words by Andrew Hayes, AHR Media
images supplied by Darren Isaac, Darren’s Sportography
Drivers converged on the Ballarat Kart Clubs’s Haddon Park Raceway for the sixth and final round of the 2022 DPE Kart Superstore Victorian Country Series.
Weeks of rain threatened to conspire against the Ballarat club, but they put in a monumental effort to make sure that they presented the facility in the best possible condition given the unpredictable weather.
181 Entries battled the changing on track conditions, with equal parts of the racing completed in wet and dry conditions. Standing water and muddy off track conditions brought several drivers unstuck, whilst the treacherous crest and turn one were the usual hot spots for action throughout the weekend.
The well run meeting was a fitting finale to a great series, especially after the stuttering attempts at running over the past few years.
Here’s how it went down:
TAG RESTRICTED MEDIUM (12 Entries)
Restricted Medium had all the heavy hitters in place for their tilt at the series podium, but it was Max Lumsden who delivered on the pace he has shown in recent rounds, by taking a strong pole position (31.291).
Beau Humphrey and Daniel Storer continued their battles, with Humphrey winning heats one and three, Storer snaring the second.
Humphrey made a lightning start in the final and eased away to an early lead, however it wasn’t long before the hungry pack came hunting. P Plater Darryl Henman had been the revelation of the weekend, and added to his story by taking the lead from Humphrey on lap 6. Storer staked his claim by taking over the front running, but was struck by mechanical failure on lap 14. Humphrey reclaimed the lead and staged an enthralling battle with Henman, with Henman clinching a memorable win in one of the feel good stories of the day. Humphrey banked plenty of points in second, ahead of Ballarat’s Chris Gardner who claimed third. Nathan Rosenzweig and Jack Ryan completed mixed weekends in fourth and fifth.
1st Darryl Henman (BALL)
2nd Beau Humphrey (ELKC)
3rd Chris Gardner (BALL)
SERIES STANDINGS: 1st Beau Humphrey (ELKC), 2nd Daniel Storer (PORT), 3rd Jack Ryan (MGKC), 4th Nathan Rosenzweig (GKCSA), 5th Chris Gardner (BALL).
X30 LIGHT (16 Entries)
Former KA3 National Champion Jack Bell laid the early benchmark in X30 by taking pole position (29.263).
Sam Downing was the opening heat race winner and then backed that up with another victory in heat three. The man to beat in X30 this season has clearly been Jacob Dowson, and he put his name on heat two.
Dowson got the best of the start and set off on building a buffer on the field. Downing however had other ideas and stayed in touch with the back of the number 8 kart. When Dowson started to work very hard on his carby jets and look a bit flustered, Downing took his opportunity to grab the race lead. Dowson reset and made a late race charge, including a very audacious last lap passing attempt, but in the end came up short, as Downing emerged as the winner in an epic climax. Parker Scott and Matt Domaschenz battled for the last spot on the podium, but Scott had the pace to ease away late in the race to grab the trophy. Domaschenz and a recovering Bell filled the back end of the top five.
1st Sam Downing (GIPP)
2nd Jacob Dowson (GKCSA)
3rd Parker Scott (MGKC)
SERIES STANDINGS: 1st Jacob Dowson (GKCSA), 2nd Parker Scott (MGKC), 3rd Jaxon Johnstone (WBOOL), 4th Matthew Domaschenz (PORT), 5th Nik Ryan (WBOOL)
TAG RESTRICTED LIGHT (17 Entries)
The Spiros Show continued in Restricted Light, as the flying 56 pilot snared his fifth consecutive pole position (30.848).
The history books will show that Spiros Anagnostopoulos clean swept all three heat races, however he had to earn them, and whilst the results were comprehensive, he had to dig deep on a couple of occasions.
With the offering of becoming one of the few drivers to complete the ultimate VCS set of SIX round wins, the sensational Spiros delivered in comprehensive fashion to win once again. The elation was clear as he crossed the line to record the epic triumph. Alec Christopoulos and Andrew Rae had both raced at the front all weekend in tricky conditions, and filled the podium spots, albeit a long way apart on the track. Ben Shay and Max Stavrakis were separated by less than a tenth at the flag and finished in that order to finish fourth and fifth.
1st Spiros Anagnostopoulos (ELKC)
2nd Alec Christopoulos (OAK)
3rd Andrew Rae (PORT)
SERIES STANDINGS: 1st Spiros Anagnostopoulos (ELKC), 2nd Andrew Rae (PORT), 3rd Tim Rankin (WBOOL), 4th Jacob Dowlin (WBOOL), 5th Matthew Elliott (OAK)
KA4 JUNIOR HEAVY (6 Entries)
Taylem Mackinlay completed the most laps in KA4 JH qualifying, and made the most of them to claim pole position (32.263), with the top three drivers separated by less than a tenth of a second.
Lachlan Sharpe drew first blood in the heat races, before Callum Newton took the top spot in the next two encounters.
The two heat winners would square off in an awesome battle for the final and round honours, and waged a war that invigorated the small field. There was passing manoeuvres aplenty, most coming at the turn one braking point. In the closing stages it appeared that Newton was patiently waiting to execute the definitive move on Sharpe, however Sharpe had nerves of steel and fought off every challenge to claim a big win. Newton was a valuable addition to the field, and claimed second place. Fletcher Shaw showed glimpses of raw pace to finish third ahead of the pairing of Brody Rogers and Mia Mifsud, who settled in fourth and fifth after battling all weekend.
1st Lachlan Sharpe (OAK)
2nd Callum Newton (GKCV)
3rd Fletcher Shaw (OAK)
SERIES STANDINGS: 1st Taylem Mackinlay (ELKC), 2nd Lachlan Sharpe (OAK), 3rd Laura Fahey (SWKC), 4th Mia Mifsud (BALL), 5th Fletcher Shaw (OAK)
KA3 SENIOR MEDIUM (15 Entries)
Warrnambool’s Seth Burton started off the VCS season with a Restricted Light pole position at Cobden, and finished it with the KA3 Senior Medium pole (32.381) at the final round at Ballarat.
3 heat races and 3 different winners in one of the series most competitive classes. Chris Thomas was a welcome winner in the opening heat, Burton took heat two before Ben Mouritz delivered in the third.
Chaos reigned at the start of the final, as several drivers, including Thomas, were eliminated before turn one. One of the other drivers involved was Remo Luciani, cruelling him of the opportunity to gun for the VCS super six set. Mouritz headed the pack early, with Burton, Ethan Briggs, Luke Fong and Matthew Nietz for company. Just before the mid point of the race, a move at turn one went wrong, which saw Mouritz drop down the order, and Briggs upside down on the muddy Ballarat grass. Burton emerged as the leader and made a gap on the chasing Fong and Nietz. They would finish in that order, in what was a big result for Burton taking his first VCS win, and for hometown superstar Fong in second place. Another podium for Nietz in a strong season. Mouritz salvaged position number four, ahead of fifth placed Fraser Hie who recovered from the turn one skirmish.
1st Seth Burton (WBOOL)
2nd Luke Fong (BALL)
3rd Matthew Nietz (GKCSA)
SERIES STANDINGS: 1st Remo Luciani (WIMM), 2nd Matthew Nietz (GKCSA), 3rd Ethan Briggs (ROCH), 4th Ben Mouritz (OAK), 5th Todd Chambers (PORT)
CADET 12 (14 Entries)
Ballarat driver and wet weather gun Lewis Kucina put in a big performance in qualifying to claim pole position (40.786) for the home club.
Oscar Corless put in a stunning drive to charge from position 12 in qualifying to win the opening heat, former Cadet 9 star Archie Bristow won the second heat in his VCS Cadet 12 debut. Ewan Anderson edged closer to a series title with the heat 3 win.
Bristow was the early leader in the final, before his clubmate Kucina upped the ante on lap four. Corless put his nose in front for the first time on lap seven, kicking off a fantastic battle between Corless and Kucina. Lead changes every lap in one of the most intense battles of the day, before Corless went big and claimed his very first VCS win! Cayden Humphrey made his way forward to cross the line in second position, before being disqualified post race, elevating Kucina to second. Bristow showed he will be a force next year to finish third, ahead of Xavier Mifsud and Anashe Manyau.
1st Oscar Corless (ELKC)
2nd Lewis Kucina (BALL)
3rd Archie Bristow (BALL)
SERIES STANDINGS: 1st Ewan Anderson (PORT), 2nd Blake Purvis (OAK), 3rd Riley Harrison (OAK), 4th Lewis Kucina (BALL), 5th Oscar Corless (ELKC)
KA3 JUNIOR (10 Entries)
After threatening to explode all season, Hunter Salvatore pulled the trigger in KA3 Junior qualifying, to take a huge pole (32.119) by a whopping 7 tenths of a second!
Leo Iannella is always a force when the racing starts, and he used all his skills to claim the opening heat. From there though, it would be Thomas Patching taking the reins to win heats two and three.
The notorious turn one at Ballarat claimed Patching on the opening lap, as he and Lachlan Cutting both ended up on the sidelines. Adding to the drama was Iannella’s first lap drop down the order. Amos Orr sensed the opportunity, and proved to be one of the smartest and fastest drivers in the tricky wet conditions, opening an early lead. But as fast as the lead got out, it came back in, as Salvatore went on a rampage, soon taking the lead. Orr stalked the back of the Salvatore kart lap after lap and even set the fastest lap on the final lap, but it wasn’t enough to deny Salvatore his first big KA3 VCS victory. Orr was gallant in second, ahead of William Thompson, who definitely added some spice to the mix. Jay Murray and Iannella rounded the top five.
1st Hunter Salvatore (OAK)
2nd Amos Orr (GKCV)
3rd William Thompson (GOUL)
SERIES STANDINGS: 1st Leo Iannella (MGKC), 2nd Hunter Salvatore (OAK), 3rd Thomas Patching (OAK), 4th Lachlan Cutting (OAK), 5th Jacob Chandler (SGKC)
KA3 SENIOR LIGHT (17 Entries)
Joel Macpherson has been a hard man to stop all season, having won 3 rounds already in 2022, and he started his quest for 4 perfectly with pole position (30.321)
Macpherson was clinical as he took care of business in the opening two heats, claiming both events. SA’s Josh Elliston broke the momentum by mastering the changing conditions to win heat three.
Macpherson was supreme at the start of the final and quickly found a rhythm that saw him edging away as the leader. It would turn out to be a decisive lead, as he managed the rest of the race to claim a fourth round and series win in 2022. Angus Hall and Elliston held down second and third in the early stages, before Riley George lit up, rocketing from as low as 8th to claim his first VCS podium in second place. Elliston was a deserved third place, ahead of his adversary, Hall. Jason Douglas was super quick at times on his home track, and claimed fifth place.
1st Joel Macpherson (OAK)
2nd Riley George (ELKC)
3rd Josh Elliston (SGKC)
SERIES STANDINGS: 1st Joel Macpherson (OAK), 2nd Corey Herbertson (PORT), 3rd Angus Hall (OAK), 4th Josh Elliston (SGKC), 5th Jenson Teleskivi (OAK)
VIC COMBINED MASTERS (11 Entries)
Adding to his previous tally of 2 pole positions in 2022, it was Anthony Pethebridge who claimed a very hotly contested pole (31.478) in Masters, with the top 3 covered by 6 hundredths of a second.
There was only two things that were consistent across the 3 heats races, and that was the level of chaos and the supreme driving of Pethebridge. Whilst chaos reigned predominantly at turn one, Pethebridge avoided it all to claim comfortable victories on each occasion.
Pethebridge continued his dominance in the final, gapping the field and executing the perfect weekend by taking a definitive win. Ash Mitchell recovered from an absolute nightmare weekend to move from ninth to second in the final, pinching that spot from Heath Jelbart on the final lap. Jelbart home in third ahead of Ballarat locals John Page and Greg Ord in fourth and fifth.
1st Anthony Pethebridge (ELKC)
2nd Ash Mitchell (MILD)
3rd Heath Jelbart (BEN)
SERIES STANDINGS: 1st Ash Mitchell (MILD), 2nd Anthony Pethebridge (ELKC), 3rd Daniel Rethus (PORT), 4th John Page (BALL), 5th Matt Crane (HAM)
TAG RESTRICTED HEAVY (5 Entries)
Wimmera’s Hayden Tucker became the fifth different driver to claim pole (48.331) in Restricted Heavy, putting in a huge performance to lead the field by 1.3 seconds.
Adrian Matherson won the opening heat by a huge margin, burning up a set of wet tyres in the 11 lap journey. Mick Angwin returned to the winners circle in heats two and three.
Another of the drivers with a shot at the VCS Super Six Set was Angwin, who would start the final from pole position. By the end of the opening lap drivers had found their place and the final was follow the leader from that point on. Angwin capitalised to win on his home track, completing his set of wins. Matherson would have been very grateful to be on slicks, as he led home Bailey Petch for second and third. The pole sitter Tucker was the final finisher in fourth place.
1st Mick Angwin (BALL)
2nd Adrian Matherson (BALL)
3rd Bailey Petch (HAM)
SERIES STANDINGS: 1st Mick Angwin (BALL), 2nd Adrian Matherson (BALL), 3rd Kevin Hitchcock (PORT), 4th Hayden Tucker (WIMM), 5th Jason Kilcullen (BEN)
TAG LIGHT (17 Entries)
Another of the drivers to use some home track knowledge to advantage was Mitch Arrow, who upset some big names to claim pole position (37.133) in Tag Light.
Jake Spencer assumed control of the field in the opening heat, and was chased hard to victory in the first and second heats before getting comfortable to win heat three.
Several drivers used tyre choice to rocket forward in the early stages, but their challenge soon waned, as Spencer led from start to finish to win by just over 2 seconds. Max Fahey bounced back from a heat three DNF to claim second, chasing hard to the line. Current WAU Supercar driver Nick Percat showed his experience to grab the final spot on the podium. Local drivers Jordan Malcolm and Jay Racovalis had standout weekends to finish fourth and fifth.
1st Jake Spencer (GIPP)
2nd Max Fahey (SWKC)
3rd Nick Percat (KA)
SERIES STANDINGS: 1st Max Fahey (SWKC), 2nd Jono McKean (WBOOL), 3rd Steven Malkin (PORT), 4th Daniel Pegg (ELKC), 5th Jay Racovalis (BALL)
KA4 JUNIOR LIGHT (13 Entries)
Goulburn’s William Thompson exploded on to the VCS stage, taking pole position (38.890) in his first appearance!
Capitalising on his great start in qualifying, it was Thompson greeting the chequers in each of the heats, but he had plenty of challenges to overcome to get there in each of them.
Collecting the clean sweep on debut, it was Thompson taking a start to finish win in the final. Dallas Greene applied plenty of pressure to the 14 kart, but had to settle for second, ahead of Mathew Basso who featured on five of the six podiums in 2022. Max Marriner finished off a strong series to claim fourth ahead of Chelsea Humphrey, who was blisteringly fast on her way to the fastest lap in heat one.
1st William Thompson (GOUL)
2nd Dallas Greene (GKCV)
3rd Mathew Basso (OAK)
SERIES STANDINGS: 1st Mathew Basso (OAK), 2nd James Snaith (OAK), 3rd Max Marriner (BALL), 4th Darcy Heyne (GKCSA), 5th Aston Hill (GIPP)
CADET 9 (8 Entries)
A unique opportunity presented in Cadet 9, with a first time winner to be crowned at Ballarat, following the step up to Cadet 12 of the previous round winners. Alana Gurney put her best foot forward in qualifying to claim her first pole position (40.596).
Gurney turned pole into victory in heat one, before Kurtis Polkinghorne hit his straps to claim heats two and three.
Polkinghorne had been a lock on the podium for 4 of the previous 5 rounds, and when the opportunity presented, it was the hometown star that took his first VCS win! VCS debutant Jarvis Hindle pushed Polkinghorne the full distance to take home second in his first attempt, and is surely one to watch in 2023. Gurney had to overcome a fast starting Kasey Waters in the early laps, and eventually made the pass and made good track position for third. Oliver Armitt was quick in patches to finish fourth ahead of Waters in fifth.
1st Kurtis Polkinghorne (BALL)
2nd Jarvis Hindle (ELKC)
3rd Alana Gurney (OAK)
SERIES STANDINGS: 1st Archie Bristow (BALL), 2nd Kurtis Polkinghorne (BALL), 3rd Alana Gurney (BALL), 4th Beau Chambers (PORT), 5th Lawson Effingham (WBOOL)
TAG HEAVY (13 Entries)
A Facebook group was the catalyst of increased numbers in Tag Heavy, and the influx of new drivers certainly added a different element. One of the additions, Braden Clark, upstaged the regulars to claim a big pole position (37.499).
With the added depth in the class, it was genuinely close, and afforded three different winners across the three heats. Billy Westerveld, Ryan Cook and Scott King all added to their previous wins to claim the heat wins.
Cook was the early leader in the final and opened a small buffer in the opening laps, but it wasn’t long before King came calling, and the two title combatants duked it out. King hit the lead on lap 12 and wasn’t headed from there, recording his second round win of 2022. Cook was a strong second, in a breakout year where he claimed his first two VCS wins. Clark drove one of the races of the day to charge from ninth to claim the final spot on the podium, after a heat race DQ. Liam Pollard looked good all weekend on his way to fourth, ahead of the consistent Nik Schmidt.
1st Scott King (PORT)
2nd Ryan Cook (WBOOL)
3rd Braden Clark (ELKC)
SERIES STANDINGS: 1st Scott King (PORT), 2nd Ryan Cook (WBOOL), 3rd Nik Schmidt (BALL), 4th Liam Pollard (ELKC), 5th Aidan Solomon (WIMM)
THE 2023 DPE KART SUPERSTORE VICTORIAN COUNTRY SERIES WILL KICK OFF IN COBDEN ON 4/5 FEBRUARY 2023. BE THERE!
Thank you to the amazing 2022 VCS Sponsors:
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