A SUPER WEEKEND FOR THE AUSTRALIAN SUPERKART CHAMPIONSHIP AT THE BEND
Australian Go-Kart competition enters a new era on the Supercar track at The Bend Motorsport Park at Tailem Bend, on 11-13 March, when the “Zucoins Australian Superkart International” makes its debut at the challenging 4.9 km layout, with several local drivers aiming to take bragging rights against their interstate competitors.
The acceleration and velocity of these ground-hugging missiles must be seen to be believed. The lap times of the International Class SuperKarts around the 4.9km Supercar track are quicker than a V8 Supercar or GT Sports car.
But, unlike a Supercar, drivers are literally just millimetres off the bitumen and sit in the open, increasing the sensation of speed with the SuperKarts capable of exceeding 250kmh.
In the premier 250cc International Superkart class, Adelaide-born, IIya Harpas is the defending champion and will no doubt start favourite in the super-fast competition.
Karting is where Formula 1 and V8 Supercar champions are born, and this weekend there will be many aspiring youngsters aiming for glory as they chase their dreams, alongside their more established and successful rivals.
The new look series is the brainchild of Victorian, Scott Williams, and along with a passionate group of his peers, aim to unite and revitalise the classes for “Shifter Karts” – as they are more commonly referred – as promoter Scott Williams explains, “the ‘Zucoins Australian Superkart International’ is a new look championship, and we are working with a few kart clubs to produce a better quality and better run event as well as gain more exposure of the excitement of karting for all ages. Sadly that has been lacking in Australia for some time.
“We aim to create a series that provides a better pathway and a more intense level of competition with a variety of classes at each meeting. The Bend is the perfect venue for us to showcase our new championship, as it is very fast and extremely challenging. We are all looking forward to it.”
The first-of-its-kind event will feature five categories with nearly 90 entries.
The premier 250cc International Superkart class utilises extremely potent twin-cylinder, two-stroke machines with six gears.
Harpas may be the favourite for major honours, but Gary Pegoraro, at over 60 years of age is still a regular front runner and has battled with Harpas several times. He will thrive at The Bend to keep his younger rivals honest as well as multiple British Grand Prix winner, Jordie Ford.
The other classes on the card are the ultra-competitive with the 125cc Open Gearbox class, the 125cc Max Heavy and 125cc Max Lightweight classes and the Honda 125cc Stock class.
For some it will be a busy weekend as a number of drivers will be competing in more than one class.
With 26 entries, the 125cc gearbox class is the most hotly contested and any one of up to 10 drivers could claim the winner’s spoils.
Nick Schembri (#45) is the early favourite as he won at the track last year and holds the current class lap record.
Threats will come from a number of angles: Chief mechanic for the Erebus V8 Supercar team, Brad Tramain is in red-hot form, but will no doubt be kept on his toes by local driver,
Harry Georgio who has an intimate knowledge of the undulating circuit.
There will be practice, qualifying and four races for each class over the three-day event with plenty of on-track action to entertain spectators. Entry is free.