Riley Harrison returned to the go kart track over the weekend chasing one thing and one thing only – Australian Kart Championship glory.
Harrison fell agonisingly short at the opening round of the championship, with a close second place and was in the fight for victory at round two of the series. Riley was back on track last weekend looking to take his maiden championship round win at the Eastern Lions Kart Club.
Harrison spent a Friday practice working with David Sera fine tuning his driving, ready to go for qualifying Friday afternoon. The Xpert Electrical & Air sponsored entry headed out in the upper fifty percent for qualifying. Riley immediately put himself in the battle for the top ten and quickly made his way into the top five. Harrison set a time quick enough for position three but was continuing to push on and try an improve. Riley set the third fastest time in a massive effort in a near fifty kart field.
The rain came overnight and Harrison was first up on a wet track. The Parolin Australia entry was working well and Riley was right in the battle in the top three. Harrison hit the lead at stages throughout the race in an intense battle with Hamish Campbell, Ayrton Dalmaso and Basilio Micale. Riley drove his heart out and was able to come away with an excellent second place starting his racing weekend in good fashion.
Harrison was once again off the front row for heat two and got a brilliant start and jump to the lead by the end of the opening lap. The Kartclass supported entry had pressure once again, this time from championship leader Sebastian Eskandari-Marandi and Marco Manson. In a drive beyond his experience and years, Harrison was able to lead every lap and take victory by just under once second putting him off pole position for his next heat race!
Riley was off pole position for heat three and was looking to chase another victory! The Xpert Electrical & Air backed entry got a brilliant start and settled into the lead with Zach Hilder and Nicholas Speed shadowing him in the early stages. Harrison was putting in another polished performance, setting the fastest lap and having a slight of a gap on the field. Riley made it two out of three heat wins adding another victory to his tally!
Harrison’s final heat race was Sunday morning and he was looking to continue his hot streak on the track. Riley didn’t get the best start, dropping back to position three on the opening lap. The Parolin Australia kart was working well and Harrison was quickly able to jump back into second spot and push after the race leader Marco Manson. Riley was able to set the fastest lap of the race in the second half of the race! Harrison was able to cross the line in second spot and have himself off pole position for the all-important final.
The final came around and one of the toughest choices of the weekend was upon them, wets or slicks? Riley and his team elected for wets and just when it looked as though it was the wrong decision the rain started to come down.
Harrison went to the front in the early stages but was quickly under pressure from Connor Meyer. Riley swapped the lead multiple times with Meyer but was able to make a decisive break in the second half of the race. Harrison crossed the line and got the moment he had been waiting for, the feeling of victory at the SP Tools Australian Kart Championship!
Riley’s father Scott spoke post weekend on the crowning moment for his young son. “I’m so proud of him. He has been so close and to finally get to the top step is unreal. It wouldn’t be possible without all of the help from David Sera, SSD and Kartclass. We really appreciate the help from Kris and Jenna at Parolin Australia and Anthony from J & A Kart Tuning”.
Harrison will be back at the fourth round of the SP Tools Australian Kart Championship at the Emerald Kart Club.