SP Tools Australian Kart Championship star Jace Matthews returned to the Emerald Kart Club over the weekend for the penultimate round of the championship.
Matthews is the current KA3 Senior champion and was second in the championship going into the weekend while being the number two seed in the X30 class but leading the championship points after three rounds. Matthews was racing both classes again at the fourth round chasing more championship glory.
Matthews hit the track first for KA3 Senior qualifying against a near full field of forty drivers. Jace was able to put himself right in the conversation early in the session and stopped the clock mid-way through with a blistering lap putting him to the top. Matthews was able to do enough to put his number one CXR racing machine on pole position. Jace was back out on circuit for X30 qualifying and after struggling for his regular pace in practice, was looking to make his way forward. Matthews put himself in the top ten and even top five at stages but wasn’t quite able to get the best out of his X30 package. Jace set a time strong enough for ninth position and the team now had work to do in the heat races.
Six heat races were at Jace’s disposal on Saturday with three in each class. Matthews had a perfect day in KA3 Senior taking out all three heat wins in his FA kart entry. Matthews had championship leader Alex Ninovic, state champion Kurtis Tennant, former national champion James Sera and round one winner Jai Brown nipping at his rear bumper. Jace was able to take maximum points and put himself off pole position on Sunday.
Matthews had similar turn around in X30 charging from position nine to victory in heat one, after making some changes to his package set up wise. Jace was able to charge from position nine to second overall in heat two, putting him out of second spot for the third heat along side arch rival Brad Jenner. Matthews was able to finish his day on a high taking a second victory in heat three and putting him off pole position for fourth heat.
Matthews returned to the track on Sunday and was full of confidence starting both classes off pole position. Jace started his day in strong fashion by making it four from four in KA3 Senior. With trouble behind and lighting speed, Jace was able to open up margin and come home with victory over Jai Brown.
X30 didn’t quite go the same way. Matthews, while battling for the lead and following Brad Jenner, was tagged from behind and put to near rear of field. With incredible lap speed and steam coming out of his helmet, Jace was able to charge back up to fifteenth position by the finish.
Matthews was starting out of position one for KA3 Senior and position two for X30 . Jace led the early stages of KA3 Senior but had a fast and determined Jai Brown hot on his hammer. Brown was able to take the lead with Matthews holding on his backside throughout the middle stages. Jace didn’t quite have the pace in the back end of the race with Brown. The national champion played a smart and calculated championship game collecting valuable points and coming home on the podium in second spot!
Matthews was up next in X30 and slotted into second spot, in behind current Australian number one Jenner. Matthews made the move for the lead on lap three and got a slight break with others arguing behind him. Jace was able to take control of the race from their taking victory by over one second and his third round victory in the X30 class!
Jace spoke post weekend on his round win and championship points. “We went into the weekend just trying to be as fast as possible. We were struggling with the speed in X30 all practice and after timed qualifying we turned the kart upside down and found the speed we needed to compete at the front.
“KA3 Senior was fast all weekend and we grab good point towards the title. to be leading both classes leading into the last round is a credit to my team and the effort we all put in. Special thanks to FA karts and CXR racing engines”.
Matthews will be back for the final round of the championship next month at the Newcastle Kart Club.
Jace will also be racing at the OK world championships in Italy in September and has a go fund me page https://gofund.me/240c5d90 set up to raise funds. Feel free to hit the link and donate if you’re wanting to support one of the best drivers in the country live his dream.