Finals Day, Tasmanian ChampionshipsTweet
from Rebecca Wyatt
The final day of the 2011 Hunters Products Tasmanian Sprint Kart Championships has been run and won, with twelve Tasmanian Champions crowned after a day of fast and furious racing.
Sunshine greeted the first half of the program, with warm conditions greeting the first class of the day, Clubman Heavy, sponsored by GLB Constructions. It was a two-way tussle for the win, with Launceston’s Zane Wyatt pulling off the most impressive move of the meeting in his FortySeven Kart Tuning machine so far to take the win with one corner to spare, ahead of Mitchel Evans and Troy Stone. Unfortunately Evans came in under weight at the completion of the race, elevating Stone to second place and Steven Wrigley into the final podium position. Wyatt said after the event that the win was “the most amazing feeling. I do everything on this kart, from preparing the chassis to building the engine, and a win in such a competitive category is the best possible advertising for what I do for a living.”
Junior National Light, sponsored by All State Towing, was not one for the feint hearted, with Hobart’s Morgan Jakobovski pushing reigning state champion Damon Strongman of Melbourne all the way through their 21-lap final. Strongman fought back against a move by Jakobovski that had elevated him to the lead, but Jakobovski found the edge of the track with his left wheels which slowed his charge and dropped him back into the battle pack of third, fourth and fifth place. He managed to keep a cool head and shake off the challenges of the pack, led by Hobart’s Nicky Richards, to take second place behind Strongman.
National Champion Nicholas Ellen did not have the NRY Engineering-sponsored Senior National Light final all his own way, with Hobart’s Jay Baily pushing him for the entirety of their 21-lap final. The Gippsland Kart Club member fought off challenge after challenge from Baily, but was simply too good, taking out the state title to add to his collection. Ballarat’s Ashley Quiddington was a distant but comfortable third place, after a less-than-desirable start hindered his chance of competing with the leaders.
The Mighty Midgets, sponsored this weekend by Wyllie Tiles and Kart City, proved they are nothing if not entertaining, with some of the fastest karts from the weekend starting off the rear of the field after mechanical issues in the pre-final. Out in front, it was Victorian Cooper Murray and Queenslander Harrison Hoey trading blows for supremacy in the final. It was going down to the wire, with Hoey attempting a very brave move through the final sweeper, where he unfortunately made contact with the rear of Murray’s kart, which spun him around. Jordan Caruso, who had been charging through from grid 16, glided by to take second position, with Hoey recovering for third. Murray was ecstatic with his first State title and blue plate, but considerably more excited about his large Tasmanian Devil soft toy, which was purchased on his behalf and on behalf of all the victors for a donation to the Save The Tasmanian Devil fund.
As always, the FT Guy Bodyworks-sponsored Junior Clubman class provided plenty of excitement for the crowds. Reigning State Champion and Melburnian Anton De Pasquale led the field off the line, and looked set to cruise his way to the finish, until fastest qualifier Lachlan McHugh found his pace and mowed down the lead of De Pasquale. After disappointments in the heat racing, McHugh fought back to chase, catch and pass a number of fast karts, including Jake Klein and Justin Francis. While he had the pace to match and challenge De Pasquale, it was the reigning champion who emerged victorious ahead of McHugh and Klein.
As the Auto Addiction-sponsored Clubman Super Heavy field approached the grid, the few spits of rain which had fallen during the Junior Clubman final turned into a heavy shower, forcing the field to make adjustments on the grid to comply with a more optimal wet setup. Reigning State Champion and Melburnian Phill Straughen led the group off the line, with Melbourne’s Shane Wharton in hot pursuit, opening up a large gap back to Hobart-duo Kristopher Hen and Joshua Muskett, in only his fourth race back from a 13-year hiatus. As more rain fell and more puddles formed on the track, Wharton exerted his dominance, passing Straughen just before mid-race and building on the gap continually lap after lap. At a similar stage of the race, Muskett pulled out and passed Hen and maintained his lead through to the end of the race to take third place behind Wharton, in his first state title win, and Straughen.
After the lunch break and a wet carby session, Senior National Heavy, sponsored by CJ Marine & Karts, took to the track for their final, the first of the afternoon session. Launceston’s Zane Wyatt was pushed back to third after the start, but by the fourth corner had navigated his way through to the lead, and after that point, set about building a buffer over the rest of the field, eventually doubling up to take out the title and another blue plate in a hard fought race, with Launceston’s Jamie Bricknell coming home in second place and Mitchel Evans of Hobart emerging in third place.
The Tazzie Karts N Parts sponsored Rookies was a dominant display from defending champion Reece Sidebottom, who executed a precise race to take out the title and retain his blue plate for another year. Alex Peroni of Hobart fought very hard to claw his way back to the front of the field after being knocked around following the start, but the battle for the minor positions between Jacob Prestipino, Zane Morse, Zevie Eisentraut and Nicholas Cardamone was the source of excitement, with Prestipino of Victoria able to hang on for third place.
Over 40’s Pro, sponsored by the Riverview Hotel, saw fastest qualifier Peter O’Neill, of Sydney, challenging pole-sitter and local man Fred Cocca from the beginning. Cocca had a brilliant start and got the jump on the field and took control of the race from the outset, forcing O’Neill to chase him down, eventually getting the better of Cocca to take over the lead at around mid-race distance. Dale Madden, of Hobart, had his hands full with Neville Young challenging him for the entire 21-lap final for the final spot on the podium, but would eventually hold out the Launcestonian to join O’Neill and Cocca on the winner’s podium at the completion of racing.
An action-packed final of Tag Light, sponsored by Precision Autos, saw a number of incidents of contact even in the roll around laps, with a number of karts experiencing mechanical problems as a result. Once the racing began, Burnie duo Waylon Sims and Jake Rice found themselves in first and second position, and did their best to build a gap they would be able to defend. A number of drivers misjudged the braking abilities of their karts, finding themselves as spectators early on the race. It was, however, the drive of former Hobartian (and now Melbourne resident) Ben Walter, who fought back from a deflating tyre in the pre-final and a starting position on the very back of the grid, that provided the crowd with the most entertainment. He dodged the carnage that unfolded in front of him and managed to catch the lead duo with only five laps to travel, taking the lead with half a lap up his sleeve and holding on for one of the most popular wins of the day, ahead of Sims and Rice.
Junior National Heavy, also sponsored by FT Guy Bodyworks, continued to be the Anton De Pasquale show, as the National Champion continued his stellar form to take out the final convincingly over fellow Victorians Jake Klein and Gus Robbins. Damon Strongman, who had run in second place most of the weekend, lost a right-front wheel in the centre section of the track to end his race prematurely. The rain eased over the course of the race and by the end of the race, the sun was shining and drying the track which wreaked havoc with a number of karts further down the race order, but a dominant display from De Pasquale ensured he would be the second driver to take home two blue plates at the conclusion of racing.
Clubman Light, sponsored by FortySeven Kart Tuning, rounded out the program, with a flurry of activity on the out-grid with drivers electing whether to use slicks or wets on the rapidly drying track. Launceston local Nathan Zuj led the field from the start, getting a great break on the rest of the field from the outset. He set about building a gap over the rest of the field, as the likes of Nicholas Ellen and Thomas Allen suffered the fate of over half the field in what became a race of attrition as a heavy shower passed through with around a third of the race still to travel. Jordan Ford was perhaps the most unlucky of all, the engine mount coming loose on his kart, and in an attempt to hold it in place, knocking off the plug lead, ending an otherwise exceptional run in the class. The mechanical failures allowed Spreyton’s Brody Appleby to end his horror weekend with a second place in Clubman Light, with Victorian Mason Thomas stepping onto the final step of the podium.
Our thanks to major sponsor, Hunters Products, to all the class sponsors, as well as ancillary sponsors Tassie Instant Marquees and Sticker One Shop for their kind support of this year’s Tasmanian Sprint Kart Championships.
Junior National Light
Senior National Light
Clubman Super Heavy
Senior National Heavy
Over 40’s Pro
Tag 125 Light
Junior National Heavy