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Nation’s capital to welcome new Rotax season
It may be October, but next weekend will spell the beginning of the 2012/2013 Rotax rankings season with Round 1 to be held at Fairbairn Park in Canberra, also spelling the introduction of the Sodi Junior Max Trophy Class.
Developed to be a feeder to the World renowned Junior Max class, the Trophy category is giving an opportunity to drivers looking to join the junior phenomenon a chance at preparing themselves alongside drivers with a similar level of experience in Karting.
Darwin’s Bryce Fullwood and the Whitsundays’ Jordan McGregor are two young drivers with impeccable history’s in Karting that are looking to move their career forward with the Rotax formula.
“I was at a meeting in September where a few fathers came up to Dad and myself to let us know about the new class and that it would be a great class for me to start racing in, it would be a great stepping stone up to the next level of racing which I'm pretty keen to do,” said Fullwood.
Both Fullwood and Jordan McGregor have recorded success in State title events, with Bryce scoring three blue plates and McGregor taking his home state event in Rookies.
The tight Canberra layout is sure to be a test for the entire Junior Max trophy field, adapting to the changed driving style of a Rotax Kart.
“I'm expecting to get a good understanding of Rotax as I've never had the opportunity to race one before, the chance to form part of a new class on a new track is definaitly something special and I am hopeful I can pick up the driving style quickly,” Fullwood added.
McGregor was equally upbeat about the upcoming event, “It should be some really great close racing, and the atmosphere a Pro Tour event has will add to the excitement of my first Rotax round.”
The introduction of the Sodi Junior Max category is just one element of a blistering opening round ahead, with capacity grids and new drivers to feature in the three day event.
Rotax Light will present an oversubscribed field for the first round, a trend that followed many of the 2012 Pro Tour events. Reigning National Champion Pierce Lehane returns in his Exprit Kart, while Daniel Rochford who will join Lehane in their trip to the Rotax World Finals in Portugal in November will make the move to the Formula K chassis for the first time. Recent testing has Rochford confident of a good result.
The National title holder for Junior Max, Thomas Randle has stepped up to the senior ranks providing a tough test leading into the World Final event. Randle will be joined in the step up by Queensland’s Jaxon Evans. Brock Plumb will look to continue his strong form in Seniors following a 5th place at Rotax Nationals. Formula Ford racer Chris Anthony returns to Pro Tour following a year with Anglo Motorsport, while regular National Karting front runner Ben Stewart will make his Rotax debut as part of the Arrow Karts Australia team.
Troy Woolston may not have defended his National title in Rotax Heavy in Dubbo; however expectations suggest he will be amongst the front runners again as he returns to the seat in Canberra. Victoria’s Matthew Wall will also make an appearance following his history making win at the Nationals. Both Woolston and Wall are not expected to have it their own way with Brendan Nelson, Aaron Rintoul, Michael Saller and William Yarwood all predicted to be right on the pace.
Junior Max is always a category that attracts widespread attention from the crowd, and a field of 28 for Canberra will not disappoint. Although Thomas Randle has progressed to Rotax Light, 2012 round winner Joseph Burton-Harris returns to chase more victories. Last season saw a variety of drivers on the podium, as a result, predictions are that the front of the grid will feature a wide range of drivers including, Liam McLellan, Jordan Boys, Andrew Kahl, Lachlan McHugh and Mitchell Griffin.
DD2 continues to strengthen as one of the fastest growing classes in Australian Karting, and again a fleet of some of the Nation’s best drivers will take to the track. CRG’s Jason Pringle will get some crucial seat time prior to Portugal, likewise with Troy Woolston who will again be undertaking double duties for the round. Queensland brothers Lucas and Damian Ward are set to race, with Lucas returning from Nationals success, while Damian will be back in the Kart for the first time since Pro Tour Todd Rd in January after a year in the Australian Swift Racing Series. Exprit Australia’s Thomas MacDonald and Tony Kart driver Travis Millar will both also provide a strong showing to the field.
A long list of 21 DD2 Masters are entered for Canberra, Hamish Leighton and Jose Ruiz who will both be on their way to represent Team Australia in Portugal are set for some last minute laps while Brent Coghlan who is completing the trio will sit out of the first round. Cameron Harch, Peter Newland and John Bailey are all sure to provide a strong showing, while Rotax Heavy front runner Adam Hunter steps up to join the Masters field for the new season.
To follow the event throughout the weekend, like Rotax Pro Tour on Facebook, follow Rotax Pro Tour on Twitter and tune into the audio commentary via Ustream at www.ustream.tv/internationalkarting