by Russell Innes, Ipswich Kart Club
Ipswich Kart Club got their 2022 Championship off to a fantastic start on Saturday the 5th of February with Round 1 of the Championship which also doubled as the IKC Cadet Titles. 255 starters contested racing on a glorious day at the Willowbank facility and the efficient team of officials and volunteers managed to get through a massive programme with racing and presentation all done by 8.30pm.
Ipswich Kart Club has been working hard on establishing a much higher profile in the Ipswich community and along with recently being awarded the 2021 Ipswich City Sporting Organisation of the Year, the club has created some solid relationships with the local council and state and federal government representatives, which will lead to some big announcements soon about infrastructure at IKC. As a mark of the close relationship with Ipswich City Council, Mayor Teresa Harding and local councillors Sheila Ireland and Jacob Madsen were in attendance and the Mayor officially opened the racing season at IKC.
With a lot of last year’s frontrunners having moved up to Cadet 12, Cadet 9 was expected to see some new names at the front and it was exciting to see those who have put in plenty of practice over the summer break being rewarded for their efforts. Zander Watts set the pace in Qualifying, from Nicholas Kinder and Blake Haigh. Watts led all the way to Heat 1 victory from Haigh and Jack Musico. Kinder likewise led all the way to the Heat 2 win from Watts and Musico. Kinder again led from the start in Heat 3 but romped away to a decisive victory from Watts and Haigh. Kinder looked a strong favourite going into the Final but it all came unstuck in Turn 1 as he spun and several others crashed in the confusion. As the wreckage was being cleared by officials under yellow flags, Haigh made a pass for position which would ultimately cost him dearly. Musico emerged in front from Haigh and Watts, with Mikko Wuoti and Harlen Bell close behind. Haigh moved to the lead on Lap 4 and Wuoti moved up to 3rd on Lap 6. Haigh was strong out front and finished off the 14 Lap Final ahead of Musico and Wuoti, but his yellow flag pass would cost him and he dropped to 3rd in the final result, elevating Musico to the win from Wuoti. Andrew Thomson had just been off the pace of the leading pack all day but found some pace in the Final to come home 4th with Watts in 5th place.
In the small 4SS Cadet field, Caine Caldwell was dominant all day, comfortably leading home Blake Whitttal.
The Cadet 12 field was massive with 32 starters. Basilo Micale was going into the event as a red hot favourite and he was dominant in Qualifying by over half a second. Alester Flack was 2nd from Gabriel Elkayam. Apart from being briefly led on the 1st lap, Micale had no trouble winning Heat 1 which was cut short by a red flag incident. Luke Wilson has shown massive improvement and got a well deserved 2nd from Zack Hilder in 3rd, whilst Flack and Elkayam got caught up in incidents and finished well down the field. Micale again led from the start in Heat 2 from Elkayam who was showing very strong pace, but his race was over on lap 4 when his nassua panel came loose and was severely obscuring his vision and he wisely withdrew from the race. Baxter Jarrett moved up to 2nd with Hilder, Brock Helm, Joel Lammers and Wilson in close pursuit. Lammers was on the move though and moved up a couple of spots on lap 6 to 3rd. Micale was well ahead by half distance with Jarrett also comfortable in 2nd but Lammers was in a big battle for 3rd, but was able to hang on as the laps wound down. Micale again led all the way in Heat 3, initially from Lammers and Wilson, before Jarrett moved forward to 2nd. Micale was already a couple of seconds up the road by mid race. Jarrett also well clear in 2nd. Wilson and Lammers having a great battle for 3rd, Wilson taking over 3rd on lap 9. Lammers was a retirement soon after, elevating Harper May to 4th with Helm 5th. Into the 14 Lap Final and Micale again led from the start and would lead all the way to a big win. Jarrett likewise was comfortable in 2nd and had a lonely race well clear of the battle for 3rd through to 8th, with Lammers, Wilson, Helm, Lana Flack, Hilder and May. Helm held 3rd for a few laps before Wilson took over. Flack was showing some great pace and moved into 4th by lap 10, Helm fought back on Lap 11 but Flack again moved by on Lap 12 with Lammers following her through on Helm and that’s how they finished with Micale 3 seconds clear at the front from Jarrett, Wilson 3rd, Flack 4th and Lammers 5th. Flack copped a post race 1 spot penalty though which elevated Lammers to 4th and dropped Flack to 5th.
With the amazing growth in the Cadet ranks at IKC over the last year, the Cadet P races have been very popular and are providing a very good first step for many new drivers to learn race start procedures and develop their racecraft, before stepping into the “open” Cadet ranks. Another big field of 12 P Platers had entered for Round 1 and most of last years P Platers have moved up into the open Cadet fields, allowing some new names the opportunity to race at the front. Leo Wicks and Chad Rissman put on a great display of close racing during the Heats in Cadet 12P, Wicks winning 1 Heat and Rissman 2 Heats, but Wicks got the better of the battle in the Final. Mia Yarwood and August Soward shared the 3rd placings in the Heats, but Yarwood completed the podium in the Final.
In the Cadet 9P’s Joshua Fabian, Leighton Thorley and Oscar Ray all had a Heat win. In the Final Thorley led all the way with Jeremy Broadbent right behind him, these 2 well clear of Fabian and Ray. In a very close finish Thorley held on to win from Broadbent, Fabian completing the podium in his very first race meeting.
The 4SS Juniors keep delivering fantastic close racing at Ipswich and a quality field of 16 again put on some great racing. Charlie Stratford had 2 Heat wins with Finn Woodley winning 1 Heat, whilst Sebastian Simonelli, Jordan Briggs, Henry Stratford and Jack Doessel were among the placings during the Heats. The Final was hotly contested with Charlie Stratford the early leader and Doessel, Henry Stratford, Briggs, Woodley and Simonelli all in hot pusuit. Doessel took over at the front on lap 5 and got away to a nice little advantage as the pack behind squabbled over the placings. Briggs emerged from this battle pack to take up 2nd from Woodley with Simonelli close behind whilst the 2 Stratford boys had both DNF’d. Doessel winning by a relatively large margin for 4SS Junior of over 4 seconds, Briggs and Woodley just edging out Simonelli for the podium placings.
Patrick Buckley had a great day out in KA4 Junior Light, winning all 3 Heats and the Final. The podium placings in the Heats were fought out between Jackson Cooper, Toby Musico, Luke Rinaldi and Dominic Penman, with Penman 2nd in the Final and Rinaldi 3rd.
Kayden Thompson, Alice Buckley and Jack Wells each had a Heat win in KA3 Junior and these 3 were a class above the rest of the field and fought out a very close Final with Wells winning by a very narrow margin from Buckley and Thompson close behind.
In the 4SS classes, 4SS Senior Light had a 9 kart field and Darcy Briggs was simply too good, winning all 3 Heats and the Final. Brynn Stewart and Xander Jacobi were the only ones who could get near Briggs and completed the podium in the Final. Timothy Baker debuted his new kart in 4SS Senior Medium and won all 3 Heats and the Final ahead of Damian Poole. Harrison Arendt led home Edward Arendt and Jason Ramsay all day in 4SS Senior Heavy, whilst in 4SS Super Light, Scott Pearce was untroubled all day winning all 3 Heats and the Final ahead of Harrison Conroy and Riley Conroy.
Dean Silcock, Ryan Silcock, Keegan Fraser and Jack Munro were the standout performers in TAG Restricted Light, Dean Silcock winning 2 Heats and the Final, Jack Munro winning a Heat, Ryan Silcock finishing a very close 2nd behind his brother in the Final and Fraser 3rd in the Final.
Justin McCartney has stepped up from TAG Restricted Light to Medium this year and had a fantastic first outing. Noel Smyth won Heat 1 but after that McCartney dominated, winning Heat 2, Heat 3 and the Final by a huge 7 second margin. Pete Sattler and David Vogel were the best of the rest in 2nd and 3rd in the Final.
Noel Smyth had a great day in TAG Restricted Masters, winning 2 Heats and then the Final. Gary Auhl also won a Heat and finished 3rd in the Final behind Evan Broughton in 2nd.
The TAG Restricted Heavy boys were led all day by Brendan Gough winning all 3 Heats and the Final. Darren Wong, Colin Cortina and Nigel Brokenshire featured in the placings during the Heats, but only Wong could finish the Final behind Gough.
The placings in the 1st 2 Heats of KA3 Senior were spread out amongst Fraser Keegan, Jace Matthews, Jai Brown, Ryan Uhlmann and Declan Matthews, but the usual 3 pacesetters of the Matthews boys and Brown took over the front running in Heat 3 and the Final. Jace Matthews winning Heat 3 and then the Final ahead of Brown and Declan Matthews.
X30 ran as a separate class for the drivers who normally just run TAG at IKC Club rounds and a 15 kart field full of talent took to the track. Jace Matthews, Dylan Rudd, Alexander Hadden, Zane Rinaldi, Marc Tulloch and Ryan Hadden took the podium placings in the first 2 Heats. Jace Matthews though dominated from there with a strong 3rd Heat win and then a dominant Final win by almost 5 seconds, ahead of Rinaldi and Rudd.
With a lot of the normal TAG Light frontrunners running X30 at this meeting, it paved the way for a few new faces to feature at the front in TAG Light. Stewart Hare, Thomas Gallagher, Nathaniel Harrison, Lucas O’Connor and Jordan Costa were amongst the placings in the Heats, but Gallagher, Hare and O’Connor were the 3 pacesetters in Heat 3 and the Final and put on some great racing. Hare was able to hang on for the win in the Final just ahead of the Northern NSW Tony Kart pilots of Gallagher and O’Connor and it was great to see these guys back at Ipswich as they missed most of last year due to the border restrictions.
TAG Heavy always presents a strong field of drivers at IKC and during the Heats Brendan Nelson, Brock Plumb, Zane Morrison, Andrew Gilliam, Jared Neinert and Josh Dagg were amongst the placings. Come the 3rd Heat and Final though Nelson came to the fore like usual. Plumb challenged him though and Nelson only had a narrow 3rd Heat win and then the win in the Final. Christopher Williams and Morrison had a good battle for 3rd in Heat 3 and the Final. Williams getting 3rd in the Heat but Morrison turning the tables in the Final
The new Queensland Open Performance class made its debut at Ipswich and the boys and girls ran as a combined group but for separate Light and Heavy classes. In Light, Scott Sorensen and Lachlan Cowie each won an early Heat before Sorensen won Heat 3 and then the Final comfortably. In Heavy, Brett Wells, Dan Hutchinson, Scott Cleveland, Keyan Appleby and Angus Mathers were in the placings during the Heats, but Brett Wells had the pace in the Final to win from Appleby and Cleveland.
The next race meeting at IKC will be on Saturday the 5th of March and this will be the TAG Titles and TAG Light and TAG Heavy will be racing for the Graham Acreman Memorial trophies.