by Mitch McLellan, MMS Media & Commentating
The Goulburn Valley Kart Club hosted their annual Australasian Kart Titles over the weekend under clear skies and dry weather racing. The event had 13 titles on the line where drivers had the opportunity to win the prestigious red plate that they can wear on their kart for the next 12 months.
Local driver Liam Ford was able to take out a popular home town victory in TAG 125 Light. Curt Sera set the pace in qualifying putting himself on pole position with a new lap record. Ford was able to bounce back and take both heats on Saturday with Sera and Troy Alger giving chase. Alger was able to take a strong win in heat 3, with excitement building to the 20 lap final. Alger and Ford battled hard on the opening lap before Alger was hit from behind and put to the rear of the field. Ford was able to lead every lap of the final to take victory and his 5th red plate title! Local Zackary Thompson came home in 2nd position working forward across the weekend from Fabcon Racing’s Jamie Rowe in 3rd.
Gerry Westerveld set a hot pace in TAG 125 Restricted Light qualifying to take pole position by 3 tenths over Chloe Harmer and Ethan Warren. Westerveld was able to take out all 3 heat races with local driver Ryan Dealy, Harmer, Ross Stubbs and Spiros Anagnostopoulos all running inside the top 3 over the weekend. Westerveld was able to get the jump off the start and lead every lap of the final in a dominate display! Anagnostopoulos was able to move forward and come home in 2nd spot over Dealy rounding out your podium.
Westerveld was able to take out another pole position in KA3 Senior Light but had former state champion Nicholas Sacco and Liam O’Donnell nipping at his heels. Westerveld was able to take the opening 2 heats but Sacco fought back on Sunday morning to take heat 3. O’Donnell, Jamie Rowe, Nicholas Trebilcock and Luca Belardo were all racing inside the top 5. Sacco and Westerveld had a great battle in the final, with Sacco applying huge pressure to a leading Westerveld. Gerry was able to hold his nerve and take his second red plate title by under a tenth of a second over Sacco. Belardo was able to work his way forward into 3rd spot.
Archie Bristow was able to set the pace in Cadet 9 qualifying with multiple SP Tools Australian Kart Championship round winner Jenson Damaschino not far behind. Bristow was able to take out all 3 heat wins with Damaschino, Koa Patten and Jordan Bantick left to battle for the minors. Bristow was able to drive away in the final and add another major title in 2022. Damaschino was able to fend off his pursuers for 2nd spot with Patten coming home on the final podium spot in position 3.
Clayton Groves had his first open meeting in TAG 125 Heavy and took little time to get up to speed taking pole position over Jackson Rice and Dylan Muller. Groves and Rice took a heat win each on Saturday but Groves landed the 3rd heat with Muller, Geoff Wyhoon and Peter Cocca all in the top 5 battle. Groves was able to get a clean get away in the final and lead every lap in the final to take home the red plate. Rice was able to come home in 2nd position overall in his return to karts over Wyhoon rounding out the podium.
Groves was another driver who was able to take a double pole position, this time in TAG Restricted Medium over Chris Brooks and James Cocca. Groves was able to take heat 1 but Cocca took victory in heat 2 after Groves was involved in a 1st corner incident. Groves bounced back in heat 3 with Scott Roberts, Brooks and Michael Powell all battling it out for a podium result. Groves was able to get a gap early and extended his margin all final to take a near 4 second victory and his 2nd red plate of the weekend. Roberts was able to come home on the podium in 2nd spot with Chris Brooks rounding out your podium in 3rd.
Jai George set a hot pace in Cadet 12 to grab pole position over Samuel Skoblar and Aiden Schweikert. George took out both heats on Saturday but Schweikert put himself into the fold on Sunday morning taking out an important 3rd heat. Skoblar, Lucas Costanzo and Charlie Damaschino were all battling around the top 3. George and Schwikert raced hard and both had their turns in the lead of the long 20 lap final. George made a move for the lead at a critical stage and was able to hold on and take victory! Schweikert came home in a close 2nd spot with the fastest lap over Costanzo rounding out your podium in 3rd.
Bendigo kart member Phillip Stradbrook took pole position in Victorian Combined Masters by just under a tenth over Mark Appleby and state champion Herman Van Ree. Stradbrook took the win in heat 1 and 2 with Appleby putting himself in the hunt with a win in the final heat. Van Ree, former state champion Ian Branson and Leigh Holmes all raced around the podium spots. Stradbrook was able to lead every lap and hold his nerve to take out the win and the title in Victorian Combined Masters. Van Ree came home with the fastest lap of the race in 2nd overall, with Branson on the final step of the podium in 3rd.
Taine Venables set a hot pace in KA3 Senior Medium to grab another major title pole position over former state champions Zach Findlay and Zackary Thompson. Venables took out all 3 heat wins by no more then half a second over Findlay and Thompson, with Fraser Hie being in the hunt for a podium. Venables lead the whole final but had Thompson hot on his heels setting up for a grand stand finish. Thompson was able to make a move for the lead on the final lap and snatch victory in an epic finish over Venables. Findlay was able to come home on the podium in 3rd spot.
TAG 125 Restricted Heavy was a nail biting affair in qualifying, with former state cup champion Brett Jenkin taking pole position by 12 thousandths of a second over Ryan Van Ree and Darren Beattie. Jenkin took both heat wins on Saturday but Van Ree fought back on Sunday morning to take an important win in heat 3. Beattie was in a battle with Brent Opie for the final podium spot. Jenkins and Van Ree were able to drive away from the rest of the field in the final to battle it out for victory. Jenkin’s held his nerve to take another major title in TAG 125 Restricted Heavy over Van Ree. Local driver Opie was able to move up onto the podium in a great result for the home club.
KA3 Junior couldn’t get any closer in qualifying with Samuel March and Brodie Radford setting identical times. March took pole position as he set the time first over Radford and Anthony Alessi. March took out all 3 heat wins but had strong challenges coming from Pip Casabene and William Thompson who were trying to knock off the pole sitter. March was able to get a great start in the final and led from start to finish to take out a clean sweep on debut in the KA3 Junior class. Casabene was able to come through and take 2nd spot with Jasper Frith making his way up onto the podium in 3rd spot overall.
KA4 Junior Light was once again the Samuel March show in qualifying with the young driver taking pole position over Pip Casabene and William Thompson. March was on fire in the heats taking all 3 victories, while the battle for the minors was going on between Mathew Basso, Tannah Peters, Casabene and Thompson. March was able to put in another dominate final taking out a clean sweep across 2 classes and adding his 2nd red plate title to his weekend in KA4 Junior Light. Casabene once again came home in 2nd spot a couple of seconds behind with Thompson their in position number 3.
Basso was back on circuit in KA4 Junior Heavy where he was able to take an important pole position, over Panduit City of Melbourne winner Alexander Cirone and Tecno Karts Victoria driver Hugo Garraway. Basso took out both heats on Saturday but Grace Riddell moved her way into contention on Sunday taking out the 3rd and final heat. Cirone, Garraway, Taylem Mackinlay and Benjamin Classon were all in the fight for a podium spot. Riddell and Garraway were involved in an opening lap incident which ruled them out of a shot at victory. Basso was able to lead from start to finish adding another major title to his karting resume. Cirone moved up to finish in 2nd spot with Classon on the podium in 3rd spot.
The Goulburn Valley Kart Club will be looking to make the prestigious Australasian Kart Titles bigger and better in season 2023.