words by Andrew Hayes, AHR Media
photos supplied by Darren Isaac, Darren’s Sportography
The 2023 DPE Kart Superstore Victorian Country Series has kicked off at the South West Kart Club’s Cobden Park Raceway in the dairy farming district of Western Victoria.
154 Entries took part in the opener, which came with a modified format and increased racing laps.
Conditions were changing all weekend, with brilliant sunshine changing to rain within minutes.
As always, there was stories of triumph to tribulation as drivers took on the 966m circuit, situated approximately 200km South West of Melbourne.
Here’s a run down of the action:
TAG RESTRICTED LIGHT (21 Entries)
Tag Restricted Light was well populated as usual in VCS competition, and it was a recent graduate to seniors, Max Marriner, who claimed an agonizingly close pole position (44.147).
Marriner managed to capitalize on his earlier work to claim the opening two heats, before the defending VCS champ Spiros Anagnostopoulos claimed the third.
Andrew ‘The Sot’ Sotiropoulos had banked enough points to start from pole position for the 12 lap final. The Sot led the first half of the decider before a move for the lead at Railway corner from Spiros saw Sotiropoulos shuffled back down to third. From there Spiros was able to drive to victory, finishing just ahead of Marriner and Sotiropoulos. Aaron Imbach and Damiano Muscariello both had up and down weekends, but finished well in fourth and fifth.
1st Spiros Anagnostopoulos (ELKC)
2nd Max Marriner (BALL)
3rd Andrew Sotiropoulos (OAK)
KA3 JUNIOR HEAVY (7 Entries)
KA3 Junior qualifying went down to the wire, as four of the seven drivers set their fastest lap on their final circulation, with Chelsea Humphrey snatching a big pole position on her final attempt (45.225).
Despite Humphrey’s best efforts, it was the reigning KA4 Junior Light Champ, Mathew Basso that claimed all three of the preliminary heat races, by varying margins.
Basso was all class as he started 2023 in fine style, claiming a lights to flag win by over four seconds. Humphrey would follow him home in second position, but not before she had to overcome a big challenge from Tasmanian Harrison Duske. Duske was a welcome addition as he raced to third place, ahead of Lachlan Sharpe and Mia Mifsud in fourth and fifth.
1st Mathew Basso (OAK)
2nd Chelsea Humphrey (ELKC)
3rd Harrison Duske (STKC)
KA3 SENIOR LIGHT (12 Entries)
There was plenty of fresh faces in KA3 Senior Light, as a youthful lineup battled it out for the season opener. When the clock stopped it was Chris Alexopoulos at the top of the timesheets, taking his first VCS pole (43.979).
Alexopoulos continued his good form to win the first and third heats, but it was to be Riley George on top in heat two, as the two looked to square off in the final.
A blistering start from pole position was just the break that Alexopoulos needed to stamp his authority on the final, winning by two and a half seconds after the 12 lap journey. George chased hard and gave himself a chance, but had to settle for second, and a second successive VCS podium. Andrew Hollis traded the tools for a helmet and made a solid comeback, grabbing the final trophy in third position. Rio Campbell claimed fourth ahead of Brocklan Parker, who had been in the hunt at the front all weekend, in fifth.
1st Chris Alexopoulos (SGKC)
2nd Riley George (ELKC)
3rd Andrew Hollis (OAK)
TAG HEAVY (8 Entries)
After a swell in entries at the final round of 2022, Tag Heavy numbers slipped for the opening round of 2023, with just the 8 competitors taking part. Silky Smooth Scott King showed why he is one the greats of VCS by marching to another pole position (42.881).
King was unstoppable in all three heats, despite the wide array of weather conditions.
In 2022, it took until round 5 for King to claim his first round win, and there was certainly no way that was happening this year, as he blazed to the win in the opening final of the season. Ray Dumesny had a weekend to remember as he capitalized on a front row start to claim a strong second, ahead of Kyle Pettenhofer who got stronger as the weekend went on, in third. Nik Schmidt had a rollercoaster weekend and eventually settled in fourth, ahead of rookie Jett Rendell in fifth.
1st Scott King (PORT)
2nd Ray Dumesny (BALL)
3rd Kyle Pettenhofer (GKCV)
CADET 12 ( 18 Entries)
The field in Cadet 12 was as deep as ever, overflowing with young talent. The pole winner was the 2022 Cadet 9 Champ, Archie Bristow (47.081), who continued his seamless graduation.
Bristow saluted in the first and third heats, but it was SA speedster Dominic Mercuri who took the spoils in heat two.
Bristow and Austin McPherson led the field to the start of the final, but McPherson’s race was over before turn two. Bristow however made every post a winner to add another VCS round win to his growing resume. Blake Purvis and Mercuri diced for second place for many laps, before Purvis prevailed to take second. In a chaotic end to the race, the order shook out with a hard charging Anashe Manyau in a fine third place. Jacob Rajendran drove well for fourth, to finish ahead of Mercuri in fifth.
1st Archie Bristow (BALL)
2nd Blake Purvis (OAK)
3rd Anashe Manyau (GKCV)
KA3 SENIOR MEDIUM (15 Entries)
KA3 Senior Medium is without doubt one of the most entertaining classes in VCS competition, and it was no surprise to anyone to see the top five in qualifying separated by less than a tenth of a second. The fastest? That title belonged to Ben Mouritz (44.474).
The Master, Remo Luciani was back to his best in the heat races, using his experience to claim heats one and three. Todd Chambers broke through for the heat two win in a stirring performance.
Just hours after declaring his intention to keep racing as long as he was competitive, the 60 something year old Luciani again showed why he was such a revered figure across the karting world. Throwing down the gauntlet to the younger brigade, he was simply faultless as he led the field to the chequers once again. Zach Findlay was next in the order, and looked to be a threat to Luciani throughout the final. Findlay was joined on the podium by Todd Chambers, who had a solid weekend. Mouritz and Matthew Nietz were ironically fourth and fifth after a lap one, turn one altercation in heat one!
1st Remo Luciani (WIMM)
2nd Zach Findlay (GKCV)
3rd Todd Chambers (PORT)
VIC COMBINED MASTERS (16 Entries)
There was some very handy additions to the Masters field, and posed the real possibility of a shake up in the order. But when the clock stopped it was one of the regulars, Anthony Pethebridge that took pole position (44.324) by more than 4 tenths. Ash Mitchell and Jason Domaschenz were locked on the exact same time for second and third.
Pethebridge was again the standout in the heats, crossing the line first in all three editions, however Mitchell would inherit heat two after a starting infringement penalty for Pethebridge.
Mitchell got the jump at the start of the final but it wasn’t long before Pethebridge pounced. It would be position that he would not relinquish to start of 2023 in winning form. Jason Domaschenz was one of the new aces in the pack, and proved that he means business, moving from sixth to second in two laps before giving chase to Pethebridge. Second place was a great start to his VCS. Garry Haywood was also back for more, and landed third place for his efforts. Mitchell was home in fourth, ahead of Tim Monte who spun whilst staring down the barrel of a possible podium.
1st Anthony Pethebridge (ELKC)
2nd Jason Domaschenz (PORT)
3rd Garry Haywood (ELKC)
CADET 9 (9 Entries)
The timing was tight at the pointy end of the youngest class, as the Cadet 9’s went head to head. After being the 2022 VCS runner up, it was Kurtis Polkinghorne adding another pole position (48.376) to his growing list.
Polkinghorne was victorious in heats one and three, but the second heat belonged to Alana Gurney.
Gurney and Beau Chambers were dynamite of the start in the final, as they jumped Polkinghorne to run one and two. Polkinghorne made his move into second mid race and set off after Gurney. Unfortunately the pair touched whilst Polkinghorne tried a brazen outside move at Canteen corner, which sent him sinking down the order. Gurney stayed composed, and went on to take a big win, in just her second VCS podium. Chambers kept his head down and managed to claim his first VCS podium in second place. Jarvis Hindle rebounded from adversity several times over the weekend and was rewarded with third place. Polkinghorne recovered for fourth, ahead of Lawson Effingham in fifth.
1st Alana Gurney (OAK)
2nd Beau Chambers (PORT)
3rd Jarvis Hindle (ELKC)
KA3 JUNIOR LIGHT (16 Entries)
A Solid field of KA3 Junior Light competitors took to the Cobden circuit, with most enjoying the extra speed that the recent change in restrictor size brought. Dallas Greene got the 86 dialled in best to claim pole position (44.412).
Greene was the victor in all three heats, including heat two which was suspended for an extended period of time due to a nasty roll over for Ryder Dahler.
Greene was untouchable in the final, as he stretched his legs to take an emphatic victory, his first in his VCS career! Jayden Dellar was a winner in 2022, and started off 23 in fine fashion to grab second place, ahead of Cayden Humphrey, who continues to improve, in third. SA’s Levi Jones was right in the mix for second, but one little mistake shuffled him down to fourth. Jake Ristell rounded out the top five.
1st Dallas Greene (GKCV)
2nd Jayden Dellar (BALL)
3rd Cayden Humphrey (ELKC)
TAG LIGHT (19 Entries)
The Demise of X30 certainly added some extra spice into the Tag Light class, as several drivers blended into an already competitive field. Jaxon Johnstone is always strong at Cobden, and he kicked things off in perfect style to take pole position (42.093).
Johnstone and Ryan Morgan shared the heat race wins, with Morgan breaking a little bit of the Johnstone momentum in heat two.
The final once again saw Johnstone heading the order, this time with Matthew Domaschenz shadowing his every move. Whilst Domaschenz threw everything at Johnstone, Johnstone would resist the pressure to take a fine win to start the year. Domaschenz was home in second place, ahead of graduating junior Jacob Chandler, who was genuinely impressive in taking third. Defending VCS Champ Max Fahey took home forth ahead of Morgan.
1st Jaxon Johnstone (WBOOL)
2nd Matthew Domaschenz (PORT)
3rd Jacob Chandler (SGKC)
TAG RESTRICTED MEDIUM (13 Entries)
Jack Ryan was the only returnee of the top three from 2022, and he left nobody with any doubt that he wanted to put his stamp on this class, taking the pole (44.764).
Ryan crossed the line first in all three heats, however heat two was ultimately awarded to James Head following a penalty for the former.
Ryan and Max Lumsden led the field away, and by the end of the opening lap had their positions sorted for the duration. Ryan added the Cobden win to his 2022 Warrnambool win, whilst Lumsden finally landed an elusive VCS podium in second. Kobe Trigg settled into third on the opening laps and despite plenty of challenges, managed to hang on for a well earned third place. Andrew Purcell looked pacey on his way to fourth, ahead of the equally dangerous looking Greg Ord in fifth.
1st Jack Ryan (MGKC)
2nd Max Lumsden (SWEST)
3rd Kobe Trigg (PORT)
The DPE Kart Superstore Victorian Country Series will be back in action at Hamilton’s Buckley Park Raceway on 13/14th May 2023.
Thankyou to the 2023 VCS Sponsors:
- DPE KART SUPERSTORE
- REMO RACING
- KARTING AUSTRALIA
- SOUTH WEST CONVEYANCING
- CHAMBERS PORTABLE LINE BORING
- ALL STAR GRAPHICS
- THOMAS 7 MOTORSPORT
- GLOSS FINANCE
- CENTRAL VIC KARTS & PARTS
- MELBOURNE KART CENTRE
- AHR MEDIA
- DARREN’S SPORTOGRAPHY