Kovacic On Track For Triple Treat - AKA Nationals News

AKA press release

New South Wales driver James Kovacic is on track to re-write the record books in Australian karting at the 46th National Sprint Kart Championships sponsored by Yamaha in Launceston tomorrow.

Kovacic, who is a 12-time state champion, is competing in the Junior National Light and Heavy categories along with the elite Junior Clubman class.

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Above: James Kovacic

At the completion of the qualifying races Kovacic has secured the pole position for all of the three categories. If successful in all three championship finals tomorrow Kovacic will be the first driver to win three national titles at the one event since West Australian Daniel Elliott secured the triple at Kalgoorlie in 1999.

This weekend’s event is Kovacic’s fourth tilt at a national crown with his previous best coming in 2006 when he finished runner up in the Junior National Light category. In last year’s event he won every qualifying race, however, he failed to finish the final of Junior Clubman after starting from pole position.

“So far everything is going extremely well but there is still a long way to go,” said Kovacic.

“After being so fast last year only to not finish the final I know that the job is far from done yet. I came here with the aim of winning one title so if I can do that it would great, however, if I can win all three I will be over the moon.”

Set to start behind Kovacic in tomorrow’s Junior Clubman final will be Ben Jurczak, Ben Lincoln followed by Gold Coaster Scott McLaughlin and second generation Launceston pilot Chris Hays.

After qualifying second fastest in qualifying yesterday local driver Zane Wyatt has continued his good form in the Leopard Heavy category. Wyatt will start the championship final from second position in his Kosmic behind Arrow driver Justin Schneider.

Hobart driver Samm Harrington is flying the Tasmanian flag high in the Clubman Super Heavy category. Harrington will start tomorrow’s championship final from third position behind defending champion Scott Simpson.

The final day of the championships is set to fire into action at 9:45am on Sunday with a total of 10 national champions to be decided throughout the day.

The Southern Cross Archerville Kartway is located on Pipers River Road, Turners Marsh (through Rocherlea).

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Above: Driver's briefing

See below for a class-by-class look at the Pre-Final action from the 46th Australian National Sprint Kart Championships in Launceston, Tasmania.

For Saturday morning’s Heat race coverage, CLICK HERE.


Matthew Wall will start his attempt to win his first Clubman Australian Title from pole position after taking out a tense Pre-Final on Saturday.

Wall and Shayne Pieper worked together to move away from the pack and establish a gap. With three laps to go Pieper decided it was time to make his move, but the gap quickly closed and Pieper’s Monaco rode the back of Wall’s Arrow at the hairpin at the end of the back straight.

Wall was lucky not to sustain exhaust damage and went on to take the win, with Jason Hryniuk, who was lucky to start after his CRG initially failed to fire, grabbing second as Pieper fell to third.

Clubman Heavy’s two heats saw many notable DNFs, so it was no surprise that many talented drivers who had suffered incidents in the heats drove back through the field. Peter Lawler moved right up the field to finish sixth, just behind Paul Pittam and Jarod Bishop, while Lee Mitchener, who started from the very back of the grid, drove up to 13th.

While Adelaide driver Pittam is following on from his brilliant form from the Victorian Open, where he scored pole position in his Omega, his fellow South Australian Michael Cross was not so lucky, on his way to a final’s grid spot on the first four rows before engine troubles ended his run.

Brendan Nelson was another who had engine dramas let him down. The Phoenix driver from Toowoomba was slated to start the Pre-Final from fourth but had his kart encounter trouble even before the green light.

Results: Pre-Final (Starting Order for Final)
1. Matthew Wall
2. Jason Hryniuk
3. Shayne Pieper
4. Paul Pittam
5. Jared Bishop
6. Peter Lawler
7. Jace Lindstrom
8. Franky Costanzo
9. Troy Hunt
10. Aaron Rintoul

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Above: Shayne Pieper


Reigning Australian Champion Scott Simpson is on track to record his third consecutive Clubman Super Heavy title after cruising to a win in the Pre-Final.

Jason Stania, the man that beat Simpson to the Victorian State title last month, suffered an engine failure on the roll around laps, leaving Tasmanians Samm Harrington and Bruce Otter as Simpson’s main competition for the green plate.

As Simpson drove off into the distance the quartet of Harrington, Otter, Nick Scudds and Ben McKinlay battled for the minor positions. Unfortunately for Scudds he dropped a chain in his Kosmic kart mid race bringing him to a halt.

Simpson crossed the line well clear of McKinlay and Harrington.

Results: Pre-Final (Starting Order for Final)
1. Scott Simpson
2. Ben McKinlay
3. Samm Harrington
4. Bruce Otter
5. Alan Fitzpatrick
6. Phill Straughen
7. Brad Segda
8. Phill Straughen
9. Kristopher Hen
10. Chad Wissler


James Kovacic’s Monaco was simply too good in Junior Clubman, holding out Ben Jurczak for the duration of the Pre-Final to take the all important pole for Sunday’s final.

Ben Lincoln and Scott McLaughlin drove a lonely race to take third and fourth respectively, while Adam Lindstrom was unlucky not to secure a top five starting spot in his Pro Karting machine. Lindstrom started from fourth but was shuffled wide at the hairpin, recovering from as far down as 13th place to clinch the ninth grid spot for tomorrow’s final, just ahead of team-mate Kayne Hughes.

Brenton Mountjoy and Jarrod Egan were out at the start-finish line at the start in a fast accident, but both emerged uninjured. Other than that incident the pre-final was relatively incident free in contrast to the earlier heats, suggesting the young guns are saving their best for Sunday’s final.

Results: Pre-Final (Starting Order for Final)
1. James Kovacic
2. Ben Jurczak
3. Ben Lincoln
4. Scott McLaughlin
5. Chris Hays
6. Nathan Morcom
7. Damian Ward
8. Joshua Burdon
9. Adam Lindstrom
10. Kayne Hughes


Defending champion Daniel Stein got off to a poor start in the Pre-Final for Senior National Light, but within a few laps was back into P1.

But it was Franky Costanzo that had the pace in the first half of the race, and by mid-race distance the Victorian had pulled a gap on fellow Arrow drivers Stein and Matthew Waters.

Tasmanian Mark Brown showed a tremendous turn of speed to come from the middle of the field to take the lead with one lap remaining from Costanzo, but as the two tried to go through the fast Jones Corner side-by-side they touched an ran wide, leaving Waters and Stein to take the front row of the grid for tomorrow’s final, with Brown third, Contanzo fourth and Ryan Reynolds closing up on the top four as a result of the skirmish to grab a close fifth.

Results: Pre-Final (Starting Order for Final)
1. Matthew Waters
2. Daniel Stein
3. Mark Brown
4. Franky Costanzo
5. Ryan Reynolds
6. Nathan Mills
7. Nathan Mitchell
8. Darren Clee
9. Aiden Shelton


Two junior drivers competing in three categories this weekend, James Kovacic and Nathan Morcom, started on the front row. Morcom got the jump at the start ahead of Kovacic and Blake Scibberas.

By mid race the leading trio distanced themselves from the pack while positions fourth through to 14th ran nose to tail. After swapping the lead on a number of occasions throughout the race it was Kovacic who took over the front running for the final time at the end of the back straight on the last lap.

Kovacic took the win to secure pole position for the final in all junior categories, an outstanding effort that will be remembered for some time, regardless of the youngster's finishes in the finals. Morcom will start from the outside of the front row with Sciberras from the inside of the second row.

Results: Pre-Final (Starting Order for Final)
1. James Kovacic
2. Nathan Morcom
3. Blake Sciberras
4. Garry Jacobsen
5. Tyler Cramer
6. Daniel Oosthuizen
7. Aaron Johnstone
8. Max Johnstone
9. Mitchel Evans
10. Jack Dimsey


Justin Schneider took a commanding win in the Pre-Final for Leopard Heavy, getting a jump on the pack on the first lap and leading each lap of the race.

Local favourite Zane Wyatt and Nathan Mills led the battle for the minor placings, with 2006 Leopard Heavy Australian Champ Rick Pringle joining the duo in the latter stages but was unable to make a move stick to get into the top three.

Toyota Leopard Final winner Hayden Stephensen put his Phoenix in fifth place, ahead of heat winner Daniel Stein and a fast finishing Jeff Dickson.

Results: Pre-Final (Starting Order for Final)
1. Justin Schneider
2. Zane Wyatt
3. Nathan Mills
4. Rick Pringle
5. Hayden Stephensen
6. Daniel Stein
7. Jeff Dickson
8. Mark Cowley
9. Dominic Albanese
10. Jason White


Junior National Light is arguably the most eagerly awaited final at this year’s Nationals.

Every driver in the top 10 is capable of winning the Australian title, with other young stars such as Liam Sager, Nathan Morcom, Mathew Hart, Matt Brabham and Mitch L’Estrange all starting outside the top 10. It’s a tantalising prospect for what will be the first final of the day.

Unfortunately the starting order for Sunday’s final is still a matter for conjecture following an exclusion and subsequent appeal from one of today’s JNL heats. Brabham was leading the heat in his Arrow with L’Estrange’s Redspeed in hot pursuit. At the penultimate corner there was contact that resulted in Brabham spinning off into the gravel and L’Estrange taking the win, provisionally. The matter is in the hands of the stewards.

In spite of the controversy, James Kovacic has clearly been the class of the field. His amazing effort of staring each of the three junior categories from pole is the talk of the pits, and the drivers around him on the grid, Tyler Greenbury, Warren White Jr and Blake Sciberras, will no doubt realise that there are a myriad of contenders behind them giving chase.

Starting Order for Final after Three Heats (A-B-C-D Format)

1. James Kovacic
2. Tyler Greenbury
3. Warren White Jr
4. Blake Sciberras
5. Jack Howard
6. Cameron Waters
7. Steven Mackenzie
8. Sam Tanti
9. Chris Hays
10. Sean Butcher


Cian Fothergill and Brendan Nelson are at the forefront of Phoenix’s efforts for a debut Australian title for the Melbourne-based manufacturer and both will be in contention for the Senior National Light title here in Launceston.

Fothergill will start from the pole alongside state champion Matthew Waters, with Domenic Lostitch, Jack Cox and Nelson al in the top five.

Nicholas Tanti, a multiple state champion in juniors who has recently moved into seniors, has his Monaco kart starting from P6 in tomorrow’s final.

Starting Order for Final after Three Heats (A-B-C-D Format)
1. Cian Fothergill
2. Matthew Waters
3. Domenic Lostitch
4. Jack Cox
5. Brendan Nelson
6. Nicholas Tanti
7. Matthew Harris
8. Kyle Peters
9. Byron Bateson
10. Jackson Evans


The tension in the Leopard Light field has been obvious and intriguing over the past two days of competition in Launceston, with early favourite David Sera clinching pole for Sunday’s final in what will be billed as a showdown in the final race of the championships.

Alongside the driver so scintillating of late he has earned the nickname ‘Deadly’, will be cousin James Sera in the first of many Kosmic karts to feature strongly in Leopard Light.

The Tony Kart duo of Grant Smith and Jordie Lindstrom have been very, very strong this weekend and will fill the second row. As well as being fast, the duo have been on the track working together through their heats (they were drawn in the same division in the A-B-C-D system) and with their brilliantly presented karts, the pair resemble the KF1 CIK World Championship duo of factory Tony Kart drivers Marco Ardigo and Gary Catt.

The third row will be former Gillard team-mates Hayden McBride and Ryan Sanderson (Sanderson had returned to Arrow chassis in 2008), with Matthew Wall next ahead of Amrit Kandola’s Top Kart with Jason Hryniuk rounding out the top 10 in his CRG.

From ninth place will be the wildcard driver, Adam Hughes. The MKC/Kosmic driver was very impressive in his heats, never straying from the top couple of positions, but a DNF in his third heat after he rode the back of Sanderson has set him back to the wrong end of the top 10, but still in contention for an upset in the fastest field of the championships.

Starting Order for Final after Three Heats (A-B-C-D Format)
1. David Sera
2. James Sera
3. Grant Smith
4. Jordie Lindstrom
5. Ryan Sanderson
6. Hayden McBride
7. Amrit Kandola
8. Matthew Wall
9. Adam Hughes
10. Jason Hryniuk

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Above: Jordie Lindstrom


West Australian Steven Scoble will enter the Clubman Light final as the polesitter and a red-hot favourite, but he will have the defending national champion, the pre-event favourite and a trio of Phoenix karts chasing him down.

Scoble has been the pacesetter the minute the he switched from his new Arrow prototype chassis to the conventional model shortly before qualifying. He has had the measure of his rivals, but the final will be a tough one with the calibre of drivers in contention.

James Sera will start from the outside of the front row looking to defend his green plate, while Bart Price, who is now concentrating on Clubman Light after withdrawing from the Leopard Light field, is the current Clubman Light state champion in NSW and Victoria.

Phoenix looks on the verge of claiming its first national title at this meeting and Clubman Light, arguably the toughest class of all, had three Phoenix karts in the top six, with Cian Fothergill, Dean Foster and Matthew Hayes all directly behind the lead trio.

Deepal Kandola will start from P7, ahead of Tom Williamson, who is doing an outstanding job in his Azzurro and could prove to be a driver to watch after finishing in the top five in both his heats on Saturday.

Starting Order for Final after Three Heats (A-B-C-D Format)
1. Steven Scoble
2. James Sera
3. Bart Price
4. Cian Fothergill
5. Dean Foster
6. Matthew Hayes
7. Deepal Kandola
8. Tom Wiliiamson
9. David Sera
10. Joel Smith

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Above: Deepal Kandola


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