Juniors dominate CIK action... Whilst Top Kart's Neil McFadyen took his third win in three years (each win in a different class, and on debut in that class) to win the Formula A final, it was the junior drivers in the opening round of the APS...
Juniors dominate CIK action...
Whilst Top Kart's Neil McFadyen took his third win in three years (each win in a different class, and on debut in that class) to win the Formula A final, it was the junior drivers in the opening round of the APS Racing Series that stole the limelight, Queensland's Ryal Harris taking the win in dramatic fashion.
Adelaide again played host to the first of the four round series, providing drivers with more than a few headaches in the cool conditions. Bridgestone tyres had gained a stranglehold in recent years but the comparative difference between the tyre manufacturers was minimal. Vega looked the goods in the KartOz Magazine Junior Intercontinental A (JICA), whilst Dunlop appeared to have the legs in the McPherson Media Intercontinental A (ICA) class. Making it three from three, Bridgestone appeared the tyre of choice in the Pettaras Press Formula A category, but all were suffering in their own way, the circuit not 'coming on' as it had in previous years throwing most homework out the window.
Pettaras Press Formula A
It was Neil McFadyen's debut in the class with many people predicting him as a race winner despite the entry of the past three champions in the class. Reigning champion Jamie Whincup appeared to have his work cut out for him qualifying well down the pack, although still only a quarter of a second off the pace. In fact Formula A showed just how competitive the fields were with the entire 21 entries covered by a mere six tenths of a second. 1997 Australian JICA Champion Michael Caruso (Tony Kart) grabbed pole from new Haase recruit Brendan Dive, 1997 ICA Oceania Champion Chris Cox (Italcorse), 1998 Champion Ryan Wlodzinski (Energy), McFadyen and Andrew Tomlinson (Tony Kart).
Wlodzinski took a narrow win in heat one over Brendan Dive, with the two battling out the lead again in heat two. Dive took the victory in the third heat with McFadyen gradually moving forward with each race to be second at the chequered flag. It was McFadyen that won the 26 lap pre-final from Dive, Caruso, the revived Jamie Whincup and Joshua Pontello (Revolution).
The final was a close fought affair in the opening laps, but a non-event after Brendan Dive's early demise, McFadyen clearing out after an early threat from Caruso. Queensland's Brad Brown (Energy) clawed his way through for third after a mid-race attack from Cox came to an end when the Newcastle drivers engine drive system failed. Whincup claimed a distant fourth from Pontello and 1993 Champion, Richard McLeod (Azzurro). McFadyen now leads the points from Caruso and Pontello.
McPherson Media Intercontinental A
The biggest field in the Series saw a number of new names from around Australia and across the Tasman. New Zealand 'top gun' Jonathon Reid was an early favourite after his victory against the Australian's at home earlier in the year. Reid was immediately on the pace looking very comfortable with the Kosmic/Rotax combination. It was Brendan May (Mike Wilson) who stole the spotlight though with an impressive pole time, faster than the Formula A karts. Recently graduated junior sensation Regan Payne (PCR) took grid two, with Drew Price Engineering factory Arrow driver Adam Klunyk third. Klunyk was subbing for the injured Bart Price who suffered a broken collarbone in pre-season testing only a week before. It was Klunyk's first meeting on sticky tyres and the former local was having no problems adapting. Reid took grid four for the heats with 1999 final round winner Barclay Holden (Azzurro) settling for fifth.
With the thirty four strong field split into half, the six heats resulted with wins for Holden (2 wins), May, Klunyk, Jason Hryniuk (Haase) and Payne. Post heats though Payne and Klunyk were forced to contend with massive tyrewear, which would effectively negate them from the finals.
Despite an early lunge from another recently graduated junior Daniel Elliott (Tony Kart), May picked up where he'd left off in qualifying opening a comfortable lead whilst conserving rubber for the 39 lap final. Elliott held on for second with Tim Macrow (Kosmic) third ahead of West Australian Jade Hogan (Tecno) and Matthew Wall (Azzurro).
May took up the front running early in the final with Holden a strong second but unable to bridge the four second gap. Reid finished a comfortable third clear of the hard-charging Hryniuk who managed to take Elliott within sight of the flag.
KartOz Magazine Junior Intercontinental A
With the graduation of so many of last season's juniors to ICA came an influx of new talent to the class. 'Old' stagers Jace Lindstrom (Arrow), Geoffrey Grant (CRG) and Ryal Harris (Azzurro) looked the goods on paper, but their were a few 'wildcards'.
Andrew Thompson (Swiss Hutless) had only recently graduated from the Rookies class yet he set tounges wagging with times that made the regulars weep. He eventually claimed grid three behind Harris. Local boy Tim Slade (Top Kart) grabbed third from multiple rookies champion Shane Price (Arrow). Thompson drew first blood with victory in the opening two heats, Harris making it a clean sweep for the Queenslanders with a win in the third.
Thompson was shown a bit more aggression in the pre-final with a strong attack from the regulars. Jace Lindstrom took the win ahead of Arrow team-mate Price with grant third. Thompson held on for fourth with Harris,who suffered from a start accident clawing his way back for fifth. The final was an absolute screamer. Out of nowhere Glenn Powles (son of multiple Australian Champion Graeme) grabbed second position behind Lindstrom, the two opening up almost a two second lead in the opening lap. Powles attacked early and started to draw away. Behind him Thompson was being given an initiation of fire as he fell back through the field. Last year's round winner Grant was moving through towards the front and took Price, Lindstrom and Harris with him on the way for a four kart fight for the lead. Powles managed to hold station for over half the race before the onslaught began. Harris made an aggressive move from third to grab the lead taking Lindstrom with him. Price soon followed through and had a run at the front himself.
Within sight of the flag, first Powles and Lindstrom came together battling for third dropping Lindstrom down the field as he struggled to rejoin then Price pitted for a supposed driving infringement. This left the battle to Harris and Grant with Powles a distant third. Grant made his move, at the right time but the wrong place. The two leaders came together, Grant forced wide and into the kitty litter and out despite holding an easy second. The move came on the final corner but ended in tears. This leaves Harris well in front on points from Lindstrom and Powles.