Breakthrough Victories At Rotax Nationals
Sera win puts him third outright on the all-time winner’s list
New South Wales drivers Jonathan Venter and Simon Meyer have claimed their maiden Australian karting championships at the Sparco Rotax Nationals in Ipswich, Queensland today.
Venter reveled in the wet conditions that competitors faced throughout the day to dominate both the pre-final and final to claim a convincing victory in the 24-lap main event in the Formula JMA category.
Above: Jonathan Venter on his way to victory in the Formula JMA category
The victory by the 14-year-old Sydneysider aboard a European-made Kosmic kart is his first Australian Championship after starting his career at the tender age of four in South Africa.
“It’s an amazing feeling, I’ve come close to winning at the Easter Nationals before but never thought I’d be able win one – so to win a National Championship is just amazing,” said Venter.
“This is my second Rotax Nationals. Last year I had three dnf’s in the heat races but still ended up 11th in the final. To come back this year and win is just great.
“I’ve been racing for ten years now, this is the biggest win of my career and continues a great year which has seen me win my first state championship in Queensland a couple of months ago and also enjoyed a strong run in the CIK Stars of Karting Series.
“Everyone in the team is excited, it shows that I’m not only good enough to mix it with the best but I can also beat them. It’s a great Father’s Day present for my Dad and I wouldn’t be able to win this title if it wasn’t for Troy Hunt.”
While Venter drove off into the distance, the battle for the minor positions was intense between the likes of Macauley Jones (son of V8 Supercar team owner Brad Jones), Hayden Cooper, James Macken and Pierce Lehane.
Lehane, who was crowned the CIK Stars of Karting Series Pro Junior (KF3) Champion last month, charged his way from 12th place on the grid at the start to finish third behind Venter and Cooper. After running strongly early in the race Jones crossed the line in fourth ahead of Gold Coast’s Macken.
After many years of having his older brother, Damien, have ‘one up’ on him having won the 2001 Rotax Heavy National crown, Simon Meyer has now matched his sibling’s feat.
Above: Simon Meyer claimed his maiden National Championship at the Sparco Rotax Nationals.
Meyer got the jump at the start of the Rotax Heavy final and it appeared as though the New South Welshman would drive away to a comfortable victory, however, his CRG team-mate Jason Pringle had other ideas.
Pringle showed superior pace in the slippery conditions to reduce Meyer’s four second lead in the opening half of the race to set up a titanic battle over the closing stages.
With three laps remaining Pringle snared the lead from Meyer, only to have the early leader to fight back on the very next corner. Rain began to fall heavier as the pair started their penultimate lap which assisted Meyer as Pringle threw everything he had at the leader.
The pair ran nose-to-tail and side-by-side at various points during the final circulation before Meyer claimed a narrow victory ahead of Pringle.
Rick Pringle fended off a spirited fight from the Team RacePrep pairing of Lee Mitchener and Brendan Nelson, who started from position 23.
“It’s an amazing feeling, I’ve been racing for 20 odd years and never won a national championship, I’ve won three state championships but never a national. Finally I can now go home and tell Damien that I’ve won a green plate as well,” said Meyer.
“Jason threw everything he had at me in those final few laps. He’s a good CRG peddler, I’m just glad I was able to hold on in the end to lead home a CRG one-two-three.
“None of this would be possible without the held of Chris Dell from CRG Australia - It didn’t matter if it was wet or dry, the kart was superb.
“I’d also like to thank Mum for all of her efforts across the years, she’s been there through everything and also my mechanic Carsten Tiedemann who has worked tirelessly for many years to get me here.”
Since graduating to the senior ranks David Sera has been almost unbeatable in the Rotax Light division and at this weekend’s Sparco Rotax Nationals this was once again the case.
Sera, who had a disappointing run during the opening two heat races yesterday, fired back in today’s wet conditions to start from fourth position in the championship final.
Above: David Sera moved to third on the all-time winner's list with today's victory
Local driver Scott Auld, who won the 2004 Rotax Light crown, took out the pre-final to secure the all important pole position for the 24-lap final.
Starting alongside Auld was Toowoomba’s Tyler Greenbury, who won his opening two heat races before finishing sixth in the final rain soaked qualifying encounter.
Auld led the field during the opening lap of the final but his time at the front would be short-lived as four-time and defending champion Sera leapt into the lead on the second lap.
From that point Sera left the rest of the field to battle for the minor positions while he cleared off into the distance aboard his Monster Energy Drink-backed Arrow kart.
Above: Ipswich driver Scott Auld leading the Rotax Light field into turn one for today's championship final
Auld held down second for the majority of the race and appeared on track to claim the fourth Rotax Nationals podium of his career, however, it wasn’t to be for the local competitor with a mechanical failure ending his run with six laps remaining.
Auld’s demise elevated Gold Coast’s Troy Bretherton to second place aboard his Pacific Kartsport Arrow ahead of the hard charging Kyle Ensbey, who started from position 37 on the grid.
Such was the pace shown by Ensbey he passed Bretherton with one and a half laps remaining to take the runner-up place behind Sera. Bretherton held on for third place well clear of team-mate Damian Ward and Intrepid pilot Ryal Harris.
Sera’s victory makes him the first driver to claim five titles in the ten year history of the Sparco Rotax Nationals and moved him into third outright on the all-time winners list in Australian karting with 11 National crowns.
“The heavens opened up for us today, we didn’t quite have the pace in the dry – as was seen by my qualifying performance in 11th – but in the wet we had a really good set-up,” said Sera.
“Scott showed some great speed in the pre-final to take the win and had me worried a bit but in the final I got a good start and cleared out, I was lucky that I was able to drive my own race.
“It has been an amazing career so far, I’ve had some great people looking after me like my Dad and the team at Arrow karts and with that has come a lot of success.
“To be third outright on the all-time winners list is something pretty special but I’m still four short of Johnny (John Pizarro) on the all-time winners list – maybe one day I’ll get there.”
In the non-championship races it was Joseph Mawson (Formula JMA Heavy), Damien Ward (Rotax DD2), Mick Robson (Rotax Over 35s) and Bruce Otter (Rotax Super Heavy).
Above: Local female racer Renee Gracie leading fellow local Brock Plumb in the Formula JMA category
To view the full results please click here.
Click here to view the notebook highlighting some of the news snippets and information from behind the scenes
Updates from the weekend’s action is available on twitter.com/karting_net_au
Sparco Rotax Nationals Champions
2001 – Matthew Wall (Vic) - Arrow
2002 – Josh Arandt (Vic) - Arrow
2003 – Bart Price (Vic) - Arrow
2004 – Scott Auld (Qld) - Arrow
2005 – David Sera (Vic) - Arrow
2006 – Hayden McBride (NSW) - Gillard
2007 – David Sera (Vic) - Arrow
2008 – David Sera (Vic) - Arrow
2009 – David Sera (Vic) - Arrow
2010 – David Sera (Vic) - Arrow
2001 – Damien Meyer (NSW) - CRG
2002 – Brett Davidson (Vic) - Arrow
2003 – William Yarwood (Qld) - Arrow
2004 – William Yarwood (Qld) - Arrow
2005 – William Yarwood (Qld) - Arrow
2006 – William Yarwood (Qld) - Arrow
2007 – Kel Treseder (Qld) - Top Kart
2008 – Kel Treseder (Qld) - Kosmic
2009 – Matthew Wall (Vic) - Arrow
2010 – Simon Meyer (NSW) - CRG
2009 – Ben Jurczak (Qld) - Redspeed
2010 – Jonathan Venter (NSW) - Kosmic
2001 – Eastern Creek International Karting Raceway, Sydney, NSW
2002 – Todd Road Karting Complex, Melbourne, Vic
2003 – Mt Sugarloaf Raceway, Newcastle, NSW
2004 – Ipswich Raceway, Ipswich, QLD
2005 – Beckley Park Raceway, Geelong, Vic
2006 – Mt Sugarloaf Raceway, Newcastle, NSW
2007 – Ipswich Raceway, Ipswich, QLD
2008 – Todd Road Karting Complex, Melbourne, Vic
2009 – Eastern Creek International Karting Raceway, Sydney, NSW
2010 – Ipswich Raceway, Ipswich, QLD