Junior Top Guns - Round 2Tweet
by Paul Griffiths
Much the same weather conditions as yesterday, bright sunshine, a gentle breeze – perfect for the second round of Junior Top Guns for 2013, and Qualifying got under way just after 3.00pm. The first thing you noticed was the big variation from the placings in Qualifying the night before. With competitors using the same tyres as they had in Round 1, a different strategy and set up would be required – some nailed it, some struggled.
Jordyn Sinni nailed it – pole from Connor Callanan, Damon Papasergio and Sean Larkin; yesterday’s pole man Benito Montalbano back in 11th. Sinni away at the green, but the big mover Montalbano passing a kart a corner to be in 4th after 2 laps, then 3rd and pressing on Papasergio who was pressing on Sinni. Behind them, Larkin and Callanan, then a gap back to Zak Lobko. Montalbano to 2nd by Lap 4 and right on Sinni, Papasergio right behind these 2 and Larkin not far away either. Soon after Callanan joined the train in 5th, and not one second between 1st and 5th, but Sinni held on out front. They continued like this as the laps wound down – a tenth now between Sinni, Montalbano and Papasergio as they began the penultimate lap, then Papasergio to 2nd as they began the last lap, but Montalbano back under him at Tony Kart - don’t lose sight of Sinni!! They didn’t and were right on him through Arrow corner, Sinni across the line first, Montalbano 0.05 behind him, then Papasergio 0.09 further back. Wow! Bring on the Final!!
Heat 2 had to be run first though, so we watched Sinni go to a good lead on Lap 1, Larkin in 2nd, and here comes Montalbano again, through to 3rd after 2 laps, then Callanan, Lobko and Jay Hanson behind him. Papasergio had been an unfortunate DNF in Lap 1 at JSKC, so no more from him this race. With 6 to go Montalbano was through to 2nd, but 1.5 seconds adrift of Sinni, so he had some work to do. Work he did, but Montalbano could not reduce the gap to Sinni and further back Callanan, Lobko and Jonathon Cassar were putting on a great battle, then Oakleigh regular Braydon Callaghan, Jay Hanson and Bailey Hume, but at the chequered it was Sinni, now over 2 seconds clear of Montalbano and Larkin.
The final of Cadets and Sinni, Montalbano, then Larkin and Lobko the first 2 rows. After a number of roll arounds we went green and Montalbano to the lead from Sinni, Lobko and Larkin behind them. After 5 laps the front 3 were stuck together and had pulled away from Lobko and Papasergio, then Cassar and Kacey Mann. Little then changed for many laps – Sinni close behind, but not passing Montalbano – would he make a move? Yes, at Tony Kart turn with 4 to go, but Montalbano straight back under him. Now things were heating up – 2 to go and still Sinni right on Montalbano. Last lap and a lapped kart comes into it, but both through OK as Montalbano still leads and holds it to the line – a great win over the consistently quick Sinni.
Junior National Heavy:
Bradley Marsh-Stepney off pole with a 46.044, a big improvement from yesterday where he was 7th. He would be beside Will Hawkes, with Robert Titherington and Nicholas Rowe behind him. Hawkes wasn’t behind him for long as the light went green, nor was Rowe, Zachary Phillips or Titherington – all went through as Marsh-Stepney dropped back to 5th. Rowe to the lead from Hawkes a lap later and they settled down for a few laps nose to tail. By halfway Titherington was the man on the move, through to 2nd ahead of Hawkes, but behind the consistent Rowe. Less than a second covered Rowe, Titherington, Hawkes and Phillips with 2 to go, North further back in 5th. Titherington to the lead at Arrow saw Rowe unsettled and back to 4th at JSKC as Hawkes and Phillips got through too. They worked through the last lap in this order with Titherington a clever last few corners just holding off Hawkes by 7/100ths at the line, Phillips then Rowe, Braydon North on the back of them too – well done to Titherington.
Marsh-Stepney led them away again in Heat 2, but again not the start he would have liked and found himself on the outside at JSKC and wide coming out of the corner, into the grass and back in 9th after 1 lap. Hawkes meanwhile pounced for the lead, then Rowe then Phillips, then a gap back to Titherington and Zac Soutar. By halfway North had caught Soutar and they boxed on for a lap until North got past, but out front the same 3: Hawkes, Rowe and Phillips – round and round they went. Then they started to shuffle: Rowe to the lead – then Hawkes, and Phillips to 2nd, then Phillips to the lead, Rowe 2nd, Hawkes 3rd – while back in 4th Titherington was licking his lips. 2 to go and Rowe in the lead, Hawkes, Phillips and Titherington right on them, North also closing. Last lap and Rowe’s head was swivelling like it had last night, as he checked on those behind him. Phillips got under Hawkes and he and Rowe pulled clear, Hawkes tangled with Titherington, North pounced for 4th, Hawkes pulled clear in 3rd, all the while Rowe and Phillips pulled away at the front and in the end Rowe by 2/10ths.
Titherington the pole man, then Rowe, Hawkes and Phillips for the JNH Final, but Rowe the jump on them, then Phillips as Titherington dropped to 3rd, then O’Keefe, Marsh-Stepney and Hawkes, and soon they all spread well apart – might turn into one of “those” J races. Eventually North started gaining on O’Keefe who had dropped back, Marsh-Stepney and Titherington were close together in 3 and 4, but Rowe looked settled out front. 3rd to 7th was where the action was – North, Hawkes, Titherington, Marsh-Stepney and O’Keefe - you could throw a blanket over them. Sure enough they eventually tangled at JSKC and this saw Marsh-Stepney into the trap and they all spread out, finally Rowe, Phillips, Hawkes, North, Titherington and O’Keefe the top 5.
Junior National Light C&P:
Bradley Stewart the man of the moment in JNL C&P, ahead of Matthew Iredale, Luis Leeds and Aaron Cameron. Last night’s pole man Nicholas Steel back in 9th, half a second off. Stewart dropped back at the start and then went from bad to worse as he was pushed wide at Arrow and rolled to a halt with some sort of mechanical gremlin just past the finish line, so back the drawing board for him. After the rest settled it was Steel up from 9th, Iredale, Cody Donald and Leeds the first 4. Steel pulled away and Cameron and Lucas Filikotzias joined the group behind him – 3 to go and Steel a comfortable lead, then Donald, then Leeds. Then with 2 to go a red flag as George Evgeniadis found the fence at Arrow corner and was attended to by the medical staff. The race was declared, handing the win to Steel, Donald 2nd and Leeds 3rd. Evgeniadis was fine, but took no further part in racing for the night.
Stewart again to the lead as they began Heat 2, then Iredale and Cameron, but after 1 lap Leeds leads!! On lap 3 Steel in 5th took to cutting the grass in the infield and lost a place as he rejoined, Daniel Zandt getting under him. Out front Leeds still leads, Stewart 2nd, Iredale and Cameron, Zandt and still Steel in 6th. Halfway and Stewart goes through to first, so Leeds no longer leads, Cameron 3rd and Iredale did a spot of mowing under the starter’s box but no harm done, he remains in 4th. Now a tight bunch: Stewart, Leeds and Cameron, then a gap back to Iredale, then Steel back past Zandt and now 5th. Last lap and Leeds slides wide at Tony Kart and back to 3rd, Cameron through to the lead and Stewart 2nd as they cross the line.
Steel off pole and to the lead as we went green, then Cameron, Leeds, Donald, Zandt and Stewart and that’s how they settled after a few laps. Steel and Cameron pulled clear of the rest and began a race of their own that was still going 7 laps later – these 2 now 2.5 seconds clear of the rest, and bad luck for Leeds who rolled to a halt out of the Dipper on lap 9. With 4 to go Steel had established a small gap over Cameron; Donald Stewart and Zandt still well behind these 2. Steel’s small gap soon disappeared as they began the second last lap and he was hanging on grimly as Cameron attacked, but hang on he did, by a mere 0.080 seconds, Stewart, Donald, Zandt the rest.
Blaine Densley set about righting last night’s wrongs by again putting it on pole in JMax, and again half a second ahead of Liam McLellan and Troy Alger – but could he finish a race? Well he could certainly start one – he and McLellan off into the distance and Densley to the lead after 2 laps, these 2 a second clear of Sanae Meyland, then another second back to Jaidyn Job. With 4 to go McLellan back to the front and he and Densley 3 seconds clear, so the winner would be one of these 2 – and it was, McLellan hanging on, but at least Densley could say he finished, Meyland back in 3rd.
McLellan led as the light went green, but not for long as Densley moved to the lead in Lap 1 and these 2 drove clear of Meyland, Job, Alger and Benjamin Redjepi. 4 to go and Densley by 8/10ths, McLellan, then 6 seconds back to Meyland, Job and Alger – these 3 locked together but well back. 2 to go and Densley getting quicker – a good result after last night’s string of DNF’s and he went on to record a win, McLellan nearly 2 seconds behind him.
Densley then McLellan at the green but on the 2nd lap Meyland was ridden over at JSKC and crashed out resulting in a red flag and karts returned to the pits. Meyland was fine and appeared later with her arm in a sling as a precaution, but all good. At the restart, Densley, McLellan, Redjepi, Alger and Job were all that remained. Densley went clear from McLellan, Redjepi and Alger, and we settled down for the rest of the race. Then McLellan’s turn for some bad luck, dropping a chain I think on lap 5, so now there were 4. Densley continued to lead comfortably – as comfortably as McLellan had the night before, roles reversed tonight with McLellan watching from the sidelines. By halfway Redjepi, Alger and Job had bunched up and looked like putting on a show for the minor placings, less than a second between them, but their problem was they were 5 seconds behind Densley. Into the Dipper on Lap 11 the 3 of them were side by side – not a good idea, however they reappeared intact but in a different order – now Alger, Job and Redjepi. Densley went away to an easy win, while Alger and Job lunged, dived and looked at each other, but no change in the order, then Redjepi in 4th, and last all at the same time. Job was later excluded for a weight infringement, so Redjepi in last place was on the podium too!
All eyes on Cooper Murray to see if he could repeat last night’s efforts of Pole position and a win in all three races. Oscar Piastri had other ideas, so did Thomas Hughes and Jai Sparey. These 3 all went around quicker than Murray, who qualified back in 4th, Jordan Caruso behind him in 5th. Heat 1 and Piastri a good start, Murray straight through to 2nd, then to the lead at the Dipper first lap – Hughes in 3rd, Sparey 4th and Dominic Romeo 5th. Meanwhile Caruso and Dylan Hollis were both unfortunate outs on Lap 1 – so last night’s battle between Caruso and Murray was off the menu for this race at least. Halfway in and Murray still out front, Piastri, Hughes and Sparey though, all less than a second behind him. Thus they continued until the last lap began, but even then no one was looking like passing Murray who took the familiar narrow line through the last corner allowing Piastri to swoop at the line, but it worked for Murray – just. He drove smart and cool to hold on by 1/100th from Piastri.
Heat 2 and Piastri just held out the fast starting Murray who jumped from 4th, then Hollis, a gap to Sparey, then Caruso and Harrison Hoey in 6th. Good to see Caruso and Hollis out there instead of on the sidelines this time. Murray to the lead after 2, but the others unchanged behind him, then Piastri back under him on lap 4 – good work by the local steerer. With 3 to go Piastri was still holding out Murray and these 2 were 1.3 seconds clear of Sparey, then Caruso, Hollis and Dominic Romeo. As they began Lap 8 it was Murray, Piastri, then a gap to Caruso and Sparey. Piastri under Murray at JSCK, Murray back under him at Tony Kart, all the while Caruso and Sparey gaining with Sparey into 3rd at the Dipper. Last lap and Murray led them around – narrow out of the Grid hairpin but Piastri a brilliant move to go under him at MKC and hold on for the win by a whisker, then Sparey and Caruso close behind.
Piastri off pole, then Murray, Sparey, Romeo, Declan Fraser and Nathan Williams. Caruso was in 10th and Hughes in 9th courtesy of DNF’s in the heats. After a lap Piastri and Murray – the usual two – then Romeo, Fraser and Sparey as they jiggled positions behind the front 2. After a few laps Caruso had found his way through to 3rd, then Sparey and the improving Steel, up from 7th. Out front Piastri and Murray were going around as if in one kart – on and on they went, lap after lap grinding away out front, no one was going to catch these two. 4 to go and no change, 8/100ths between them, then Caruso, Sparey, Hollis and Steel. Start of lap 12 and Murray a late move into JSKC but Piastri too good and held him out, so he dropped back, reloaded and started all over again. Then, timing it perfectly Murray waited until JSKC corner as they began the last lap and drifted under Piastri, then drove with his head again to hold Piastri out by less than a tenth at the line. Very nice work!
Junior National Light:
Liam McLellan the second one to back it up again (along with Densley in JMax) ahead of Spencer Ackermann, Thomas Prascevic, and Jacob Prestipino. One false start and Cameron unlucky to go off in the roll arounds. When they went green, McLellan and Ackermann to the front. First lap in and Steel made the familiar “baaaarp” as his exhaust dislodged when Sidebottom went up over the back of him. The race unfolded from there without major incident and with 4 to go it was McLellan, Ackermann, and Prestipino had joined them too – all as one at the front. At the flag it was these 3 in the same order, then a gap to Guillou, Prascevic and Stewart.
McLellan a good start out front of the big group, then Ackermann and Prascevic as all karts completed Lap 1, but plenty of action back in the pack Stewart, Guillou, Nicholas Cardamone and Lucas Filikotzias all having a crack. Much more serene out front as McLellan motored on, Ackermann still not far behind and Prestipino recovering from a crook start and back to 3rd. By halfway Prestipino looked set to make a move for 2nd, and sure enough at Arrow corner a lap later he was through and set his sights on McLellan,. Behind them Prascevic, Stewart and Cardamone engaged in a fierce battle for 4, 5 & 6, but out front McLellan crossed in 1st by 3/10ths from Prestipino and Ackermann, Prascevic, Stewart, and Cardamone.
McLellan then Ackermann, Prestipino and Prascevic, Stewart and Guillou as they began the final, and all karts circumnavigated the track for one lap at least. Three laps later they were still all on track – good work for such a large field. McLellan and Prestipino drove away in the lead, Ackermann a lonely 3rd, then a train of karts strung out behind him: Guillou, Prascevic, Stewart, Jack Bell doing well in 7th only recently up from Rookies, then Iredale, Cardamone and Leeds the top 10. As the race went on karts spread out even more – amazingly 25 of them were still out there – a better finish rate than JMax which had only 7 starters! McLellan a comfortable lead, Guillou through to 2nd, Prestipino dropping back into the clutches of Prascevic, then Ackermann, Stewart and Bell and that’s how they finished.
Junior National Heavy C&P:
Shaun Costello, Aaron Cameron, Jake Coghill and Nicholas Carroll the quickest qualifiers, then Dylan O’Keefe back in 5th had no hope – wrong initial! Costello the lead, O’Keefe 2nd then Cameron 3rd on lap 1 and then an amazing incident as a group of karts left the Dipper – 3 of them tangled and one seemed to spear off minus a driver and cleaned up photographer Gordon Cooper, sending him cart wheeling across the grass! Incredibly he sprang to his feet and presumably kept on shooting (I checked with him later and he was fine). Once we had recovered from this, we found Costello in the lead, until Cameron got past him with 4 to go. These 2 battled on for lap after lap with Cameron eventually pulling a small gap and holding on for the win – then Costello, O’Keefe, Coghill and the aptly named Jerome Speed in 5th.
A good start in Heat 2 for the front runners, but not so good back in the pack with Nicholas Castle spinning and being collected by William Hewitt who rolled and was ejected into the dirt beneath the lap scorer’s box as they went green. A red flag resulted and karts returned to the grid. Take 2, and Costello to the lead as they began again, but Coghill at the front by Tony Kart turn, then O’Keefe through from 5th, Costello back to 3rd, then Cameron and Speed. Two laps later O’Keefe got turned around at the Carousel but rejoined via a cut through, so he might have a problem looming. Meanwhile Cameron was now leading, Coghill, Costello, and Carroll behind him. Speed was back in 6th, then Reagan Clapham, and in 8th a mention should go to P Plater Eden Foik mixing it well with the C Graders. 2 to go - Costello under Cameron into the Dipper to lead, Coghill and Carroll well behind them. Costello had to do it all again into the Dipper on the last lap after Cameron got past as JSKC, then Cameron again to the lead at Grid Hairpin and held on by 5/100ths at the line over Costello, Coghill and Carroll 3 and 4, so a triumph for those whose surname began with C.
Cameron, Coghill and Costello as we got away in JNH C&P, and still these 3 several laps later, O’Keefe latching on to the back of them by about halfway, the rest way behind them led by Molly Bohm, Nicholas Floodstrom, Hirotaka Chong and Thomas French. With 4 to go the front group had a lead of over ¾ of a lap on the rest of the field and started lapping backmarkers. Still the same order: Cameron, Costello, Coghill and O’Keefe. With a lap to go Coghill and Costello swapped spots but Cameron cruised to victory ahead of them.
Jake Klein number 1, Will Hawkes, Spencer Ackermann, and then Nicholas Rowe in Junior Clubman Qualifying and as Heat 1 began Klein got away to a good start and put a gap on Hawkes, Ackermann and Rowe, then a gap back to Liam McLellan and Damon Strongman, Zac Phillips and Justin Black through to 8th after starting 13th. By halfway Klein’s gap had evaporated and Hawkes, Ackermann and Rowe were lined up behind him – not a second between them. Then just as quickly as they joined up, they spread out – Klein 5 lengths clear at the flag, then Hawkes, Rowe through to 3rd and Ackermann 4th.
Klein away well in Heat 2, Hawkes and Strongman close behind as Rowe and McLellan went through the cut through at JSKC, but rejoined in 5th and 6th a lap later. Klein and Hawkes pulled clear at the front, then the battle of the “men”: Ackermann and Strongman in 3 and 4 – and Rowe soon joined in too. Rowe through to 3rd with 4 to go, the “men” now behind him and McLellan back in 5th. All Klein at the front though, pulling clear of Hawkes, Rowe now a handy gap in 3rd and Strongman and Ackermann behind him and that’s how they finished.
Ackermann the best at the start, then Hawkes, Klein and Rowe as the last Final got underway. Strongman, McLellan and Black were further back, but Ackermann skipped away and Rowe was putting pressure on Klein for 3rd. Only a few corners later Klein came to life and slid under Hawkes for 2nd and Rowe followed him through to be 3rd. Klein now set out after Ackermann and after 6 laps was closing in on him – next lap a beautiful move under him and into the lead at JSKC, but Rowe followed him through again – could be trouble ahead for Klein if Rowe continued like this. Hawkes also got through on Ackermann, so 1st to 4th in a lap for him. Rowe was right on Klein now, a kart length in it as they wound down to 5 laps left. 2 to go and Rowe was not going away, but Klein a cool customer – was not going to make it easy. Last lap and Rowe super narrow and up the inside into Grid hairpin and got past Klein who went to switch back on him but caught Rowe’s back wheel, giving Rowe the break he needed to get across the line first – a smart drive by Rowe and a shame for Klein who had driven so well too.
Junior National Heavy
Junior National Light C&P
Junior National Light
Junior National Heavy C&P
And the fabulous prize of a Junior Chassis from Arrow Karts went to... Geelong Cadet racer Jack Pennacchia – well done Jack!!
The JRD Formula Vee drive was split three ways with Blaine Densley, Braydon North and Robert Titherington all announced as winners.
See you all next year!!!!