Karting Australia’s latest innovation – the Summer Series has roared into life with a combination of curiosity and excitement in Albury-Wodonga today – in ironically cold, unseasonable conditions. Just as the innovative series straddles conventions in karting – it started in the city that famously straddles two Australian states. Using race formats that have never been seen before in karting – like inverted top ten grids, grids that are formed from the fastest laps set in a previous race and races run to a time schedule (rather than traditional laps), while it raised eyebrows initially – it achieved many of its aims on the first day – to present challenges to races and make people think differently.
Australian KA2 Champion and FIA Karting Academy Trophy podium winner, Max Walton has used it as the launchpad for his senior racing career – and with wins in Rotax Light and Rok GP collectively, it represents more of a trampoline than launchpad.
Walton won the first Feature Race of the day in Rotax Light over the impressive Jack Webster and Romeo Nasr – who has been pushing for a big result all year. In Rok GP, it was a spirited fight between Walton and his long-time junior rival, Ryan Macmillan. Finishing third was Tyler Howard who showed strength in the all-Vortex built, 125cc water-cooled category.
The Shepparton (northern Victoria) based Thompson brother's double-act continued. After becoming the first brothers to win their respective classes at a national karting event in Perth earlier this year, they backed it up in Albury – Zackary taking X30 Heavy leading home Jackson Souslin-Harlow and Leigh Nicolaou after a race that featured up to six competitors at times fighting it out for the lead. William Thompson – who recently moved into the senior ranks in KA3 Senior leading home Jamie Rowe and Hunter Salvatore by an emphatic 2.8 seconds.
Reece Cohen took one of the biggest wins of his career in the Gearbox category. Toby Dvorak crossed the line first but was demoted to second post-race with a starting infringement. The buoyant Albury crowd was brought to their feet when local driver, Scott Chaston won this morning’s Sprint Race, but then backed that up with a third in the Feature Race.
Jenson Marold took one of the biggest wins in his young career in KA2, coming home by a decent margin over Hamish Campbell and Lewis Cordato who has been in good form of late. Campbell’s day went one better in Rotax Junior Max taking a dominant win over Cooper Fysh and William Creed.
In KA3 Junior Light, Australian Champion, Pip Casabene survived multiple ‘hip and shoulder’ attempts from Ayce Buckley (the son of Collingwood legend, Nathan), while Jai George finished third. In Heavy, Jaxson Fischle nabbed the win over Zachary Turner and Trent Newton. Oskar Hennock made it a winning day for the Wash It Team winning Rotax Mini Max from Aston Mills and Hunter Fischle (also adding to that family’s Summer Series medal haul).
In Cadet 12, two Queenslanders Riley Grande and Cooper Folley literally left it to a corner from home to decide the first Karting Australia Summer Series gold medal for the class. Folly had led most of the race with Grande on his crash bar and then executed the win perfectly, taking victory by 0.063. Koda Singh came third, however ensured family dinner will be interesting tonight after coming together with brother, Oscar – eliminating him from the battle for the final podium spot.