|by Vas Filips||27 February 2017|
The first round of the Retro Karting Australia (RKA) F100 Series was held at Butterfly Farm Indy 800 Kart Track in Sydney on 25 February 2017.
Seventeen F100 karts made up the class, split into the 145kg Lights and 165kg Heavy classes. The event was held in conjunction with the Butterfly Farm February club day.
Above: F100 Heavy roll up (pic - RKA/Facebook)
The event was very well attended with around 100 karts in total bringing a crowd well over 300 people.
In the F100 Light class it was the Victorian Pulse Racing team of brothers Glenn and Steve Riddell leading the way in qualifying with first and second. Glenn was the only driver to qualify under 40 seconds with a blistering 39.836. Brother Steve was second followed by Mark Vukusic, Simon Dartell, Neil McAuley, Mars Greorghiu, Leigh Williamson, Drew Hamilton and Llewellyn Cameron.
Heat 1 saw the Riddells dominate with first and second with NSW driver Simon Dartell drive a great race to be third. Victorian legend Neil McAuley was fourth holding off a hard charging Mars Gheorghiu. Mark Vukusic was well placed before a run wide on the sweeper ended his race.
Heat 2 was again dominated by the classy Pulse team with Glenn first and Steven second. Mark Vukusic recovered well to get third with Dartell fourth and McAuley home in fifth.
(pic - RKA/Facebook)
Pre Final. With no one seemingly able to stop the Riddell Pulse Team, Mark Vukusic made an engine change to Merlin Reed power. He proceeded to charge through the field from the rear to take third, he was now looking a threat to the status quo. It was Glenn and Steve again in first and second with McAuley and Dartell fifth and sixth.
The final was a great race with the prospect of Vukusic breaking the Riddell stranglehold. Glenn was away well from the start and proved to be the class of the field, driving with precision and speed he was untouchable, leading from start to finish for a well deserved F100 light victory. Steve was looking comfortable for second with three laps to go when, the determined Vukusic again showed his ‘never give up’ attitude to slowly reel him in. With a lap to go, and the crowd cheering with anticipation, Vukusic made his move at the end of the pit straight diving down the inside to take second. It was a great clean battle between the two with Vukusic holding on for second; Steve Riddell a well deserved third and the fast improving Mars Gheorghiu coming home in forth and “The old fox” Neil McAuley fifth
Above: F100 Light take a start (pic - RKA/Facebook)
Above: Glenn Riddell, F100 Light winner (pic - RKA/Facebook)
The F100 heavy class was anticipated to be thrilling and lived up to the hype… exceeding all expectations. With a field littered with former champions it was the heavy class that had the crowd rushing to the fences for a karting smorgasbord…
It was Patrick Parry that just took the qualifying glory with 40.532. Dark horse and all round good guy Matt Sydenham shocked the event with second only a tenth off Parry with 40.698. Former pro, Gus VanVelzen, was third with his newly restored Tecno chassis and new power plant. Current F100 Australian Champion Paul McKinnon was fourth after a brake issue saw his qualifying efforts cut short. Aldo Distefano drove smooth to take fifth followed by Marco Gueli, and former gun, Darrin Voskulen. Darrin was returning to the seat after a twenty six year break and proved to be a welcome addition to the close F100 family.
Above: Patrick Parry slides it in ahead of Gus Van Velzen, F100 Heavy (pic - RKA/Facebook)
Heat 1 saw McKinnon move through the field with some great driving to take the win. Patrick Parry was second and looking fantastic with the familiar sideways under brakes driving style well documented from the 90s. Gus Van Velzen was third, holding off a fast charging Sydenham.
Heat 2 saw Parry turn the tables on McKinnon in a great battle just holding off the current green plate holder over the line. Matt Sydenham was third in one of the drives of the day, cutting through the field and beating Van Velzen to the line. The improving Marco Gueli was fifth and starting to look a threat to the leading drivers.
The pre final was an epic encounter and honestly one of the best kart races I have ever seen. Again, Paul McKinnon made his way through the field with one great move after another. Inside and outside positions changed between the top five before Paul was clear in the lead. When Sydenham went inside Parry at the end of pit straight for second the big crowd rose to their feet with a combined Ooooh! and cheers, only to see the dogged Parry hold his outside line for the next right hander. With the crowd buzzing he held off Sydenham with Gus, Marco and Aldo joining in the dog fight right to the line. Such was the excitement, the crowd rushed to the drivers pulling in to the pits, clapping and laughing at the great performance. I was one of them, the talk and banter went on for some time as the prospect of what would happen in the final built those watching into a frenzy.
Above: Big name from the past, Darrin Voskuilen (pic - RKA/Facebook)
The Final lived up to expectation, while some drivers, as with the light class struggled with the under lights racing and vision. It was Parry taking the lead early with a chasing Paul McKinnon trying multiple times to get passed to no avail. The top five were close for the whole race with Gus just behind the top two after getting a handle on the set up and driving well. Gueli got the jump on Sydenham early and proved his worth holding on from Matt for the duration. The top three, Parry, McKinnon and Van Velzen were all in with a shot with a few laps to go. In a final bid for the win McKinnon would take the outside line at left hander the end of pit straight; side by side the track then turns right putting Paul on the inside. Unfortunately for Parry, and the crowd, the two touched sending Parry into a spin and ending his hopes. It was a racing incident born from close racing and in true F100 style the two champions would shake hands after the race. The consistent Van Valzen was second with Marco Gueli holding off Matt Sydenham for third.
Overall, it was a great meeting and very well ran by the staff at Butterfly Farm. Without doubt the F100 karts stole the show on and off track! Many spectators walked through the pit area looking at the 90s F100 karts, asking questions and admiring the greatest era in karting. All those in attendance… grateful they had the opportunity to see and hear the screaming banshees in action.
Above: Defending champ Paul McKinnon, 1st in F100 Heavy F100 Light winner (pic - RKA/Facebook)