History was created at Round Three of the SP Tools Australian Kart Championship presented by Castrol EDGE as Lana Flack became the first female driver to win an event at a multi-round Australian karting Championship in 26 years.
Second generation racer, Flack won the Cadet 12 category becoming the first female racer to do so since Leeanne Tander (then Ferrier) won two events in her class in the 1997 Australian CIK Championship. She was the first female winner in the current era of the sport, the Australian Kart Championship now mid-way through its ninth season.
Having led from the first corner, the Queensland-based Energy kart driver survived a last corner challenge from Connor Meyer who fought his way through the field for his best ever AKC finish. Completing the historic podium was Blake Purvis, also taking his best finish. Fittingly, Tander was at the finish line when Flack took the chequered flag and was the first person to congratulate her upon returning to the compound.
In the KZ2 gearbox class, Nikola Mitic took his first ever SP Tools Australian Kart Championship win - following post race investigations - getting the BRM brand back to the top step for the first time since 2011. Three time Australian Champion, Troy Loeskow claimed second for BirelART, while 2019 World Champion, Marijn Kremers was ultimately awarded third position.
The 25-lap event ensured officials had plenty to do post race. In a chaotic start, Kremers nudged his front row partner, Sam Dicker on the opening lap knocking him down the order. This led to a 10-second post-race penalty for intentional contact. In turn, Dicker received his own 10-second penalty for contact with Loeskow later in the race. Kremer’s pace in the BirelART/Vortex combination saw him cross the line over five seconds in front of Dicker with Mitic crossing the line third narrowly in front of Loeskow.
At the other end of the scale, trouble befell both round winners so far, none more so than Jake Klarich who was leading the Championship heading to round three. He failed to finish, coming to a halt on the final lap, while Round One winner Henry Johnstone was an early casualty following a torrid weekend.
In the elite KA2 Junior category, Max Walton made it two round wins in succession to build on his Championship lead, taking a dominant victory in the 20-lap final. It was after a spirited fight with local driver, Daniel Quimby who served it up to the title favourite, however once Walton got to the lead, he crossed the line 2.5 seconds in front. Coming home in third position was Queenslander, Mika Lemasurier.
It wasn’t without a scare for Walton who had a technical problem in the final heat race on Sunday morning and recorded a non-finish while in the lead.
Central Coast-based Harrison Mitchell took a highly emotional first ever victory in X30 in what was nothing short of chaos with major Championship implications. Mitchell - who has been part of the Championship since being a Junior - was overcome with emotion upon returning to the pit area in front of a parochial Newcastle crowd.
He got home in front of Jack Webster, who got through on Toby Spinks for second after Spinks had an exceptional weekend.
A turn one incident in the Final sent former Champion, Brad Jenner to the tail of the field while defending Champion, Jace Matthews looked comfortable in his CXR machine at the front. However, midway through the race, Matthews’ throttle cable disagreed. This led the Sunshine Coaster to complete the race controlling the throttle with one hand and steering with the other!
Matthews would ultimately come home in ninth position, while Jenner got up to 15th after being 40th exiting turn one. Round Two winner, Jake Sawyer came from 28th on the grid to finish seventh.
Reigning Australian TaG 125 Champion, Zachary Heard took the final win to get his Title fight back on track.
Heard was being chased down by Jackson Souslin-Harlow, who fancied his chances at taking the fight to the Kart Republic driver, however an on-track incident requiring medical attention saw the final declared at the halfway point denying Souslin-Harlow that opportunity.
Claiming third was Championship leader coming into the weekend, Jake Spencer. Spencer put together a methodical, measured performance as he is aiming to claim his first Australian Title in 12 years (he was the 2011 KF1 Champion).
In KA3 Senior, Keegan Fraser put together almost the perfect race weekend and took the round win and has placed himself in a great position ahead of the next round of the Championship on his home track at Ipswich.
Fraser took the win over Ben Munro and local driver, Oscar Priest. Munro and Priest were elevated to the podium after another local driver and Championship stalwart, Matthew Hill crossed the line in a hard fought and popular second place, but was handed a two place penalty for a bodywork infringement post race.
The big story though again came from turn one, when Championship leader and winner of the first two rounds, Benito Montalbano got caught up in an incident when Beck Connell spun from the front row. Montalbano got back onto the circuit and fought his way through to 14th and remains in a solid position heading to round four.
KA3 Junior saw Pip Casabene get it together for the final and take the victory. Casabene battled away all weekend and was initially struggling for pace after coming to Newcastle with the Championship lead.
He ultimately got home for the win over James Anagnostiadis, the Victorian recording his best ever finish in the category after a character building Championship thus far. Anagnostiadis got through a huge battle pack to claim the second spot.
Completing the podium was Samuel March, who had one of his best finishes in some time after a solid weekend, where he was at the front for much of it.
The Cadet 9 Championship has been turned on its head after a tumultuous weekend. Championship leader coming to Newcastle, Jay Kostecki had two non-finishes yesterday, which saw him start the Final from 17th position. He was able to claw back to seventh at the finish. However, the big stories were at the front of the field with other Championship contenders.
Townsville’s Brock Nolan took his first ever victory in emotional scenes. Nolan was behind fellow Championship contender, Carter Grother (himself from Gladstone) and left it until the exit of the final corner to get to the race lead. He led for less than 100 metres to take the win by 0.06 of a second from Grother - both now well and truly in the frame heading to Ipswich - a track they both race on regularly.
Finishing third in his best SP Tools Australian Kart Championship run was Jasper Partouche.
With the conclusion of round three in Newcastle, the SP Tools Australian Kart Championship now looks ahead to Ipswich over the weekend of July 14-16, where drivers will continue their quest for glory and valuable Championship points.
Full results from the weekend are available here.
Results - Round 3, SP Tools Australian Kart Championship, Newcastle, NSW
1. Nikola Mitic
2. Troy Loeskow
3. Marijn Kremers
1. Max Walton
2. Daniel Quimby
3. Mika Lemasurier
1. Harrison Mitchell
2. Jack Webster
3. Toby Spinks
1. Zachary Heard
2. Jackson Souslin-Harlow
3. Jake Spencer
1. Keegan Fraser
2. Benjamin Munro
3. Oscar Priest
1. Pip Casabene
2. James Anagnostiadis
3. Samuel March
1. Lana Flack
2. Connor Meyer
3. Blake Purvis
1. Brock Nolan
2. Carter Grother
3. Jasper Partouche