Karters power up to prove themselves

Three Karratha karters are gearing up to prove girls can hold their own in a male-dominated sport and help stop breast cancer at a national women-only competition.

Karratha Kart Club members Karen Campbell, her daughter Charlotte Campbell, 11, and Annabel Bishopp, 10, will take to the Lithgow City Raceway in NSW on January 19-20 to compete with kart racers from all over Australia in the 2018 Ladies’ Trophy.

The annual race meet is Australia’s only all-female karting event and involves a fundraising component for the National Breast Cancer Foundation.

Team manager Campbell and her daughter formerly competed in 2014 when they were new to karting and raised about $18,5000 towards breast cancer research with their three person Pilbara team.

Several years later they were keen to retest their skills and, after calling for interest, have assembled the six-person Team Pilbara Motor Sports, including youngest recruit Annabel as well as Geraldton and Perth karters Amy Davis, Tayla Dicker and Imogen Vince.

Together, they are believed to be the only WA team in the competition.

Campbell said several of their external recruits were multiple major title winners.

“We’ve got an amazing brains trust with us... as a group of women, the pit crew we’re bringing with us is some of the highest quality pit crew you’ll find,” she said.

Team Pilbara Motor Sport are recruiting sponsors and fundraising, with a raffle to be drawn this Saturday at the Karratha City shopping centre.

Charlotte and Annabel said they were excited to be able to raise money towards preventing breast cancer research, which had affected some of their family members and friends, and help raise the profile of karting as a sport for women.

“It helps promote racing for girls, because I think it’s inspiring for us six girls to be racing and showing other girls that they can race and that they can do it,” Charlotte said.

For more information or to support the group, go to the Team Pilbara Motor Sports Facebook page.

LOCAL RIDERS FIGHT OUT DRAMA CHARGED NSW OPEN SPEEDWAY CHAMPIONSHIP

Expectations were high for an exciting 2017 NSW Open Speedway Solo Championship with a quality field entered for the prestigious event hosted by the Kurri Kurri Speedway Club. Not even the total contradiction of weather could have an effect on what turned out to be a drama charged Championship chase.

Scheduled to be held on Saturday night as the opening race meeting of the summer speedway season at Kurri Kurri, the event was hampered by persistent rain showers. Riders and officials decided to postpone until the following day, Sunday, only to be faced with a steady NW wind and sunny skies, resulting in track staff battling with the constantly drying out track surface.

But none of this took away from the drama that unfolded in deciding the NSW Champion for 2017.Defending Champion Rohan Tungate was favoured to make a strong defence of his crown and that was quickly backed up when he won all five of his qualifying races in convincing fashion, carrying him directly into the Championship final.

The battle for the remaining six spots in the Championship finals was intense with less than four points separating the next 8 riders. With some riders finishing on equal points the Championship count back system was required and the tension even had an effect on the officials with momentary confusion in announcing the qualifiers. Current Australian Under 21 Champion, Jack Holder, local rider Josh Pickering and the Central Coast’s Taylor Poole all finished three points behind Tungate and it was Pickering and Poole who went directly into the Championship final with Tungate.

Holder was relegated to the sudden death B Final along with former Australian Champion, Brady Kurtz (11 points) and local rider Jye Etheridge (9 points). The count back system came into play once again as three riders finished with 8 points including Queenslander’s Ryan Douglas and Zaine Kennedy, along with Cowra’s Matthew Gilmore and Ryan Douglas claimed the fourth spot.

Jack Holder held off an early challenge from Brady Kurtz to win the B Final and move into the Championship final. The nervous tension was evident as Holder made a ‘flying start’, but referee Dave Mills was not satisfied that it was a fair start to the race and all riders were recalled for a re-start.

Tungate won the race out of the first corner, but came under challenge from Pickering and in the opening two laps the lead between the two changed four times, Tungate held the lead going into the last two laps and wasn’t headed going on to win his second straight NSW Open Speedway Solo Championship.

“I used my big engine today and it worked well,” Tungate said as he received his MNSW Gold medal. “Now I can focus on the Aussies (title).”

Josh Pickering was thrilled with his second place. “That stops the worries about a visa to the UK for the next couple of years,” he said.

The next race meeting for Kurri Kurri Speedway will be the annual Jason Crump Invitational on Boxing Day and a number of the riders who competed in the NSW title event were given invitations

PLENTY AT STAKE IN NATIONAL SPEEDWAY TITLE

When Sam Masters rolls out onto the Kurri Kurri Speedway track this Saturday a lot will be at stake when he competes in the opening round of the 2018 Australian Speedway Solo Championship.

The 26 year old Novocastrian will be defending the Championship crown that he won for the first time last year in front of his home crowd and he knows all too well the importance of scoring top points in the first round of the four round Championship series.

Should Masters successfully defend his title, he will be the first rider to win back to back titles since former World Speedway Champion Chris Holder from Appin, NSW won three consecutive Australian Championships in 2010, 2011 and 2012.

Masters is also in line for four straight Australian Championship podiums. He finished runner up in 2015 and 2016 before climbing to the top step of the dias last year. Ironically, it is also Chris Holder who was the last rider to achieve four straight podiums with third place in 2009, followed by his three consecutive wins.

Hunter Region Hall of Famer, Todd Wiltshire was the last local region rider to achieve four Australian Championship podiums. Wiltshire won the title in 1999 and finished third the following year with runner up places in 2003 and 2006.

The winner of the Australian Speedway Solo Championship has the opportunity to launch into an international pathway. The successful rider will have priority for the ‘wild card’ spot in the final round of the 2018 World Speedway Grand Prix held at Etihad Stadium in Melbourne in October.

Other doors that open up for the Australian Champion include the opportunity to compete in the World Speedway Grand Prix qualifying rounds as well as the chance to be selected for the Australian team to contest the 2018 Speedway World Cup.

Pundits are scouring through the record books to check on the best ever representation of Hunter Region riders in the national championship. Sam Masters heads the list of five local region riders  including Rohan Tungate (Pelaw Main), Mason Campton (Kurri Kurri), Jye Etheridge (Buttai) and Josh Pickering (Heddon Greta).

Former Australian speedway solo champion, Brady Kurtz (Cowra NSW), current Australian Under 21 Speedway Solo Champion, Jack Holder (Appin NSW), former multiple Australian Under 21 Speedway Solo Champion, Max Fricke (Mildura VIC) and former dual World Under 16 Speedway Solo Champion, Matthew Gilmore (Cowra NSW) add to the quality field selected by Motorcycling Australia to compete in this year’s Championship chase.

Gates open at Kurri Kurri Speedway this Saturday 06 January 2018 at 1pm with racing scheduled to commence at 7pm

Oldfield Smokes ‘Em!

Warren Oldfield has last night once again shown his fellow competitors that a crate motor is incredibly competitive as he raced his way to the win in Round Three of the XLI Pro Dirt Series at the Perth Motorplex.

Oldfield had a perfect night, winning his two heat races to claim the Pancho’s Pole Position award ahead of the twenty lap feature event.

He would share the front row with Brad Blake, but it would be Paul Stubber who made the early move as he raced under Blake to grab the lead. Matt Goodlad would follow Blake through, with Oldfield sandwiched between them in second.

Blake would shortly after fight back and retake third from Goodlad while up front Oldfeld would do the same to Stubber, grabbing the lead on lap three. At that point it would only be momentarily though as Stubber raced back around the outside, but Oldfield would simply not give up and continued to pursue Stubber.

Behind them, Veronica McCann was beginning to make her move, grabbing fifth from Jay Cardy on lap four.

Blake set out after Oldfield for second, with Stubber just ahead and Goodlad just behind; the top four pulling away slightly from the rest of the field.

Stubber touched the turn three wall but manage to continue, however at the opposite end of the track at the same time Jayden Meckenstock would do the same but end up bringing out the yellows.

The restart was where Oldfield took his chance to assert his dominance, grabbing the lead before Stubber went wide in a move that also cost him second place as Blake too moved underneath him. Shortly after Goodlad would move past Stubber for third while McCann moved into fourth on lap eleven.

Oldfield built up a gap on Blake, Goodlad and McCann who were racing in tight quarters, while Brent Vosbergen and Ryan Halliday, who were having their own battle for fifth, would also close on the leading group in the final laps.

Up front though, Oldfield built up an unassailable lead, crossing the line nearly eleven seconds ahead of his nearest rivals to claim his seventeenth Perth Motorplex feature win. Brad Blake was second across the line, followed by Matt Goodlad, Veronica McCann, Brent Vosbergen and Ryan Halliday rounding out the top six. Interestingly, fifteen of the original seventeen starters were able to finish the race.

The Late Models once again have a short turnaround time, with the fourth round of the XLI Pro Dirt Series scheduled for this coming weekend, Saturday the 11th of November, at Manjimup Speedway.

The XLI Pro Dirt Series and Di Candilo Steel City USA Invasion Tour bought to you by Pancho’s Mexican Restaurants, CTM Recruitment, Cardy Racing Components, APM Roofing, Dirt Track Nutters, Renegade Fuels, Palice Property Group, Moyle Race Parts, Boyes Equipment SVS, RACIN’ Tyres and Accessories, Maxima Oils, Collie Machine Shop, Southern Haulage, Car Busters and Forma-tel.

Contingency Awards
Pancho’s Pole Position – Warren Oldfield
DTN Hard Charger – Mick Comley
APM Roofing Quicktime – 15.828 Ryan Halliday
CTM Recruitment All Star Award – Veronica McCann
Cardy Racing Components 8th Place – Michael Holmes

Official Results
Heat One – 10 laps: 1. Ryan Halliday, 2. Veronica McCann, 3. Michael Holmes, 4. Brent Vosbergen, 5. Paul Stubber, 6. Jay Cardy, 7. Simon McNab, 8. James Batley, 9. Mick Comley, 10. David Nylander (9), 11. Willy Powell (9). Total Time: No Time. Winning Margin: 5.857. Fastest Lap: 15.828 Ryan Halliday.

Heat Two – 10 laps: 1. Warren Oldfield, 2. Brad Blake, 3. Lee Watt, 4. Matt Goodlad, 5. Jai Mazzini, 6. Daniel Ameduri, 7. Jayden Meckenstock, 8. Jeremy Hale (8), 9. Ryan Ludlow (8). Total Time: No Time. Winning Margin: 1.127. Fastest Lap: 16.724 Lee Watt.

Heat Three – 10 laps: 1. Warren Oldfield, 2. Matt Goodlad, 3. Brad Blake, 4. Lee Watt, 5. Brent Vosbergen, 6. Veronica McCann, 7. James Batley, 8. Willy Powell, 9. Ryan Halliday. Total Time: No Time. Winning Margin: 2.195. Fastest Lap: 16.985 Ryan Halliday.

Heat Four – 10 laps: 1. Paul Stubber, 2. Jay Cardy, 3. Simon McNab, 4. Daniel Ameduri, 5. Michael Holmes, 6. Jeremy Hale, 7. Jayden Meckenstock, 8. Mick Comley. DNF: Jai Mazzini (6), Ryan Ludlow (5). Total Time: 2.56.909. Winning Margin: 2.312. Fastest Lap: 17.188 Paul Stubber.

Feature – 20 laps: 1. Warren Oldfield, 2. Brad Blake, 3. Matt Goodlad, 4. Veronica McCann, 5. Brent Vosbergen, 6. Ryan Halliday, 7. Paul Stubber, 8. Michael Holmes, 9. Jay Cardy, 10. Daniel Ameduri, 11. Lee Watt, 12. Mick Comley, 13. Simon McNab (19), 14. Willy Powell (19), 15. James Batley (19). DNF: Jeremy Hale (6), Jayden Meckenstock (7). DNS: Ryan Ludlow, Jai Mazzini, David Nylander. Total Time: No Time. Winning Margin: 10.852. Fastest Lap: 17.723 Warren Oldfield.

 

Pictures Courtesy Peter Roebuck.

Muscle Car Masters set for June long weekend in 2018

Sydney Motorsport Park’s long-running and ever-popular muscle car festival, the Australian Muscle Car Masters (MCM), will take place on the June long weekend in 2018, before returning to its traditional home on Father’s Day from 2019 onwards.

Changes to the national motorsport calendar have necessitated the move in 2018, with the event temporarily replacing the Sydney Classic Speed Festival on June 9/10 before retaking its traditional Father’s Day slot on August 31/September 1, 2019.

“Our racing categories are so important to the DNA of Muscle Car Masters, and we’ve worked hard with the category managers to ensure a fantastic race schedule for the 2018 event on the June long weekend,” said Glenn Matthews, CEO of the Australian Racing Drivers’ Club, which runs both the event and Sydney Motorsport Park.

“In a move endorsed by our competitors, spectators and ARDC Members, we will return to our traditional date of Father’s Day in 2019 and beyond.”

The Muscle Car Masters, which is now in its 13th year, celebrates our country’s Muscle Car heritage and the drivers who raced them – and continue to race them!

Categories for the 2018 event include Heritage Touring Cars (Group C & A), Historic Touring Cars (Nb/Nc), National Sports Sedans, Kumho V8 Touring Cars, Historic Sports Cars (Group S), the Trans Am series in conjunction with Trans Am 2 (TA2), and a speed event which will be confirmed in the new year.

Off track, the paddock will again be full of colour and action, with feature displays and tributes, nods to the big muscle car anniversaries of 2018, a meet-and-greet session with legend race drivers, the huge annual show n’ shine, and merchandise alley.

Spectators are admitted free of charge to the competitor’s paddock and undercover grandstand, and kids 15 and under are also free.

HOLDER'S HAPPY

Aussie star Chris Holder insists he arrives in Melbourne “happier than I have ever been” as he bids to overcome a year of personal problems and end with QBE Insurance Australian SGP glory tonight.

The Sydneysider heads to the nation’s sporting capital 10th in the standings on 82 points – 15 short of Matej Zagar, who occupies the eighth and final automatic qualifying spot for next year.

Barring a disastrous night from the Slovenian, Holder must rely on a wild card from the SGP Commission to book his place in the 2018 series.

But he’s already looking forward to starting with a clean slate after being dogged by years of personal problems and injuries since he stormed to FIM Speedway World Championship gold in 2012.

He said: “I have had so much going on for the last four years. If it’s not injuries, it’s off-track stuff that has affected me.

“I’m the type of person who if I’m not happy, I don’t ride well. It’s hard for me to get motivated and interested. But when I’m happy, that’s probably when I am at my best. I enjoy it and things work.

“I haven’t been a really happy person for the last four years, but hopefully everything is changing now and things are sorting themselves out. I’m looking forward to getting over this year and coming back next year with no problems.

“It has just seemed to be one thing after another. I’d get over an injury and then something would happen in my personal life that would screw me over. Darcy’s crash was a massive blow obviously.

“I felt last year was one of the best I’d had for a while and that fell apart with more personal problems. It’s the way it goes, and this year was probably written off before I even started. I tried to race through it, but it’s not that easy.

“I’m happier than I have ever been now and I am looking forward to having a good one here today and then having a good off-season and coming back and getting in amongst it.”

Realistically, Holder requires a near perfect score, with catastrophic performances from Zagar in eighth and Martin Vaculik in ninth to have any chance of reaching the top eight.

But whatever happens Holder is keen to give his friends, family and Aussie fans, who rarely get the chance to see him live, a great night.

He said: “It’s my home Grand Prix and I had a great one last year. I’ll just come here, hopefully have a great night and enjoy it, and I don’t have the pressure on me at all I don’t think. If it works out, it works out. But with a bit of luck, Doyley will be the champ.

“It has been a pretty rough year. I have been up and down and it hasn’t gone anywhere near as well as I hoped it would. But obviously, being back here, it would be great to have a great night in front of everybody and finish on a good note.

“You always want to do well in front of your family and friends. They don’t get to see you race a lot. When they’re here, their support is great and you want to give them something to cheer about.

“Last year was awesome – we still talk about it. It was so cool to get the win here and it was something I’ll never forget. Hopefully I can do it again, but if not, just have a good night and finish on a good note – that’s the main aim.”

There is still time to get to the event or watch it on Foxsport from 7pm on channel 506.