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After the disaster of Mallala the previous weekend the Lagler Australia Hyper Racer was in need of a fresh engine.

This was sorted literally the moment we lobbed back in Melbourne.

Along with Jon and Dean we had session at Calder Park to run in the new engine.

Calder, whilst nostalgic, is not as fun as Winton but a lot closer. It was dry but near zero temperatures, meaning grip levels were likewise. Once running-in duties were performed, there was time for some fiddling. Heading into the bumpy turn one after the looong main straight was interesting. Of course, by "interesting" I mean "frightening".

John and Sean Whitfield's Wild Digital
team presentation is second to none

Transport to The Island, courtesy of sponsor Lagler, was the Lagler LWB Ford Transit turbo diesel. You could throw a tall person party in the back. With the inclement weather, it meant dry equipment for a change. And, it reminds me of the silver Transit which was peddled around the Nurburgring by the amazing Sabine Schmitz in 10 minutes, on an episode of Top Gear. Nothing like those memories to get you in the mood.

Phillip Island was wet and freezing as forecast. This, and the previous week's expensive engine horrors, had me running in pure survival-only mode. The new Dunlop wets were sticking beautifully and I qualified a few rows off the back. The biggest drama was my rain suit puffing up like a parachute at speed. It looked hilarious but not so funny, I am convinced, was that it cost me 500 revs down the straight! There was also a sticking left piston in the brake caliper, making the brakes only two-thirds effective.

In the last race report I mentioned the drivers' briefing discussion on 250 Gearbox closing speeds and the subsequent episode of Mr. Gesticulator. Just when I thought I was all alone, in this morning's prac session two other Rotaxians mentioned having the same experience. Namely, going for the apex of a corner, like you do, only to have Mr. Gesticulator fly through the closing gap at a squillion mph waving madly. Like it was your fault. Like you were supposed to know he was coming, presumably, by using The Force.

Oh, you meant put weight on the KART...
So, it seems we have a Serial Gesticulator. Not that the gesticulations are a concern. It's the diving into obviously-closing gaps at warp speed, and blaming the consequences on the other person. Fortunately, the consequences have not been serious. Yet.


Race 1 was declared wet, but on the form up lap it was clear that it was time for slicks. The new engine was running like a train, pulling good revs now that I

Undivided attention at drivers' briefing.
had discarded my parachute.
I pulled up to my grid spot, the red lights came on...

...then the engine died. Not really sure why it chose this precise moment to do so. I stood on the starter button and choke while the whole field sprayed past, but nothing. Zippo. Being on the outside of the final ultrafast turn there was no chance of restarting even if the thing did fire up, at least not without earning the wrath of the officials. So I dragged it off into the gravel trap saying some rude words into my crash hat.

But just before I sulked off to watch the race from the sidelines, I punched the starter button again, and guess what. It started. How I laughed and laughed.

Wet or dry, still number One in heavies

I watched Wicksy win heavies, Howard Equipment Racing's Peter Howard second, and a resurgent Lee Filliponi pip Rod Clarke for third. Apparently Filliponi had comandeered all the best go-fast bits from teammate Byrne. In fact, I heard that all he left Byrne with was a seat, a steering wheel and four tyres :) Still, Byrne finished strongly and I watched equal fourth placing in the Series slip away.

Sean Whitfield in Juniors had a cracking race until stumbling upon Tracy Tyler's spin at Lukey heights. His avoiding action put him out for heat 1.

Dean Crooke's race was spoiled when his airbag unexpectedly deployed

My DNS was the only retirement in heavies, meaning I was last overall. This would be impossible to overhaul in the remaining two heats barring massive atrition.


This time the thing kept running as we pulled up to the blocks. I saw a flash of yellow light after the red, some confusion, and then what looked like a start.

The race went okay, but the starts are everything. If you are sluggish away, it can be impossible to make up the ground in five laps. Four, if you get lapped by the Serial Gesticulator and other 250's.

I was stuck in a snarling pack, including David Byrne, Gary Vick and a few Juniors, with Sean Whitfield in hot pursuit of a win. Which he did- on his first look at Phillip Island, in only his second race meeting. Quite a wunderkind.

A PIARC competitor,driving a tidy Lotus Elise, sporting a tribute to the greatest ever

Squeezing past the competitive Gary Vick

Like a bad start, a bad exit from the slow MG corner at the base of Lukey Heights can cost you a slab of time. This happened to me on the penultimate lap as I tried to reel in Byrne. With the fading brakes I had to brake early for MG, afraid of nailing Sean Whitfield up the backside. I caught Byrne at the flag, but not soon enough. That seems to happen to me a lot. 6th place, just ahead of Gary Vick. Wicksy won again, from Rod Clark and Lee Filliponi revelling in another 3rd.


The start was no better than last time but again I was able to mix it with Byrne, Vick and a flurry of Juniors including Sean Whitfield and Matt Bass. Up front it was Wicksy, this time the Howard Equipment Racing duo of Clark and Howard ursurping Filliponi for second and third.

Picturesque, isn't it? And this is only half the field

In this race, the kart was not a problem. I had the frustrating problem of the helmet visor coming loose on one side, a legacy of constantly detatching it for cleaning. Stupid little mistakes like this...

Another 6th place, but no making up the lost ground from the heat 1 DNS. In lights, Dean had a better race, coming in 3rd, while Nathan Bey topped the podium.


125MAX Light
Race No. Name Heat 1 Heat 2 Final
1 61 Nathan Bey 1 2 2
2 35 Peter Gazzola 5 1 1
3 55 Ross Horsey 2 5 5
4 71 Jon Grant 7 4 4
5 88 Dean Crooke 4 10 3
6 53 Ashley Hawkins 6 3 7
7 62 Daniel Bey 3 9 8
8 77 Brad Stebbing 9 6 6
9 80 Peter Strangis 8 7 9
10 89 Shaun Trounson 10 8 10
11 30 Leigh Cavallin 11 11 11
12 44 Tracey Tyler DNF 12 12
125MAX Heavy
Race No. Name Heat 1 Heat 2 Final
1 75 Mark Wicks 1 1 1
2 27 Rod Clarke 4 2 2
3 25 Peter Howard 2 4 3
4 24 Lee Filliponi 3 3 4
5 49 Gary Vick 6 7 5
6 56 David Byrne 5 5 8
7 46 Trevor Barnes 9 8 7
8 94 Michael Treloar 7 10 9
9 48 Matthew Palmer 8 9 10
10 98 Patrick Atherton DNS 6 6
125MAX Jnr
Race No. Name Heat 1 Heat 2 Final
1 60 Jesse Fenech 1 2 2
2 54 Aaron Gazzola 3 3 1
3 14 Matt Bass 2 5 4
4 87 Sean Whitfield DNF 1 3
5 41 Brendan Luneman 4 DNS 5
6 47 Ben Degenhardt 5 4 DNS


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*This site is administered by Patrick Atherton. The views expressed herein are not neccessarily those of Eugen Laegler GMBH, Lagler Australia, it's suppliers, customers or distributors unless otherwise specified