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Winter Winner At Wundowie

by  Nicole McGregor

The third annual “King of the Hill” open meeting was held at the Hurricane Go Kart Club in Wundowie on 25th August 2012, a warm and sunny winter day which turned into a traditionally chilly winter night. 

It attracted 270 entries from around the state of Western Australia.  With 17 classes competing it was a full-on day/night meeting which started very early and finished very late – most drivers appreciate this format as it means the racing is all done in one day, leaving Sunday available for recovery (from racing and/or the after-party).

Twenty-five entries (11 of them A-grade drivers, including Triple F racing team member Todd Fiore) ensured that these races would be entertaining and the crowd was not disappointed.  After some very competitive qualifying and heats leading up to the all-important grid positions for the final, it was underway with Jared Bishop initially taking the lead, soon to be passed by Ben van Ryt, Jake Klarich and Todd Fiore. 

Above: Blake Mills leads Anthony Martin, Simon Gwilliam (21), eventual winner Jake Klarich (95), Jared Bishop (48) and Paul Williams (5) in KZ2
pic - Colin McGuckin Photography

Western Cup Round One winner Simon Gwilliam was still in the mix, resplendent in his “Stig” suit – not sure if he has a new one for each meeting or is sponsored by OMO!  Anthony Martin from Kalgoorlie put on a stunning display of racing, making his way through the field after having the disadvantage of starting from the back due to a DNF in the second prefinal (he won the first prefinal).  He did a 32.856 second lap in qualifying which could be a record for this circuit!  Unfortunately seven of the 25 did not finish the final, including Daniel Currey who was forced to retire from the race early due to kart damage, and Declan O’Brien who span out just metres from the finish line.

Final Results
1.  Jake Klarich         2.  Ben van Ryt          3.  Anthony Martin  
4.  Jared Bishop         5.  Todd Fiore

There was some interesting racing between these drivers  with a few DNF’s along the way.  The final saw Nik Mitic take the lead following a good start, with Jake Kostecki and Thomas Schou completing the front three who stuck together ahead of the rest of the field for the whole race.  There was a bit of a scramble towards the end of the race with Thomas making a bold move which didn’t quite work out, but luckily they all came through unscathed.

Final Results
1.  Jake Kostecki       2.  Nik Mitic               3.  Thomas Schou
4.  Cameron Nash     5.  Jake Wright

The first of the “King of the Hill Perpetual Trophy” classes had 20 drivers vying for the revered title, including Ray Cochrane who had rather ambitiously entered both classes.  There was some impressive driving throughout the heats with Regan O’Brien achieving a first and a second, but a DNF in the second prefinal reduced his chances of success in the final.  Kalen Barker has shown consistent improvement since moving up from Juniors and did not disappoint in the final, becoming the new King. 

After finishing the heats in seventh, eighth and fourth, Kimberley Owen shot into third place at the start of the final and had people wondering whether this year might see a “Queen of the Hill”.  With Kalen Barker and Daniel Worth in front of her and Ray Cochrane and Nathan Will right behind her she had to work hard to maintain her place.  After almost claiming second position she was forced back into fifth, which gave Kalen a better lead and enabled Ray to move into second.  Kim soon got herself back into third place.  With three laps to go the front-runners were starting to lap the back-markers, which lengthened the gap between the first three.

Final Results
1.  Kalen Barker                    2.  Ray Cochrane                  3.  Kimberley Owen
4.  John McGreadie              5.  Nathan Will

Brenton Magri gained a huge lead in the first race which he maintained until the finish.  He was doing the same in the second race until being forced to retire after five laps because of brake problems.  That could have been the end of the meeting for him but he managed to get it sorted out before the second prefinal.  This he started in fourth but he soon moved into second behind Jason Hounsfield, who held the lead until lap three when Brenton managed to get in front.  Andrew Fearn was another solid performer on the day.

Final Results
1.  Brenton Magri                  2.  Jason Hounsfield              3.  Andrew Fearn
4.  Brody Noonan                  5.  Jordan Hounsfield 

OVER  40’S
The first heat was quite dramatic with almost half the field ending up in the gravel at the first corner after the start.  The other races saw a few DNF’s as well, including Tim Ellis who DNF’d in the second prefinal after winning the previous two races.

Final Results
1.  Paul Hughes                      2.  John Ray                           3.  Bruce Skyring
4.  Steve McGregor               5.  Tim Ellis

In heat one Shae Thompson had the misfortune of taking an involuntary detour after qualifying first (ahead of national champion James Allen) and his luck did not improve greatly in the next two races.  However, he started the final ninth on the grid and applied his tenacious spirit to gaining as many places as he could.  It is a credit to these kids that despite being the largest field on the day with 28 karts there were only four who did not finish the final.  James Allen held the lead for the whole race and had Mathew Combes and Jesse Elliott following at a reasonable distance until Jesse moved into second and started closing the gap.  Tayla Dicker and Jayden Meckenstock had their own battle going on for fourth place with Shae close behind them.

Final Results
1.  James Allen                       2.  Jesse Elliott                       3.  Mathew Combes
4.  Shae Thompson                5.  Tayla Dicker

Above: Junior National Heavy, James Allen (1) and Shae Thompson (9) on the front row, Mathew Combes (6) and Jesse Elliott (7) on row two.
pic - Colin McGuckin Photography

The other “King of the Hill Perpetual Trophy” class also provided some thrilling racing with Ray Cochrane and Mathew Lecocq regularly swapping the lead throughout each race.  In the final it was Ray who went straight into the lead at the start and held the first position until passed by Mathew in lap 11.  As the first two were way in front of the rest of the field there was almost a separate race for third place with David Pagoda, Jarrod Ferrari (who was racing on the Hurricane track for the first time in many years) and Brad Smith all in contention for a trophy.  The crown went to Mathew Lecocq who received his trophy from proud Dad Bryan who did a great job with the presentation after having spent roughly 10 hours commentating.  Second place went to Ray Cochrane again – maybe next year it will be his turn for the royal title!

Final Results
1.  Mathew Lecocq                2.  Ray Cochrane                  3.  David Pagoda
4.  Jarrod Ferrari                  5.  Brad Smith

Above: Restricted 125 Heavy winner Mathew LeCocq
pic - Colin McGuckin Photography

These kids displayed some clean racing and showed the adults how it is possible for 21 karts to start a race and still all be on the track after the first corner!  There were a few place changes along the way but the same three drivers dominated each race and ultimately took home the trophies.  The final saw Jack Harders initially take the lead with Keb Evans close behind and the next four karts vying for third place.  Keb moved into first place and maintained his position until the finish.

Final Results
1.  Keb Evans                                    2.  Jack Harders                    3.  Aaron Love
4.  Bartholomew Horsten      5.  Jacob De Cerqueira

We saw a lot of DNF’s throughout the day in this class, with the biggest drama being in the final when five out of the first ten karts ended up in the gravel at the end of the straight, bringing the meeting to a premature end for those drivers.  Following that Nick Rowe took the lead, closely followed by Jesse Elliott and Patrick Martin.  Jesse managed to move into first place but Nick claimed it back again, only to have Jesse back in front a couple of laps later, with Tom Howe doing his best to catch up to them.  Austin Pearson did well to finish fifth after starting 14th.

Final Results
1.  Jesse Elliott                       2.  Nicholas Rowe                  3.  Thomas Howe
4.  Patrick Martin                  5.  Austin Pearson 

These races were dominated by Siobhan Sutherland who pulled away from the pack in each race apart from the second prefinal which was won by Jordan Hounsfield (no mean feat as he had DNF’d in the previous race), giving him pole position for the final.  Conrad Burke was a consistent performer with solid seconds and thirds.

Final Results
1.  Siobhan Sutherland         2.  Jordan Hounsfield           3.  Conrad Burke
4.  Craig McKeon                  5.  Jayden King

There was some misfortune amongst these drivers, particularly for Nathan Davis who had a second and two firsts in the races leading up to the final, only to DNF in the race which really counted.  In the final a scramble in the first lap left Jason Lecocq in front with Peter Bergman and Steven Scoble right behind him.  It wasn’t long before Steven got in front and then Peter got into second with the fastest lap in the class.

Final Results
1.  Steven Scoble                    2.  Peter Bergman                 3.  Jason Lecocq
4.  Blake Stanton                   5.  Reece Williams

With eight entries this was the smallest class of the meeting (in numbers anyway!) but there was no shortage of drama as only half the field finished the second prefinal.

Final Results
1.  Craig Ryan                       2.  William Nicholson            3.  Trevor Gaynor
4.  Glen Owen                        5.  Nathan King

These kids provided consistent entertainment with lots of place changes in each race.  The final got off to a clean start until some of the back-markers got tangled up at the canteen dog-leg.  The first four karts were pulling away from the rest and divided into two contests, one for first and one for third.  Brock Kenny (who has been invited to race in Italy) dominated in this class, with Sam Dicker giving him a run for his money.  Ethan Patience finished sixth on the day after impressing everyone with a win in the first heat.

Final Results
1.  Brock Kenny                    2.  Sam Dicker                       3.  Jesse Thomas
4.  Brock McGregor              5.  Ashley Morrissey

This class probably suffered the most carnage of the meeting with a huge number of DNF’s in all races except heat one.  In the first prefinal almost half the field of 18 was lost at the first corner and five of them were unable to start in the next race.  In the final the first three karts of Luke Gabin, Ryan Barron and Ethan Sutherland were far in front of the rest of the field.

Final Results
1.  Luke Gabin                      2.  Ryan Barron                    3.  Ethan Sutherland
4.  Adam Maguire                 5.  Jace Daniel

With 13 entries the racing was a bit smoother for the heavy guys but there was still plenty of variety amongst the place-getters leading up to the final.  A good start saw Nathan Chapman go straight into the lead and pull away, with Peter Newland and Guy Webster trying to catch him.  Matt Davis was also keeping up with them.

Final Results
1.  Nathan Chapman                        2.  Peter Newland                  3.  Guy Webster
4.  Matt Davis                                    5.  Stuart Foster

Another highlight of the meeting was the Vintage Kart demonstrations, with Brandon Wilks impressing everyone by showing what can be done with the fastest kart in the class!

At the conclusion of racing everyone was treated to a spectacular fireworks display which provided a fitting climax to a well-co-ordinated event.

Thanks to the Hurricane committee and their band of other dedicated volunteers this event gets bigger and better each year and is considered one of the premier events on the WA karting calendar.  The generous support of Nash Bros, the major sponsor, and others such as Specialised Tree Service/Bandit Racing, Flat Out Karts, Kart Magic, CE Body Builders & Allstate Hydraulics, Auto Pro Northam, Mitre 10 Northam, Steaks n Stuff, Pettitt Haulage and Purslowe Tinetti Funerals makes it possible to have many prize giveaways while still keeping the cost of nominations down. 

The budget even stretches to provide freshly-made wood-fired pizzas (courtesy of Bella Pitsa) to the crowd, very welcome on a cold night and contributing to the warm atmosphere of the club.

There will be many people already looking forward to the next “King of the Hill” and eagerly waiting to see what they will come up with next year!