Vic Country Series Finale

words by Andrew Hayes, AHR Media
image supplied by Darren’s Sportography

The Ballarat Kart Club has recently hosted the final round of the 2023 Victorian Country Series at the South West Kart Club’s circuit in Cobden.

With the Ballarat track in Haddon not completed in time, the club got together and forged forward in partnership with the South West Kart Club, a partnership that worked seamlessly for the 2023 finale.

The event saw 144 entries take to the track for four heats and a final in mild to warm conditions.

Cobden always provides great racing and it certainly didn’t disappoint for the Ballarat Kart Club.

Well done to both clubs, they worked extremely well together to present a fantastic final round.

  • full round results on Speedhive HERE
  • series points for all classes were posted earlier this week HERE
  • more photos from the round on Darren’s Sportography Facebook HERE

Here’s the run down of events:

CADET 9 (5 Entries)

A small field of Cadet 9’s gathered to finish of the 2023 series, and once again it was perennial pace setter Jarvis Hindle claiming pole position (47.561) in qualifying.

Hindle claimed all four heat races, one coming after crossing the line second to a fast starting Beau Chambers.

Chambers was again off to a flying start, and led the early laps of the final. But Hindle never let him get away, and executed a nice pass to claim the lead on lap three. Hindle then showed his class to go on to win the final by just over a second from Chambers, who was speedy all weekend. The battle for the minors was every bit as good as the battle for the lead, and in the end it was Zac Ismaili who came from behind to snatch the final spot on the podium. Lawson Effingham and Zac Duynhoven both drove well to fourth and fifth positions respectively.

Beau Chambers ahead of round and series winner Jarvis Hindle, then Lawson Effingham #10, Cadet 9 (pic – Darren’s Sportography)

1st Jarvis Hindle (ELKC)
2nd Beau Chambers (PORT)
3rd Zac Ismaili (GKCV)

SERIES RESULT:
1. Jarvis Hindle
2. Alana Gurney
3. Lawson Effingham
4. Beau Chambers
5. Jaxon Boyle

KA3 JUNIOR LIGHT (18 Entries)

SA speedster Noah Enright has been blistering in 2023, and therefore it was little surprise to see him take pole position (42.755) in Junior Light by more than half a second.

Enright continued to pace the field, he was first to the chequers in all four heat races, locking into pole position for the final.

The masterclass would continue in the final, as Enright blitzed the opposition with a fine display of sublime skill to win by 6.6 seconds. Hudson Hughes saved his best run for the final, finishing in second after taking that position in the middle stages of the 13 lap final. Aiden Schweikert made his first VCS appearance in 2023 and was an instant frontrunner, completing the podium in third. Mathew Basso was a threat in fourth ahead of Sam Spiteri, who ran well all weekend in fifth.

Zavier Cain, Junior Light (pic – Darren’s Sportography)

1st Noah Enright (SGKC)
2nd Hudson Hughes (OAK)
3rd Aiden Schweikert (OAK)

SERIES RESULT:
1. Mathew Basso
2. Noah Enright
3. Riley Gee
4. Cooper Frith
5. Hudson Hughes

TAG LIGHT (12 Entries)

Jaxon Johnstone established himself as the benchmark early on in 2023, and the final round landed him his fourth pole position (41.317) of the campaign.

Johnstone gave himself a major boost in the series points, continuing the clean sweep of the heat races that gripped the first three classes.

Claiming the round win that had eluded him after winning the opening three rounds, it was again Johnstone taking the spoils comfortably in the final of Tag Light. SA’s Jacob Chandler finished second, coming off his round five win in Portland. Defending series champ Max Fahey broke through for a hard fought first podium of 2023, finishing a fighting third. Andrew Rae was quick out of the blocks all weekend and landed in fourth place, ahead of Jordan Malcolm who had repeatedly bounced back throughout.

Max Fahey (71) and round runner-up Jacob Chandler (83), TaG 125 Light (pic – Darren’s Sportography)

1st Jaxon Johnstone (WBOOL)
2nd Jacob Chandler (SGKC)
3rd Max Fahey (SWKC)

SERIES RESULT:
1. Jaxon Johnstone
2. Jacob Chandler
3. Matthew Domaschenz
4. Max Fahey
5. Andrew Rae

TAG RESTRICTED MEDIUM (14 Entries)

Making the step up to the medium class, it was ‘The Sot’, Andrew Sotiropoulos who announced his arrival with a pole position (43.749).

Sotiropoulos was a two time winner in the heats, and was only joined in the winners circle by series frontrunner and local gun, Max Lumsden.

Lumsden made the best of the start as Sotiropoulos ran wide at turn one and dropped down the order. Lumsden would be closely shadowed by his teammate Beau Humphrey until Humphrey struck on lap eleven. Humphrey would go on to become the fifth different round winner in six rounds in a hotly contested class. Lumsden had to settle for second on his home turf, finishing ahead of SA’s Grady Hutchesson who drove well to snare third in the final. Sotiropoulos set the fastest lap of the race on the way to fourth, ahead of Wimmera winner Darryl Henman in fifth.

Jeremy Kiensrod (17) and Luke McCutcheon (33) go wheel-to-wheel in the mid-pack of Restricted Medium (pic – Darren’s Sportography)

1st Beau Humphrey (ELKC)
2nd Max Lumsden (SWEST)
3rd Grady Hutchesson (MGKC)

SERIES RESULT:
1. Max Lumsden
2. Darryl Henman
3. Jack Ryan
4. Kobe Trigg
5. Grady Hutchesson

TAG RESTRICTED LIGHT (12 Entries)

After showing an amazing turn of speed at the previous round in Portland, it was Jacob Dowlin who went hammer down for pole position (43.128) in Restricted Light.

Proving hard to keep down after an average by his standards qualifying, it was Spiros Anagnostopoulos who made his way to the lead in the opening heat to win. He repeated the dose on a further three occasions.



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Anagnostopoulos was a class above in the final as he went on to win, the feat being his eleventh of a possible twelve in the past two seasons. Jayden Dellar showed his best form since moving to senior competition be claiming second in a new chassis, ahead of the polesitter Dowlin in third. Jayden Christensen and Oscar Maloney raced hard throughout to round out the top five in fourth and fifth respectively.

Jacob Dowlin (35) leads Max Mariner, who would DNF the Restricted Light final (pic – Darren’s Sportography)

1st Spiros Anagnostopoulos (ELKC)
2nd Jayden Dellar (BALL)
3rd Jacob Dowlin (WBOOL)

SERIES RESULT:
1. Spiros Anagnostopoulos
2. Max Marriner
3. Jacob Dowlin
4. Jayden Christensen
5. Ashley Johnston

KA3 JUNIOR HEAVY (9 Entries)

After an interrupted campaign in 2023, Levi Jones made the step up to Junior Heavy for the first time in VCS, making an immediate impact with pole position (43.641).

Chelsea Humphrey was the star of the heats, as she took out three of the four encounters. Mathew Basso crossed the line first in the third heat, but penalties to him and Humphrey meant Jones inherited his first VCS win.

Jones and Humphrey squared off on the front row of the final, but it wasn’t long before Humphrey asserted her authority on the race. After being on the podium at each of the previous five rounds, it was Chelsea’s day in Cobden, as she streamed to an impressive victory. Basso chased hard, but had to settle for second. Tasmanian Harrison Duske got the better of SA’s Jones for the final spot on the podium, with Mia Mifsud running very strongly throughout the weekend in fifth.

Levi Jones leads Junior Heavy round winner Chelsea Humphrey with series winner Mathew Basso tucked in behind (pic – Darren’s Sportography)

1st Chelsea Humphrey (ELKC)
2nd Mathew Basso (OAK)
3rd Harrison Duske (OAK)

SERIES RESULT:
1. Mathew Basso
2. Chelsea Humphrey
3. Harrison Duske
4. Mia Mifsud
5. Thomas Motta

KA3 SENIOR MEDIUM (9 Entries)

Ben Mouritz made it a second pole position (43.412) for 2023, by claiming the honours for the second time at the South West circuit.

Mouritz was clinical in the heats, his speed and consistency proving too much for his rivals on each of the four occasions.

The opening sequence of corners saw maximum chaos, as half the field got together at the canteen corner. Continuing the fairytale weekend he was having, Mouritz was through unscathed, and went on to record a fine victory, his third for the season. Zach Findlay was also lucky to sneak through the skirmish, and chased hard for second place. Adam Henriksen had threatened to make the podium on multiple occasions throughout the year, but luck went his way and he landed in third place. John Reynolds had his best run of the weekend to finish fourth ahead of the first of the recovering drivers, Lachlan Sharpe in fifth.

Local driver Adam Henriksen took third in Senior Medium (pic – Darren’s Sportography)

1st Ben Mouritz (OAK)
2nd Zach Findlay (GKCV)
3rd Adam Henriksen (SWEST)

SERIES RESULT:
1. Ben Mouritz
2. Remo Luciani
3. Matthew Nietz
4. Zach Findlay
5. Seth Burton

TAG HEAVY (10 Entries)

Scott King bookended his 2023 campaign with pole positions at the Cobden circuit. This pole (42.220), surprisingly his first since the opening round.

King looked in control, but not without pressure as he claimed four consecutive heat wins to lock himself on pole for the final.

King and Ryan Cook lined up on the front row, in what will be the last time for the duo as Cook was starting his last VCS round. After some titanic battles, the scene was set for another as King made the best of the start and the early running. But Cook came hunting on lap four, and made the move for the lead. King gave it everything, but in the end, Cook got the perfect farewell as he took a fine win. King was home in second, ahead of the fast finishing Aidan Solomon in third. Jay Racovalis and Nathan Rosenzweig both impressed in fourth and fifth.

TaG 125 Heavy, Jett Rendell (48) and Grace Dunmore (pic – Darren’s Sportography)

1st Ryan Cook (WBOOL)
2nd Scott King (PORT)
3rd Aidan Solomon (WIMM)

SERIES RESULT:
1. Scott King
2. Ryan Cook
3. Aidan Solomon
4. Ray Dumesny
5. Jay Racovalis

CADET 12 (20 Entries)

Another driver to back up his Round 1 Cobden pole position was Ballarat’s Archie Bristow. Bristow’s pole position (46.204) came after spending the majority of the year focussing on the National series.

The action was enthralling in the heats, and each encounter was worthy of a high stakes final. But each time the flag dropped, it was the pole sitter Bristow pacing the field.

The final did not disappoint, as much of the top ten got involved in some epic racing. Up front it was Bristow and Blake Purvis putting on a spectacle, joined in close proximity by Oscar Corless. Bristow managed to make it a clean sweep of the weekend by claiming the win, ahead of Corless and Purvis, who would’ve both been worthy winners, in second and third. Coming in fourth and fifth was Dominic Mercuri and Austin MacPherson, who both raced hard all weekend.

Cadet 12 series champion Blake Purvis leads Oscar Corless and Dominic Mercuri (pic – Darren’s Sportography)

1st Archie Bristow (BALL)
2nd Oscar Corless (ELKC)
3rd Blake Purvis (OAK)

SERIES RESULT:
1. Blake Purvis
2. Dominic Mercuri
3. Oscar Corless
4. Xavier Mifsud
5. Kurtis Polkinghorne

KA3 SENIOR LIGHT (22 Entries)

Making his VCS debut, SA’s Max Wucsko arrived in a hurry to take pole position (42.624) in the hotly contested KA3 Senior Light class.

There was plenty of action in the heats, and it produced three different victors, including Wucsko saluting in the first and third heats. James Snaith and Corey Herbertson winning heats two and four.

Snaith and Herbertson led the field to the start of the final, with Herbertson setting the pace in the early stages. On lap six, Wucsko came to the fore, using his undeniable pace to take the lead. Wucsko would stream to victory in his first VCS appearance to claim an enviable record. Herbertson backed up his Portland win to finish second ahead of James Snaith, who was remarkably only standing on the podium for the second time in 2023. Warrnambool winner Brocklan Parker battled for fourth ahead of the veteran Andrew Hollis in fifth.

Jason Douglas (91) and VCS winner Riley George (33), Senior Light (pic – Darren’s Sportography)

1st Max Wucsko (GKCSA)
2nd Corey Herbertson (PORT)
3rd James Snaith (OAK)

SERIES RESULT:
1. Riley George
2. James Snaith
3. Andrew Hollis
4. Brocklan Parker
5. Thomas Patching

VIC COMBINED MASTERS (13 Entries)

Eastern Lions Kart Club’s Anthony Pethebridge continued to excel in Masters in 2023, and chalked a remarkable fifth pole position (43.660) out of six outings.

Whilst it certainly wasn’t without challenge, it was Pethebridge once again wielding the broom for a clean sweep of the Masters heat races.

Continuing the trend line, Pethebridge was simply supreme in the final, winning by more than five seconds to complete a 2023 season that included a worst finish of second! The rest of the field certainly entertained as the top five wasn’t settled until very deep into the final. Neil Mcauley poured on the pressure to Ash Mitchell in the closing stages, forcing Mitchell into a mistake at turn one of the final lap. Heath Jelbart was a benefactor, as he slipped through to claim second, whilst for all Mcauley’s efforts, he remained in third place. Mitchell cut a disappointed figure in fourth, ahead of Andrew Stubbs who stumped up his best performance of 2023 to finish fifth.

Shane Box, Vic Combined Masters (pic – Darren’s Sportography)

1st Anthony Pethebridge (ELKC)
2nd Heath Jelbart (BEN)
3rd Neil McAuley (ELKC)

SERIES RESULT:
1. Anthony Pethebridge
2. Heath Jelbart
3. Jason Domaschenz
4. Matt Crane
5. Mark Heemskerk

The 2024 Victorian Country Series is set to launch at the South West Kart Club in Cobden on February 3-4, 2024. For further updates, visit the VCS website and Facebook pages.



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Ashley Johnston hikes a wheel, 125 Restricted Light

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Senior medium, Adam Henriksen ahead of Lachlan Sharpe (27), John Reynolds (95) and Robbie Turmine (pic – Darren’s Sportography)
Oscar Corless leads Austin McPherson, Cadet 12 (pic – Darren’s Sportography)
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