Sam Dicker has taken his maiden SP Tools Australian Kart Championship victory in the KZ2 class at Hume International Raceway in Victoria on Sunday afternoon, staving off a series of challenges. Dicker became the first West Australian since Jake Klarich in 2015 to win a round of the Championship’s premier class.
After establishing a strong lead in the wet conditions, Dicker’s Flatout Karts machine was chased down by a surging Zac Zamprogno - the Sydney-based Ricciardo Kart pilot having his best performance since stepping into the KZ2 category. Midway through the 25-lap final, Zamprogno was joined by Parolin’s James Golding - the pair surging forth to catch Dicker.
Both had stabs for the lead - Zamprogno tasting it momentarily - but both made unforced errors allowing Dicker a clear path to the victory, none more so than Golding running wide while in striking distance with a handful of laps to go. Ultimately, Golding scored second and Zamprogno his first KZ2 podium in third.
The news wasn’t so good for reigning Australian Champion, Troy Loeskow - who this weekend became the most capped competitor in Australia’s elite karting series history, this being his 53rd event. It was looking promising for a top five before a spin and then ultimately came adrift in the treacherous conditions. The KA2 Championship has become even more wide open with some key title contenders excelling - others striking trouble.
Jake Rutkowski adjusted to the changeable conditions the best and in the end took a dominant win in Sunday afternoon’s final - not only bagging the 25 points for that win, but also for a series of heat race victories.
The driver that was second in the title chase coming into round three, Costa Toparis had a top weekend - grabbing some heat race wins and being elevated to second in the final - after Peter Bouzinelos received a post-race, two place front fairing infringement, dropping him to fourth. This handed Rush Performance’s Jett Kocoski a well-earned first podium in the category after a very strong weekend.
The hard luck story was for Victorian, Lewis Francis. Leading KA2 coming into the weekend, Francis didn’t finish some heats and didn’t even start the final, which was conducted in torrential rain. As a result, he’s now fifth in the Championship standings led by Toparis.
After three heat wins on Saturday, the Brad Jenner show rolled on in X30. The Victorian EOS driver was supreme and dominated every single race over the weekend in conditions that provided minimal visibility. Although having a sizeable advantage, he was challenged in trying to pass several lapped competitors that were unaware of his approach, creating some heart-in-mouth moments.
He ultimately won by just over five seconds from Jackson Souslin-Harlow who made a welcome return to the podium and Tyler Howard who fought right to the last few handful of corners to get by Jacob Dowson - who was also passed by Jace Matthews - the trio having an almost race long battle.
The TAG 125 final produced a popular home town quinella for Shamick Racing, with Leigh Nicolaou winning over team-mate Matthew Wall, enhancing his Championship aspirations no end.
Another Championship contender, Thomas Gallagher was ecstatic with his third position in the trying conditions. Nicolaou had a solid weekend all round after qualifying on pole on Friday and starting from pole position for the final.
Wall survived a late race scare from Cody Brewczynski, who slid through turn one and collected him. He got sideways but gathered it up without losing a position. Brewczynski popped his right rear tyre in the incident and put him out of the race.
The news wasn’t so good for Brendan Nelson. He had two DNFs in Sunday’s races in the same place after collisions. It has dampened his Championship challenge and is now fourth in the standings. Sydney youngster, Jordan Shalala took his EVO Kart to victory in KA3 Senior. The win came late in the race as rain went from drizzle to torrential and Shalala used youthful exuberance to his advantage.
Jace Matthews’ CXR Race Engines FA Kart had led most of the way, the current Australian Champion looking confident on his way to a win. Shalala and last round winner, Benito Montalbano closed the gap and both attempted to mug the Queenslander of the win.
Matthews, showing his typical never say die attitude, held strong, but ultimately the door was opened and Shalala took the opportunity and Montalbano deposed the Champion to position three. James Sera’s Championship run is looking difficult after a DNF in the final, however being over a decade older than his nearest competitor, he is one you can never count out. A first-time winner came in KA4 Junior with William Thompson, who came from the clouds to take the win.
After a decisive start to lead the first lap, Queenslander Brody Norris looked set to get his Tony Kart to victory lane and upstaging Benjamin Munro - who had dominated the weekend. He was in front comfortably while all hell was breaking loose behind. A late-race unforced error saw Norris run wide which gave Munro an opportunity, however, it was Thompson in the A1 Engines Motorsport machine that nobody expected.
He grafted his way past several challenges (including a race-long fight between Jack Beeton and Luke Trost) and caught everyone napping to take his first ever AKC win. After the finals started in dry conditions, just before the Cadet 12 race, a light sprinkle of rain prompted some competitors to gamble on wets and it produced an uncharacteristic Cadet 12 final with little wheel to wheel racing.
Riley Harrison kept up the form he showed all weekend to take the win. This came after a battle with Connor Meyer - the duo swapping. Lewis Kucina would bring his machine home third.
Championship leader, Sebastian Eskandari-Marandi had a tough weekend, spinning on the first lap of the final. He was able to fight his way forward to seventh, however.
In Cadet 9, Cruz Kelly’s run of wins came to an end. After winning Sunday morning’s heat, everyone thought the double grand slam was on for the Victorian, however, Championship contender, Carter Lamperd and Jensen Demaschino had other ideas.
Lamperd ran with Kelly off the start then Demaschino joined the fray. The trio went all the way to the finish with Demaschino taking a win of just 0.222 over Lamperd and Kelly will extend his Championship lead with his perfect qualifying and heat race scores and third place.
This brings to an end what has been one of the more challenging SP Tools Australian Kart Championship rounds, presented by Castrol EDGE. It was the wettest Championship round ever run in this era, coupled with temperatures that barely broke double figures all weekend.
Karting Australia commends all competitors for their professionalism and the volunteer officials from the Eastern Lions Kart Club and around Australia for their commitment in such trying conditions.
The next round of the SP Tools Australian Kart Championship, presented by Castrol EDGE heads to warmer climes in just over a month when it hits Emerald in central Queensland over the weekend of July 15-17. The Championship will conclude in Newcastle, New South Wales over the weekend of August 19-21, when the Champions will be crowned at the annual end of season gala dinner.
The current Championship Standings can be found on www.speedhive.mylaps.com/
2022 SP Tools Australian Kart Championship presented by Castrol EDGE
Round 3 – Top 3 Results
- Sam Dicker (Will Power Kart)
- James Golding (Parolin)
- Zac Zamprogno (Ricciardo Kart)
- Jake Rutkowski (EVO Kart)
- Costa Toparis (Kart Republic)
- Jett Kocoski (Kosmic)
- Leigh Nicolaou (Parolin)
- Matthew Wall (Parolin)
- Thomas Gallagher (Kosmic)
- Jordan Shalala (EVO Kart)
- Benito Montalbano (FA Kart)
- Jace Matthews (FA Kart)
- Brad Jenner (EOS Kart)
- Jackson Souslin-Harlow
- Tyler Howard (Kosmic)
- William Thompson (Kosmic)
- Benjamin Munro (Formula K)
- Brodie Norris (Exprit)
- Riley Harrison (Parolin)
- Connor Meyer (Parolin)
- Lewis Kucina (Formula K)
- Jensen Damaschino (Tecno)
- Carter Lamperd (DR Kart)
- Cruz Kelly (Tecno)
Full Results are available here https://speedhive.mylaps.com/Events/1991364