|press release||4 April 2017|
The Newland and Associates WA KZ Series kicked off in impressive fashion at Geraldton on March 25. A quality field took to the track to take first blood in the 5 round series.
Above: KZ2 Final podium, Sam Dicker P1 with Josh Merritt 2nd and Daniel Currey 3rd
It was 2015 Champ Jake Klarich who recently made the move to Lenzo Kart who took pole. Followed by an impressive first outing by Arrive-and-Driver winner Sam Dicker and another rookie Alex Barboutis. The old guard of Daniel Curry and Hayden Patrizi locked out the top 5.
Klarich went from having a 'business as usual weekend' to one he'd rather forget. Contact early and damage forced him out of the race, setting the tone for his weekend as he was unable to make his way back to the front. Barboutis took advantage of the Klarich accident and made his way to the front. He drove a sensible race to bring it home. Curry and Patrizi also moved forward take out 2nd and 3rd. Sam Dicker couldn't get off the line in his first ever standing start in KZ, coming home 8th.
Above: All set for the start of the Final, Hayden Patrizi (29) alongside Alex Barboutis (34) (pic - Brooke Maisey)
Dicker managed to nail the start and pull a decent gap. He maintained the gap for the race which was fairly uneventful. The other youngster Barboutis followed him home for 2nd. Josh Merrit overcome the mechanical issues from heat 1 and made good use of the newer rubber coming home 3rd.
Hayden Patrizi took out the pre-final after passing Barboutis with 5 laps to go. Barboutis took a solid 2nd to consolidate more points towards the series championship. Sam Dicker came home a comfortable 3rd.
The Final was poised to be an exciting race. With most drivers opting to conserve tyres during the heats, the war of attrition in the 25 lap final could open the door up to anyone.
The action started when pre-final winner Patrizi failed to put his kart in gear for the launch sending him backwards as karts took evasive action to go around him. Barboutis took advantage early and held the lead for 11 laps before his tyres started to drop off. Daniel Currey took the opportunity to take the lead. Simon Gwilliam also took advantage and slotted into 2nd.
Above: Barboutis lead Currey into turn 1 of the Final as Patrizi gets swamped (pic - Brooke Maisey)
Dicker by this stage had moved back to 3rd position after an average start, quickly getting past Barboutis and Gwilliam to move into 2nd position and went to work chasing down Currey. Currey also was starting to suffer with degrading tyres on the abrasive track and with 7 laps to go Dicker made the move at turn 1 to take the lead with the crowd cheering on.
With the best drive of the weekend, Josh Merrit came from last and had made his way up to be behind the pair during this move and made the most of it moving his way up to 2nd as well. Setting the fastest lap of the final, Merrit then went about chasing down Dicker only to fall short by 1 tenth.
Dicker took a popular win closely followed by the hard-charging Merrit with Currey over the line for 3rd. Patrizi had managed to make up for his bad start coming home 4th and Gwilliam 5th.
Above: Round and series points
Above: Jesse Thomas fires off into the scenery (pic - Brooke Maisey)
Daniel Currey - " Great weekend at the first round of the KZ Series. Started out with practice Friday arvo where all drivers put in some quick laps I think everyone has lifted their game this year. Qualified 4th not doing too many laps as the tyre degradation is quite bad at Geraldton. First race finished 3rd. Second race 6th. Prefinal started 4th and finished 4th. The track made very close racing with a freight train forming In most races which made it exciting.
"Started the final out of 4th making a good start getting to 2nd by the first corner after pole sitter Hayden forgot to put his kart in gear (cheers mate!). Passed for the lead after about 5 laps and lead the final till about 5 laps to go when rookie Sam Dicker got past then Merrit. Tyres were going off big time but managed to bring it home in 3rd.
Really happy with the weekend and I think we can build on the rest of the year from here. Thanks to all drivers and teams for putting a great effort in."
Josh Merrit - "Starting from the rear of the grid in the long 25 lap final where tyre wear was a top of every driver's mind, we knew that there was potential to move forward. After contact in the opening couple of laps left me 11 seconds behind the leading group I pushing hard for the remainder of the race and worked back through the field, we managed to get within a tenth of the leader running out of laps in the end, securing a solid second position.
It was awesome to race KZ with some drivers I have always looked up to. Look forward learning each time we hit the track, So much Fun! Thank you to all the drivers for a great weekend. Special thanks to "The Kart Centre", Steven Gras, and Gumby for the words of wisdom all weekend. And of course Pit mum Sam :). "
Above: Trouble for Merritt (23) and Klarich in the preliminaries (pic - Brooke Maisey)
Sam Dicker - "Starting out of 3rd position in the final I was ready to give it everything I had. I had 25 laps to get to the lead and I had a decent amount of tyre left. At the lights, the person in front of me missed the start and I had to take evasive action to miss them, this moved me back to 4th position and I had some work to do. The current leader was struggling and started to fall backwards through the pack, when I got by them I had half a straight lengths gap to the two leaders. I managed to catch up within 3 laps and began the big battle of the race. We had 16 laps to go and every lap I was looking for an opportunity to pass. After 4 laps I saw a gap and went for it, unfortunately I couldn't quite manage to get the position, this only made me fight harder, two laps later second place made a mistake before the hardest braking corner on the track, going down the back straight they blocked, I saw the opportunity though and went up the inside on the white line. I got the position and was on the hunt for first place.
"Now with 10 laps to go, I was on the tail of the leader looking for an opportunity. With 7 laps to go I got great drive onto the main straight and went up the inside. I had to go up and over the kerb and it was a hard move, as I got the position I heard all the cheering from the crowd and it was a great feeling. The next lap around I saw everybody cheering on the fence, I had to hold on for the next 6 laps. I had a 5 kart length gap and managed to hold that gap for next couple laps. On the last lap, as I came around the last corner I saw everybody on the fence, all the people cheering and the Cadet drivers hanging over the fence swinging their arms. The coolest bit was that I remembered being their age and looking at how cool it would be to win a race like this, and I couldn't believe that I had done it on debut,. It was a brilliant feeling taking the chequered flag.
"It was a great weekend and I'm so happy with the result. I would like to thank WA KZ series, Newland Associates, Vroom oil, Daniel Currey, and everyone who put into this amazing Arrive-and-Drive deal."
The Newland and Associates WA KZ Series next moves to Tiger Kart Club for the 2nd round on June 24th. Anyone looking to get involved please get in contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Above: Jake Klarich ahead of Jesse Thomas, Josh Merritt and Dean Whittome (pic - Brooke Maisey)