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‘T-Mac turns the tables in Griffith Pro Tour’
The Rotax Pro Tour has continued its trend of providing some of the most exciting racing of the Karting season and has kept drivers and spectators alike itching for more, as the opening day of round 5 roared into action at the Griffith Kart track in the central west of NSW.
The DD2 Masters category was the first on the chart to hit the track, with Albury round winner Hamish Leighton again showing his dominance taking pole position into the three heat races. The Victorian proved strong to lead Jose Ruiz, Cameron Harch, Peter Newland and Brent Coghlan for the top 5. Leighton would also show the way throughout heat 1; an early challenge from Harch wasn’t enough to deprive Hamish of the win. Brent Coghlan fought his way through to 3rd in all three of the opening heats, while Ruiz featured with a victory in the second 16 lap dash. Coghlan worked to prove the theory that being in the right place in the right time can apply to Karting, as Hamish Leighton and Peter Newland were both forced out of the pre-final with mixed dilemmas, allowing the Sydney driver to take the lead and never look back, forging a gap over the battle pack of Ruiz and Harch. DD2 Masters rankings leader Tony Prendergast claimed 4th ahead of Stephen Hampson who sat behind Prendergast on rankings leading into the weekend.
Australian Champion Troy Woolston has again displayed pure class amongst a strong Rotax Heavy field, claiming pole position over Chris Board and Exprit’s William Yarwood. Danny Wright and Todd Davey completed the top 5, with Griffith local Kristopher Centofanti taking 6th. It was to be Aaron Rintoul and Adam Hunter who qualified 7th and 8th respectively that would challenge for significant race positions as the heats begun. Woolston proved unbeatable across all three races, despite attempted challenges from Board to break through. For Yarwood, it proved a matter of fending off the chasing Wright, yet the wheel to wheel action was focussed on the Karts of Rintoul, Hunter and Centofanti. Albury podium sitter Lane Moore managed to qualify 11th, before clawing his way through to 8th by the completion of heat 1. Both Rintoul and Hunter traded finishing positions for heat 2 and 3, with both claiming a 5th and 6th. Rick Pringle and Trent Moore were unfortunate DNF’s from the final heat race. Troy Woolston stood strong in the pre-final, despite working through double duties with DD2, his victory in the 20 lap event helped to extend his rankings lead, Board stood firm for 2nd, with Yarwood, Wright, Rintoul and Hunter dicing up to the end to take 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th respectively.
With some of Australia’s premier senior drivers taking part in Rotax Light, it contained the ingredients for pure excitement, with Joseph Mawson on pole position ahead of Todd Rd round winner Daniel Rochford, and Euro Rotax competitor Pierce Lehane. Albury podium sitter Geoff Connell started the heats from 4th, with CRG recruit Tyler Greenbury completing the top five. Lehane was awarded the victory of the opening 16 lap race, ahead of team mate Greenbury, with Rochford taking third ahead of Queensland’s James Macken and Rotax World finalist Josh De Maio. Mawson drove away from the field in both heat 2 and 3, however luck was not on Lehane’s side, being forced wide in the opening lap of the 2nd event, working through to finish 11th, he however took full advantage of returning his 3rd place grid spot, to take home 2nd behind Mawson with Greenbury completing the podium ahead of Connell and Rochford. Lehane drove away in the pre-final to take his second victory of the weekend ahead of Greenbury and Mawson, with Connell and Rochford completing the top 5.
English born Joseph Burton-Harris has returned to Australia in fine form, powering through from pole position to claim all three heat wins, aswell as the pre-final, leading races by in excess of 4 seconds across the day. The battle packs formed behind the Euro Challenge competitor, with Albury front runner James Golding, and World Under 18 Championships entrant James Abela dicing for the final podium positions early on. Jaxon Evans fought through several challenges to take 3rd in heat 2, before stepping up a gear in the pre-final to claim 2nd. Regular front runner Thomas Randle had a fight on his hands, despite taking 6th in qualifying; a DNF in the opening heat forced him to eventually be starting the pre-final in 22nd and with an early race incident impeding his race progress to eventually finish 15th. Andrew Kahl took blistering starts into all races, but strong competition from behind forced him to maintain a top 10 result in all races. The racing across all events for the Junior Max class was to be admired, and sets up an exciting 28 lap final.
The DD2 category again provided a professional display of National level racing, with consistency proving the key for Thomas MacDonald, claiming pole and a clean sweep of victories in the opening heats. Rotax Heavy front runner Troy Woolston showed promise at times, trading fastest lap times, but the Victorian was forced to contend with a determined Jason Pringle who qualified 2nd and Top Kart’s Kyle Ensbey. Troy Bretherton and Lucas Ward ensured that close racing was maintained through the field, but the determination of Woolston will see him start tomorrow’s pre-final from 2nd. Ensbey managed to close in behind MacDonald in heat 2, but it proved not to be enough to catch the Exprit driver. Rotax Light front runner Geoff Connell made his entry into the DD2 class, providing consistent top 10 results.
All categories will have their finals take place over 28 laps on Sunday, with the DD2 class to be first out of the blocks with a pre-final over 20 laps.
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