2018 Round 2: Ballarat Race Report
Author: Michael Yeo
Haddon Raceway was bursting at the seams for round two of the 2018 series. 250+ squeezed in creating a sea of tents and colour. This year the weather was perfect, and all were treated to some spectacular racing from the big fields.
With the format changing to include qualifying on the Saturday, this enabled the VCS organisers and officials to successfully complete all heats and finals without reducing laps, even with two red flag stoppages.
The Cadet classes are proving to be very popular, the VCS this year already maxing out track density and several other classes forcing the A v B v C rule due to the small Ballarat grid capacity of 24.
Heat 1 in the masters and Phil Smith was making it very hard for the field to get by in the dual engine type class. Ballarat local, #18 John Page looked like he would be the man to pressure Smith and did until a minor mistake in canteen corner that would give Smith breathing space to notch up the win. #97 Matthew Crane would show glimpses of speed through out the day likewise #11 Leon Forrest almost split Page and Smith but was unable to keep the pace of the #4 and #18.
Heat 2 and John Page wanted to get on with the job right from the start. The battle was awesome to watch as a patient Smith let Page go by only for Page to go too deep and Smith come out back in front. Meanwhile this kept #11 Leon Forrest right there with Crane not far out of it as well. A very determined Page passed Smith into the horseshoe and would go on to take the win.
The final and Page stamped his intentions very early and drove perfectly to take a well deserved win with Smith taking 2nd and Leon Forrest 3rd.
1st John Page
2nd Phil Smith
3rd Leon Forrest
TAG 125 Restricted Heavy
#6 Brett Jenkin had great pace at Cobden and would bring that to the Haddon Raceway by claiming the first 2 heats leaving the minor place battles to Andrew Harvey and Aaron Sutherland. The final however was a different story as #55 Cameron Austen was lurking in the top 4 and his persistence would pay off as the front runners come together allowing Austen to breeze through and take the final and make it 2 from 2. After sorting themselves out Harvey cleaned up 2nd and #6 Jenkin had enough space in the end and recovered for 3rd.
1st Cameron Austen
2nd Andrew Harvey
3rd Brett Jenkin
KA4 Junior Light
#33 Jaxon Johnstone had the pedal to the metal from the drop of the flag and set the standard. #80 Nicholas Sacco constantly badgered JJ with #30 Jobe Stewart keeping them honest. In the first heat #15 Christian Cowie was pushing very hard to make his way to the pointy end but came under the eyes of the stewards and was shown the Black `n` white for his efforts. H2 would see a change of guard with Jobe Stewart playing his hand early but not without a fight to take the 2nd heat from JJ and a fast finishing Cowie. The final had it all in the opening sequence JJ; Stewart ,Sacco and Cowie were in the hunt as the pack at the front diced for the lead. In the end the cool head of Stewart prevailed. Sacco would make his move on the kink going down the straight to secure 2nd and JJ and Cowie would drag race it to the line with JJ taking it by the slimmest of margins.
1. Jobe Stewart
2. Nicholas Sacco
3. Jaxon Johnstone
KA3 Senior Light
Jack Bell, Jack Martin, Tyler O`Leary, Taine Venables Corey Herbertson. Just to name a few of the superstars of KA3 Senior Light field that put on some of the best racing of the meet.
Contact and possibly confusion amongst the front runners in heat 1 involved several karts, sending #95 Nathan Williams into the woodchips at turn 1. What would have been a routine turn 1 off turned out far worse as a kart from the previous class had not been seen in time for the start of the race due to shade, resulting in significant damage to both karts.
Round 1 front runner #31 Jaxson Cox would also suffer from the tangle, suffering a heat 1 DNF at his home track. O’Leary would avoid all the heat 1 trouble, starting in the best way by cementing a win.
Heat 2 and the battle raged with #40 Woollard making his presence felt by taking 3rd but Herbertson decided to turn the wick up and drove off to claim the win in the 2nd. The final was an absolute ripper as O’Leary got a great start and enjoyed briefly some clean air however a mistake from the little master would see him drop nearly 7 places in one corner The 37 of Bell was moving through the field and pulled some awesome moves to mix it with the front runners briefly. The other Jack, Martin #18 that is, took his opportunity and grabbed 3rd and for one or two laps troubled Taine who took would take 2nd.
1st Corey Herbertson
2nd Taine Venables
3rd Jack Martin
KA3 Senior Medium
Remo Luciani started the day in a familiar position at the front however #29 Jackson Hodgetts was a surprise and managed to take it up to the champ in the #20. #23 Brayden Flood made an appearance in this class and was a stand out straight away however pulled in in heat 1 handing 3rd to Peter Gigis.
Heat 2 and some early contact would see the #20 cop a meatball for a loose rear bar and Aaron Jackson was waiting to pounce on the position.
And pounce he did as Remo lost control in the horseshoe and would subsequently retire from the heat. Chris Thomas would enjoy 2nd and Jackson Hodgetts 3rd. The final would see Remo dice for the lead on the opening laps and the rest follow, 23 of Flood would battle with Jackson until dispatching the 13 and honing in on the 20 of Luciani. Flood took control of the final with a decisive pass on the seasoned veteran, Remo grabbing points for the series in 2nd and Jackson in 3rd.
1st Brayden Flood
2nd Remo Luciani
3rd Aaron Jackson
A full page in the program the Cadet 12s were a sight to see, split into groups the cadets took to the bitumen and the A group #23 Joe Fawcett set the pace joined by Cadel Ambrose and Thomas Schmidt in heat 1. Lacey would have been in the mix after some great passing moves, but he would suffer a kerb strike and drop a chain. He painstakingly tried to roll up to the finish line but fell just short of completion.
Group B would see Matthew Domaschenz fire off into the future to win both heats. The 39 of Lodge and 85 of Hodge was a commentator’s tongue twister as the pair would battle for the minors with the same result in both heats. Lacey made it to the A final with a stunning drive starting from the rear to claim 3rd in heat 2. The final was shaping up to be electric with Fawcett, Domaschenz and Lacey head to head.
Fawcett would move from 3rd to 1st on lap 7 in one huge braking move at turn 1, using his local knowledge to surprise Domaschenz and Ambrose.
Domaschenz wasn’t about to give up in a hurry, and stayed glued to the back bumper of Fawcett for the rest of the final, looking for the slightest of gaps.
Fawcett however proved he had what it took to keep his compatriots at bay taking the win in the A final. Jesse Lacey was the big mover of the final, coming from 15th on the grid to claim the final podium position.
1st Joe Fawcett
2nd Matthew Domaschenz
3rd Jesse Lacey
Cadet B final and Toby Dvorak drove away with it very easily leaving Domenic Kucina and Shaun Clover to decide the minor placings.
1st Toby Dvorak
2nd Domenic Kucina
3rd Shaun Clover
KA4 Junior Heavy
One of those weekends that just goes your way and #5 Joel Johnson took a clean sweep and deserved the outright win with a great drive to match the performance. 24 Zaiden Barry and 22 Ben Taylor were left to fight for the minors in the 1st heat with Barry claiming the 2nd spot. In the 2nd heat Daniel Hookway had some luck and got through a messy start to see himself in 2nd and the 21 Hamish Allan following in 3rd. Johnson had a go to whoa and was never troubled. Come the final after a tender start Johnson set about doing what he’d been doing so well in the previous heats, meanwhile Hookway and Allan put on a show for the large spectator base coming in the respective positions.
1st Joel Johnson
2nd Daniel Hookway
3rd Hamish Allan
TAG 125 Restricted Light
AvC heat: #12 Steven Malkin in the green machine took it literally and drove very well in the 1st heat to claim that one cleanly. #3 Terry Rankin also had pace and with #10 Benjamin Bizzarri kept a clean set of wheels to see the 1st heat in that order.
BvC heat #9 Brock Rae would clean up here followed by 99 David Menzel and the 10 of Rankin was still at the front of the field.
AvB heat and Malkin was out to make a statement by claiming another win, while the brothers Rae finished respectively 2nd and 3rd.
The final was going to be super and it didn’t let the crowd down, straight away the biff and barge was on and the front runners were caught up in a right royal mess with yellow lights everywhere.
#9 Brock Rae was leading until lap 10 when he exited the track after heavy contact with a backmarker.
Second placed Malkin would also lose a position avoiding the incident, allowing 3rd placed Joseph Clough to slip through to the lead.
Meanwhile at another section of the track the red flag was brought out due to an injured karter.
The race ended as more than 75% had been run. Declared in the end after some spectacular accidents, the 94 Joseph Clough kept a clean set of wheels and was deemed the winner with Steve Malkin and 53 Riley Meens rounding out the top 3.
1st Joseph Clough
2nd Steve Malkin
3rd Riley Meens
TAG 125 Heavy
The heavies enjoyed a few more numbers to add to the excitement, however #4 Scott King still showed he had pace taking the first and second heats. The #2 of Jackson in the new Arrow X5 gave it a red hot go in the heats to keep with King and used the heats to find the weak spot in King’s armour.
The TAG Heavy final was the last race of the day after a red flag delay. This made for a track bathed in a golden sunset, and some tricky shadows emerged in the braking area for turn one.
Adam King was having a battle with Mitchell Branson, Glen Croxford and Bjorn Schultheiss for 3rd. It almost came unglued at the kink as several chasing karts got crossed up to avoid a slow entry onto the straight by King and Bjorn attempting side by side, but they would drive away unscathed. Two of the chasers did get caught out, retiring the #77 Kris Janczuk and #37 Laurence Latin.
King’s armour was breached from lap 1 and Jackson drove superbly to hold Scott in a thriller to the end, with “regicidal” Jackson sounding a warning bell for the next round.
1st Aaron Jackson
2nd Scott King
3rd Mitchell Branson
TAG 125 Light
The astronauts of the bitumen were out in force at Haddon Raceway and some spectacular racing was on display. #71 Gerry Westerveld was on fire as usual and took the 1st heat from 82 Connor Farr but not by much. However GW was DQd from heat 1 giving Farr the win and elevating Jordan Rae to 3rd.
Heat 2 and it was on again although Westerveld was down the order after the penalty. Rae and Farr were joined by #95 Nathan Williams who grabbed 3rd. an awesome battled developed among 5 drivers vying for that 3rd place to haul points and it would be Domenic Romeo prevailing over Curt Sera and Harley Benson. Liam Hunter wouldn’t see any racing past the first turn in the final as he had no where to go except straight into another kart who was sideways on the track and Liam came to a very quick stop. This melee of incidents brought out the red flag for 2nd time in the day once the track had been cleared the lights resumed to finish the spectacular weekend of tag 125.
1st Jordan Rae
2nd Conner Farr
3rd Domenic Romeo
Kobe Williams had a cracker day and with a smile on his dial, walked away with a clean sweep. #19 Callum Fry had a nasty off visiting the tyre barrier and not just giving them a love tap but seriously smashing them into the air at turn one, hopping out of the kart visibly shaken.
Meanwhile Bronson Boult was having a blinder with a fresh new look and a lot a speed to go with it. Bronson showed he has got what it takes to be a contender in the remaining rounds with a consistent drive. Hugo Simpson brought his best in the final and would take 2nd over Boult.
1st Kobe Williams
2nd Hugo Simpson
3rd Bronson Boult
Lap records fall in the Cadet 9 as Jensen Marold smashes it by 3 tenths putting down a 33.996 warning: “the rocket Rusty Ponting look out you’re in for a fight”.
Marold’s starts were text book and the 31 tasted the lead for several laps before the more experienced Ponting resumed his favourite position out in front, claiming wins in all the heats and final. A stunning effort by the 31 of Marold to clean up 2nd with some very promising pace taking this to the up coming rounds will be exciting to see for the young South Aussie.
Farrell, Stapleton, Evans and Layland were tearing up the bitumen for the final spot on the podium swapping and changing places through out the heats and final making for great viewing of the youngsters.
1st Rusty Ponting
2nd Jensen Marold
3rd Charlie Evans
Tag Restricted Medium
The mediums had a really good field of drivers and the stand out was Billy Westerveld. The action in this class was all day, Baker looked like he was going to be the one to keep Westerveld honest but had to contend with the likes of Angwin, Armistead and Dumsney who put on a great display of passing and racing. Baker took command briefly of in the heats before being rounded up by BW but the drive of the day in this class was Michael Angwin starting out of 5th in the final and having a great battle with Armistead and Dumsney to claim 3rd.
1st Billy Westerveld
2nd Alex Baker
3rd Michael Angwin
Kerbrider drivers of the day
- Cadets: Jesse Lacey
- Junior: Jaxon Johnstone
- Senior: Brayden Flood
Each winner picked up some handy Vrooam Oil and Maxima Lubricant for their great drive.
MGTires from DPE Kart Technology
- TAG Light: Jordan Rae
- TAG Heavy: Adam Thompson
Each picked up a set of MG Yellows to thrash at their next race.
- Donna Bauer
- Joe Brancati
- James Head
- Tyler O’Leary
- Remo Luciani
- Ben Bizzarri
- Callum Fry
Each winner picked up a set of Dunlop custom tyre bags, tyre covers and tyre changing lube just for turning up and racing.
Bridgestone Tyres from Paul Feeney Group and Vortex Engines
- Aidan Solomon (Junior)
- Akasha McEachran (Cadet)
The next round is at Wimmera Kart Club on May 19-20.