Blistering Finals Conclude Pro Tour CanberraTweet
There is only one word that could describe that finals day for the opening round of the 2012/2013 Rotax Pro Tour in Canberra, and that is spectacular, with final races not being decided until the dying laps, having all those watching, on edge and waiting for the next move.
DD2 Masters opened proceedings with their own race setting up what was assured to be a remarkable conclusion to the opening round. An enthralling battle between heat pole sitter Hamish Leighton and Canberra locals Jose Ruiz and Tony Prendergast established the first battle at the front of the field. Continuous dicing between the trio added to the excitement that was also occurring behind them between Peter Newland, Cameron Harch, Michael Robson and Tony Bregojne. With the World Finals in sight for Leighton and Ruiz, victory in the Canberra event would be the best possible preparation, and despite the Energy Kart of Ruiz managing to secure the fastest lap time of the race and the only driver to score a 30sec time, it was Tony Prendergast who took the chequered flag ahead of Leighton and Ruiz with Newland and Harch completing the top 5.
The final two races for Rotax Heavy were again a titanic battle. Despite his less than ideal qualifying position, Troy Woolston has again cemented his place as a firm contender for the category title through 2012/2013 with an epic charge to take victory from Michael Saller who proved no easy task for the former National championship holder. With Saller’s pole position in qualifying, and victory in heat 1 and the pre-final, it launched a large boost of confidence for the Sydney teenager. As the current National champion Matthew Wall started from the rear of the grid, it allowed Saller, Woolston and Rick Pringle to all entrench themselves in a dice that needed to be seen to be believed. Contact on lap 28 of 30 between Wall and William Yarwood impacted any chance of the Queensland driver taking a podium position after racing well into the top 5. It was left to Woolston, Saller and Pringle to dice for the victory, with the Intrepid of Woolston greeting the win ahead of Saller by a mere 3 tenths of a second with Pringle completing the podium, while Aaron Rintoul and Dylan Collett rounded out the top 5.
It proved a battle of the northern states yet again in the Sodi Junior Max Trophy Class on finals day, with Bryce Fullwood returning from a solid heat result to secure victory in the inaugural round for the category. He did not go unchallenged by Zane Goddard, who also took the fastest lap of the race on the 30th lap of the final, proving the longer distance didn’t harm him, finishing 2nd by less than one tenth of a second across the line. Stephanie Stones was in line for to complete the podium before an incident on lap 21 eliminated her chances, thus progressing Jack Black into 3rd late in the race. Black held a strong lead over his next placed rival in Jonathon Bradshaw which would see him claim the final step on the podium. Bradshaw took home 4th while another consistent performance from Kyle Angel secured him 5th.
Sydney’s Pierce Lehane would lead from start to finish in another thrilling Rotax Light final, with the capacity grid again serving up a display of trademark wheel to wheel Rotax racing. Though Victoria’s Daniel Rochford remained fast throughout the final race, it wasn’t enough for him to catch Lehane who would eventually take the victory by 6 seconds. Rochford maintained 2nd comfortably throughout the race, even in light of a plethora of lapped karts in front of him. A first lap incident between Mitchell Gee and Nathan Tigani destroyed any hopes of the two backing up from their strong performances from earlier races. The battles proved fierce behind the pairing with teenage duo Brock Plumb and Thomas Randle fighting for the final podium position. A late race mishap from Plumb delivered another exciting dice between Randle and Andrew Carey, however it was the Sweedish Prestige Birel Kart of Randle who would take 3rd in his first ever event in the Senior ranks. While Carey held on for 4th, New Zealand’s Daniel Connor gained ground from some earlier unfortunate results to finish 5th.
Starting from the rear of the grid in all three of Saturday’s heat races wasn’t enough to prevent Joseph Burton-Harris from securing the ideal start to his 2012/2013 Pro Tour campaign as he took victory in Junior Max. With Sydney’s James Abela and Victoria’s Jake Klein all vying to chase down Burton-Harris, local driver Zane Morse showed a clean set of heals to challenge for the lead throughout the race. Cody Gillis also looked ominous for a podium position mid-race as with Mitchell Griffin, and a hard charging Liam McLellan looked to replicate the performance of Burton-Harris. Both Andrew Kahl and Jordan Boys had their share of time inside the top 5; however it was Joseph Burton-Harris who held on for a win by 2.2 seconds over Abela with Klein completing the podium. Canberra’s Zane Morse took 4th and the fastest lap of the race on lap 21 with Cody Gillis rounding out the top 5.
It was yet another effort of experience and dominance by Jason Pringle in the DD2 final, managing to fend off multiple challenges by local Michael Stewart. Backing up from his pole position in qualifying, Stewart looked to push on in the final against his more experienced opposition, yet Pringle managed to hold on for the win, setting up the ultimate preparation for his attack on the Rotax World Finals in November. Another enthralling battle ensued between Gold Coast brothers Lucas and Damian Ward, with the latter starting from the rear of the grid in the final following a DNF in the pre-final. A post race results amendment delivered Damian Ward the final step on the podium behind Pringle and Stewart in another intense weekend of DD2 racing.
To follow the event throughout the next round at Todd Rd, Melbourne and to stay up to date with all the latest news, like Rotax Pro Tour on Facebook, follow Rotax Pro Tour on Twitter and tune into the event audio commentary via Ustream at www.ustream.tv/user/internationalkarting