GKC Race Report – KZ2, 4SS Thundersports & GKC Round 5, 7-9-2019
GKC September 2019
Saturday, September 7, 2019, saw the Griffith Kart Club host a great event with the club reporting a great turn out for competitors for the day/night race meeting.
The event saw 13 drivers from the KZ2 Super Series battling out round 4 of their championship joined with 13 drivers competing in Round 5 of the inaugural 4SS Thundersports tour. Joined for the day’s events were 16 GKC members and competitors from other clubs battling out for honors for round 5 of the 2019 Griffith Kart Club Championship.
The day started with drivers briefing at 1.00 pm with official practice and qualifying commencing soon after. Racing was started at 2.30pm with overcast and cool conditions make conditions challenging. With 5 classes to get through the heats were underway and completed just before sundown. After a break and some refreshments racing recommenced under lights, along with some wild and windy weather and some light showers. This made the track greasy and provided some spectacular thrills as competitors battled with a lack of grip and low tire temperatures.
It was great to see 6 drivers compete in this class with entrants #17 Craig Bond, #50 Jack Charles, #11 Joseph Belardo, #4 Jedd Wrigley, #25 Liam Brandon and #14 Brodie Tropeano all out to do their best. Running 3 heats of 8 laps and a final under lights it was a big day for the boys and we are sure they had a great time.
Junior Heavy & Lights
We had 4 competitors with #99 William Garner, #22 Luca Belardo, # 97 Hugh White & #38 Ky Young on track for 3 heats and a final under lights. As numbers were low the light and heavy classes were combined on track to provide the boys with some competition.
4SS Thundersports Tour – Senior Lights
The 4SS karts provide fast-paced and close racing where smoothness and control reward the top drivers with fast times and podium finishes. For the Lifestyle Autos Superpole, it was Brad Caldon it took home the honors for the first time, edging put Tour debutant, Scott Rapmund, by just 1 tenth of a second. Behind Caldon and Rapmund came Richard King and Mat Nipperess, with Richard Drooger, AJ Lewis and Russell Newell round out the field.
With the completion of the heats and the daylight, it was time for the final race under lights. While drivers were on the out grid ready to race, the rain came in and dampened the circuit, but, no one decided to run on the wet tyre, arguing that the track was still not wet enough to justify changing to wets, meaning that field was going to tackle the Griffith track for 17 laps on slick tyres. The final was won by Mat Nipperness from Richard King in second and Richard Drogger in 3rd.
4SS Thundersports Tour – Senior Heavy
The 4SS Heavy class were out in force once more, although, they were also in a slightly smaller class than usual. Steve Russo added another Lifestyle Autos hat to his collection, taking out Superpole ahead of Tour debutant, Phil Middleton, while round 3 and 4 winner Bert Wrigley and Michael Russell made up the second row, and Edward Wythes and Craig Tailby rounded out the Heavy field.
As we have come to expect from the Heavy field, the heats were made up of close and very hard racing. Once the dust had settled, it was Wrigley that would, once again, start the final race on the front row. The lights were on and rain came down as drivers were readying themselves on the grid, but, the whole field left their slick tyres on, although, some made some last second pressure adjustments before the gate was opened and the field unleashed on the slick surface. Wrigley was proving to be a rain master quickly taking the lead and pulling away from the rest of the Heavy field, his setup adjustment proving to be the right decision. The smaller fields meant that both the lights and heavies were combined for this round, and Wrigley certainly showed off his wet weather racing capabilities by not only pulling away from the Heavy class, but, also carving through the Lights to lead the whole field! Behind the battle for 2nd raged on between Wythes, Russo and Russell, while early pace setter, Middleton, just could not find comfort in the difficult conditions, losing ground quickly to the 3 drivers ahead. Wythes proved to be the best at defence, holding off Russo and Russell, while Russell made his way past the 42 to take home 3rd place, a positive end to what had been a very testing day for the driver holding 2nd place in the points, going into round 5, while Wrigley made it a hat trick of wins and being the very first kart past the line out of the Lights and Heavies.
Senior Performance Light & Heavy
With TAG 125 Light & Heavy karters on track including 3 P Platers, it was great to see #44 Nathan Febo, #16 Grant Brown, #38 Peter Andreazza # 74 Graham Broadfield and #54 Trent Martin on track. In the Light class, Nathan Febo was a cut above the rest with a resounding victory in every heat and the final. Grant Brown had a solid performance pushing his X30 powered Arrow kart to overall second on the day. Working on his kart setup helped narrow the gap to Nathan over the day. Peter Andreazza bravely fought off an injury suffered during the Maxxis Gold cup to take hold of third place for the day.
KZ2 Super Series
In KZ2, Christopher Sutherland took out his maiden Traxstar Race Wear Superpole over his series rivals, beating Mathew Erdmann by just over a tenth of a second and clearing Ashley Chebaia, Dean Starling and Yu-Jin Lee by just over half a second, the last 3 spots in the top five covered by just 1 tenth, before the returning Brendon Schade and Jake Rosoman rounded out the KZ2 field. In the heats it was all Sutherland, dominating every lap from start to finish, while the fight for second was always the battle drawing everyones eyes as Erdmann, Starling and Chebaia all had a turn in trying to chase down the number 12. Sutherland proved too good in the heats, but, as racing stopped for the sun to go down and the lights to come on, a sudden downpour of rain soaked the track enough to change the conditions for our competitors. With KZ2 the last class to run on the night, every single driver was on the fence pulling their hair out trying to decide if the track was wet enough for wets or to roll the dice on wet tyres, but, given the abrasive character of the Griffith circuit, all competitors decided to take the chance on slick tyres. When the race started, it was clear that Sutherland was not 100% comfortable in the greasy conditions and the 12 fell back down to 4th position, giving away the lead to Erdmann and falling behind Dean Starling and also Brendon Schade, the latter looking super confident as he threw his FA Kart around the Griffith circuit, quickly finding his way into 2nd place. The field settled themselves into a decent rhythm, with Schade, Starling and Sutherland all nose to tail in the fight for 2nd, and while Schade was putting in his best performance in the Series, he found he did not quite have the pace to hold off Starling, as the number 4 moved by in a cheeky move coming out of turn 1. While the field squabbled over 2nd position, Erdmann powered away to a commanding lead, putting on a master class display of kart control in the tricky conditions, balancing his CRG on the knife edge between in control and ending the race in the gravel trap towards yet another win in wine country and maintaining his perfect record at the Griffith Kart Club.
KZ2 Masters was also a close contest, starting with Daniel Orsini securing, yet, another Traxstar Superpole in the Masters, edging out Glenn Linnett by less than 1 tenth of a second. Behind Linnett was a fast-improving Trevor Hall taking out 3rd, while Craig Deans and Lyle Brewster rounded out the top 5 and Vince Arena rounding out the Masters on his return to the track. Come racing it looked as though Orsini’s Griffith curse was going to continue, stalling at the start of the first heat, and then, in the confusion of the start, retiring from the race, meaning that Hall, Deans and Linnett were left to fight it out to win the first heat, however, as the day went on, it was clear that Orsini was determined to shake his curse, winning every heat after the first heat. With the setting sun and the sudden down pour, it was looking like Linnett would take out his first win in the Masters, taking an early lead over the Masters field, following Brendon Schade’s progress through the KZ2 field, eventually finding himself right in the wheel tracks of Dean Starling. Linnett was clearly the most comfortable out of the Masters field in the slippery conditions, his TB Kart seeming to find grip no matter where he put it, but, it was not meant to be, spinning out of the lead with 10 laps to go on the entry to turn 2. Despite trying to catch the clutch and keep the engine running, Linnett just wasn’t quick enough and the 88 wound up on the sidelines, a break through win going begging for the Masters rookie. Linnett’s misfortune elevate Orsini back into the lead, even though he was still struggling to find his footing in the damp conditions. Osini’s caution was an invitation to Craig Deans, as the 25 was starting to build up his own confidence a lot quicker than Orsini and Deans quickly found himself on the back of the #19 PCR at about half race distance. With Deans pressuring and Trevor Hall lurking in 3rd, Orsini was faced with the task of making his PCR the widest PCR on the planet for the remainder of the race, both Orsini and Deans slipped and slided around for the remainder of the 17 lap final, but, for Deans, the defense from Orsini was too much and was forced to settle for a respectable 2nd place, Orsini finally breaking his Griffith curse and Trevor Hall taking out 3rd place, showing his massive improvements to the rest of the field and marking himself as one to watch for the rest of the year.