by Andrew Hayes, AHR Media
After two interrupted seasons, The 2022 DPE Kart Superstore Victorian Country Series has launched at the South West Kart Club’s Cobden circuit in Western Victoria. There was a sense of excitement as drivers and crews looked to put the last two years behind them and get back into the sport they love.
Conditions on Saturday worsened as the day went on, with the late qualifying sessions being rain affected, before the rain held off on Sunday.
As usual the racing was intense, and many new driver and class combinations amongst the 186 entries made for some interesting storylines.
- full results on speedhive HERE
- more images on Darren’s Sportography Facebook HERE
- below is a record of the event’s free live stream. Finals start around 4:23:00.
TAG 125 RESTRICTED LIGHT (14 Entries)
Traditionally one of the best populated classes in VCS competition, it was a predominantly new look Restricted Light field that took to the Cobden circuit. Former Junior front runner Seth Burton grabbed the first pole position of the 2022 season, with a time of 43.660.
But it was Spiros Anagnostopoulos emerged from the second row in qualifying to claim both of the heat race wins and pole position for the final in fine style.
Completing a clean sweep of the racing events, Spiros was the class of the field again in the final, edging away to a 2.3 second win. There was a distinct speedway flavour in positions two to four, as former junior turned Sprintcar driver Luke Walker announced his return with a solid second place. Current Formula 500 racer Tim Rankin took the final spot on the podium, ahead of former formula racer Andrew Rae. Jacob Dowlin locked down fifth place.
1st Spiros Anagnostopoulos (GKCV)
2nd Luke Walker (SWKC)
3rd Tim Rankin (WBOOL)
KA4 JUNIOR HEAVY (7 Entries)
Delivering on the promise she showed over the interrupted previous seasons, it was the local girl Laura Fahey that laid down the pole time in KA4 Junior Heavy (45.782). Remarkably, only 0.001 separated Fahey and Zach Findlay in a ridiculously close session.
The Heat wins both went the way of Fahey, but came under intense pressure from Findlay and Taylem Mackinlay, setting the scene for a thrilling final.
What happened next turned the class on its head, as Fahey, Findlay and Mackinlay were all involved in a turn one incident that shuffled the order like a pack of cards. Findlay would not take any further part, whilst Fahey was more significantly impacted than Mackinlay. Lachlan Sharpe led the early stages, but was overhauled by Fletcher Shaw on lap three, with Shaw taking the fastest lap and Victory in his drive of the weekend. Sharpe also sealed his best run of the weekend to grab second ahead of the recovering Mackinlay. Daniel Malcolm and Jett Rendell held down podium positions during the final, but settled for fourth and fifth at the flag.
1st Fletcher Shaw (OAK)
2nd Lachlan Sharpe (OAK)
3rd Taylem Mackinlay (ELKC)
KA3 SENIOR MEDIUM (13 Entries)
A lot has changed in the last 5 years, but one thing that hasn’t changed is Remo Luciani being the VCS standard in KA3 Senior Medium. Another pole position for the Master (43.770), as he continues to give the emerging talent a target.
Luciani controlled both the heat races, doing what he needed to do to secure the prime starting spot for the final. However, the chasers were never far from the back of the 20 kart.
The final was more of the same, as Luciani edged away from the field to record another round win. There was plenty of excitement right through the field as battles raged right down the order. Matthew Nietz had been close to Luciani’s pace once again, but had to settle for second, with Todd Chambers also in the mix in third place. Grace Dunmore drove a great final to finish fourth ahead of another impressive youngster, Fraser Hie in fifth.
1st Remo Luciani (WIMM)
2nd Matthew Nietz (GKCSA)
3rd Todd Chambers (PORT)
CADET 12 (11 Entries)
Riley Harrison sent an ominous warning to his fellow competitors, taking pole position (47.298) in a sign of what was to come for the weekend.
Comfortably winning both heats put Harrison in the perfect starting position for the final, in which he didn’t disappoint.
In a polished performance, Harrison completed the box set of perfect results by taking a 3.4 second win in the final. After qualifying second, Blake Purvis found himself fighting back after a difficult first heat, but made his way back to second in the final. Austin McPherson rounded the podium, finishing third after some impressive racing on the day. Lewis Kucina and Aaron Bottomley filled third and fourth positions at the chequer.
1st Riley Harrison (OAK)
2nd Blake Purvis (OAK)
3rd Austin McPherson (WBOOL)
KA3 JUNIOR (12 Entries)
The Premier Junior Class in VCS had its usual turnover of drivers, filling up with talented youngsters as others graduated to Seniors. It was Tyce Hodge who put his name beside the pole position (43.850) in a typically tight session.
Starting from the second row, it was Leo Iannella who jumped to the lead of the opening heat, and comfortably accounted for the opposition to win both heats.
Iannella was unstoppable as he drove away once again in the final in a fine display of skill and outright pace, winning by just under 4 seconds. Hunter Salvatore had been thereabouts all weekend and was consistently in the mix for a podium, which he nailed down by finishing second in the final. SA’s Ben Holliday had to fight back for third, after issues in the heats after qualifying on the front row. Thomas Patching raced well all day to finish fourth, ahead of polesitter Hodge in fifth.
1st Leo Iannella (MGKC)
2nd Hunter Salvatore (OAK)
3rd Ben Holliday (SGKC)
KA3 SENIOR LIGHT (19 Entries)
There was plenty of fresh faces in KA3 Senior Light, and the one shining brightest in qualifying was Jenson Teleskivi, who grabbed pole position (47.524) in a great performance.
Corey Herbertson proved to be the man to beat in the heats, as he emerged from fifth in qualifying to lead the field home in both preliminary events, with Joel MacPherson lurking after coming from even further back after a disappointing qualifying.
The scene was set for a huge final in KA3 Light and it didn’t disappoint. Herbertson and MacPherson set the tone for the field, staging a fine display of close racing, which was replicated in exciting battles throughout the field. MacPherson stalked Herbertson for many laps before making his move, with Herbertson unable to regain the ascendancy, Macpherson the winner ahead of Herbertson in second. Josh Elliston was impressive all day, and made it count with third in the final. Finishing in fourth and fifth was recent junior graduates Angus Hall and Jake Santalucia.
1st Joel MacPherson (OAK)
2nd Corey Herbertson (PORT)
3rd Josh Elliston (SGKC)
VIC COMBINED MASTERS (20 Entries)
VCS Masters racing is some of the best in the series, and a strong group of the veteran racers signed up to resume combat at Cobden. Ash Mitchell was the man to take the opening bragging rights as he set the pace to take pole (45.445) in qualifying.
The Master of Masters over the last few seasons has been Phil Smith, and it was no surprise to see him pacing the field to take a pair of heat wins with Mitchell in his back pocket.
The final was eventful to say the least, as Heath Jelbart and Tony Pethebridge crashed heavily into Railway on the opening lap, bringing on a full course yellow while officials tended to a sore Pethebridge. The restart would prove decisive, but not for the obvious reason, as Smith retained the lead from restart to the flag, holding off Mitchell in second. The class was turned on its head when it was deemed that the majority of the field had broken restart protocol and were handed the appropriate penalties. The most immediate action was the flipping of the top two, as Mitchell was now the winner ahead of Smith. Andrew Stubbs came from the clouds after crossing the line 8th to inherit the final spot on the podium. Peter Gigis and Matt Crane were fourth and fifth in what turned out to be a bizarre turn of events.
1st Ash Mitchell (WIMM)
2nd Phil Smith (GKCV)
3rd Andrew Stubbs (HAM)
CADET 9 (10 Entries)
10 of the sports youngest drivers faced the starter in Cadet 9, and it was pleasing to see the battles through the field, including from a small group of improving P Platers. When the clock stopped in qualifying it was Oliver Armitt grabbing the pole position, with a time of 50.347.
The heat races went the way of Cruz Kelly, who grabbed the lead from the start of the first heat, but the pressure from Archie Bristow was intensifying to the end of the second heat.
Kelly got away nicely from pole in the decider, but was shadowed by Bristow. As the laps wound down and the duo scrapped it out well down the road from the rest of the field, it would be Kelly taking the win after withstanding the heat from Bristow. A great display from both drivers. Kurtis Polkinghorne secured third after an entertaining battle with Alana Gurney, who was left to settle for fourth ahead of front row qualifier Xavier Mifsud.
1st Cruz Kelly (GKCV)
2nd Archie Bristow (BALL)
3rd Kurtis Polkinghorne (BALL)
KA4 JUNIOR LIGHT (11 Entries)
Mathew Basso made his move to Juniors count by grabbing pole position (46.186) in his first hit out in VCS KA4 Junior Light competition. Basso and James Anagnostiadis gapping the rest of the field by over a second in the session.
Anagnostiadis was a dual heat race winner, the second the more comfortable of the pair, after having to overcome Darcy Heyne in the opener.
Using his experience gained at the highest level, Anagnostiadis put on a beautiful display of driving to also secure victory in the final, making it a sweep of the racing events. Basso recovered for second place after a horror run through the heats, but Anagnostiadis was gone by the time he claimed that position. Darcy Heyne was third to claim the final podium spot, but not before weathering a storm of pressure from James Snaith, who crossed the line fourth. Fifth belonged to the much improved Chelsea Humphrey.
1st James Anagnostiadis (GKCV)
2nd Mathew Basso (OAK)
3rd Darcy Heyne (GKCSA)
TAG 125 LIGHT (10 Entries)
Max Fahey had a point to prove on his home track, and following on from Laura’s pole, Max did the business to put the 71 comfortably on pole position with a time of 42.475.
Another pair of heat wins were added to the Fahey collection as Max drove superbly to gap the field in both encounters.
Looking to sweep the event heading into the final, not even a tap to his rear bar at turn one could unsettle Fahey, as he dominated the final and put his stamp on the class. Jono McKean had his best run of the weekend at the right time to claim second, ahead of former Masters Champ Steve Malkin. Mitch Arrow and Daniel Pegg rounded the field in a return for Tag Light.
1st Max Fahey (SWKC)
2nd Jono McKean (WBOOL)
3rd Steve Malkin (PORT)
TAG 125 HEAVY (11 Entries)
A Perfect blend of previous seasons heavy hitters and emerging newcomers made Tag Heavy look as good as it has in several years in VCS competition. Billy Westerveld would prove that the old guard was still the benchmark by claiming a solid pole position (42.788.
Westerveld continued on in his winning form to claim back to back heat wins, despite having Nik Schmidt and Scott King in hot pursuit.
Westerveld and King looked set to resume their rivalry at the front of the class in the final, with King recovering after a qualifying incident. Westerveld would have King’s measure on the day, claiming the set of top spots to lead home King in second. Schmidt was clean and fast all day for third, finishing ahead of another driver with massive potential, Aidan Solomon in fourth. Liam Pollard drove well in good company for fifth.
1st Billy Westerveld (ROCH)
2nd Scott King (PORT)
3rd Nik Schmidt (BALL)
TAG 125 RESTRICTED MEDIUM (15 Entries)
Beau Humphrey hit the ground running in Restricted Medium, heading a good sized field to a clear pole position (44.707), his time half a second clear of the next competitor.
Humphrey won the opening heat comfortably, however it was Mark Shrubb who claimed the second heat win as the race was declared early as a result of a roll for Ben Moss.
Shrubb led the field away for an eventful opening few circulations as several drivers suffered setbacks. By lap 3, Humphrey had assumed the lead of the race, a lead he never conceded on his way to a 7 second win. Shrubb completed a successful weekend to stand on the podium in second, ahead of Chris Gardner, who had fought hard all day to secure third place. Nathan Rozenweig and Greg Ord were next past the stripe in fourth and fifth.
1st Beau Humphrey (ELKC)
2nd Mark Shrubb (WBOOL)
3rd Chris Gardner (BALL)
TAG RESTRICTED HEAVY (5 Entries)
The Big Boys made a welcome return to VCS competition after being absent for the last couple of seasons, and it was the returning Kevin Hitchcock who put his name up in lights, taking pole position with a time of 46.646.
Hitchcock held sway to grab the opening heat win, but Mick Angwin proved to be too fast in the second, skipping clear of Hitchcock to grab the win.
Angwin got the better of the start and led the early stages, before appearing to have problem with the engine side of the rear of the kart. Whilst he tried to assess what was happening, Hitchcock seized an opportunity and raced into the lead. Just after half way Angwin regained his composure and the lead of the race. The issue was never too far away, and in the end he did enough to win the race. Hitchcock was a defiant second after running well all weekend. Adrian Matherson put himself on the podium with a solid third place to finish ahead of Jason Kilcullen and Hayden Tucker.
1st Mick Angwin (BALL)
2nd Kevin Hitchcock (PORT)
3rd Adrian Matherson (BALL)
X30 (17 Entries)
The fastest class of the weekend was fittingly the last in the race order, and never disappointed, with an influx of new steerers all wanting to stake their claim. Jacob Dowson went quicktime in qualifying in a rain affected session (1:05.067).
Despite some outstanding racing throughout the field, Dowson was untouchable in the heat races, and showed the field why he is a contender at National level, winning both events.
The start of the final saw Dowson drop back to third, as Jaxon Johnstone took an early lead over Matt Domaschenz. It only took 3 laps though for the undeniable Dowson to resume his position at the head of the queue, going on his way to a comfortable victory. Johnstone cemented a creditable second place after driving very well all day. Arguably the drive of the day though came from SA’s Parker Scott, as he drove from 12th to 3rd in an amazing display of pace and skill. Domaschenz was home in fourth ahead of another young gun, Nik Ryan in fifth.
1st Jacob Dowson (GKCSA)
2nd Jaxon Johnstone (WBOOL)
3rd Parker Scott (MGKC)
The VCS now moves to Warrnambool for Round 2 on May 7-8.
Thankyou to the amazing VCS Sponsors:
- DPE KART SUPERSTORE
- REMO RACING / IAME ENGINES
- MELBOURNE KART CENTRE
- SOUTH WEST CONVEYANCING
- MJ PRESSURE WORKS
- TONYKART AUSTRALIA / BARON ENGINE DEVELOPMENTS
- CHAMBERS PORTABLE LINE BORING
- ALLSTAR GRAPHICS / 365 APPAREL COMPANY
- CENTRAL VIC KARTS & PARTS
- PRO KARTING
- PCJ DATA & ELECTRICAL
- AHR MEDIA
- DARREN’S SPORTOGRAPHY
- BENDIGO BANK