A full grid at Picton Karting Track for Round Three of the Four Stroke Karting Association of New South Wales was a sight to behold. A cool crisp Autumn morning meant a slippery practice session and not much could be gleaned from the track conditions as to who had pace and who didn’t.
Qualifying too, was cold, and the grid was somewhat mixed at the front. Drafting is the best way to get a fast lap in one of these karts, and it was the Pro-Axle duo of Cameron & Jarrod Crick who did the job best with Cameron claiming the $100 Pro-Axle Pole award for Pro-Axle 8. In CHAMP Class Mark Dykstra of Having Fun Racing out did the rest with an impressive Class pole time to win the $100 dollars on offer and 7th Outright.
We’ve come a long way in four years, our first event attracted nine endurance entries and that seems like a very very long time ago. For this event the grid was full two weeks prior to the event, and the club had to turn down a further four entries because we had met the grid capacity of the circuit – four years ago that was a pipe dream. To those that missed out, we are sorry you couldn’t be a part of the fun, but we hope to see you at Newcastle in July where a grid in the mid 30’s is a distinct possibility.
10AM start time, and the track was starting to soak up the morning sun. Chaos was predicted at Turn one, but it wasn’t to be the case with the field negotiating the first few laps and sorting the early pecking order. Did we say early pecking order? Sure did, because just like that our Canberra round winners Hoofhearted 12 were out of contention breaking a chain. In sympathy two more karts rolled to a stop and ultimately it resulted in our our first virtual safety kart of the event.
At the restart it became a race of four, Jordan Freestone aboard Pro-Axle 8, William Lucas in Hoofhearted, Jarrod Crick in Pro-Axle 68 and Adam Burke for Sonic Racing showed they had pace over the rest. The winner would ultimately come from those four should they not have any issues.
With 26 karts the potential for accidents was always there, and unfortunately, not long into the race CHAMP Class Pole position team Having Fun became the races’ only non-finisher. A big accident smacking them out of the race and sending the team home early. Steve Gaal was left to rue his chance at CHAMP Class glory, but the team spirit is to Have Fun, and they will be back.
By midday it felt like Hoofhearted 12 had dropped or broken a chain sixty-four time. Their luck was non-existent. Pro-Axle 68 had made it to the outright lead, the CRG 4 Stroke Chassis proving its worth and being driven very well. In CHAMP Class it was a battle between Dieci Racing, CDK Racing, and St Croix. CDK Racing we penalised for a pit lane infringement, while St Croix went slightly underweight and copped a five-lap penalty. The weigh bridge claimed more victims through out the day proving you have to have everything right or you’ll get caught out.
Pro-Axle 68 were being caught under each caution period, and ultimately it was strategy that was killing them. They had the pace to win, but they kept losing their advantage every time there was a caution period. Pro-Axle 8, Maldon Storm, Hoofhearted, The Marvans and Sonic Racing found themselves in front of Pro-Axle 68 by mid race, all by playing the strategy card.
Around mid-race fatigue began to set in. Several teams were in the pits fixing issues, but the rules say you must greet the chequered flag to be classified a finisher, so no one was giving up.
First big casualty was Sonic Racing with clutch dramas resulting in a lengthy stop. Hoofhearted 99 were meatball flagged due to a damaged rear bumper and then copped a pit lane speeding penalty meaning they’d need to traverse the pit lane an extra time than their rivals.
Two hours to go, and Pro-Axle 8, Maldon Storm, Hoofhearted & Pro-Axle 68 had the pace. The Marvans were holding on for dear life, but they weren’t quite there for speed and at their final fuel stop the fuel pump suffered damage, resulting in two short stops to replace the pump. Fifth would be where they’d end up.
In CHAMP Class, the battle was on. Two driver team CDK Racing with Kel Davis and Craig Woolley aboard were doing it tough, they’d suffered bent steering and with only two drivers, it was going to be hard work to get the kart home… but they did just that greeting the chequered flag first in class, ahead of Piston Broke, the big improvers of the race finishing an impressive 2nd in Class and 7th outright. 3rd in CHAMP Class was our until now, unbeaten CHAMP Class team St Croix racing who were rueing their underweight mistake.
Blattman Motorsport made a return to the series and like round one at Eastern Creek, their effort was reliable and consistent. 9th outright was a great reward for effort and there were smiles all round.
Dudleys had no pace all day, but the team pressed on through several issues to finish tenth outright and at least score valuable points in their championship.
Kart 77 call themselves No Chance, and yet they’ve continued to improve since their first event this year, 12th outright was a great effort finishing ahead of many favoured teams especially as they suffered a flat tyre and had to pit to replace it.
Dieci Racing battled issues to finish 13th, a disappointing result considering the team qualified so well and had the pace to match some of the PRO-Class teams. An outright podium place is a possibility this year for the most spotless team in our championship!
The rest had issues but were all classified finishers. To Second String, Having Fun 2.0, Plan A, Martin Motorsport, Newcastle Boys, Five4 Marvans, Loose Nuts Racing, Pro-Axle 38, PTK Racing and Hoofhearted Too… thankyou for being a part of our capacity field and working hard to get to the end of this gruelling event.
So how did the race end up at the front? In the end it came down to a fight of the final hour and it was a two-kart battle.
Daniel Paterson drove the wheels off Kart 30 but ultimately Cameron Crick slowly reeled him in to greet the chequered flag by just two seconds.
A fitting end to a big race! Hoofhearted finished third outright a lap down on the leaders.
4SKANSW Inc. would like to thank all of our teams for your support.
Endurance karting is strong right now, and its strong because we have awesome people involved in our club. Its social, its competitive and its fun.
Thanks also to our Sponsors on the day, Blind & Shutter Works and Pro-Axle Australia.
Bring on Newcastle in July!