Riley Harrison head to the final round of the SP Tools Australian Kart Championship embroiled in a tough feud for 2nd and 3rd in the championship. Harrison returned to Newcastle for the final round of the championship he had been a star in. Riley had grabbed a podium and round win across the series and was looking to add more silverware to his championship season!
Harrison hit the track on Friday afternoon for qualifying against a full field of 40 drivers! The Xpert Electrical & Air backed entry started the session well and put himself in the top 10 early and then further up the grid in the battle for pole position. Riley put himself up into 3rd position as the session went on and he was continuing to push hard and try move to pole position. Harrison stopped the clock in a brilliant 3rd spot and only 1 tenth off pole position!
Harrison was starting out of position 3 for heat 1 and 2 but they didn’t quite go the way he and his team had wanted. The Kartclass backed entry slipped outside the top 5 in heat 1 and dropped back to position 7 by the finish, in what was a tough and fast opening heat race.
Harrison turned things around in heat 2 where he was running 3rd and then 4th in the lead pack. Riley was able to cross the line in position 4 in heat 2 and this had him starting on the inside of the 3rd row for heat 3.
Riley’s final heat race on Saturday was crucial as the battle for 2nd in the championship was well and truly on. The Parolin Australia / Shamick Racing supplied kart was working well in the early stages and Harrison was sitting in 4th spot right on the back of the lead group. In the intense front group battle, Riley was able to make his way into 2nd spot on lap 8 shaping up a fascinating final few laps. In a close and heart pumping finish, Harrison was able to cross the line in position 2 to round out his Saturday.
Position 4 was the starting spot for Harrison for the final heat race of the weekend on Sunday morning. The J&A Kart Tuning powered entry had a rough start getting muscled back to position 7 in the early stages of the race. Harrison just couldn’t fight his way back up to the front of the field after the tough opening lap and had to settle for position 7 in the final heat race.
Riley was now out of position 6 for the all-important final. The nerves were high as the championship battle for the podium was well and truly on going into the final race of the championship. The Xpert Electrical & Air sponsored entry had a rough start being shuffled back to the edge of the top 10. Riley dug deep and never gave up putting his head down and fighting his way back up to the edge of the top 5. Harrison, in a brilliant recovery was able to cross the line in position 6 and clinch 3rd place in the overall championship!
Riley’s father Scott spoke post racing on the nerve racking but pleasing weekend. “Our weekend was good, had a couple of good results but unfortunately the 7th place in the heats and the 6th in the final dropped us back to 3rd in the championship. Still an awesome achievement and so proud of what he has achieved this year with winning a AKC round, podium at another, multiple heat wins at AKC.
“Winning a blue plate, wins at VCS, podium at City of Melbourne and Rotax Pro Tour at Ipswich. We will now just do the next couple of State Championships before we head off to USA for a month to race ROK at Rio and the SuperNats. Then finish the year off with the biggest event on the calendar…. The Todd Road Enduro! As always, we would like to thank Dave Sera & the whole KartClass team, Anthony Bartolo from J&A for the engines and Shamick Racing/Parolin Australia for the fast kart. Looking forward to doing it all again next year”.
Harrison will continue his busy season for the remainder of the 2022 season!