Aussie Karters On The World Podium
AKA press release
Lehane on the podium in Italy, Sera second at SuperNationals in the USA
The future of Australian motorsport looks bright with several young drivers starring on the world karting scene across the weekend.
Sydney teenager Pierce Lehane, who was crowned CIK Stars of Karting Series Champion earlier this year, recorded the best finish by an Australian junior driver in the 10-year history of the Rotax Max World Challenge Final in Italy.
Above: Pierce Lehan on his way to 3rd at La Conca
The 14 year-old finished third in the event which attracted 250 drivers from 55 countries in identical Rotax-powered 125cc karts.
Lehane’s fellow Australians in the junior ranks Jonathon Venter and James Macken, finished 21st and 23rd, both having eventful races and often coming off second best courtesy of the very aggressive European style of racing.
“It feels great to be the world number three,” said Lehane.
“I’ve only been racing for just under three years it is a great achievement to reach this extremely high level in quiet a short time.
“Finishing third at the world championships against the 72 best junior max drivers from around the world, as just the best drivers from each country were eligible to compete.
“I was one of only a few drivers that had my Dad as a pit crew most drivers had one or two professional pit crew helping them – it was great to be able to share the moment with him.”
Unfortunately for the remaining seven Australian drivers competing at La Conca in Italy they endured some bad luck and were unable to transfer their speed into results after being crashed out of heat races or finals.
Joining Lehane on the podium amongst some of the world’s best drivers was David Sera at the 14th Annual SuperNationals in Las Vegas, America.
Above: David Sera on his way from 29th to second in Las Vegas.
Sera was among a group of ten Australian’s competing at the event – one that attracts the best drivers that America, Europe, Brazil and Mexico have to offer.
The Victorian, who is regarded as Australia’s top karting protégé, was forced to start from 29th in the 40-kart grid for the main event due to a technical issue in the opening heat.
While many drivers would have let this faze them Sera saw it as a challenge as he charged towards the front during the 25-lap final.
With a handful of laps remaining Sera had found his way past former Indy 500 Champion Dan Wheldon and onto the back of the leading pack. As the leader, Andre Nicastro, came onto the main straight for the final time Sera pulled out of the slipstream only to be blocked by Nicastro causing the pair to collide.
As a result of the impact Sera crossed the line 0.001 seconds behind the race winner.
“If you told me last night that I was going to finish second I would have been happy with that, but to come so close it's a bit disappointing,” said Sera.
“By mid race I was thinking that a top five was a realistic goal and then I kept catching the leaders and it made me determined to chase them down to take the win after being crashed out of last year's event.
“When we came onto the main straight for the final time, the leader went left so I went right – then he came across on me and we came together and crossed the line on top of each other.
“It was real Days of Thunder style.”
For the first time Australia had two representatives in the main event with CIK Stars of Karting Champion Matthew Wall and runner-up Kel Treseder lining up alongside the likes of World Karting Champions Marco Ardigo and Alessandro Piccini, IndyCar driver Raphael Matos and recently crowned World Series Karting Masters Series Champion, female hot shot Biestke Visser in the KZ2 Gearbox category.
Above: Kel Treseder
Wall encountered a couple of issues during his heat races while Treseder had a trouble free run which saw the pair line up on 29th and 11th respectively for the 25-lap main event.
The pair both held their own against the world’s best during their debut in the prestigious event before Treseder claimed 14th spot and Wall 20th – a very creditable effort in what is undoubtedly the toughest category in world karting.
Above: Matt Wall
“This weekend has been a real eye-opener, it has just been an amazing experience,” said Tresder.
“It has undoubtedly been the highlight of my career so far, to line up alongside the factory drivers from Europe, all of whom are professional karting racers, is something most karters can only dream of.
“I had to pinch myself a few times over the weekend to make sure it was real and then to finish inside the top half of the field is something that I’m very proud of.”
Like Treseder, Wall was honoured to be competing at the event.
“To be here is a real honour and I’d like to thank the Australian Karting Association, F1 Management, Schimick Racing and the J3 Motorsport team for the opportunity,” said Wall.
“The racing here has been amazing, while the results are a bit further down than what we are used to when you look at the quality of the field it is a good result.”
In the junior ranks at the American event Joseph Mawson was the best of the Australian finishers in fifth spot. The current Australian champion led on several occasions during the final, only to have a misfire hamper his performance late in the race.
Above: NSW teenager Joseph Mawson finished fifth in the TaG Junior category in Las Vegas aboard his Australian made Arrow
Victorian Adrian Lazzaro showed impressive speed during his overseas debut, only to be crashed out after charging his way forward during the final.
Competing in the TaG Masters category, for drivers aged over 30 years old using 125cc engines, Kip Foster dominated the final to cross the line well clear of his rivals.
Unfortunately for Foster he was later excluded due to a technical infringement on an engine supplied to him at the event by his team.
To view the full results from the Rotax MAX Challenge World Final please CLICK HERE.
For the results from the 14th Annual SuperNationals in Las Vegas please CLICK HERE.