The final round of the 2022 ZuCoins Australian Superkart Championship will rock the Phillip Island circuit this weekend (5-7 August ) with four races for each of the five classes of the Superkart championships.
The speed of these ground-hugging missiles must be seen to be believed. The lap times of the International Class Karts are quicker than a V8 Supercar or GT Sports car and equal to that of the two-wheeled MotoGP machines around the 4.45km layout.
With almost 100 entries the action and excitement will be intense. The Championship finale is part of PIARC’s 70th anniversary celebrations.
Favourites for glory this weekend will be British Grand Prix winner, Jordan Ford who holds a narrow point’s lead over Phillip Island specialist, Gary Pegararo, with defending Australian Champion, Ilya Harpas, not far off in third.
Ford earned himself an early buffer of points, taking out three wins from the four races for the opening round of the championship, at Tailem Bend, back in March.
Second in the chase is Gary Pegoraro and while he was in good form at The Bend, he will be extra motivated at his home track of Phillip Island and no doubtedly his experience around the 4.45km layout will will keep Ford on his toes.
Reigning Australian Champion, Ilya Harpas is no stranger to the pressure of taking out championships, and will be a true contender for the title as he is currently third and only a race win away from the lead.
Another young star with nothing to lose is Tim Clark. After a disappointing start to his championship strike, falling ill and conceding valuable championship points, he will be guns ablaze. The reigning National Festival Title holder may not be in the championship hunt, but he will be out to upset the title leaders and claim a few victories, to let the opposition know what might have been has he attended the first round.
Matt Bass is another quiet achiever who with a new Anderson VM package for Phillip Island will be ready to tease the championship fighters. Bass is also familiar with the silverware, standing on the podium in the Australian championships many times.
It’s heating up to be one of the most competitive 250cc International races in years, the slipstreaming and fierceness of these top drivers will thrill spectators all weekend, bets will be out the window with the championship on the line and unpredictable nature of the these beasts.
125cc Open Gearbox
Nick Schembri looked to be the runaway leader at The Bend, putting in a stellar performance to smash his own existing lap record and dominate the initial heat races until gremlins hampered him in the final race. He still walked away with the round win, albeit not the points lead he would have hoped for.
Now Brad Stepney-Marsh is hunting Schembri down as he heads back to Phillip Island where he shined in 2021, with only 11 points between them and Stepney-Marsh after victory in the final race at The Bend. Stepney-marsh is high on confidence and appears to be the biggest championship threat. That’s not to write off Colin McIntyre who is the Dark Horse for the ‘Aus#1’, chipping away and plenty of pace up his sleeve at PI.
Gary Pegoraro is desperate to throw his hat in the ring, alongside fellow experienced drivers Brad Stebbing, Lee Vella and Brad Tremain. These accomplished drivers have nothing to lose and want to peg the younger Championship leaders down a notch. The National Festival Title honours will be priority on these drivers minds as the 125 Open Gearbox Class looks to have over 10 possible candidates to take glory on the slipstreaming dependent track.
In one of the larger fields of the weekend, the Rotax Max powered karts will entice any true racer to get involved. At the shakedown meeting in July, no less that 9 karts were seen jostling for the lead position and turning through Doohan Corner at Phillip Island, 5 abreast!
Patrick Ross aced round one of the National Championship at The Bend, taking four wins from fourraces, but now back on Colin McIntyre’s home turf, Ross will have to play it smart and maintain his advantage for the Australian Title.
McIntyre won’t be Ross’ only threat, with locals Rod Clarke, Jeremy Crust and Martin Anderson showing strong form recently. All drivers, and new comer Oliver Bonnacorso have experienced success around Phillip Island, and the unpredictability of slipstreaming, strategy may even leave opportunities for interstate drivers to pounce.
With a whole day of practice on Friday, Stuart Robinson and Brandon Stillwell will be up to speed before adding to the long list of battlers looking to make a huge battle pack.
Sanuja Perera is showing speed, class and wisdom in Rotax Non Gearbox Light, and now heads to his home track at Phillip Island with a comfortable championship lead. With a 21 point advantage into the championship deciding weekend, Antoni Ormsby and Doug Savage will have to bring their A-game from South Australia to stop Perera.
Naturally a smooth, flowing and slipstreaming circuit, Perera might be in for a surprise with more South Australians and locals fighting to keep him in the pack. Hayden Veld is showing maturity and gaining experience race by race, and Christian Amadio is stepping out of older brother Sebastien’s shadow to bring strong results.
With Short circuit experience comes aggressiveness, awareness and speed. That’s exactly what Johnny Twigden will bring in his Tony Lappas Tuned kart from SA, and could be a surprise package for a win at the Event.
All in all, these young gun drivers won’t all be thinking about the Championship, so watch out for fierce racing as they chase glory to win The National Festival of Superkarts.
Karting is where Formula 1 and V8 Supercar champions are born.
Unlike a Supercar, drivers are literally just millimetres off the bitumen and sit in the open, increasing the sensation of speed, so the top division Superkarts will be absolutely flying around Phillip Island, pushing more than 250kph down the long straight into Doohan Corner this weekend. Even quicker speeds will be attained when the drivers are slipstreaming and dicing for position on Gardner Straight,.
The premier 250cc International Superkart class utilises extremely potent twin-cylinder, two-stroke machines with six gears, capable of speeds of over 250kmh. Additionally, there is the ultra-competitive 125cc Open Gearbox class, the 125cc Max Heavy and 125cc Max Lightweight classes and the Honda 125cc Stock class.