Two-Track Challenge: Rocky & Gladstone

by Marty Emerson

About 240 competitors travelled from right across QLD and northern NSW to take part in the annual Easter Two-Track Challenge at the Rockhampton & Gladstone kart tracks. 

21 Leopard Light drivers took part in the weekend's racing with plenty of spills and thrills providing some entertaining racing. Ryan Wlodzinski took the spoils for the weekend by 1 point over Gladstone's John Grother who suffered from a deflating tyre in the final race with Richard Larkins taking out 3rd. Grother provided a spectacle with some breath taking braking maneuvers into the 1st switchback at Rocky on Saturday whilst working his way through the field.

2 track challenge
Above: Leopard Light on a roll up lap

The Junior Classes had large numbers in both categories with a 24 kart Junior National Light class having the biggest field of the weekend. Mackay's Jarryd Ebzery took 3 race wins on his way to the number 1 spot ahead of Ben Harm and Chelsea Holman. In the heavy division, only 2 points separated winner Ben Stewart and 2nd place Chelsea Holman who was racing both light and heavy classes, with Dale Corbett taking 3rd place.   

2 track challenge
Above: JNL field preparing for a start.

In Sportsman Heavy, Townsville's Brad Belcher finished runner up for the weekend to James Greenwood with the pair the only 2 able to break a sub 35sec lap at Gladstone. Greenwood won all but 2 of the races over the weekend however Belcher set the fastest time at Gladstone on Sunday with a blistering 34.6 in one of the heats. Andrew Scott drove consistently all weekend to take home the 3rd place trophy.

2 track challenge
Above: Sportsman Heavy runner up Brad Belcher.

Brenton Simmonds and brothers Justin & Nathan Garioch were the standouts in the Sportsman Light class with every heat being won by one of the Mackay trio over the weekend. Despite being caught up in some incidents early in the weekend, Brenton had his Phoenix kart on song on the final day in Gladstone setting a 34.0 sec lap and winning all but 1 heat race.

2 track challenge
Above: The Garioch Brothers and Brenton Simonds fought out some close racing in the Sportsman Light class.

The Leopard Heavy class was dominated by local driver's, with Gladstone drivers taking all 3 podium positions. Mike Powe dominated the class winning every race at both tracks and proved that he will be hard to beat in the upcoming leopard series rounds. Benny Benedetto and Denis Butler battled it out for the final 2 podium spots.

2 track challenge
Above: Leopard Heavy winner Mike Powe

Cooloola Coast driver Colin Palmer took 6 race wins for the weekend to claim the win in Rotax Heavy, whilst John Krahenbring grabbed the other heat win and 2nd for the weekend ahead of Barry Palmer. As the driver's fine tuned their setups to suit the new MOJO tyres, the lap times dropped normally at a rate of a few tenths per race.
The Sportsman Super Heavy class was a race between the top 3 with all of them taking 2 race wins each, but in the end Brett Cruickshanks took the win ahead of Thomas Janusz and local driver Trevor Emerson who finished the weekend strong at his home track after suffering engine problems in the early heats.
TAG100 made is debut at both tracks and provided some close and entertaining racing. Townsville's Dave Price took the overall win and raced hard and fair against Adrian Marsden who took 2nd ahead of Heath Erkkila.

2 track challenge
Above: TAG100 get the green light in a heat race on Sunday.

A 22 kart Midget field and a 20 kart Rookie field showed that the younger generation don't mind swapping their chocolate eggs for race suits over the Easter break with both the classes being the largest seen in a long time. Maxim Erickson put on an impressive display of driver skill and kart setup to win every race in the large Midget field ahead of Zac Pattel and Miranda Plumb. Ashlon Gardner took the Rookie win for Chris Corbett and Jordan Lloyd.

2 track challenge
Above: #51 Maxim Erickson dominated the Midget class.

In Rotax Light Robert Beak piped Leigh Gallace who's weekend was hurt by a DNS in the prefinal to win the event with Mitchell Chetland taking out 3rd.
The Senior National Classes had 10 competitors each with Corey James winning every heat in the light class ahead of James Whitley and Scott Corenson. In the Heavy Division, James Whitley who was doing double duties beat Shay Mayes and Marshall Watson home for the win.
7 Junior Sportsman karts took to the track with Mitchell Fry and Ben Stewart tied on 11 points for the weekend and Fry's win in the final giving him the top spot ahead of Kent Cross in 3rd. 

2 track challenge
Above: Clubman Light pile up in a heat race in Rocky on Saturday.

Official Results are on
Rocky -

Gladstone -