James Lodge returned to the Newcastle Kart Club over the weekend for the deciding round in the SP Tools Australian Kart Championship. Lodge was back at the circuit after showing excellent pace at the Newcastle City Cup 3 weeks earlier.
Once again running under the Shamick Racing / Parolin Australia umbrella, James was looking to put his best foot forward in the premier KZ2 gearbox class. Friday was a day of practice for James to get the most out of his package and driving.
The Berth Restaurant Docklands sponsored entry hit the track for qualifying and was looking to get as far up the grid as possible. Lodge made his way inside the top 20 and was pushing hard to make his way inside the top 15. James was able to improve his lap times and stop the clock just outside the top 10 in position 13 overall.
Heat 1 was the first time racing and James knew his start was going to be crucial. Unfortunately, Lodge dropped 8 spots on the opening lap and was outside the top 20 with plenty of work to do. The Parolin Australia sponsored driver started driving the wheels of his kart and made his way back up into the top 20 drivers. James continued his charge forward and in superb fashion, made his way back up to position 15 by the chequered flag!
Lodge was able to get a better start in heat 2 but still dropped down a couple of spots on the opening lap. James had the eyes on and he was looking to move forward across the heat. The Shamick Racing pilot moved forward across the race and was challenging the back of the top 10. Lodge was able to cross the line just outside the top 10 in position 11 overall and this had him out of 13th spot again for heat 3.
James was able to nail the start in his final heat race on Saturday moving up to position 11 by the end of the opening lap. Lodge raced on the edge of an incredibly quick top 10 and was doing everything he could to keep up with the drivers ahead. The Berth Restaurant Docklands supported entry was behind national champion Troy Loeskow in the middle stages of the event and crossed the line in position 11 in heat 3.
Heat 4 was on Sunday morning where Lodge was able to settle into position 12 at the end of the opening lap. The Parolin Australia backed entry was shuffled back outside the top 15 on lap 2 and had to regroup and refocus his driving. James was able to make his way back inside the top 15 and was chasing after the top 10. Lodge crossed the line in position 12 overall and was chasing a top 10 finish in the final.
The final was over 25 laps and James was excited and ready to go racing. Lodge put himself inside the top 10 on the opening lap but was straight away in a battle for positions. The Shamick Racing driver was giving it everything he had and was putting in another strong performance across the 25 laps. Lodge was able to finish every race and crossed the line in position 11 in the final to round out his weekend of racing.
James’s father Simon spoke post weekend on one of their best weekends in the championship. “We were very happy to finish just outside the top 10 on such a tough and challenging Newcastle Kart Club circuit. Congratulations to the podium getters and all our competitors for a great year of racing”.
Lodge will be continue his racing in a Hyundai Excel for the remainder of the 2022 season!