Zavaglia Inches Closer Winning First Race

from Mark Jones

Sam Zavaglia has come through an attrition stuck field at the Australian Superkart Championship to take the first race win of the weekend and push his championship lead out to 21 points.

Zavaglia, driving the Stockman Superkarts supported Stockman-Yamaha, was pushed all the way by Gary Pegoraro who led early after a holeshot start from fifth grid position. Zavaglia got inside of Pegoraro on the second lap, the two rubbing sidepods before Zavaglia was able to push clear.

"Couldn't be happier," enthused Zavaglia. "It's still a long way to go, but with that result I'll sleep well tonight. The kart was much better, we've been chasing balance. Once I got in front I was taking it conservatively in the long sweepers to preserve the tyres. It's a long way to go."

Pegoraro put his engine problems behind him and launched brilliantly off the line before settling into second.

"We've got to get more pace," said Pegoraro. "We're running a little conservative after the seizures in practice. We're still learning the kart I've only had it on a long track at Mallala." The result vaults Pegoraro into third place in the points chase.

Robert Oakley, a front runner several years ago, but running a low budget operation climbed into third place after a brilliant start out of twelfth grid position. The Nick Paul Stockman-Honda held the position throughout the race, giving the South Australian his best race result since 2006.

"Complete turn up for the books," grinned Oakley. "The kart was great, a newer set of tyres made the difference. We put the kart back to a more standard setting and it responded."

The fast end of the paddock was decimated with a variety of problems. The front row of the grid was out on the first lap. Polesitter Warren McIlveen's Stockman-Honda spun off at the top of the circuit on the opening lap. Yiani Harpas' Zip-BRC stopped just after the first corner. Kristian Stebbing (Stockman-Honda) spun out of third place exiting Corporate Hill, with Darren Hossack taking to the grass in avoidance, breaking his nosecone. Anton Stevens (PVP) had a rear cylinder failure and did not take the start. Ilya Harpas speared off twice, breaking a battery mounting bracket. Shane Price's Anderson-Safe overheated, likely a legacy of engine problems in practice.

Hossack clawed back to fourth place by races end, the kart handling awry from the bent nosecone. The fourth place finish gave Hossack valuable points, limiting the gain Zavaglia's win gave him. Stephen Castles (Top Torque Engines Stockman-Honda) finished fifth, the car getting quicker as the day went on, with Pegoraro's team mate Colin McIntyre bringing the Dunlop Kartsport/Marron Excavations Anderson-FPE home fo sixth position.

Seventh place was a great fight resolved in the end in favour of Vince Livaditis (Top Dog Advertsing PVP) after what had been a miserable weekend. The closing laps saw Livaditis catch and battle with Jason Laker (1800 Bumper Stockman-Honda) until a brief contact between the car at the hairpin on the last lap allowed Russell Jamieson (Coach Design Stockman-Honda) to leap past Laker into eighth with two corners to go. Brett Purdie faded from this battle to finish tenth in the Martelco Hire Zip Eagle-Yamaha.

Jeff Reed in the Telgrit Stockman-Honda finished in eleventh position, taking out the 125cc class. Reed took the class lead away from the fast starting John Pellicano and racing against the 250cc karts as the race went on.

"Really enjoyable," said Reed. "It was good early in the race chasing down Pelly (John Pellicano). We got the result we came here for. We can only hope we can stay on the black stuff all weekend."

Steven Tamasi (Domain Prestige Homes Stockman-Honda) missed the start completely, having misjudged his first standing start and he spent the rest of the race claswing back into second position, taking Brad Stebbing (Suburban Accounting Stockman-Yamaha) into turn 1 on the second last lap.

"I was waiting for the ten second board and by the time I got it into gear everyone was away. The car was fine, just gotta keep the head down and concentrate on the points."

Behind Stebbing, Rod Conn (Arconn Refrigeration Stockman-Honda) picked up valuable points in fourth ahead of Drene Jamieson (Coach Design Stockman-Honda) while John Pellicano (Giova Design Avoig-Honda) limped home with a broken sparkplug.

The series wraps up tomorrow with three races, ending with the crowing of the Australian Superkart Champion.

Points After Race 5:
Sam Zavaglia 95, Darren Hossack 74, Gary Pegoraro 67, Yiani Harpas 57, Ilya Harpas 53, Shane Price 42, Warren McIlveen 35, Robert Oakley 32, Anton Stevens 30, Kristian Stebbing 29

125cc Class
Steven Tamasi 99, Jeff Reed 77, Rod Conn 70, John Pellicano 62, Drene Jamieson 43