An amazing atmosphere surrounded a weekend of brilliant racing as Griffith Kart Club hosted the 2023 Riverina Cup. With 25 years of history, the 83 competitive karts in attendance made it the club’s largest event in a long time. With race drivers from Sydney, South Coast, Canberra, Orange, Dubbo & Albury, it was a great weekend.
- full results are on speedhive HERE
Also acting as a shakedown for the upcoming Southern Star series, Club President Brendon Zambon described the event as: “The racing/weekend ran like clockwork. There were no serious incidents and very few minor incidents, which is a credit to both drivers and officials. After many many hours of maintenance, track work and organisation, I am very proud of everyone on our committee and those from the club that helped.
“The most rewarding part is seeing everyone enjoy it. The smile on the kids’ faces and their parents are all I need to see to know it was all worth the effort and a job well done by all.”
Qualifying was mid-afternoon Saturday, with the Junior Lights first on track. Eli Patten from Albury & GKC member settled at the rear of the field, but was quick, posting the fastest time, and claiming the Burson’s Auto Parts Griffith Pole position. The youngest competitors took to the track next. The Novice Burson’s pole was grabbed by Lazarus Anonuevo posting a very fast time. The 4SS lights and heavies rolled out for their session with eventual pole sitter being claimed by Robert Hogan, whilst Terrance Ure grabbed the Burson Pole Position in the Lights. The fast young guns, Junior Heavies was dominated by Aiden Williams, easily taking the pole (0.47 clear). The 4SS medium were next on track, and Richard Drooger set the scene for the weekend, quickest on track. Senior Performance Light and Heavy saw a tight group, and the lead position changed numerous times, with the ever-present Trevor Whitby showing all his nerve, to grab the Burson’s Pole by 0.003 from Brett Robinson. Joshua Hart was too quick in the Light division. Lachlan Bourke was also dominate in the Tag Restricted Medium Class, easily obtaining the pole position. The young rookies were last session on track, and the lead pack battled for that pole. With only 0.09 seconds separating the top 5 karts, this division was set for fantastic racing all weekend. The Bursons pole position went to Blake Hayne.
The sun was shining, and racing commenced, with Final counts (to be raced Sunday morning) following the 3 heats, and obviously, the battle to be crowned Riverina Cup Champion for 2023. With $400 cash prizes in each class, and the promise of night racing, the drivers, pit crews and families were set, and provided an amazing event.
Eli Patten was able to lead from pole in the Junior Lights, with Askr Sendall (praga chassis) battling the Evo Kart of Tyler Koenig in the early laps for the 2nd and 3rd position. Sendall, once clear, was able to close on Patten, but not grab the lead. He did however, set the tone, with Sendall powered by ‘warped engines’ going on to win the next two heats and final, Patten in 2nd, and Tyler Koenig stood on the third podium place. George Profound Nader was 4th, and the local lad Oliver Griffiths finished 5th, in the field of 12 drivers. It would prove to be an amazing weekend for the warped Engines crew, taking numerous top steps across numerous classes.
Lazarus Anonuevo was able to dominate on Saturday afternoon in the Novice class, with the field battling it out behind. Sunday morning however, the final was a great race, with Marcus Culbi showing great pace, and was able to battle Anonuevo in the early laps. Lazarus was too quick, and his driving too good, stepping onto the top of the podium, with Culbi 2nd, Jacob Molloy 3rd, Max Nader 4th, Stanley Drooger 5th and Harrison Miles 6th.
The racing under lights was spectacular. As the weather cooled, the 4SS Lights and Heavies battled it out in super close racing. Terrance Ure was driving well Saturday afternoon, winning both heats, but under the lights, Hogan jumped back to the lead spot. Hogan maintained his momentum into Sunday morning, winning the final, with Ethan Contessa 2nd, and Winnel 3rd.Shelby Hinde had a great battle with Ure, coming home 4th and 5th respectively.
Aiden Williams proved his driving was superior all weekend in the Junior Heavies. The young drivers behind him raced clean, hard, and close all weekend, with some great on track battles. Heat two saw an exchange between Zach Turner and young George Miles where they swapped positions at least 6 times within 4 laps. It was brilliant to watch. Williams was the easy class victor, with the 2nd step of the podium going to Liam Finney and Turner standing on the third step. Miles 4th, Liam Hopman 5th Antonio Tornio in 6th, Ilic, Morgan, Carr, D’ambrosio and Downing rounded out the field.
Drooger was too quick in the 4SS Mediums. Rapmund, Jason hart, Barrington and Troy Brooker all battled for the minor places during the heats, providing plenty of entertainment as they four stroked their way around the track. Drooger 1st, then Rapmiund followed by Brooker in the final.
The Talented Mr Whitby was fast, and his smooth driving style providing dividends on Saturday, winning all three heats in the Senior Performance Heavy. However, Brett Robinson was able to capatalise on a rare moment of brain fade from Whitby and raced home to grab the final win! Whitby second, and Wil Longmore, on returning after a long absence from karting raced home into third. Jarod Whitty 4th, Caleb Hefren 5th, Scott Rapmund 6th and the local Jamie Prendergast 7th.
Brock Crossingham drove well all weekend in The Senior Performance Lights, but could not catch the impressive driving skills of Joshua Hart. Dominate all weekend, clean sweeping the races, with Crossingham standing on the 2nd step, Jack Hayes 3rd and Ethan Contessa 4th.
Lachlan Bourke was starting to become under immense pressure from a pack led by local steerer Kris Centofanti and Troy Miles in the TaG Restricted class. Each heat they were gaining, and the final was set with Centofanti outside on the front row, Bourke on pole, Miles in 3, and Joseph Panarello sitting behind his fellow club member on the outside of the second line. Creating an outer line of three locals, Brendon Zambon was in 6th, with Josh Staples starting from 5. The cold tyres and fast sweeping first corner saw a racing incident where Centofanti was spun, leaving Panarello no option but to take the contact and find the bark trap. Bourke racing home to victory, solidifying a great weekend of driving, with Jaxon Barrington 2nd, Joshua Staples 3rd, Centofanti 4th, Zambon 5th, and Panarello managing to race home in 9th.
Heat 1 Rookies had a lead pack of 6 karts, nose to tail from start to chequered flag. Blake Hayne was able to lead and win the heats, but the pack were closing. The two local club members were starting to race well, with Koa Patten from Albury, stepping up from rookies taking the fastest lap in heat 2, and Brodie Tropeano also the quickest lap in heat 3. The final on Sunday morning, saw a four-way battle for that top step. Hayne, Hayden Mules, Patten and Tropeano raced brilliantly. It was exceptionally close, 2 wide, 4 karts separated by only 2 kart lengths on numerous occasions, without incident. It is a credit to all the drivers, but this lead pack (sometimes 5 karts when Denilson Silva would join the party) were exceptional. Hayne was able to just hold on, with Patten 2nd, and Tropeano racing with the DR team 3rd. Mules 4th, Silva 5th, Cooper House 6th, then Jordan Robinson, Bobby Burns, Braxton Robinson, Cody Willams, Chase Milton and Ayden Power.
The main event, the Riverina Cup Champions for 2023 were presented. The Rapmund family, who very proudly established this event awarded the perpetual trophies. A massive congratulations to both drivers, their pit crews, and families.
- Junior Riverina Cup Champion 2023: Blake Hayne
- Senior Riverina Cup Champion 2023: Lachlan Bourke