by Ayrton Creagh
With the turbulent weather set to throw a spanner in the works for round three of the Golden Power Series, racers converged to Numurkah for the mid-point of the six-round series. Accompanied by challenging conditions and arduous competition, drivers and teams were forced to maximise their ability and resources whilst vying for top of the podium.
- full results from the meeting on speedhive HERE
- progressive series points are HERE
- photos by Steve Dansie – Saturday HERE, Sunday HERE, podium pics HERE
- photos by Tim Francis HERE
Cadet 9 proved once again the incredible talent amongst the country’s youngest drivers. Round three felt eerily similar to the round prior, with Samuel Jansen van Vuuren taking his third consecutive pole in as many qualifying sessions, once again on the last lap by a slim 0.114, followed by hard-chargers Alana Gurney, Jarvis Hindle, Jasper Partouche and Rossi Yau cementing the top five. The young pilots combatted the changing conditions, Jansen van Vuuren unable to capitalise on his excellent qualifying speed – Gurney and Partouche taking the spoils in the heats.
A 15-lap, rain-soaked track set the stage to be the ultimate decider of round three, with Partouche taking pole position, Gurney accompanying on the front row followed by Wil Cairns out of P3, Jansen van Vuuren fourth and Lex Kelly rounding out the top five. Lights out and Partouche maintained his lead at the end of lap one, continuing to stretch his margin from second place driver, Cairns. As the laps continued to roll, Partouche kept his head down to extend his lead – winning by a comfortable 5.183 seconds. The penultimate lap tussles saw frequent dicing from second to fourth, Cairns claiming an excellent P2 over Jansen van Vuuren – Jarvis Hindle and Jordan Bantick completing the podium.
Cadet 12 was fireworks once again, with no other than Lucas Costanzo claiming back-to-back pole positions over championship rival, Joseph Bianchini. Oscar Corless, Levi Bush and Jensen Damaschino completed the top five for qualifying. The heats were tumultuous, with the top of the field constantly changing as the laps counted down. Energy kart pilot Lucas Costanzo kept a clean pair of heels, winning two heats with “the Griffith Gun” of Joseph Bianchini claiming the next, as well as purple laps in all three races. The other podium places were shared amongst Bush, Corless and Damaschino, accompanied by Max Mangano and Mason Woods.
With a super-soaked Sunday providing enthralling racing, it was mono e mono for one last time as Costanzo faced off against Bianchini on the front row. Bianchini got to work immediately, slipping into the lead as seven karts dnf’d before turn two. With yellow flags out, Bianchini got the jump once again at the restart. From there, he never looked back, Bianchini walking away from his rivals to cross the line first with fastest lap once again. A post-race penalty resulted in Bianchini dropping down to sixth, Costanzo taking the victory over Woods, Mangano P3, Corless and Damaschino rounding out the top of the field – topped off with an excellent podium speech from Costanzo acknowledging Bianchini’s efforts, beautiful sportsmanship all round.
KA3 Junior Light was a similar set of affairs, with the national front-running trio of Sam March, Will Thompson and Pip Casabene storming to claim the top three positions, Cooper Frith and Zack Gathercole just behind. The spoils throughout the heats were anyone’s to claim in the group format, with impressive drives in the mixed conditions from all of the top 10; Harry Bresnahan, Ayce Buckley, Jai George, Max Johnson and Jack Jenkins contesting at the very front of the field.
With the highest point scorers collated for the final, Casabene started off pole with local-hot shot Thompson joining him on the outside – Bresnahan, Johnson and Frith locking out the front of the grid. Thompson got to work early, getting an intial lead – however faced kart difficulties as the final continued, slowly beginning to fall down the order. Thompson fought with all his might to hold onto the podium, enabling Casabene to cruise down the road and win by a five-second margin over the Energy kart entry of Bresnahan. Ayce Buckley had a monster drive from 10th to third, with Jai George and Sam March completing the rest of the fast five.
After a tantalising round two, KA3 Junior Heavy could only be described with one word… Masterclass. Victorian champ Mat Basso did not put a foot wrong from the get-go, strutting with exuberance to yet another pole position over the ProKarting #63 kart of Hugo Garraway in P2 – Fletcher Shaw, Chelsea Humphrey and Amos Orr completing the top five. The heats were dominated by the MKC-backed Basso, sweeping the heats with three wins and fastest laps respectively, going on to win heat 2 by just over 13 seconds!
The final looked like it was going to be a cakewalk for the state champion in the difficult conditions that ensued. However, Garraway had other ideas, having an excellent getaway to make his way into the lead at turn one. Hugo put together a startling drive, claiming a well-deserved first win of his karting career and one of his best races to date. Basso emerged in P2, extending his points lead over the weekend as Darsyn Harris, Grace Riddell and Cooper Synfield joined them on the podium.
The second of the over-subscribed classes, KA3 Senior Light highlighted once more the quality at state level. Luca Belardo stormed to pole by the narrowest of margins over round one winner, Angus Hall – Nick Trebilcock, Gerry Westerveld and Jamie Rowe completing the top five, separated by less than 0.100! The heats were split evenly between Belardo, Rowe, Hall and Westerveld, with consistent results for Trebilcock, Jaylen Paragreen, Brodie Radford, Jasper Frith, Rio Campbell and Aydin Karadagli.
With the rain intensity increasing, the stage was set to be a blockbuster once more. The flag dropped and Hall made his way early into the lead, holding a slight margin over the #7 of Westerveld as Belardo dropped back to third. Westerveld chased in pursuit, nothing separating himself and Hall as they ran away from the rest of the field trading fastest laps. Start of lap nine and Westerveld throws it down the inside, running Hall to the edge of the track in a clean move despite the challenging conditions. Hall pushed to stay with Westerveld, however an untimely backmarker extended the gap between the two, giving Westerveld the breathing room he needed. Westerveld came home to take two round wins in a row, Hall with a strong second to maintain the series lead ahead of the consistent front-runner of Luca Belardo.
KA3 Senior Medium with yet another strong entry list of 15 keen racers. Taine Venables started the weekend as he has so many times from the Numurkah circuit – P1, 0.05 faster than his championship rival, Cory Arnett, with Jarrod Bottomley, Bodhi Bright and Lachlan Sharpe rounding out the top five. The heats resulted in drama, with the top four colliding at the start of heat one to remove them out of contention, Sharpe snatching the win. From there it only went one way, Arnett’s way – winning heats two and three by a sizeable margin with two fastest laps to boot.
Moving into the final, it was once again the championship rivals who joined each other at the front of the field – Sharpe and Cameron Anderson lining up out of the second row. The race got underway, and Arnett pulled an early gap at the end of lap one. That was that; Arnett never looked back and won by a whopping 4.4 seconds over Venables in P2, Sharpe taking home third – Arnett fastest by nearly half a second.
Death, taxes and Tag 125 Restricted Light being a thriller, right? The ever-entertaining class was no different to usual standard, with 22 karts tearing up the technical track. Home-boy Ryan Dealy claimed a magnificent pole position over the #59 of Ethan Warren in P2 and Ella Dealy third – Warren separating the Dealy siblings from a front row lockout yet again. After a close qualifying session that saw the top three separated by a measly 0.012 (yes, 0.012!), the heats saw carnage that dwindled down the racing order. This saw frequent changes as high as the top 5, with the heat spoils shared between Dealy, Warren and round two winner, Max Marriner.
The final looked to be anyone’s for the taking, with Warren lining up alongside Ryan Dealy, Marriner and Ella Dealy just behind. Lights out and Warren held the fort, locking down P1 over Marriner just behind. Warren continued chipping away, establishing a healthy buffer to the BRM of Marriner behind. After seven minutes of racing, Warren obliterated the opposition, taking the Velox kart to a whopping five second winning margin – fastest lap by nearly 0.5 over Marriner in P2 and the Dealy’s coming home third and fourth – Ryan winning the sibling battle.
Similarly to round one, round three was dictated by local Tag 125 Restricted Medium ace Clayton Groves, who snatched pole position over championship protagonist, Max Lumsden, in P2 and Jesse Watkins in third. Groves continued his hot form from round one to crush his opposition, clean sweeping the heats with fastest laps to compliment. The podium positions were diced between usual suspects Lumsden, Darryl Henman, Harrison D’Arcy and Scott Roberts.
With the final underway, Groves put together a strong argument to suggest good things come in fives, clean sweeping the weekend with a massive eight-second victory over the #90 of Chris Harvey in P2 (who impressively started out of P8). Bendigo contender, Harrison D’Arcy, came home a solid third in the 23 kart field, some half a lap behind the victor.
Tag 125 Restricted Heavy looked to be a similar tale of previous rounds, Ryan Van Ree waltzing to yet another pole position over Harrison Dengate in P2, club secretary and fierce racer Brent Opie in third with Blair Van Ree and Trent Meadows rounding out the top five. In the dry, the Van Ree’s had some serious pace that could not be matched, yet Opie’s rain dance late Saturday night appeared to have worked, strutting to two heat wins over wet weather hardcharger, Trent Meadows.
The Final ensued, with Opie and Meadows the clear fastest of the field in Numurkah’s best rendition of the Southern 80. Lights out and Opie moved into the lead, whilst Meadows struck disaster with a collision early relegating him to last place. Meadows channelled his rage into samurai-like precision, carving through the field from last to the edge of the podium, fastest lap of the race to boot. The Van Ree’s did all they could to topple Opie, yet 15 laps proved not enough. Opie took his first final win of the year over the Van Ree boys of Blair and Ryan – a popular victory for the GVKC locals.
Victorian Combined Masters saw local Clayton Groves wreak havoc in two classes, claiming a formidable over round one winner, Jason Domaschenz. Chris Brooks, Ian Branson and Herman Van Ree rounding out the rest of the top 5. The heats looked like they were going to be a similar set of affairs to restricted medium, with Groves claiming the first two over Domaschenz by a lengthy margin. The weather hit, and Leigh Holmes victorious in heat three broke the dominant run of Groves, with an impressive drive by Ash Mitchell to come home second in his Energy Kart rig.
With the sky parting and the sun finally making an appearance, Groves looked to get redemption after a frustrating heat three, however, Domaschenz seemed intent to wind on the pressure, getting an early lead over the Top Kart entrant. Domashenz had Groves breathing down his neck for every single lap of the 15 lap finale as the two dragged away from the rest of the field, yet utilised his experience to maintain a calm head to take a statement victory over Groves at home, finishing a strong P2 with heat three winner, Leigh Holmes, rounding out the podium.
As always, the field of TaG 125 Light did their best to ensure that all spectators had no fingernails left by the end of the weekend, with the high-calibre category producing nail biting racing yet again. The CKR kart entry of Brodie Doidge claimed pole position in the remaining seconds of qualifying over Jamie Rowe and Will Harper, followed closely behind by Jett Buckley and Matthew Domaschenz. The heats followed with carnage a result, seeing the likes of Thomas Hughes and Zak Thompson capitalising on this to make their way into the top 5, Curt Sera charging up the field after a spin early in the wet weather conditions. Jamie Rowe managed to sneak in a win in heat one, however Matthew Domaschenz proved to be the cream of the crop, rising to take the win in heat’s two and three.
The final got underway, Domaschenz looking to take his first victory in seniors by starting off pole, Harper and Thompson just behind. Lights out and Domaschenz made his way into the lead, with positions undulating as second to seventh squabbled for podium positions. An excellent move by Jett Buckley saw him overtake two karts into the left hander that got the crowd on their feet, however, was forced to fend off the speed of Curt Sera and Thomas Hughes. After a hectic couple of opening laps, the storm appeared to settle – Domaschenz running away to a 4.5 second victory over Sera, who put together a tantalising final. Hughes rounded out the podium positions.
TaG 125 Heavy was yet again box-office straight away. With another star-studded line-up, there was little separating the top of the field – Troy Alger taking the top spot aboard his DR kart with Thomas Hughes in P2, championship leader and local Liam Ford holding onto P3 over Thomas McCulloch and Matty Smith. The heats got underway, and Alger really began to stretch his legs, taking the win in dry conditions before putting on a wet weather masterclass in heat two, winning by a five second margin over Hughes in second, with a strong comeback drive from 2022 series champion, Nik Schmidt to finish third. Alger was set to back it up in heat three, cruising towards victory with a significant lead before disaster struck the #13, a wheel falling off with a lap to go – Hughes taking an opportunistic win over Ford and Smith.
Racers moved into the final, Hughes starting off pole with Alger alongside, Ford and Schmidt keeping the front two on their toes from the second row. Lights out and both Alger and Hughes dropped to second and third respectively, as the crowed roared with local boy Liam Ford taking the lead. Ford put up an admirable fight to hold onto the lead for several laps; but the speed, skill and determination of Alger saw him rise to another level, in another stratosphere compared to his competition. Alger made a statement with victory in Ford’s backyard, who came home a strong P2 and emerging as series leader still at the end of the round. Hughes held off Matty Smith for third.
- full results from the meeting on speedhive HERE
Commentator’s Driver of the Weekend:
With such ferocious driving conditions, coupled with the supreme talent at grass roots karting, there were many highlights to round three of the Golden Power Series. Mat Basso’s flawless 13 second victory, Groves’ supremacy around his home circuit, both Angus Hall’s and Luca Belardo’s consistency in their heats, and the tussles between Costanzo and Bianchini in Cadet 12. Yet there was one driver who stood out particularly over the course of the weekend.
Despite the adversity experienced as a result of a mechanical failure in heat three, Troy Alger didn’t put a foot wrong all weekend. His sheer speed, genius racecraft and Senna-like consistency in abhorrent weather conditions were admired by every driver and spectator in the pits. Troy’s speed at times was over a second faster than his competition in the same lap, whilst displaying admirable sportsmanship and integrity after the race. Troy was a force of nature in the TaG 125 category and is our driver of the weekend!