All the Finals action happened today at Oakleigh – winners, losers; lucky and unlucky, as they raced for the blue ice cream lids, but by the fist pumps and celebrations as they crossed the line, there were a few happy souls tonight after taking one home.
As any club that hosts a State or National Title knows, there is an enormous amount of work that goes in beforehand to get a meeting like this up, as well as during the event to keep competitors happy and things running smoothly, then afterwards there is the clean up and post mortem. Congratulations should go to Oakleigh President Adam Bourke and the Committee for the work they put in to make this a great state titles.
Enough of that – now on to the racing:
Hindle to the lead and a gap, Nelson 2nd then Aitken and Barbera. It took until Lap 13 for Nelson to catch and pass Hindle into the Dipper, then pull gradually away for the win. Aitken 3rd ahead of Mayes after Barbera and Aitken tangled earlier in the race and Barbera dropped back.
A frantic start and by Lap 4 they had settled into a sort of X30 train: James Sera, Dave Sera, Nicolaou, Carless, Soutar, Reynolds, Slits, Rowe all carriages in the train as they wound around the twisty Oakleigh circuit. By halfway James had pulled a gap, Nicolaou 2nd ahead of Dave and Carless, At the flag it was James Sera pulling further way and the rest remained the same.
Clubman Over 40
Early on Luciani to the lead, Smith, Whitby, O’Neill and Poole. Halfway and Luciani’s lead was maybe evaporating – seemed to be falling back into the clutches of Whitby and Smith maybe? No such problems by Lap 16 when the Pasta Master had it all in control and a comfortable lead as Whitby seemed to have some sort o mechanical problem that allowed Smith and Poole through. Whitby got back to 3rd but was later excluded, meaning top 3 finishing order was Luciani, Smith, Poole.
On the podium Smith acknowledged Luciani’s recent surgery and congratulated him for his performance when perhaps not at his peak. Having seen Remo packing his rib vest with ice packs after each practice on Wednesday and Thursday, I would have to agree. I always enjoy watching Remo race and was pleased to see him triumph at this meeting when he might have been excused for not going so well.
Junior National Light
Ojeda the pole man and away from Sidebottom, Caruso, Steel then Prestipino and Cameron as P2 man Piastri dropped back to 7th – come on Oscar! Ojeda and Sidebottom worked away to build a break and by Lap 12 had a comfortable lead, while Piastri had recovered to be 4th behind Cameron. By Lap 16 Ojeda had dropped Sidebottom and what was supposed to be an exciting JNL race looked like turning into a one horse affair. Last lap and Ojeda still the leader as Sidebottom spins or seizes or something at the Carousel and his race is done, while Piastri squeezes through at Arrow corner to take 2nd ahead of Cameron.
Boys off pole and away he goes ahead of Densley, Soutar and Farkas. This all remains unchanged until on Lap 4 Boys suddenly dives through the cut through at JSKC corner and rejoins much further back in 5th – a problem of some sort? Densley, Soutar and Farkas now your front 3. So they continue for a number of laps – Farkas gains, Soutar falls away, but Densley safe out front. At the flag it was Densley, Farkas, and the recovering Boys.
Huge field and good start – O’Leary, Doohan, Harders, Montalbano, Love, Sinni, all a train as they begin the first circumnavigation. By halfway Love and Harders had pulled away and had a good gap on the field; O’Leary, Doohan, Montalbano and Sawyer next in line. Lap 17 so only 3 to go and Harders and Love were dicing a lot – too much maybe, and might draw the rest back up to them. Sure enough, the popular local O’Leary was soon looming in their mirrors as they fought, and I’m pleased to say I called O’Leary as the winner at this point. In a fabulous last lap O’Leary must have heard me, as he went around Love and Harders to take a well thought out win.
The other really big field this weekend was Cadets, and Hanson away well ahead of Douglas, Boniface, Brown and Larkin. Lap 12 and Douglas was the leader ahead of Hanson, Boniface and Larkin and as the laps wound down lapped karts loomed as a problem, but all got around them OK with Hanson first across the line, then Larkin and Boniface. Hanson and Boniface were later excluded I believe for technical infringements, so your 2014 Cadets Vic Open Champion – Ladies and Gentlemen: Sean Larkin!!!
Nelson to the lead, and 20 laps later he won – so 2 blue plates for the Queenslander at Oakleigh! There was more to the race than this, but Nelson did lead from lights to flag, ahead of Barbera, Farkas, Pringle and Rodgers; Pringle excluded post race from 4th.
Murray off pole and straight away seemed to have a problem, reaching for the jets or something in that area, before they had gone through 2 corners – Ackermann to the lead, then O’Keefe, Harders, Hollis, Murray and Fullwood. By Lap 6 Ackermann was showing the dominance he had exhibited in the heats and was drawing away – Harders, then later Hollis in 2nd behind him. At the flag it was Ackermann in a canter: Hollis then Fullwood, then a gap to Murray.
At the presentation it was revealed that this win was the first ever race that Ackermann has won – unbelievable!! A blue plate at your first race win!! I have watched Ackermann race before, but had no idea he had never had a win. Reminds me of what I believe is the true story of Clubman Super Heavy champ (and these days James Sera’s mechanic) Josh Brooker, who has only seven trophies in his cabinet at home, but one is a National Title! (and he should have had two by the way!!)
What should have been a great final turned out to be slightly less so, as Dave Sera drove away in the early laps. Nelson was in 2nd and gaining ever so slowly but on Lap 14 went off at MKC with I think a plug lead coming adrift. This left the pack to chase Dave, and led by Mayes they did. Sanderson, who I expected to take it up to Dave, was back in 3rd and dropped to 4th as Nicolaou went under him, so Dave Sera then a huge gap to Mayes, Nicolaou and Sanderson.
Junior National Heavy
A close race from start to finish: Gillis, Donald, Pike, Cameron, with a heap of boxing on behind these 4. After 10 laps still Gillis then Cameron and Donald – who had twice taken a line from Tony Kart turn straight across through the grass to the Dipper and rejoined – then the rest. Lap 10 and Gillis and Cameron pulled clear out front ahead of Pike and Donald – the winner would come from this 4. Lap 16 and lots of dicing and Donald off at Tony Kart turn again and through to the Dipper (a new section of the infield will be named after him next Club Day!!) and suddenly Gillis had a break as the others diced. Last lap and the others had gained, so Gillis went defensive; way too defensive, and set Donald and Cameron up to have a shot at him. Last half of the last lap was messy and not good to watch – Donald crossed the line first followed by Gills and Cameron, but no trophies handed out at presentation as hearings and appeals continued. Watch this space………….
Clubman Super Heavy
At the green Simpson away followed by McKinlay and Stania. Cash, coming through from last after a Pre Final DNF went through the cut through at JSKC after a touch from another kart and rejoined optimistically in 5th – he was subsequently back flagged and out. Meanwhile Simpson built a bigger lead ahead of McKinlay and then a gap to Stania and then a gap to Fisher. The whole field spread out around the track and in the end Simpson, with a lead longer than my vacuum cleaner, took an easy win from McKinlay and Stania
James Sera and Rochford away at the start and off to an early break, Arora further back, then McLean, North, Hughes through from 8th, and Mercuri. So they continued and by Lap 14 Sera had a small gap on Rochford, the rest of the field: Arora, McLean, North and Hughes well back. 4 to go and North maybe seizes? Off under the lap scorer’s box. In the end James Sera, Rochford, Arora, McLean, and Hughes – a well deserved podium after the roll in Heat 2 that led to a complete rebuild between Heat 2 and the Pre Final. Meanwhile James Sera a deserving winner after leading nearly every lap of Clubman Light for the weekend.
Fullwood led the first lap, but that was about all as Black went to the front and pulled away. This left Fullwood, Ojeda and Morse to do battle, Gillis joining them eventually, so plenty of combatants for the minors as Back drove off. In the end Black a comfortable winner – a big gap back to Gillis and Fullwood, who had a dice in the last lap, which Gillis won.