The Griffiths Report January Club Day 2016
So with Junior Top Guns run and won it’s time to turn our attention to Club Days at Oakleigh and our January kicks off with a sunny Saturday afternoon that will lead us into finals under lights. There is some rain forecast which might mix things up a bit, and for 2016 the race format changes to Qualifying for Heat 1, then Heat 2 you start where you finished Heat 1, and then points from these 2 determine where you start the final, so combine some changeable weather with a new race format, and then the usual mix of Juniors moving up to Seniors and so on, and we’re in for an interesting day.
Andrew Daley from AKD Photography joined us again for 2016 and we appreciate his support. If you want some pictures of the action, find them at www.akdphotos.com .
TAG 125 Light / TAG 125 Heavy
Daniel Griffin and Shane Kovacs the front row here for Heat 1, with Ashley Seward and Richard Matera the only 2 in Heavy, respectively 1 and 2. Griffin away well in Light with Jamie Westaway through to 2nd then Jack Scanlan as Kovacs drops back to 4th. Justin Carless was moving through the field after an uncharacteristic qualifying performance and on lap 3 got up to 4th, now ahead of Scanlan, with Kovacs moving into 3rd. In Heavy, Seward was 1st, buried in a pack of slower Lights while Matera was both 2nd and last if you know what I mean. Griffin meanwhile was coming under pressure from Westaway and these 2 were well clear of Kovacs who in turn had a gap on Carless and James Barnes. Then Westaway went to put a move on Griffin at MKC corner and Griffin stuck at it on the outside a bit too long perhaps and drifted into the rubbish, then the dirt, then back a number of places, handing Westaway an easy win a lap or 2 later, followed by Kovacs then Carless, Seward victorious in Heavy.
Heat 2 saw Westaway and Kovacs off the front and Westaway away best at the green, but lap 1 and Careless and Rory Spencer come together as they left Tony Kart turn which saw them both mow some grass and re-join much further back than where they left the action. Back in Heavy Seward was moving through the Lights again, Matera behind him. Halfway and Westaway still our leader, Kovacs, Barnes, Kain Kugimiya and then Griffin recovering from his P6 start. By the start of the last Lap Griffin was closing in on Kugimiya who in turn had Barnes in his sights, but Westaway and Kovacs looked clear in 1 and 2 – and so they crossed the line. In Heavy it was Seward and Matera.
Finals time and Westaway and Kovacs off the front row in Light, Seward and Matera in Heavy. Westaway just hung on at the green to take the lead in a boisterous start which saw Barnes dropped well back, and Kovacs, Kugimiya and Carless all elevate themselves up the order, but all still behind Westaway who now had a comfortable lead; Seward leading Heavy from Matera. With 4 to go still Westaway, Kovacs, Carless, but now Scanlan and Griffin behind them and Kugimiya finds himself back in 6th. Last lap and Westaway would have to fall over, Kovacs 2nd with Scanlan and Griffin behind him after Carless ran wide at MKC and dropped back while mowing more grass. At the flag it was Westaway your winner today.
Restricted 125 Heavy
Timothy Martin and P Plater Paul Stephenson, then another P Plater in Andrew Tabaczynski and Gavin Dorning as we go green and Martin gets the best of a good start to lead Stephenson and Tabaczynski as they spread out around the track. Eventually Tabaczynski closed in on Stephenson, but Martin looked to have it all wrapped up at the front; further back Dorning then Patrick Garner and William Hewett, but Martin sailed onwards to victory without further incident, while Stephenson held on to 2nd despite some spirited attempts by Tabaczynski to unseat him.
So Martin and Stephenson again the front pair in Heat 2 and again they got away to a good start, Tabaczynski and Dorning resumed hostilities further back, followed closely by Hewett and Garner as we watched them go around in the bright sunshine. Martin continued to lead, Dorning got ahead of Tabaczynski for 3rd, Stephenson still between them in 2nd, but karts spreading out a bit by this stage. 2 to go and Stephenson was not that far off Martin – half a second as they began the last lap; same between Dorning and Tabaczynski in 3 and 4, and so they went to the line with Martin victorious by a tenth over Stephenson; Dorning in 3rd
No surprise; Martin and Stephenson off the front then Tabaczynski and Dorning the 2nd row and at the start Dorning was the biggest loser, dropping back to 6th as the others up front remained unchanged – Martin leading Stephenson around, then a gap back to Tabaczynski in 3rd. For a very long time very little happened, and then Martin greeted the finisher, still ahead of Stephenson and Tabaczynski.
Liam O’Donnell then Top Guns winner Toby Dvorak the front row, behind this pair Lachlan Brady and Thomas Patching made up the entire field of Cadet 9, and Dvorak a brave start around the outside to hang on and take the lead at JSKC on Lap 1 ahead of O’Donnell and the others, and they spread out as the first few laps rolled by. Then O’Donnell started to wind Dvorak back in and before you knew it he was having a look into the Carousel and generally looking like he might be on for a pass. Dvorak was up to the task though and stuck in front, with O’Donnell never more than a kart length or 2 behind. That was where he stayed as Dvorak led him across the line for the win, then Brady and Patching well behind them.
The front row swapped sides for Heat 2 with Dvorak and O’Donnell the pair now, Brady and Patching behind them, and we got a start eventually and Dvorak to the front, O’Donnell and Brady close behind, then Patching bringing up the rear. Gradually Dvorak drew away and the whole affair looked like it might develop into a bit of a procession, but Brady and O’Donnell kept things interesting by staying in touch, then O’Donnell found his way up to the back of Dvorak – just as he had done in Heat 1. Then Brady came up on them and got past O’Donnell and into 2nd, Then last lap and as the group approached Tony Kart, O’Donnell touched wheels with Brady and went around, and was well back by the time he got started, so Dvorak a relatively easy winner ahead of Brady.
Dvorak off Pole with O’Donnell beside him, then Brady and Patching, but Brady very slow out of the grid and lucky to make the start, then had to go on cold tyres which cost him a few corners later, as he went wide at Tony Kart while Dvorak and O’Donnell drove away out front. A couple of laps later and Patching rolls into the in grid so race over for him, Brady promoted to 3rd. Dvorak and O’Donnell continue their battle up front while Brady a lonely 3rd. Although O’Donnell was never far behind Dvorak, it didn’t really develop into the duel I was perhaps hoping for and in the end Dvorak saluted.
KA3 Senior Super Heavy
Aaron Hocking and David Martin, then Darren Kemp and Patrick Garner the whole Super Heavy field and Hocking away best at green and to a good lead from Martin and the fast closing Garner who had come in underweight in Qualifying, so he was moving through, these 2 leaving Kemp in their wake. Garner then got through to 2nd as he squeezed past Martin in the Carousel, but Hocking was a speck in the distance. Then Martin got back under Garner so these 2 looked like they might liven up proceedings a bit – they continued to trail around close together. While they bounced and bobbed around, Martin continued to have the upper hand – that was until the last lap when Martin and Garner came together in the Carousel and both ended up in the trap; D’oh!! So Hocking cruised to an even easier win if that was possible, and Kemp was elevated to 2nd place.
Hocking and Kemp, with the luckless Martin and Garner behind them as we went green; Hocking away OK, but Kemp dropped back at the green and so Martin to 2nd, Garner 3rd and we took up where we had left off in Heat 1. Then 3 laps in and Garner has a big look at Martin at JSKC and gets all out of shape, but avoids a collision and gets going again, but now some distance back – and given how evenly matched these 2 seem to be, he might have some trouble making up the lost ground, Hocking meanwhile continues on his merry way out front. With 4 to go Garner had managed to work his way back onto Martin so perhaps pace wasn’t his problem, maybe getting the pass done was the issue. Finally Hocking took the win and Martin was still ahead of Garner, while Kemp brought up the rear.
Again Hocking and Kemp were set to lead the Final away, their Heat 1 DNF’s costing both Martin and Garner a front row start. Garner’s day went further downhill when he had a flat battery on the grid, got started then spun on the roll arounds and of course couldn’t restart, so away we went with 3 of them: Hocking, Kemp and Martin. Then disaster strikes Kemp as he rolls to a halt at the JSKC cut through a couple of laps in, so then there were 2. We watched for a while, then gradually lapsed into a sort of a trance, hypnotised by the pair who remained on track, but regained consciousness to find Hocking still leading Martin and eventually he leads him to the flag.
KA3 Senior Heavy
Newly promoted Senior Bryce Woollard off Pole here with Peter Gigis beside him – Woollard got a good start and John Reynolds the hard charger, scythed through them from 4th to 2nd at the start too, Gigis and Chris Thomas dropping in behind him, then a lap later Thomas through on Reynolds to 2nd and set out after Woollard, while Gigis closed in on the group in 4th. Soon afterwards Thomas was through to the lead and Woollard started dropping back with a loose rear bumper not helping his cause, Reynolds up to 2nd then Gigis inherited 3rd as Woollard pulled in with his bumper waving about behind him – a shame for his debut as a Senior. With 3 to go Gigis was right on Reynolds, but Thomas looked safe out front, back in 4th we now see Brenden Jenner, Thomas French and Nicholas Drew behind him. Thomas took the win, Reynolds held on for 2nd and Gigis home in 3rd.
Thomas off pole here and away well as Reynolds slotted into 2nd followed by Gigis, then Woollard the one to watch coming through from a Heat 1 DNF and into 4th after a couple of laps. Behind them were Jenner, French and Drew as they settled down for the run. Then Reynolds started to zero in on Thomas’ bumper, both he and Gigis were putting in quicker laps than Thomas so inevitably they started to bunch up. With 4 to go Reynolds was a kart length off Thomas and Gigis now a bit further back – Reynolds and Thomas the pair to watch. Thomas did a good job to hold on for the win in the end, Reynolds, then Gigis behind him
So Thomas has Reynolds beside him and Gigis behind him as we go green and Thomas away best to lead this pait, then Woollard who was through already from 7th, French and Jenner, then the P Plater Drew. Thomas and Reynolds pulled clear of the rest, although Woollard moving through to 3rd and looked like he would be on them soon – soon wasn’t the word; within a lap or 2 he was right on Reynolds, so the front pack was now 3, Gigis dropping back in 4th. Now Woollard through to 2nd and set sail after Thomas, but Thomas was up to the job and maintained a steady gap – and at the same time Gigis regained his grip on things and moved right up onto the back of Reynolds in 4th, so a tight finish looming. At the flag it was Thomas, a gap to Woollard that he never quite bridged, Reynolds right on his tail and Gigis a shade further back in 4th.
Restricted 125 Light
Hirotaka Chong and Darren Wade then P Plater Chris Mitchell and Oleksandr Belenko as we go green, Chong away well as Matthew Anderson spectacularly lost a wheel at JSKC and found himself in the stones and out of the race. Halfway and Chong was clearing out, Wade behind him in 2nd, then Mitchell, Belenko, and Stephen Barker. In the end Chong was the victor, Wade home in 2nd.
Chong and Wade again the front pairing and Chong took off with Mitchell in 3rd – until the 2nd lap where he arrived at Tony Kart and ended up in the grass, so Chong and Wade now clear in the lead – that was until a lap later when Anderson and David Menzel tangled in front of the lap scorers box and Anderson went over in a spectacular roll. With the race red flagged the field rolled back into the In Grid for a restart at some later time; which turned out to be immediately as they went straight back out, and so Chong away again at the green with Wade now right on him, then Belenko, Kyle King and Stephen Barker; 5 karts all that was left in this field. Chong soon established another good lead and looked like he would go on to take the win comfortably from Wade – which he did.
No change in the start order here; Chong and Wade, Belenko and Barker; no change in the race order either with Chong well in the lead a few laps in, Wade and Belenko then King behind him, while we battled a few technical difficulties in the box, so a pretty sparse report here. Then again, a pretty sparse race as far as excitement went – Chong untroubled on his way to a win.
All set to give us their two bob’s worth, Robert Barnes and Robert Baldacchino off the front of TAG Masters. Barnes away at the green, Anthony Westaway through to 2nd from 4th, then Mick Fisher 3rd as Baldacchino dropped back to 4th and Richard Matera returning to Oakleigh after a break was bringing up the rear, but not a million miles back – some good racing ahead perhaps. Barnes continued to lead narrowly from Westaway who in turn was only just ahead of Fisher with Baldacchino close behind him. These 4 continued around nose to tail as the laps counted off, but still Barnes out front. Baldacchino moved through on Fisher on the last lap to claim 3rd, Barnes home ahead of Westaway out front.
Barnes and Westaway then Baldacchino, Fisher and Matera for Heat 2 and Westaway got the jump on Barnes to take the lead, Fisher moving through to 3rd and looking to go further ahead, Baldacchino also close behind him in 4th, with Matera dropping back at the rear. Lap 3 and Baldacchino under Fisher at the Grid Hairpin but Fisher up to the challenge and takes the place back at MKC, meanwhile the lead pair took advantage of this and drove away somewhat. Now Baldacchino ranges up on Fisher again and has a half look entering the Dipper, but thinks better of it and retreats. Westaway still leading but not by much as Barnes has him under the blowtorch – further back Baldacchino has another look and pulls off the move into the Dipper to take 3rd from Fisher. Last lap and Barnes makes the move in Westaway taking the lead into the Carousel and pulling a gap at the same time. That’s how she ended up folks – for a race with only 5 karts it was a pretty good show.
For the Final it was Barnes and Westaway followed by Baldacchino, Fisher and Matera and we looked forward to a good race if the heats were any indication – Barnes got the jump, then Westaway, Baldacchino and then Fisher a tight group after a few laps, then a gap to Matera. Baldacchino had a look for 2nd but ended up dropping back and into the waiting arms of Fisher, so now 2 pairs of karts and a gap to Matera. With 7 to go they had spread out a little bit and Barnes was perhaps pulling clear of Westaway. So all Barnes out front, but Westaway, Baldacchino and Fisher a much tighter group behind him and with 2 left Fisher had half a look at JSKC to go under Baldacchino, but thought better of it and reloaded. In the end he ran out of laps to get another shot as Barnes took the flag – Westaway, Baldacchino and Fisher in his mirrors.
Joshua Hocking beside Ethan Church in Cadet 12 and they all got away cleanly with Hocking at the head of the pack. A lap or 2 in and he and Church had a good gap; Matthew Hillyer, Jett Wilson, Joshua D’Ambrosio and Austin Blanchard lined up behind them, and Joshua Hailes bringing up the rear. The longer the race went the further they all spread apart, Hocking still out front; and sure enough he took a comfortable win.
Hocking and Church then Hillyer and Wilson – and at the green that’s how they got away. A lap or 2 later and D’Ambrosio moved into 4th ahead of Wilson, but otherwise there was no change. For a very long time then there was no change – Church not that far off the back of Hocking, but couldn’t get close enough to have any sort of look, so they continued to circulate. Shortly afterwards they crossed the finish line: Hocking, Church, Hillyer, D’Ambrosio the first 4
Hocking, Church, Hillyer and Wilson your front 4 in Cadet 12, D’Ambrosio, Blanchard and Hailes the rest of them – and just as we went green a rainbow appeared in the Northern sky, but where there’s a rainbow, there’s usually rain, so stand by for thrills and spills. Hocking had gone away to a good lead, Hillyer in 2nd then Church and D’Ambrosio as Wilson dropped well back after a half spin on Lap 1 and a coming together with Hailes which saw the latter out with busted steering. With 4 to go the rain just started to spit but Hocking looked like he would be safe, the battle pack behind him was where you had to press on, but Hocking could conserve a little. Sure enough Church had a look at Hillyer at MKC and Hillyer was forced wide and found a slow and dusty trip through the catch trap and back onto the track – so Hocking, Church and D’Ambrosio the finishing order.
KA4 Junior Light / KA4 Junior Heavy
Jai Stephenson and Bradley James the front pair in Light, with Jack Martin and Naomi Brady the same in Heavy at the rear. James away best at the green and took the lead from Stephenson, then Callum Potter and Kai Upiter; back in Heavy Martin got the jump on Brady and Antonio Cafiso. A few laps in and James was doing a good job in the lead, Stephenson making him earn it by having a look here and there, Potter and Upiter not all that much further back either, so a battle coming perhaps. Halfway and the front 3 were locked in mortal combat, James holding off determined challenges from Stephenson, and Potter looking to pounce at any opportunity. Back in Heavy Martin was moving through the Light field, so looked like a winner. With 2 to go James had edged ever so slightly clear of Stephenson who had Potter breathing down his neck – this continued right to the flag where James saluted ahead of Stephenson and the close checking Potter; Martin, Brady and Cafiso the 3 Heavys
James and Stephenson the front row reversed here, but at the green Stephenson got the jump and took the lead. Not for long though as James worked his way back and Upiter got through too, so Stephenson now 3rd with Potter and Sparey behind him. While all this was going on, Martin had been leading Heavy, but found himself dropping back through the field with maybe a carby problem, promoting Brady to the lead with Cafiso behind her. Shortly afterwards Martin’s problems became terminal as he retired. At the front though it was still James, now with Stephenson behind him, then Upiter, Sparey and Potter – this little group close together. 3 to go and Stephenson has a look at James into the Dipper but James resists – they touch but continue unimpeded. Stephenson reloads and looks for another shot as they begin the last lap. Credit to James, he drove a smooth last lap and held onto the number 1 spot; Stephenson, Sparey, Upiter and Potter behind him; meanwhile Brady and Cafiso the 1 and 2 in Heavy.
The Final saw James and Stephenson off the front of Light with Brady and Cafiso the leading pair in Heavy and an exciting start saw a number of karts spin at JSKC, but from it all James emerged in the lead with Stephenson, Upiter and Potter lined up behind him, then Martin the 1st Heavy with Brady and Cafiso unfortunate victims of the 1st corner incident, still in the race but half a lap behind. With 5 to go Upiter moved into 2nd ahead of Stephenson, but James continued to drive off into the night. As we wound the laps down though, James started to drift back into the clutches of Upiter who was doing a great job in I think his first Club Day as a Junior. As the chequered flag approached James looked safe, Upiter behind him, but Stephenson Potter and Sparey duelled away for 3rd, with Stephenson getting the upper hand at the line.
KA3 Senior Light
Michael Carless and Jack Bell, then Mark Appleby and Blake Kolar behind them, and one to watch at the rear, Simon Fallon who was underweight after I think putting it on Pole in Qualifying. Carless away best with Bell dropping in behind, but a lap or 2 in and Bell looked like he had a problem as he went backwards through the field – after 3 it was Carless, Appleby, Angelo D’Ettorre, then Fallon going forwards from the back, then Bell going the other way. By Halfway Carless still led, then Appleby and then the fast moving Fallon. Bell still back in 5th but now back on the pace – maybe a grip problem in the early laps. Bell back to 4th a lap or 2 later as he got ahead of D’Ettorre, but Fallon’s charge had maybe slowed or stopped as Carless and Appleby held positions 1 & 2 ahead of him. Last lap and it looked like it would be Carless, Appleby, Fallon and Bell – and it was.
Carless and Appleby with Fallon and Bell behind them and Carless got away to lead well, Fallon slotting in behind him and these 2 pulling clear of Appleby and Bell, then D’Ettorre and Adam Pasek, Johan Pasek and Blake Kolar and finally Adam Corbett, with Woollard out of this class for the night. Fallon was working away on the back of Carless and at various times looked like he might make a move, as did Bell on Appleby back in 3 and 4. Finally Fallon did get under Carless at JSKC and at the same time Bell moved into 3rd ahead of Appleby, so change was the order of the day here. With 2 to go these 2 pairs of karts were turning into one group of 4 karts as Fallon went defensive and Bell made ground on them both, then went under Carless at MKC to go to P2. Last lap and we had a gaggle of karts as they went at it, 3 wide coming out of Tony Kart and looking like anything could happen. Then Bell went under Fallon at Grid Hairpin to go to the lead, but a touch slowed them both – Fallon back to 4th and Bell’s run was also interrupted allowing Carless through to the lead, then Bell, Appleby and Fallon with D’Ettorre closing fast on the squabbling group for 5th.
And so to the last Final of the Day and Carless got them away with Appleby, Bell and Fallon all looking to move ahead of each other to have a crack at the lead too, but Carless held sway and a couple of laps in he had Appleby behind him then Fallon and Bell and these 4 rattled around under the lights at a ripping pace. Behind them D’Ettorre, Kolar, Adam Pasek and Johan Pasek, but all the action was up front where Appleby was reeling in Carless and Fallon had snuck under Bell for 3rd. With 6 to go Fallon was closing on Appleby maybe a whisker; Carless still looked OK out front and Bell had dropped off slightly in 4th. Soon after Carless seemed to pull clear and Bell joined back on, close enough to get past Fallon at MKC with 3 to go, so now Bell sets out after Appleby. Sure enough he’s right on him with a lap to go and gets under him at MKC to move into 2nd, but Carless will probably have the gap to hold on for the win despite the Bell resurgence. Sure enough he does, and a great job by Bell to take 2nd ahead of Appleby.
So we finished the January Club Day without seeing any rain to speak of. Despite threatening, it never really eventuated at the track, but the sky to the North was lit up with lightning and sure enough, on my way home after the meeting I drove through a downpour that would have stopped racing had it found the Oakleigh circuit. Roads were flooded and visibility was severely reduced at times, but for once the weather Gods had smiled on us and nothing hit the track.
See you all in February!!!