VCS Bounces Into Ballarat

words – Andrew Hayes, AHR Media

The Ballarat Kart Club has hosted it’s first DPE Kart Superstore Victorian Country Series round in several years, by unveiling the newly named and reconfigured ‘Central Highlands Regional Karting Complex’.

The re-designed circuit was officially opened by Martha Haylett MP on the Sunday of the meeting in what was a momentous occasion for the hard working Ballarat Club.

210 Entries signalled their intention to take to the new circuit, and few were left disappointed as perfect conditions greeted competitors on both Saturday and Sunday.

Who left the bonnet pins out? Ayden Tempany, Junior Heavy (pic – Darren’s Sportography)

The racing was action packed, headlined by several full course yellows and also outstanding performances.

  • full results on Speedhive HERE
  • scroll to the bottom for photo gallery
  • more photos by Darren’s Sportography HERE
  • images by BPM Photography – Saturday HERE, Sunday (with podiums) HERE

Official re-opening ceremony

Racing was back at Ballarat, and here’s how round 2 of the VCS went down:

KA3 JUNIOR HEAVY (13 Entries)

KA3 Junior Heavy saw an entries spike for round 2, and the pole position was taken by just over a tenth by Chelsea Humphrey (37.347).

SA’s Levi Jones crossed the line first in the opening two heats, however would be penalised for passing under yellow in the opener, promoting Humphrey to the win. Humphrey then went on to prevail in the third heat in a close finish.

Humphrey and Jones looked to square off in the final, with Humphrey getting the better of the start. From there Humphrey drove a technically perfect final, suffocating any opportunity for Jones to challenge by running defensive lines through the passing points from the outset. Humphrey’s racecraft meant that Jones would finish second, followed by Jake Ristell, who had a very solid weekend in third. Lewis Tabaczynski and Sam Spiteri were home in fourth and fifth respectively.

1st Chelsea Humphrey (ELKC)
2nd Levi Jones (MGKC)
3rd Jake Ristell (OAK).

Chelsea Humphrey leads Levi Jones and Jake Ristell (pic – Darren’s Sportography)


Tag Restricted Light also enjoyed a resurgence, as it returned to it’s pre covid numbers at Ballarat. Also making a return was SA based Ben Kilsby, who marked his return with a smooth pole position (36.612).

Kilsby used the pole position to capitilise with wins in the opening two heats, before round one winner Harrison Duske showed some of that pace to claim the third encounter.

The final saw a great battle between Kilsby, Duske and Max Fahey, as they went toe to toe for many laps. Fahey made his way to the front and led laps until Duske slipped by on lap 13. Shortly after a roll over at turn 3 brought on the full course yellow, a yellow that would take the race to the chequered flag. Despite not getting a restart, the excellent race fell the way of Duske. Fahey would’ve liked a chance to challenge, but settled for second ahead of Kilsby in third. Mackenzie Rowley and Jack Moloney had busy weekends, and ended up rounding out the top five.

1st Harrison Duske (STKC)
2nd Max Fahey (SWKC)
3rd Ben Kilsby (PORT)

Max Fahey, 2nd in TaG Rest Light (pic – Darren’s Sportography)

TAG HEAVY (14 Entries)

Strong numbers in Tag Heavy for the Ballarat round, but a familiar face prevailed in qualifying, with Portland’s Scott King taking the honours (36.179) once again.

After retiring at the final round of 2023, Ryan Cook dusted himself off and proved he had lost none of his speed by claiming all three heat races in a very polished display.

Not for the first time in Tag Heavy, Cook and King lined up on the front row of the final, ready to renew hostilities. Cook was away well from the pole and led the field away with pressure from King. The King pressure only intensified as the race went on, but Cook was able to withstand all challenges and prevail in a great race. King was home in second for the second consecutive round. Wayne Bourke was a good addition to the field, and finished third after dropping as low as fifth in the early laps. Kyle Pettenhofer and Nathan Rosenzweig were amongst the action throughout the weekend and claimed fourth and fifth.     

1st Ryan Cook (WBOOL)
2nd Scott King (PORT)
3rd Wayne Bourke (OAK)

Ryan Cook (28) ahead of Scott King (4), TaG Heavy (pic – Darren’s Sportography)

CADET 12 (24 Entries)

Big numbers in Cadet 12, and another big performance from Ballarat’s Archie Bristow, with the hometown hero grabbing a second consecutive pole position (39.674)

Bristow was white hot in the heat races, as he steamed to three consecutive wins in convincing fashion.

Completing a comprehensive weekend, Bristow was a start to finish leader in the final, taking a fine win. Ballarat clubmate Lewis Kucina put in a storming drive to cross the line second, only to be disqualified post race. The disqualification promoted Alana Gurney and Jasper Partouche into second and third, rewarding the pair for impressive drives across the weekend. Cooper Dellaca had a fine weekend at home to finish fourth ahead of Ethan Turnbull in fifth.

1st Archie Bristow (Ballarat)
2nd Alana Gurney (OAK)
3rd Jasper Partouche (GKCV)

Archie Bristow (81) and Alana Gurney duke it out in Cadet 12 (pic – Darren’s Sportography)

KA3 SENIOR LIGHT (21 Entries)

Less than a tenth of a second separated the top four in KA3 Senior Light qualifying, and pulling out a big lap at the end of the session to lead all comers was Oakleigh’s Lachlan Cutting (36.569).

Former National Junior Champion Dylan Hollis continued to built momentum on his return to karting by taking the first and third heats. Brocklan Parker claimed the second with some fantastic racecraft along the way.


Hollis made the most of his pole position start to add the win in the final to his impressive weekend stat line. Cutting gave a gallant chase, but in the end second was his ultimate result. Parker dropped as low as sixth place early in the stanza, but worked his way to a solid points haul in third place. Ryder Vukusic and Dom Kucina were both on the rebound as they found their way into fourth and fifth.

1st Dylan Hollis (BALL)
2nd Lachlan Cutting (OAK)
3rd Brocklan Parker (PORT)

Senior Light winner Dylan Hollis (pic – Darren’s Sportography)


Masters had all the usual ingredients, but with Leigh Holmes added to the mix. It certainly didn’t take long for him to make his presence felt, as he stormed to a debut pole position (37.450) in qualifying.

Holmes was superior in the heats, resisting numerous challenges on his way to three consecutive wins.

Holmes led the field away for the final, however it wasn’t long before Heath Jelbart made his way to the front of the order. Numerous lead changes ensued, before Holmes made the smallest of breaks to motor to victory in his VCS debut. Jelbart surrendered second to opening round winner Neil Mcauley late in the race, Jelbart settling in third after being a red hot contender. Leon Forrest and John Page had been in everything most of the weekend, and consolidated fourth and fifth.

1st Leigh Holmes (ELKC)
2nd Neil McAuley (ELKC)
3rd Heath Jelbart (BEN)

Heath Jelbart (4) and Neil McAuley (42) made the podium behind Combined Masters newcomer Leigh Homes (pic – Darren’s Sportography)

CADET 9 (18 Entries)

Another field to get a significant boost in entries was Cadet 9, which had a very impressive 18 entries take part. Making a triumphant return to VCS was Oliver Armitt, who snatched pole position (40.624) by just under 3 tenths of a second.

Armitt continued his good form in the heats, taking the first and third editions, whilst Beau Chambers snuck home in the second.

Come final time and Armitt was at his sensational best, taking a comprehensive lights to flag victory by just under 6 seconds. His biggest competitor for the weekend was Chambers, and he fittingly finished in second place, backing up the same result from Cobden. After some epic battles, the final spot on the podium belonged to Jett Herring, who just got the better of Oscar Calisici in fourth. Cooper Djemil was home in fifth after fighting hard all weekend.

1st Oliver Armitt (OAK)
2nd Beau Chambers (PORT)
3rd Jett Herring (SGKC)

Oliver Armitt (5) and Beau Chambers (95) cleared out in the Cadet 9 final (pic – Darren’s Sportography)

KA3 JUNIOR LIGHT (28 Entries)

Jai George was super fast at the opening round at Cobden, but missed the podium due to mechanical issues, and he came out all guns blazing to make amends. His pole position (36.499) came by a mere 6 hundredths of a second.

George was in scintillating form in the heats, as he repelled all challenges to clean sweep the heat races.

Noah Johnstone, beached on the kerb in Junior Light (pic – BPM Photography)

George had pace to burn in the final, leading from start to finish to claim his first VCS round win for 2024, crossing the line just over a second ahead. Round one winner Aiden Schweikert was the challenger in the final, but he would have to be content with second and another bulk points haul. Hudson Hughes landed on the podium in third, backing up his second place in Cobden. Lucas Rickard was fourth ahead of Christian Bua Giancarro and Ari Seidel in a big field of Junior Light.

1st Jai George (ELKC)
2nd Aiden Schweikert (OAK)
3rd Hudson Hughes (OAK)

Jai George did the clean sweep in Junior Light (pic – Darren’s Sportography)

TAG LIGHT (15 Entries)

The Jacob Dowson of 2024 is a phenomenal competitor, a driver taking all before him, and he showed his class and poise to claim another VCS pole position (35.600).

You could be forgiven for comparing Dowson to a rabbit at the greyhounds in the heat races, as the pack chased relentlessly but never got close to catching him. Dowson completing three consecutive victories.

Dominant Dowson in the final, leading from start to finish for a 8.4 second demolition. On current form, hard to see him getting beaten this year. Following a spate of post race penalties for restart procedures, it was Max Stavrakis who ascended up to second place and his best VCS result to date. SA’s Ryan Morgan completed the podium, ahead of Bronson Boult and the exciting Jordi Belton in fourth and fifth respectively.

1st Jacob Dowson (GKCSA)
2nd Max Stavrakis (GKCV)
3rd Ryan Morgan (SGKC)

TaG 125 Light take a start (pic – Darren’s Sportography)


For the third consecutive round, Andrew Sotiropoulos laid down the pole time (37.421) in restricted medium, this time by just over 2 tenths of a second.

Like an ancient warrior in the colosseum, Sotiropoulos prevailed in each of the heat races, despite Darryl Henman throwing down the gauntlet on multiple occasions.

Sotiropoulos was away smartly in the final, but was shadowed by Henman, who shadowed the leader far closer than he had in the heat races. Whilst Henman was gallant, it would be ‘The Sot’ claiming back to back round wins in a perfect start to 2024. Henman would finish second after a strong weekend, ahead of Jono McKean, who appeared to find his mojo in a solid showing for third place. Jack Ryan and Jeremy Kiensrod battled hard for fourth and fifth.

1st Andrew Sotiropoulos (OAK)
2nd Darryl Henman (ELKC)
3rd Jono McKean (WBOOL)

Jack Tyan (91) and Jeremy Kiensrod (17) were just off the podium, 4th and 5th in TaG Restricted Medium (pic – Darren’s Sportography)

KA3 SENIOR MEDIUM (15 Entries)

Last class out for qualifying was KA3 Senior Medium, and it was Zach Findlay taking his first pole position (36.842) since Horsham 2023.

Findlay would be tested as he was shuffled down the order in the opening heat, but rebounded to prevail by just under 7 tenths of a second. Continuing that momentum, Findlay would go on to notch up wins in heats two and three also.

Findlay was another driver to claim the clean sweep, as he led every lap of the final to finish off a picture perfect weekend of driving. Matt Nietz chased hard, but would settle for second, and his first podium of 2024. Spiros Anagnostopoulos has made the move to KA3, and had to overcome a legend of karting to claim his first VCS podium in the class, home in third place. The legend in question? None other than the master Remo Luciani, who looked menacing on his way to fourth. Ben Mouritz may have been disappointed ultimately with fifth place, but certainly banked some points across the weekend.

1st Zach Findlay (GKCV)
2nd Matt Nietz (GKCSA)
3rd Spiros Anagnostopoulos (ELKC)

Senior Medium winner Zach Findlay leads runner-up Matthew Nietz (pic – Darren’s Sportography)

The VCS will return to racing by the coast at Portland & District Karting Club on 29/30 June.


Thanks as always to the Victorian Country Series Sponsors:

  • KFC