. Young Cooper had many of his strong sponsors back in 2022 to join the start of his junior journey.
Sunday morning qualifying was the starting point of the A1 Engines Motorsport powered junior career. In a large field of a fast and strong twenty-six junior drivers, Cooper had to dig deep to get off to a strong start. The Brighton Alpine backed entry immediately put himself in the battle for the top ten and was looking like he could challenge the top five drivers. Unfortunately, Stapleton got held up on his final flying lap, ending his chances of ending in the top five. Cooper still managed an excellent position seven overall putting him off the inside of the fourth row.
Stapleton looked to heat one to continue to build on his position seven. The R&D Signage sponsored entry jumped up into position six in the opening few laps and looked pacey on circuit. Cooper in the hard racing of juniors was shuffled back three to four spots in the middle section of the race. Stapleton came home in position nine overall in the opening heat but was dissatisfied with this result.
Cooper was determined to bounce back in heat two and make a better showing. The Pro Floor backed entry got away cleanly but was once again battling on the edge of the top ten to start the race. Stapleton made his way into position seven and was hunting down the leading group. Just when the young driver was looking to make a challenge, a spinning kart caused Cooper to lose some ground and position seven was the best he could do to finish heat two.
Stapleton was out of position eight to start the third heat and was hell bent on making further progress up the grid. Coopers bad luck had stayed with him when he was pushed wide and outside the top ten at the start. The Harrison Steele Salon backed entry made his way back up to tenth before an early red flag stopped racing. On the restart Cooper had his new PCR Kart right in the window and was making up spots hand over fist. Stapleton burst into the top five and made a move for position four in the back end of the race. In his best showing of the weekend so far Cooper came home in position four and only half a second off the top three drivers.
Cooper was out of position four for the final and was looking to finish his weekend on a high note. Stapleton unfortunately got swamped off the start and was outside the top ten leaving the opening corner. The Connect Sports Australia backed entry once again put in a strong fight back moving up to position eight by lap four. In a brilliant last lap pass Cooper was able to come home in position seven in the final, gaining great pace and knowledge for the rest of the season.
Cooper’s Dad Troy spoke post-race about his weekend. “A great effort by Cooper in his first ever Junior race with a total of 26 drivers. We only got the setup right for him in one race as we are still learning the category but he showed when he has a fast kart, he can do a good job. We just need to keep working hard to give him the package to get to the front”.
Stapleton will now look to the Australian Kart Championship opener next month at the Go Kart Club of Victoria!