Cooper Stapleton headed back to the Go Kart Club of Victoria to continue his preparation for the Australian Kart Championship over the weekend. Cooper had his second race meeting in his new PCR kart and the ultra-competitive KA4 Junior Light class.
Taking place in AKC shakedown meeting against a strong field of thirty one drivers, Stapleton knew he was going to have an eventful weekend of racing. Qualifying was the starting point for the young driver and Saturday morning couldn’t come around quick enough. Saturday morning qualifying had huge buzz and excitement with Cooper heading out and looking to be as far up the grid as possible. The A1 Engines Motorsport powered and sponsored driver was straight into the fight hovering around the top ten and showing he was going to mix it with some of the best drivers in the country. Stapleton made a minor mistake on his final flying lap costing him a bit of time resulting in him qualifying just outside the top five in eighth. The team knew they had more pace then shown and looked forward to heat one.
Stapleton had a strategy to try and move his way forward throughout the race to get more valuable experience and further up the grid towards the final. The Brighton Alpine entry headed down to turn one but was unfortunately caught up in someone else’s incident resulting in the young driver out of the race. Cooper and his team regrouped and looked to the second heat to try and get back on track.
The team was looking to bounce back in heat two but once again got a tough start dropping back four positions on the opening lap. R & D Signage Solutions backed entry hovered around the edge of the top ten battling for positions. The team hadn’t quite nailed the setup, with Cooper struggling with handling issues and not being able to replicate his earlier pace and grip from qualifying. Stapleton raced as hard as he could and came home just outside the top ten in position twelve. After a rough Saturday’s racing, Cooper was looking forward to a refresh and to try and rebound on Sunday.
Sunday morning and due to the tough day Saturday, Cooper was starting out of position nineteen. Once again the Connect Sport Australia backed entry was involved in an incident, being turned around at the first corner and rejoining in position twenty seven. Stapleton with true grit and adrenaline put the head down and tried to charge his way back through the field. Cooper had made his way back into the top fifteen by lap nine but a full course yellow halted any more progress due to no overtaking.
Stapleton was now going to start out of position fifteen for the final and was looking to make up as many spots as possible. Cooper was begging for a good start heading into the final as he knew this was going to be crucial for his race. Finally, the Harrison Steele Salon backed entry got through turn one unscathed and was able to jump up into position thirteen by the end of the opening lap. Stapleton had a busy first six laps making up a further six spots to sit in seventh spot. The PCR kart was showing great pace in the final and Cooper was right on the back of the top five showing impressive pace. Stapleton put in his best performance of the weekend coming home in position seven, making up eight positions for the race and matching the pace of the top five in front of him.
Cooper’s father Troy spoke post-race of the up and down weekend noting the Australian Kart Championship is the main aim. “Cooper was proud of his fight back drives on Sunday after a very tough first two races. It was only his second event in Juniors so there is more development to come. He is now focused on aiming for a strong result at Round One of the AKC in a few weeks’ time”.