|from Stuart Lee||7 February 2017|
The first round of the Andrew Walter Construction – Spreyton Cider Tasmanian Statewide Series was contested at the Circular Head Kart Club over the weekend.
Some would say typical Tasmanian weather, but after a glorious Saturday practise, Sunday turned out to be a day of all seasons, from sudden down pours to scorching sun and everything in between.
Above: Logan Dixon KA4 Junior Light (pic - Leah B Photography)
A strong field of 10 greeted the starter for what will be a very close and interesting class in 2017. First blood went the way of Jake Delphin who claimed qualifying honours. The heats saw some great racing with the lead freight train containing different drivers in each race. Heat one was taken out by 2016 Cadet 9 Tasmanian State Champion Toby Callow. Heats 2 and 3 were claimed by Hobart’s Xavier Renshaw.
In the final the rain started to fall just before the start with only Denzil Sargent and Philip Cowles opting for the wets. This was to be the decisive decision with the remaining drivers on slicks the field went in to the first corner and all hell broke loose with the majority heading onto the grass. Sargent simply drove off into the rain winning by some 26 seconds whilst Cowles claimed a solid second with the best of the slick drivers Darcy Whelan 3rd some one lap behind.
Above: Jake Delphin Cadet 12 (pic - Leah B Photography)
KA4 Junior Light
The first of the junior classes was well represented with 8 light drivers competing. Hobart’s Jesse Keeling started the day with pole from qualifying however from then on Ethan Wyllie had the upper hand winning all three heats. In the final though Campbell Whelan stepped up a level and after a hard fought battle with Wyllie and Keeling took the win.
Above: Keenan Slater KA4 Senior Light (pic - Leah B Photography)
KA4 Junior Heavy
Hobart’s Brock Lamont claimed the coveted pole position, but Launceston’s Lochie Dalton was heading for a clean sweep of race wins after claiming wins in heats 1, 2 and 3. When the final rolled around a late decision to put the wets on looked to sew up the win for Dalton who jumped out to a big lead, however father Michael had not replaced the dry rear bumper for the short wet and officials were forced to black flag Dalton within site of the victory. This left Lamont to claim the win ahead of Louis Popowski and Declan Sherburd.
Above: Brock Lamont KA4 Junior Heavy (pic - Leah B Photography)
KA4 Senior Light
A small but talented field of KA4 drivers greeted the starter for the first round of the series with Keenan Slater taking out all the wins on the day with Gemma Wyllie and Johnah Slater battling it out for the minors.
Local track knowledge came to the fore in Masters with Tim Hinds taking the win in the final after Steve Crocker had won two of the heats. After some pretty good racing, Launceston's Freddy Cocca jumped Crocker in the final to take second place on the dias.
KA3 Senior Medium
A good field of 9 started the day with a mix of young drivers that have just moved to seniors with a few seasoned veterans and a couple that have been out of racing for a few years. Mark Crocker started well with wins in qualifying and heat 1, then it was Shane Bray who stepped up and took out heats 2 and 3.
The final was a ding dong battle with Matthew Distill getting the early jump over Murray Dadson. The fast man in the final was Jackson Callow who picked his way forward to get on the bumper of Distill with 2 laps remaining. Distill and Callow were hard at it over the last few corners with neither giving an inch, however a second last corner skirmish allowed Dadson to slip up the inside and take the win ahead of Bray and Callow.
TaG Restricted Light
The returning Andrew Wagner showed he had not lost any of his driving skills with a couple of resounding victories including the all-important final. Wagner has been out of karting for almost two years but showed his rival a clean set of heals in the final to win from the fast fini
Above: Andrew Wagner TaG Restricted Light (pic - Leah B Photography)
TaG Restricted Medium
Jason Close started the Statewide Series off in great style winning two heats and the final to head the points after round one. 2016 Tasmanian State Champions Shane Stonehouse looked good early with quick time in Qualifying however a couple of costly DNFs will hurt him later in the year. Allan Sheahen also claimed a heat win but also fell foul of the dreaded DNF in the final.
Above: Jason Close TaG Restricted Medium (pic - Leah B Photography)
TaG 125 Light
A quality field of 10 drivers headed into the opening round with Matthew Distill starting the day off with a fastest lap in qualifying and a win in heat 1. Zane Wyatt claimed the win in heat 2 whilst Distill took out heat 3. The final looked to be anybodies but Wyatt got the jump and was never really threatened, with Distill falling back during the race which allowed Brody Appleby to claim 2nd with Brad Hobden 3rd.
TaG 125 Heavy
Like the Light field, a quality line up greeted the started for qualifying with reigning State Champion Troy Stone the one to beat. Hobart’s Jonathan Mcdonald however loved the wet and took out qualifying. In heat one, Dillon Van Galen drove a superb race to take win, then followed Jake Rice who claimed the heat 2 win. But from then on it was a Mitch Evan who took out heat 3 and the final in convincing style and has a slender points advantage after round one. Second on the day went to Mcdonald with Stone third.
Above: Mitch Evans TaG 125 Heavy (pic - Leah B Photography)
Round 2 of the 2017 Tasmanian Statewide Series is at the North Western Kart Club on the 25/26 February
Above: Shane Stonehouse TaG Restricted Heavy (pic - Leah B Photography)