Junior Top Guns

report by the event commentator, Ayrton Creagh

Racers converged at the home of F1 superstar, Oscar Piastri, to commence the 2024 karting season at the illustrious Oakleigh Go-Kart Racing Circuit – 160+ juniors vying for the coveted Junior Top Guns glory. With Melbourne once again featuring its ever-unpredictable weather, teams were challenged throughout the course of the weekend as they duelled it out under the lights of this fabled track.

  • full results on speedhive HERE
  • scroll down for image gallery
  • more photos by BPM Photography HERE
  • more photos by Pace Images – Friday HERE, Saturday HERE

With sporadic rain drizzling over the circuit through qualifying, the strong 25-kart Cadet 9 field took to the track for their opening qualifying session of the weekend, #9 of Olly Williamson taking pole position by a colossal 0.815s over Lex Kelly in second – Cooper Djemil, Jett Herring and Carter Reinhardt a further 1.5s back. After a “lap of the God’s”-esque qualifying session, Williamson looked adamant to maintaining his crown atop of the field, taking the heat one win with a 2nd to boot in heat two – Oscar Calisici pipping Williamson at the line. Rolling into Friday’s final, Williamson looked to be in unbeatable form – and that he was, crossing the line 0.5s ahead of Beau Chambers in 2nd and Calisici 3rd after the trio fought under the lights – what a battle!

If Cadet 9 could replicate any of their form from Friday, spectators were sure to be in for jaw-dropping action. Drama from the get-go as Friday’s winner, Olly Williamson, was forced to retire three laps into qualifying. Beau Chambers put together a clinic in the timed session, topping the charts from Calisici in second and Loeskow third. Spectators looked on eagerly to watch Willamson’s redemption drive from a distant P9, as Chambers took to obliterating the rest of the comp, snaring the opening heat wins from Calisici and Loeskow. Drivers rolled out for their final; Chambers off pole with Loeskow and Williamson out of P2 and P3. Lights out and it was fireworks, several karters at the front of the field spewed all over the track. Several laps in and the front runners swapping for the lead of the race, Loeskow working tirelessly to hold on as Chambers charged through the field. Chambers proved way too good, clean sweeping Saturday to see off Loeskow by 0.5s with Calisici in third – as well as taking home the championship with over both Williamson and Calisici.

Cadet 12 C&D featured our lesser experienced Cadet 12 racers, however, was not short of action. Braxton Regan cruised to pole position aboard his FA kart to snatch pole by a remarkable 0.084s over Cooper Dellaca in 2nd, Michael Mistriotis in 3rd. The heats commenced and it was a true demolition job at the hands of Jack Zourkas in heat one, who took victory by a massive 3.5s over Merik Nesbitt beind and Dellaca 3rd. Zourkas wasn’t intending on hanging about, doing the dash at the start of the second race to take the win. 

Drivers queued up for their Friday final to see if anyone could mount a challenge to Zourkas. Zourkas replied with an affirmative no, putting the sword to his competitors to take the victory by 7.0s over Braxton Regard in second, Harry Ristell in third.

Day 2 was eerily like Groundhog Day as Braxton Regan followed up on his speed from Friday to waltz his way to pole on Saturday ahead of Harry Ristell and Michael Mistriotis. Despite his incredible speed, Regan was unable to translate this into heat wins as he took a DNF and a fourth in the two heats, as Emmanuel Mistriotis went back-to-back to claim the heat wins ahead of brother, Michael, and Ristell. Moving into the final and the Mistriotis boys got to work right away, Emmanuel charging into the lead with Nesbitt second, Michael Mistriotis 3rd. A gap formed in the lead as Michael cruised past Nesbitt early on for P2. It became apparent that it was a two-horse race out-front, Michael working to reel in brother, Emmanuel, as he charged up the bumper of the #77. Further back, a coming together for Nesbitt relegated him from third to P6. Michael turned in the thumbscrews, but Emmanuel proved too good – Mistriotis mayhem as they took the 1-2 under the lights of Oakleigh, Regan charging from the back of the pack to the podium some 5s further back. Emmanuel Mistriotis took home the championship chocolates with Zourkas in second, Ethan Turnbull P3!

One of the main events of the evening, Cadet 12 fielded a maxed-out capacity grid of 38 drivers for their racing this weekend! 2023 Victorian State Cup winner Austin McPherson took his speed from 2023 well and truly into 2024 as he claimed pole over Oscar Singh in 2nd, Archie Bristow 3rd .

Bristow proved insistent on changing his position, carving his way from third to first in the opening heat before crossing the line 2nd behind Oscar Singh in heat two – Tommy Hart with a pair of thirds as McPherson was relegated back to 4th on both occasions. The stage was set for Friday’s finale – Bristow starting off pole but it would be Singh who swooped into the lead come turn one. Bristow immediately retook the lead on lap two, before pumping 0.5s into Singh over the next three or so laps. Bristow had well and truly checked out; however, Singh’s sweating was visible from the other side of the continent as he nervously fought off a hard-charging Tommy Hart to the finish. Bristow crossed the line for the win, a cool 1.7s ahead of the ensuing pack. It went down the line, Singh holding on by a nose over Hart in second.

Saturday surely couldn’t top it, could it? Archie Bristow replicated his pace from the day prior to take pole position by a staggering 0.202s over Tommy Hart in P2, Roman Krutil in 3rd. The heats commenced and Hart was out for redemption, taking the win in both heats over both Krutil and Michael White just behind, a picnic rug enough to cover the top of the field, further back the DNF’s seemingly began to increase. Moving into the final and Tommy Hart lined up out of pole alongside the ever-speedy Dominic Mercuri, Oscar Singh in 3rd. The flag dropped and we were racing, Hart getting the perfect jump and emerging in the lead as a seemingly despondent Mercuri drifted from 2nd to 5th by turn one. Krutil filed his way into P2, White up for the chase in 3rd as they set after the #69 of Hart. All the action was happening behind, as the #15 of Costanzo was tearing his way through the mid-pack. Five to go and Krutil looked more determined than ever, reducing the deficit from 0.400s to a mere 0.100s. Three to go, Krutil fires it down the inside and there’s a change for the lead! The front trio go hammer and tong at it, Hart looking for a way down the inside through the infield but it’s not happening! They cross the line for one more lap to go and it is gloves off – Krutil going super defensive to hold off the forceful Hart, the two bump wheels through the infield and Hart regains the lead – Krutil sliding wide and allowing White through. With only a handful of corners left, Hart looked home and hosed, securing victory by 0.67s over White, who was another 0.06s ahead of Kruti – what a race! Tommy Hart claimed overall championship glory from Oscar Singh in 2nd, Michael White rounding out the top three!

Tommy Hart two-wheels in Cadet 12

KA3 Junior Light C&D was filled with thrills and spills over the course of the action. Much to his own amazement, Owen Johnston claimed a stunning pole that saw him beat Christian Bua by just over half a second in the wet conditions, Harrison McInerney rounding out the top three. Johnston was unable to take his qualifying speed into the dry, the P Plater sliding down the order as Bua took the opening heat win from James Flynn in second, the duo trading places for heat two as McInerney bagged a pair of third places. Friday’s stage was set, it was all to play for – light’s out and Bua hit the lead with the chasing pack right on his tail. His lead was short lived, McInerney moving into 1st on Lap 4 with Bua and Scarlett Tander in hot pursuit. McInerney never looked back, taking the chequered flag by 0.394s over James Flynn in second, Tander rounding out the top three.

It was all set to change however on the second day, the field turned on its head as Aiden Spector took a thrilling pole position over Seren Hughes in P2, Tyler McLeod third. Spector found a real run of hot form, going on to take victory in heat 1 before coming P2 in the second to James Flynn, Hughes and Tander taking a third in each heat. The stage was set for an absolute blockbuster, anyone’s game to win as the top six all looked to have the speed. The flag dropped and we were underway… CRASH – kart’s spread as far as the eye could see; Bua, Flynn, Hughes all out! Yellow flag conditions waving, and another crash sees a spin under safety conditions – utter mayhem! As we went back to green flag racing, the damage had been done, Spector pulling off the seemingly lucky escape as he took the win just under seven seconds ahead of William Boniface, Felix Nowakowski in third! At the end of six races, Spector and Flynn tied for championship points with Scarlett Tander taking home third place!

KA3 Junior Light, yet another category set to explode at the 2024 Junior Top Guns with 28 of Australia’s finest pilots battling it out. Having had an impressive turn of pace towards the tail-end of 2023, local driver Aiden Schweikert stormed to pole position over Maxim Kirwan, Mathew Basso, Riley Harrison and Isaac McNeil behind. The heats began and Basso was first to draw blood, striking almost a 3.0s victory over Harrison and Schweikert behind, before backing it up with yet another win! Basso looked to have the mettle to go on and win it, but could he be stopped on the last race of day one? Lights out and Basso hits the lead, congestion in turn one reshuffling the order slightly as Schweikert set out in pursuit, Cayden Beacham in third. The laps wound down and Basso looked like he would go unchallenged, until Alpha Motorsports Christian Sasso stepped up to the plate to put his two cents worth in and challenged for P2. Sasso put together a string of lightning-fast laps that saw him right on Basso’s tail, but it wasn’t enough – Basso taking a clean sweep on the opening day since changing teams, Sasso P2 from Schweikert in 3rd.


Day two and all the KA3 Junior Light drivers stepped it up a notch, the top five in qualifying separated by a scarcely believable 0.071 – JND Racing’s Jack Szewczuk on pole over Isaac McNeil, George Proudford-Nalder third as last night’s winner, Mathew Basso, a distant 11th with mechanical issues. Szewczuk got to work, taking the opening heats from McNeil and Harrison behind. The sun had set and the spectators were strapped in for a good, old-fashioned shootout under the lights. Lights out and we are racing – collisions in the group ripping the field apart saw McNeil slide down to 24th, Harrison in 8th whilst for Szewczuk, the sea of karts practically parting to give him the lead. The damage looked done from the get-go, Szewczuk crossing the line at the end of the first lap with a 1.5s lead over Blake Purvis in second. The laps wound down, Purvis fighting mightily to try hold on to the podium positions but the effort to strong, as both Patrick Buckley and Cayden Beacham breezed past some five laps in. Little changed from there on out, Szewczuk extending his margins to win by a resounding 4.0s over Buckley in second, Beacham rounding out third – McNeil driving from 24th-6th in 14 laps! Szewczuk’s consistency saw him take the series win over Riley Harrison, Cayden Beacham rounding out the top three.

KA3 Junior Heavy C&D, our smallest class for the weekend with just six entrants, however, this certainly didn’t stop the action. Ryder Vukusic snatched pole position by just 0.012s over Atran in second, Ashley Parker rounding out the top three. The heats commenced and Jake O’Donnell staging an upset in heat one to claim victory, Vukusic later converting his pole position into a win in heat two. Tied on points, Vukusic started off pole alongside O’Donnell, Cassius Barber in P3. We got underway and it was O’Donnell who swooped into the lead, Vukusic in second as Barber occupied third. The laps wound down and suddenly Barber was out of it whilst in the top 5. Vukusic continued to stalk his prey, before the front runners seemingly came together – O’Donnell gifted a 2.7s margin. O’Donnell crossed the line for victory, Vukusic second with Atran rounding out the podium.

Moving on to day two, O’Donnell followed up on his speed from day one, sensationally taking pole by 0.07s over Atran behind, Parker in third with Vukusic out of qualifying as a result of a suspected carburettor issue. We got racing, O’Donnell victorious in heat one with Atran getting one back in heat two, more engine woes seeing Vukusic not finish the opening heat either before returning to P2 in the second heat. Atran was set to lead us away for the final alongside O’Donnell, Barber once again in third. Lights out and we’re racing, Barber moving into the lead from Atran and Vukusic! Barber maintained a defensive line soon as he hit the lead, recognising this as his opportunity to bring home something big! Vukusic was on the prowl, disposing of Atran early before reclaiming the lead on lap five with Atran following through. Barber continued to drive defensively, holding back the chasing the field some 13 seconds until being shovelled off with a handful of laps to go. It was very clearly a two-horse race, Atran with the speed to close up to the back of Vukusic but not enough to get past – Vukusic fighting back to claim a big win over Atran in second, Parker securing third almost 14 seconds behind.

KA3 Junior Heavy saw Zach Turner take pole position by almost 0.3s over Fletcher Shaw in P2, Oliver Von Tunk rounding out the top three. The JSH Racing pilot looked keen to keep up his hot run of form, winning the opening two heats with the latter podium places duelled between Von Tunk, Shaw, Rya Roberts and Charlotte Page.

Without a shadow of a doubt, Turner was the driver to beat as he started off pole alongside Von Tunk and Roberts behind. Lights out and away we go, Turner into the lead with Roberts hot in pursuit. Roberts was on Turner’s tail for entirety of the 14-lap affair, closing to within 0.1s, however couldn’t pull off the move – Turner clean sweeping the opening night from Roberts in 2nd, Loclan Hennock rounding out the top three after a race of very little change at the top of the order.

Saturday looked to prove some more enthralling action, and that it did – Charlotte Page claiming pole position over Hennock in P2, Turner down in 3rd. The racing commenced and we were underway, Page seeking glory after a difficult opening day saw her take two heat wins on the trot – Hennock, Roberts and Jack Plumb knocking on the door at any opportunity they could take.

We were yet again set to get underway for the KA3 Junior Heavy main final, Page off pole alongside Hennock, Plumb back in third. A clean start saw Page move swiftly into the lead with Rya Roberts behind, Hennock in third. Hennock recognised the speed of Page out front, moving into P2 on lap two whilst Turner joined him another two laps later. Together they set after Page in front, who continued to throw down fastest laps almost for fun. Come the end of it, prodigious Page took a stellar victory 1.2s ahead of Hennock in 2nd, Turner rounding out 3rd to claim the 2024 Junior Top Guns championship in the category! Rya Roberts and Loclan Hennock rounding out the remaining championship podium.

KA2, the elite junior category and the final race of our schedule (and this report) certainly didn’t fail to excite. After a period of drizzle, it was a gamble for teams to select either the slick or wet tyre for their session. With the slight rain steadily increasing, Tony Kart’s Jake Ristell took his maiden pole position in the category having opted for the wet tyre from Maxim Kirwan in second, Lewis Cordato in third. Racing was well and truly underway, conditions significantly improving saw a dry opening race for KA2 compatriots. Ristell was unable to translate his speed in the wet into the dry as Sam March took out the opening heat over before JND Racing’s Brad Majman claimed heat two (Majman having driven from 15th-3rd in heat one, before going 3rd to 1st in heat two). Majman was set to start of pole position alongside Queensland’s Isaac McNeil, Marh starting out of P3. Lights out and we were underway, Majman holding his own out front with March in second, McNeil just behind. McNeil wasn’t looking at letting Majman have it easy, McNeil passing for P2 the next lap. McNeil set chase, yet Majman’s clinic out front saw him take the win by a touch over 1.000s over McNeil, Harry Bresnehan rounding out the top three.

After all the jostling for positions during the heats on Friday, Saturday promised more thrilling action as Isaac McNeil looked to redeem himself in qualifying, claiming pole position by a mere 0.03 over March in P2 – local Tony Kart star Cooper Frith in third – Majman back in 6th. After Majman qualified out of position, Majman realised this as his opportunity to get runs on the board, taking the win in the opening heat from Majman and Frith behind, before Majman retaliated with a win of his own – Frith 2nd and McNeil 3rd.

The battle between the class supremos had been bubbling away all weekend – once again lined up alongside each other, mano a mano with Cooper Frith lining up out of third. Lights out and KA2 charge into turn one, Majman with a slender lead as the ferocious Frith capitalises to take 2nd, McNeil back in third. A lap later and McNeil is on the move, skidding past Frith deep under brakes in the infield. The laps wound down; McNeil dogged in pursuit of Majman out front whilst Frith was ready to pounce on any unforced errors, ProKarting’s Miles Baker 4th with Tom Williamson Motorsport’s Liam Carr in 5th. Three laps to go, McNeil now scrambling to close up to the back of Majman, Majman doing enough to maintain the thinnest of gaps whilst Carr is shuffled down the order with a collision in the dying moments of the race. McNeil looked to size up several moves, but the magical Majman pulled yet another rabbit out of his ever-impressive hat to escape with another win, McNeil taking 2nd and Frith taking home an impressive P3!

With the dust settled, Majman claimed the championship title for 2024, McNeil 2nd and Sam March claiming 3rd.

Yet another awesome Junior Top Guns event held at the Oakleigh Go-Kart Racing Circuit. If Top Guns is any bit of a precursor to go by, it will be world-class action when the Australian Kart Championships return late-August for the final round of Nationals!