Each October Oakleigh holds its Class Titles – the Bathurst of the years racing. In all, we had 118 entries for the 2014 event, so a good roll up compared to recent Club Days. Usually a two day meeting, this year the club opted for a Saturday day/night event and so we found ourselves down at the track nice and early on an overcast and cool Saturday morning. Wandering the pits beforehand you could see lots of faces from years past, or that don’t usually run Club Days, all back to have a go at getting their name on the plaques that line the clubroom walls
Winners in years past include future National Champions like Dave Sera in Junior National Light in 2000 and 2003, Justin Schneider in Junior National Light and Heavy in 2001 and 2002 respectively, James Sera in Clubman Light in 2001 and a number of times since, Adam Hughes in Leopard Light in 2005, also in a number of subsequent years, Thomas Randle in Midgets in 2005, Josh Brooker in Leopard Heavy in 2007 – and many more! Today’s winners would be joining a promising list; who knows what they might go on to achieve.
Heat 2 Baddeley-Thompson and Mastroianni well away as Potter fell off on lap 1 and rejoined in last, so the front 2 nothing to contend with but each other, and nose to tail they went lap after lap until Mastroianni went under at MKC with 1 to go, but Baddeley-Thompson back under him at JSKC and held on for the last lap to take the flag, Mitchell McGovern home in 3rd.
Pre Finals begin and Baddeley-Thompson away well with Potter, Mastroianni dropping well back, Church through to 3rd doing well already. With a big pile up at JSKC that took out Mastroianni, McGovern and Church, Baddeley–Thompson was left a comfortable leader, followed by Potter and way back to Bradley James. At the flag, Baddeley-Thompson an easy and lonely victor.
Finals time!! Baddeley-Thompson away with Potter, as Mastroianni had a crook start and got battered from pillar to post out of JSKC, elevating Hamish Allan to 3rd and McGovern into 4th. A few laps later McGovern expired out of Tony Kart turn so Church now 4th and Allan pressuring Potter for 2nd, but no problems for Baddeley-Thompson out front. He went away with it, Potter a comfortable 2nd as Sotiropolous and Mastroianni battled for 3rd after Church made an ill judged attempt to pass in the Dipper and dropped back as a result.
Final result: 1. Baddeley-Thompson 2. Potter 3. Mastroianni
Junior National Light
Heat 2 and Blake Kolar to the lead with Mouzouris, then a big gap back to Pancione and another to D’Alia. Gradually the front 2 were reeled in and at the same time Mouzouris went to the lead, but with 3 to go they were a train of 4. Then Pancione to the lead when Mouzouris put a wheel off exiting the Dipper, Kolar and D’Alia 3 and 4. Now Kolar 2nd and right on Pancione as things come to life towards the end, but Pancione held on for the win.
Pancione off pole but a poor start and back to 3rd although he was soon back into 2nd behind Cameron who had gone to the front. 3rd was Forrester then Mouzouris, Kolar and D’Alia – so some quality names in this field. Pancione to the lead on lap 3 and he and Cameron a good gap on the rest Halfway and the good gap had become a little less so as the rest of the field came on – Mouzouris the best of them now in 3rd, D’Alia behind him, then Forrester and Kolar. Cameron back to the lead with 3 to go – still a gap behind Pancione in 2nd back to the pack, so unless they really started fighting they would probably be OK. Then Pancione back to P1, then Cameron, not bad for a Pre Final! In the end Cameron across in 1st from Pancione, and Mouzouris popped out in front of the chasing pack to take 3rd.
Cameron off to a good start, a gap to Pancione and Mouzouris, then D’Alia and Forrester as things settled down. After 5 laps Mouzouris seems to get the upper hand in 2nd ahead of Pancione, but Cameron is long gone out front. Then Pancione comes back at Mouzouris and gets under him going into the Dipper – worse, Mouzouris runs wide onto a dusty piece of track and drops 3 more places; now Forrester 3rd, D’Alia and Kolar also ahead of Mouzouris. Now D’Alia through to 3rd behind Pancione as Forrester runs wide at the same corner, Mouzouris now back to 4th but out front – all Cameron. He would have no trouble, Pancione held on for 2nd and D’Alia 3rd.
Final result: 1. Cameron 2. Pancione 3. D’Alia
Sportsman Restricted Heavy
Payne drove away again to take the Heat 2 win ahead of Martin, Chase, then William Hewitt and Jason Lucas – Chase popping into 2nd ahead of Martin right at the death.
Payne again away well here from Chase (appropriate name for a man in 2nd!) and Martin, Hewett and Lucas. A bit closer this time as Chase took it up to Payne after 4 laps and had him under the pump through the infield. Maybe Chase soon Lead? Martin was right there too, so a closer race all round. Last lap and the first 3 karts were as one and looked like anything might happen. Thankfully (it’s only a Pre Final) no last lap heroics and it was Payne, Chase and Martin 1, 2 & 3.
Payne, Chase, Martin as we went green for the Final and these 3 went away with it, then Hewett, then a gap to Lucas and Church. Excitement back in 2 and 3 around halfway as Chase and Martin went 2 wide for half a lap, but resumed in single file eventually – Payne gone though out front.
Final result: 1. Payne 2. Chase 3.Martin
TAG 125 Light
Carless a better start in Heat 2 and led Slits then Reynolds, and a gap to Sotiropolous and Grover. 4 to go and only 2.5 seconds from 1st to last, but Carless looked in control and he held on to take the win.
Carless ahead of Slits and Sotiropolous then Reynolds and Grover as the smallest field of the day got their Pre Final started. Halfway and Carless was a kart length ahead of Slits and this pair were 1 ½ seconds clear of Sotiropolous in 3rd and Carless maintained or slightly grew this gap to the end, crossing ½ sec ahead of Slits.
Carless away well as usual, with Slits in hot pursuit – as usual, then Sotiropolous, Reynolds and Grover. While Slits put up a valiant fight, he couldn’t seem to catch Carless; lap after lap Carless inched away – further back Sotiropolous held Reynolds at bay although by the end these 2 were closer together than the front pair – Carless a worthy winner
Final result: 1. Carless 2. Slits 3. Sotiropolous
Williams and Callaghan pull away in Heat 2, then Upiter, Joshua Hocking and Jai Stephenson. Williams led all race, but by the narrowest of margins with Callaghan right on his tail – waiting to pounce maybe? In the end Callaghan wasn’t close enough to pounce and had to settle for 2nd behind the victorious Williams, Upiter home in 3rd.
Williams, Callaghan, Upiter and Hocking the front 4 after 1 circumnavigation of the Oakleigh circuit and these 4 were pulling clear already, Callaghan through to the lead on Lap 2 and Kristian Mastroianni out sans nosecone on the same lap. Callaghan and Williams looked like one go kart a lap or so later, same with Upiter and Hocking a few lengths back in 3 and 4. Eventually Williams, having finished reading the washing instructions and standards information on the back of Callaghan’s race suit, looked like he might make a move, but Callaghan wasn’t keen on this idea and kept ahead of him as the last lap unfolded – narrow at MKC and crossed 1st, Williams a tenth behind him, then a gap to Hocking and Upiter.
Callaghan, Hocking and Williams the front 3 after a lap and we settled back with the popcorn for a Cadets Final. Williams through to 2nd on Lap 4 but Callaghan a good lead already. Then, while Upiter drew up on Hocking in 3rd and then Stephenson made this a trio joining in 5th, Williams started catching Callaghan. With 7 to go you couldn’t fit a cigarette paper between Williams and Callaghan and a good tussle looked like developing. A good battle had already developed for 3, 4 and 5 which Upiter got the better of for a while – back at the front Callaghan still holding a lead, but not by much; Williams certainly had the legs down the straight. Hard to know where to look – the 2nd group still dicing away too, now Hocking to the lead of that lot. Then with 3 to go, a change at the front as Williams went to the lead at MKC. Meanwhile Stephenson to the lead of group 2 – then Hocking again – Williams still the race leader. Last lap: Williams, Callaghan, Hocking, Upiter, Stephenson, and despite lots of diving and faking, that’s how they finished – a great race
Final result: 1. Williams 2. Callaghan 3. Hocking
Cameron gets to the lead ahead of O’Keeffe and sets about building a lead, Fallon 3rd, Daniel Frencham 4th. Fallon closes right up on O’Keeffe with a couple to go but Cameron looks safe although they come right up on him on the last lap and in the end Cameron holds on by only 4/100ths from O’Keeffe.
If the Cadets Pre Final looked close, the Junior Clubman Pre Final looked like a fair dinkum train! 8 karts nose to tail for the first few laps and flat knacker the lot of them: Cameron our leader then O’Keeffe, Fallon, Frencham, Jackson, Iredale and Griffin. Finally Cameron pulled something of a gap but the next 3 or 4 were still an angry pack – then by halfway the pack had caught Cameron and it was Fallon, now in 2nd, turning up the heat on our leader. Into the Dipper and O’Keeffe through to 2nd as he elbowed Fallon aside and this gave Cameron room to breathe a bit out front, then with 2 to go Fallon was back on O’Keeffe so might be looking to redress things – Cameron meanwhile driving away. At the flag Cameron, then O’Keeffe, Fallon and a small gap back to Frencham in 4th.
Cameron again away best from O’Keeffe and Fallon and these 3 pulled clear, then like a pack of cards being shuffled we saw about 4 lead changes in 3 corners, which brought the rest of the field up onto them. Finally O’Keeffe settled in front, Fallon, Jackson, Frencham and then the unlucky Cameron, pushed wide more than once as the pack bunched up. Now it was O’Keeffe and Fallon who pulled clear and looked like going away – and by lap 8 they had a lead of nearly 4 seconds on 3rd placed Frencham. Then with 4 to go Fallon went to the lead at JSKC but didn’t immediately pull away – so a good finish coming up! Frencham looked home in 3rd so all interest on the front pair – Fallon still leads with 1 to go…. starts going narrow… too early? No, as it turns out… and Fallon holds on for a good win.
Final result: 1. Fallon 2. O’Keeffe 3. Frencham
TAG 125 Heavy
Vern Kranz ahead of Hamish Leighton and Paul Maruszak for Heat 1 of TAG Heavy, and from the start Leighton to the lead , then Kranz, then Rhys Hunt through from 6th. By the finish line there was no change.
Leighton away ahead of Kranz in Heat 2 and these 2 got away from the rest, who were led by Hunt then Paul Maruszak and Luke Grech-Cumbo. Leighton drove away mid race but with 2 to go Kranz was back on him – at the flag it was Leighton by 2/10ths.
Kranz and Leighton here and Hunt joined the back of them a lap or 2 in, a gap then to Grech-Cumbo, Maruszak, Robert Baldacchino and Bradley Carless. While they weren’t far apart, there didn’t look like being any change in the order – Kranz in the lead, Leighton 2nd, Hunt 3rd. 3 to go and maybe Leighton was fractionally closer, certainly Hunt was dropping off the lead pair. At the flag Kranz maintained his narrow lead to take the win from Leighton.
Kranz off to a good start and Hunt put the elbows out to get through to 2nd, while Leighton dropped back to a slightly distant 3rd, followed by Grech-Cumbo, Carless and Leigh Bowler. 5 laps in and Leighton was starting to make ground on Hunt, but Kranz still well clear in the lead; Carless meanwhile perhaps a seize under the starter’s box and out of the action. Leighton through to 2nd with 5 to go, but Kranz was just a dot on the horizon, and a dot he looked like remaining. In the end, he did.
Final result: 1. Kranz 2. Leighton 3. Hunt
Sportsman Restricted Light
Carless straight to the lead of Heat 2 leaving Spencer, Mike Male, Barnes and Hirotaka Chong in his wake. Lights to flag, all Carless.
Spencer away the better here as Carless dropped back, but the normal order of things soon returned a lap later as Carless went to the lead, then Spencer, Male, Barnes and Anthony Westaway. Halfway, and Barnes, Spencer and Male were making a meal of passing each other for 2, 3 & 4, but Carless was having no such problems well clear in the lead. At the finish line it was Carless, then the bunch behind sorted themselves into Barnes, Male and Spencer.
Final begins; situation normal. Carless out front; Barnes, Male & Spencer behind him. Carless would drive away – the next 3 would fight, the rest would spread out behind them. So sayeth the starter. That’s pretty much what happened for the first few laps, although Carless wasn’t driving completely away, but still had a handy lead. Then a gap to Barnes who had pulled clear of Male and Spencer, then A. Westaway, Jimmy Baker and Chong. As the finish line approached Carless still led, Barnes still 2nd and Male still 3rd and so we went to the flag
Final result: 1. Carless 2. Barnes 3. Male
Junior National Heavy
Benjamin D’Alia, Simon Fallon and Lucas Filikotzias the top 3 qualifiers in JNH and Fallon, Filikotzias and Daniel Frencham conducted a race long battle for the lead of Heat 1, with Aaron Jackson, Jacob Bell and D’Alia stretched out behind them. Eventually Fallon pulled a small break and won ahead of Frencham and Filikotzias.
Fallon and Frencham took it up to each other in Heat 2, followed by Filikotzias and D’Alia, then Jackson and Bryce Woollard as the rest of the field kept running into each other and dropping out two by two. Gradually Fallon drove clear and took a reasonably comfortable win in the end.
Fallon off Pole but not the ideal start as he dropped back to 3rd behind Frencham and Jackson, Filikotzias in 4th then Bell and Woollard. A couple of laps in and Fallon found his rhythm passing Jackson for 2nd at JSKC then Frencham for the lead a lap later at Arrow corner. Then another train developed – maybe the first 8 karts all line astern as Fallon didn’t pull away like we might have expected; in fact Frencham back under him for the lead with 7 to go, but then Fallon back to number 1 a lap later, then Frencham a lap later, then Fallon again a few corners later, now Jackson into the action in 2nd as Fallon leads – Wow, some race! Finally with 3 to go, Fallon gets to the front, Frencham 2nd, then Jackson 3rd, and a gap of sorts appears between these 3. Last lap and Frencham looking everywhere to pass Fallon – Jackson close behind. In the end maybe they decide it’s only a Pre Final and that’s how they finish, Filikotzias 4th. Get ready for a cracking Final!
Fallon away ahead of Frencham, Jackson, Woollard, Bell, Filikotzias and D’Alia and the first 4 pulled further away after a lap or 2. They might have pulled away from the field, but they certainly weren’t pulling away from each other – 4 karts nose to tail for a number of laps. Then the front 3 got a break as Woolard dropped back, but then a passing move by Frencham at Tony Kart saw them all gather up as everybody bobbled and bounced and came out the other side – the new order Frencham, Jackson, Fallon, Filikotzias, Woollard and Bell. Fallon now with the job ahead of him to reel them in from 3rd, but based on his performance so far today he was up to the job. With 8 to go he’s right on Frencham as Jackson goes to the lead into the Dipper – now the 3 karts are as 1 again. Now 6 to go and Frencham and Fallon both under Jackson at JSKC, then Jackson back to 2nd and Fallon 3rd again – great dicing! A lap later Fallon 2nd and sights set on Frencham, while Filikotzias appears on the horizon in 4th. Start of Lap 11 and Fallon through to the lead at JSKC, then loses it again to Frencham at the Carousel. Then a lap later at JSKC Fallon back to the lead, then Jackson through to 2nd and Frencham 3rd – how is this all going to finish?? A chain of 6 karts now – Fallon at the front, then Jackson, then Frencham through too – Fallon 3rd with 2 to go. Now Fallon back to 2nd, Jackson a handy break at just the right moment and held it for the last half of the lap to take the win, with Frencham just sneaking past Fallon at the line for 2nd. Absolutely the fair dinkum best race I’ve seen in ages – well done to all who took part!
Final result: 1. Jackson 2. Frencham 3. Fallon
Shane Alabaster went away in Heat 1 here with Vern Kranz, Richard Camilleri and David Tolley (couple of blasts from the past there!) behind him. Camilleri to 2nd in the end and Tolley back to 4th behind Bruce Smith – Alabaster an easy winner.
Alabaster away again ahead of Kranz and Camilleri, then Tolley in a carbon copy of Heat 1. The similarities continued right to the line where Alabaster crossed first, Kranz, Camilleri, but this time Tolley ahead of Smith.
Alabaster, Kranz, Camilleri – does something sound familiar here? I thought I was in Punxsutawney rather than Oakleigh as Groundhog Day came to TAG O40’s. Then finally a change, as Richard Camilleri rolls slowly back to the pits from what was 3rd position. Still Alabaster leads, Kranz 2nd, but now Smith in 3rd and that’s the way they finished the Pre Final.
Disaster strikes straight away at the start as Kranz and Alabaster touch wheels at Arrow and both go out in spectacular fashion. With Camilleri not starting, the placegetters of most of the heats won’t be on the podium here. So Smith now the leader, then Wayne Morgan, Baldacchino and David Dvorak and that was all that was left! By halfway Morgan was closing on Smith but otherwise they were all spread out. With 4 to go, despite closing, Morgan looked no closer to passing, so no change to report. At the flag it was as you were:
Final result: 1. Smith 2. Morgan 3. Baldacchino
Clubman Medium / Clubman Super Heavy
Matthew McLean ahead of Nicholas Steel and James Mastorakis in Medium, then Darren Kemp just ahead of Mick Fisher in Super Heavy, until with 1 to go Fisher got under him and took the Super Heavy win, McLean already home in Medium.
McLean and Steel much closer together this time but still McLean out front, then Reynolds and Mastorakis; in Supers it was Kemp ahead of Fisher. With 5 to go Steel got under McLean for the lead in Medium, but the pair of them were still glued together. Steel held on for the win as did Kemp who crossed the line just ahead of Fisher.
McLean and Steel, Kemp and Chase as we go around for the first time, then 2 laps in Kemp expires and out, so bad luck for him after a good run in the heats. Steel and McLean now boxing on for the lead in Medium, Chase out front in Super Heavy. 8 to go and Steel gets the upper hand in Medium and leads McLean by a narrow margin, while Chase has a good lead over Fisher and Steve Polak in Supers. With 3 to go Steel still holds a narrow lead over McLean, while Fisher has reeled in Chase and might be half a chance. McLean can’t catch Steel who takes the win, while Fisher is all over Chase and gets around him out of the Grid Hairpin – better drive, and goes on to take a narrow win.
So to the Final and McLean away best in Medium from Steele, Fisher ahead of Chase in Supers. As the laps counted down, Steel was making ground on McLean, while Fisher, previous engine troubles now solved, was g-o-r-n in Supers, well ahead of Polak and Kemp. Halfway and Steel was 2 kart lengths off McLean – this should be where the action is. 6 to go and Steel under McLean at JSKC – now they’re nose to tail. A lap later and Steel is no further clear, but he has track position; McLean had to find a way to come back. He tailed Steel around for lap after lap but no move could he make. Then the pair of them came up on some lapped Super Heavys and P Platers, and while they all got out of the way, the chance for McLean to make any ground was lost and Steel drove very well to get cleanly through them, so took the win; Fisher the Super Heavy victor ahead of Chase and Kemp.
Final result Medium: 1. Steel 2. McLean 3. Mastorakis
Final result Super Heavy: 1. Fisher 2. Chase 3. Kemp
Ladies / Mechanics Race
After all this excitement, we come to the traditional Mechanics Race and then the Ladies Race that close out the Oakleigh Class Titles each year.
Competitors must race J’s and have not held a licence for I think 3 years, and it is run as a time trial, to see who can set the least slow lap. I did it once several years ago and so know all about the power that a J can unleash in skilled hands around the Oakleigh track – in fact a number of old hands said something about timing me with a calendar.
Congratulations to all who took part:
1st Ashley Flynn with a 1.03
2nd Kobe Jacobs with a 1.26
1st Aaron Cameron’s Mum with a 1.05 (and looked right at home in the #95 Arrow!!)
2nd Sandra Pancione with a 1.24
3rd Maddy Morgan with a 1.34