Following some wild weather in the last few days in Melbourne, Oakleigh’s September Club day looked like being an almost perfect day; cool to start, but bright and sunny with the promise of better things to come. As the day progressed the wind increased to a stiff breeze, but karters had come out to play – 125 combatants this month, and after Drivers’ Briefing and Qualifying for the feature classes, racing got underway.
Again, photos this month are supplied by Andrew Daley of AKD Photography. See more at akdphotos.com
Clubman Heavy / Clubman Super Heavy
Anthony Westaway and Lachlan Citrine were the front row in Heavy, while Brett Jenkin and Mick Fisher led the Super Heavys away in Heat 1 and a good clean getaway by all except Darren Kemp who rolled to a stop in the form up laps. After a couple of laps Citrine was blitzing, well out in front, and visiting Vic Open title holder Michael Brennan ahead of Jenkin and Fisher in Super Heavy. In the end Citrine was victorious in Heavy although James Mastorakis had a good go at catching him, while in Super Heavy Jenkin dropped a chain with 4 to go handing 2nd to Fisher, but no one was catching Brennan who rounded up a few of the Heavys in the end and recorded a comfortable win.
Heat 2 away with Mastorakis a good start in Heavy, and Fisher, Hunt and Brennan a close battle in Super Heavy. By halfway nothing had changed, the best battle the Super Heavy race where Fisher was not letting Hunt get past him, nor the blue plate of Brennan – these 3 locked together for a number of laps. Mastorakis a lonely drive out front in Heavy, Citrine 2nd then Westaway and Jason Sidwell, but these 3 so far back they weren’t going to pose a threat. While they were closer together, the Super Heavy order was unchanged: Fisher, Hunt, Brennan, until Brennan had a look at Hunt into MKC corner – Hunt getting back under him at JSKC, before Brennan went back under him at Tony Kart turn and pulled away, all the while Fisher pulling further away out front. In the end Mastorakis did it easy in Heavy, and Fisher the victor in Super Heavy.
Mastorakis and Citrine off to the lead in Heavy, while Fisher led Supers away from Brennan, as Mal Hunt sailed between the Supers at JSKC on Lap 1 to go into 2nd, but Fisher held onto P1. As things unfolded Mastorakis went to a good lead in Heavy with Citrine and Dylan Slits behind him, and Brennan got through to the lead in Supers ahead of Fisher, with Jenkin and Hunt behind him. At the flag it was Mastorakis and Slits in Heavy; Brennan and Fisher in Super Heavy.
All Points – Heavy 1. Mastorakis 2 . Sidwell 3. Newnham
All Points – Super 1. Brennan 2. Fisher 3. Hunt
Junior National Light
Calin MacLennan and Cody Donald, then Bryce Woollard and Lachlan Fitchett as JNL began Heat 1 and Donald made the best of the start with Matthew Iredale straight through from 6th to join him as MacLennan dropped back and then spun at Tony Kart turn on lap 1, rejoining at the rear. After 4 laps Donald and Iredale were well clear, then a gap back to Oscar Piastri and Fitchett. As the laps wound down Iredale was closing ever so slowly on Donald, but it looked like Donald would hang on – and in the end he did; Iredale, Piastri and Fitchett across the line behind him.
Nicholas Steel and Piastri off the front for Heat 2 and both these 2 pulled away well from Donald and Iredale, Piastri getting to the lead after a couple of laps and Donald closing on the now 2nd placed Steel. On Lap 4 Donald went under Steel at JSKC but the 2 of them tangled a couple of corners later handing Iredale 2nd while Steel dropped back to 4th, Fitchett now close behind him. With 3 to go Donald and Iredale started to swap spots for 2 and 3, leaving Piastri to drive further away out front. Last lap and Piastri well clear, Donald the better of the next pair but Iredale under him in the Carousel and across the line in 2nd, then Steel and Fitchett further back.
Recent graduate to the Junior ranks, Piastri was doing well to lead Heat 3 away from Donald and Iredale, but at the green Donald got the jump, then Piastri, Iredale 3rd, then Steel and Domenic Pancione. Donald and Piastri pulled clear of the rest, but Piastri was taking it right up to the older Donald for a few laps, then Donald found a small gap. Behind these 2 still Iredale, Steel, Fitchett and Pancione. Suddenly with 3 to go Piastri was right back on Donald and got past him at JSKC – in a flash Piastri was 4 lengths clear of Donald and went on to record a convincing victory, Donald and Iredale behind him – an Oscar winning performance you might say.
All Points: 1. Piastri 2. Donald 3. Iredale
Sportsman Restricted Heavy
Paul Barlow and Jesse Royston off 1 & 2 as R125 Heavy got underway and Steven Barlee was through from 4th to the lead after a lap, Jason Sheales behind him, then Royston, Michael Maruszak and “Little” John Stanic in 5th. By halfway Sheales had worked his way to the front and pulled a gap on Barlee, and Maruszak had passed Royston for 3rd, further back Luke Grech-Gumbo was into 5th ahead of Stanic, then Paul Maruszak and Peter Gigis, until Stanic took a ride into the grass going into the Dipper and elevated them all a spot while he recovered. At the flag it was Sheales comfortably while Barlee just hung on for 2nd ahead of Michael Maruszak.
All Richard Matera at the start of Heat 2, well ahead of Sheales and Grech-Cumbo, but Sheales started working to catch Matera and had him in his sights after 4 laps, then past and into the lead. From there Sheales pulled away leaving Matera and Grech-Cumbo behind him, then Barlee and Paul Maruszak, a comfortable win for Sheales in the end.
Sheales away, then Barlee and Grech-Cumbo, Matera and Paul Maruszak. On lap 3 a huge pile up at Tony Kart turn saw lots of karts at all sorts of angles, but in the end only 2 couldn’t drive off – out for the race were Trevor Payne and James Royston. Meanwhile Sheales was motoring away, Barlee and Grech-Cumbo still hot on each other’s tails, until Grech-Cumbo had an awkward look at the grid hairpin and sent them both back several places. This handed 2nd to Paul Maruszak with Michael Maruszak now into 3rd and they were followed by Matera and the recovering Barlee, Sheales the comfortable victor in the end.
All Points: 1. Sheales 2. Barlee 3. Paul Maruszak
TAG 125 Light & TAG 125 Heavy
The other combined class this month was TAG Light and Heavy and Luke Skinner led the Lights away, beside him Tim Edwards; in Heavy Rhys Hunt and Greg Smart the front 2. A computer glitch (or maybe it was operator error) saw the detail of the report for Heat 1 wiped, but Edwards was the winner in Light after Skinner retired, and Hunt won Heavy from Griffin and Kranz.
Ben Freeman and Shane Alabaster the front 2 in Light and Kranz and Adam Gillick in Heavy and Alabaster to the lead with Skinner hot on his tail, and in Heavy Gillick got the jump on Kranz until Lap 2 when Kranz got past and Griffin closed in on Gillick in 3rd. By halfway Alabaster still had a gap on Skinner, and Kranz had put a huge gap on Gillick, a little further back to Griffin. Skinner closing on Alabaster looked to be the only likely change and with 2 to go it happened at JSKC, Skinner to the lead and pulled away, Kranz an easy winner in Heavy.
Edwards to the lead in Light from Alabaster, and Hunt ahead of Kranz in Heavy. Skinner was coming through from the back in Light after a Heat 1 DNF, and got to 2nd on Lap 3, then set out after Edwards, meanwhile Hunt continued to lead Kranz in Heavy, Griffin and Smart behind them. 4 to go and Skinner was a kart length behind Edwards, then he was ahead of him and into the lead after a move at grid hairpin. Hunt wasn’t shaking Kranz off in Heavy – it looked like this was where the action would be as they closed on Dvorak, the slowest of the Lights. Hunt passed Dvorak as they began the last lap leaving Kranz stuck behind him for a corner or two and this gave Hunt the break he needed to win, Skinner already across the line 1st in Light ahead of Edwards.
All Points Light: – 1. Edwards 2. Alabaster 3. Zammit
All Points Heavy: – 1. Hunt 2. Kranz 3. Griffin
Again only a small field this month with 4 of them making up the Junior Clubman field and led away by Justin Carless, then Ashton Andoloro, Dylan O’Keefe and Kyle Hunt, and at the green Andoloro away best, then O’Keefe from Carless and Hunt. By lap 5 O’Keefe had worked his way to the lead and then with 2 to go the unbelievable happened – Carless and Hunt came together and out of the race at Tony Kart turn, leaving only 2 of them out there. In the end O’Keefe a comfortable winner, and Andoloro 2nd, or last, depending on how you look at it.
The same 4 – different order and away we went. O’Keefe, as if shot from a gun went to the front and away, Andoloro 2nd, then Hunt and Carless. Carless got past Hunt into JSKC on Lap 3 but otherwise very little looked like happening. Sure enough, very little did happen, O’Keefe going away to an easy win.
So, O’Keefe, Andoloro, Carless and Hunt the fearsome 4 again in Junior Clubman – Andoloro away at the green from O’Keefe, but a lap later O’Keefe back to the front and they all threatened to spread out again, although Carless was closer to Andoloro than he had been in the Heats. With 5 to go the order was the same, but Carless was still pressuring Andoloro for 2nd, O’Keefe not far ahead either, but still leading. Gradually Andoloro shook off Carless, but wasn’t really gaining in O’Keefe – in the end I think I was just trying to make a boring race sound more interesting, although Carless suddenly dropped right back and Hunt got past for 3rd to liven things up, but out front O’Keefe did it easy.
All Points: 1. O’Keefe 2. Andoloro 3. Hunt
A good sized field of Clubman Light led by Fred Khan and Adam Capek and Capek to the lead with Nicholas Bates, then Matt McLean, and Ash Arora through to 4th from way back, then Khan now in 5th. Bates was closing on Capek after a few laps, and McLean and Arora were also gaining – looks like a good battle coming up. 3 into 1 at JSKC corner a lap later and Arora came out in front, then McLean, then Bates, but all this gave Capek something of a break and away he went. McLean was right on Arora’s crash bar and had half a look a lap later at JSKC again, but thought better of it and pulled back in. For the next few laps they followed each other and worked on catching Capek, which they did and as the last lap started Arora a big dive under Capek into JSKC and McLean followed him through to be 1 & 2. So a lap to go and Arora needed to hang on, but McLean had other ideas, going under him into the Carousel, but Arora held him out into the grid hairpin and they exited side by side with Capek now right on these 2 as well. At MKC corner and Arora super narrow – McLean went to go around the outside then switched to the inside and got past Arora, and Capek followed him through seeing McLean the winner by 0.019s – a great finish!
See if we can have a race as exciting as Heat 1 again – Matthew Lane and Arora off the front this time and Lane to the lead, Arora, McLean, Mark Appleby and Caleb Citrine behind him. With 7 to Go Samantha Millar, making a return to Oakleigh Club Days, got past Citrine and into 5th, meanwhile Lane, Arora and McLean were putting on a cracking show up front, Arora through to the lead on lap 5, but McLean never more than a heartbeat behind him as they put a gap on Lane. Lap 6 at the Dipper saw McLean under Arora, then 2 corners later they touched as Arora fought to get back past again and McLean was left high and dry on the outside of the track at the Carousel – Arora now the leader again; Lane, Appleby and Millar behind him. Last lap and Lane was closing but Arora crossed first, Millar under Appleby at grid hairpin for 3rd.
Set to do battle again were Arora, Lane, Capek and Appleby as Heat 3 of Clubman Light got away – and Arora to the lead, Lane, Appleby, Capek, Bates, McLean and Millar in hot pursuit. After 5 laps it was still Arora with a small gap on Lane, then these 2 well ahead of Appleby who also had a gap on the tussle between Bates and McLean, a battle that McLean eventually got the better of. Meanwhile Arora had a kart length on Lane but couldn’t afford to relax for a moment – and relax he did not, going on to record the win from lane, McLean sneaking through for 3rd ahead of Appleby
All Points: 1. Arora 2.Lane 3. Capek
A grand total of 8 P Platers followed 4 C Graders out the gate in Cadets – a good sign for the future of karting at Oakleigh. Braydon Callaghan got away best as the light went green, followed by Joshua Hocking, then Kai Upiter and Michael Horner – a swarm of P Platers behind them; Kristian Mastroianni the best of them. The front 4 were engaged in a huge stoush, the lead changing almost at every corner: Hocking, Upiter, Callaghan and Horner – as soon as I noted them down, the order changed. Eventually a lapped kart split them up a bit and Hocking got to the lead from Horner, a gap back to Upiter, then Callaghan and that’s the way they finished, behind them the best of the P Platers Jai Stephenson and Matthew Stanic.
After a series of pirouettes from the P Platers in the roll around laps, we eventually got a go and Callaghan to the lead from Upiter then Horner and Hocking. Then Upiter through to P1 on lap 3 and Harrison Draffin the best of the P Paters this time, in 5th. More spread out as time went by this time, Upiter comfortable in front at the halfway mark. In the P Platers field still Draffin, then Stanic and Harrison Occhipinti. Out front all Upiter and he was across the line 1st, Callaghan coming under pressure from Horner but hung on for 2nd.
Hocking to the lead and Callaghan swept through to 2nd at JSKC as Cadets began Heat 3, but Upiter soon under Callaghan and back to 2nd, then Horner past him too and into 3rd, all the while Hocking cruised away at the front. After a few laps it looked like Upiter would be the threat, closing on Hocking rapidly, then past him at Arrow corner as they began lap 5 to go to the lead, Horner well back in 3rd and Callaghan putting in an uncharacteristic performance dropping further behind in 4th and just holding out Stanic. 3 to go and Upiter looked to have a safe gap from Hocking and as the laps wound down he went on to record the win.
All Points: 1. Upiter 2. Hocking 3. Horner
Sportsman Restricted Light
Sean Barnardo and James Barnes the front 2, with Nicholas Clarke and Robert Barnes behind them. The front 2 were still the front 2 after a lap – Barnardo and James Barnes, then Robert Barnes and Clarke, so all the action was behind them where Bruce Smith had worked his way to 5th, then Zackery Cerato 6th and these 2 were closing on the front group. James Barnes under Barnardo at JSKC and to the lead, then Barnardo and Robert Barnes touched going into the Dipper leaving Barnes stranded on track and he was collected by Nathan Grover who was coming through from much further back, so all over as both of them went out. All this gave James Barnes a comfortable lead, Cerato behind him then Clarke – these 3 well ahead and that’s how they crossed the line.
Darren Trott and Grover the front row for Heat 2 and Grover away with Joshua Goh following him through from 3rd while Trott dropped back a spot and Travis Bird into 4th. Grover well clear in the lead, while a lap later Trott passed Goh (and collected $200) to go back into 2nd. A lap later most of the field passed Goh when he had a problem coming out of the Dipper and suddenly he was well back – now Grover, Trott, Bird, Smith and Barnardo, but Grover so far in the clear he looked untouchable, Bird and Trott 2 and 3, Barnardo working his way through to 4th and in the end that’s how they greeted the finisher.
Bird was flying at the start of Heat 3, ahead of James Barnes and Barnardo, then Grover and Smith as the field spread out. Grover was the big mover, his heat 1 DNF costing him as he worked through the field, past Barnardo and into 3rd on lap 5. Try as he might Grover wasn’t going to reel in Bird or James Barnes and they crossed the line in this order with Barnes just holding him out, but well done to Bird – the clear winner.
All Points: 1.Bird2. James Barnes 3. Smith
Junior National Heavy
Qualifying saw Todd Sparey then Cody Donald up front and Sparey away well at the green followed by Donald then Dylan O’Keefe and Lucas Filikotzias. These 4 pulled a good gap on the rest, who were led by James Westaway and Daniel Frencham. By halfway the front 4 were unchanged and if anything, spreading out even more, although after a few more laps Filikotzias was breathing down O’Keefe’s neck for 3rd. Behind them it was still Westaway, with Justin Carless now into 6th ahead of Frencham. Chequered flag and Sparey easing off, then Donald, and Filikotzias got under O’Keefe at the grid hairpin on the last lap to take 3rd.
Sparey again away well, then Donald, O’Keefe and a gap back to Filikotzias, then another gap to Carless, Westaway and Frencham. As sometimes happens with Qualifying at a club day, there wasn’t much passing – Sparey pulling ever so slowly away out front from a field that was ever so slowly spreading further apart behind him. In the end he was victorious from Donald, O’Keefe & Filikotzias – as it had been in the beginning.
Sparey off pole for the Final but it was Donald through to the lead at JSKC as they began and these 2 cleared out on O’Keefe, then Filikotzias and Westaway. Sparey wasn’t going away though and pressed on Donald’s crash bar for the next few laps – the 2 of them working a bigger gap on the rest of the field. While they pulled away, the second group also got closer together – Filikotzias, O’Keefe and Westaway swapping places and a bit of paint as they duked and diced around the track. With 5 to go there wasn’t a kart length in it between Donald and Sparey, the second group here in a different order every time I looked up, so a good finish coming up. 3 to go and Donald had just put a small gap between he and Sparey – behind them it was O’Keefe then Filikotzias and Westaway until Filikotzias went under O’Keefe entering the Dipper, but O’Keefe back at him at grid hairpin a few corners later – now Westaway under Filikotzias at JSKC. Donald was clear from Sparey for the win – what would the order be behind them? O’Keefe finally popped out at the head of the group then Westaway and Filikotzias. Good race!
Final: 1. Donald 2. Sparey 3. O’Keefe
Another Sparey – Jai this time, fastest qualifier in Rookies, followed by Blake Kolar, Mathew Steel and Jordan Dudfield. At the green it was Dudfield, then Kolar, Sparey, then a gap back to Steel. Behind them Christian Pancione, Patrick Forrester and Angelo Mouzouris. The front 4 formed a tight bunch after a lap or 2, Kolar through to the lead from Dudfield and Sparey getting under him at grid hairpin too – Steel watching back in 4th. Then Steel and Dudfield swapped spots a few times, but this was letting Kolar and Sparey pull away. Pull away they did and with 4 to go Kolar had 3 kart lengths on Sparey while some distance back Steel and Dudfield fought it out for 3rd. Last lap begins with Sparey looking under Kolar at Arrow, but Kolar held on and drove well all lap to take the win, Steel getting the better of Dudfield for 3rd.
Heat 2 and again Sparey off pole, but Steel to the front from Sparey and Dudfield, then Kolar and Pancione. Steel and Sparey took off, glued together until Lap 4 when Sparey got by in the Dipper and they settled down to race some more. 2 laps later the front 4 were still a tight group – maybe Sparey had pulled a tenth, but little in it, Dudfield right on Steel with Kolar right on them. With 2 to go Sparey had gotten clear and the others had the fight ahead of them for the minors. Sparey the winner and well done to Steel who held off Dudfield and Kolar for 2nd – all three of this group nose to tail for the last few laps.
This time Sparey to the front from Steel, then Dudfield and Kolar, Pancione and Forrester, and Mouzouris bringing up the rear. Sparey gained ground and looked to be driving away from Steel, who was also leaving Dudfield and Kolar behind. Then suddenly Steel gained on Sparey, then overtook him for the lead – maybe a mistake from Sparey that I didn’t see, because Steel didn’t exactly drive away from there – the 2 of them remained locked together, as were Dudfield and Kolar a couple of seconds behind the lead pair. With 3 to go Steel had a lead of about a nanosecond (no timing this month!) with Sparey breathing right down his exhaust; further back Dudfield looked a little clear of Kolar. 2 laps to go, Steel and Sparey side by side out of the Dipper, looked like disaster might be pending – but they squeezed through the Carousel, Steel still in front. For the whole last lap, with Sparey right on him, Steel drove a very smart race – narrow enough to make it hard for Sparey, but not so narrow that he lost all momentum, and Steel crossed the line half a kart length in the lead – well done to them both. Clerk of Course and Club President Adam Bourke declared it the best race of the day
Final: 1. Steel 2. Sparey 3. Dudfield