nostalgic wandering around Calder Park.
That huge Thunderdome is still a sight to
behold, and what a place it was in it's
heydey. People thought Bob Jane was mad
trying to bring yank-tank -turn- left racing
down under but for ten years he pulled off
quite a promoter's dream. Now it looks unkempt
and overgrown, with the occasional souped-up
sedan doing corporate rides around it's
One wonders how much longer the venue can survive
the urban crawl but it seems that it is still being
run by people with passion.
to the Victorian Superkart Club for organising
the meeting. There were some sacrifices to be
made, but it was nice to have our own class races
and a generous dose of heats and laps and it was
worth every cent. Having said that, around 45
laps of Calder Park reminds you that you're not
circuit has varying levels of grip, ranging from
none to very little. Just when you think you've
nailed a corner, the next lap it will spit you
off . But it was the same for everyone. Exiting
onto the drag strip is particularly interesting.
Not often does a Rotax get wheelspin in the dry.
Rotax Heavies it was the "yellow untouchables"-
the Howard Equipment Racing pair of Rod Clark
and Peter Howard, and Wicksy filling up the top
spots. This time however they had an interloper
in the form of 250 Superkart legend Colin McIntyre,
jumping into a Max and putting it on pole. Andrew
Jackman, yours truly, Lee Filliponi and David
Byrne were haggling over "best of the rest" honours
although we all managed to stick in amongst the
yellow terrors for a spell. Jackman in particular
did extremely well, despite giving away more kilos
than most of us. However, I still cannot forgive
him for usurping the last pair of green race boots
in the known universe.
I got a blinder of a start for a change and settled
in behind McIntyre, Wicksy, Clark and Howard.
After a couple of laps the inevitable happened
and my thing just didn't have the grunt to stay
with them. Still, it was a safe fifth place from
Andrew Jackman. Safe, that is, from everything
but my own stupidity as I looped it going into
the esses at the end of the back straight, with
a wide-eyed Jackman working out which side of
me to go. Not quite the whole field streamed past.
I picked off two or three spots, then Filliponi
had a spin in turn two on the final lap giving
me another leg up. Damage was minimised, with
a 7th place but I was none too pleased with myself.
start was almost as good as the first- sniffing
at the Big Four for a while. Colin McIntyre parked
it on the main straight. Then Filliponi and I
commenced the mother of all battles, which lasted
the entire race. Our straightline speed was so
identical we could have swapped karts whilst in
motion. At the end of the long, long Calder main
straight into the narrowing and very bumpy braking
area we banged wheels at 160km/h (or whatever)
more than once. Lee got the better of me in the
braking duels and occasionally I'd pip him coming
over Bob Jane's hill or exiting onto the main
was this close for 8 laps
anticlimactically, Lee made a tiny error through
the esses on the last lap and I scrambled home
ahead, into 4th place. It was a nerve-testing,
ballistic fight. Beats driving around on your
own. The volunteer trackside folks thought it
was great, giving us a rousing applause on the
slowdown lap. Wicksy cleaned up the win with Rod
Clarke a very close second and the impressive
Andrew Jackman and his green boots in 3rd.
maybe I only make errors in odd-numbered heats.
This time my start wasn't so good and I got buried
mid-field. Running about 6th I had a lazy half-lose
exiting the final turn and dropped again. The
fact that many were having, um, "grip problems"
on the day was no consolation. I was infuriated.
Overall Heavies winner Rod Clarke
in the immaculate Howards Equipment Racing Arrow
seemed to have good speed through the left hander
up Bob's hill, but this almost brought me undone.
Getting a good run on Gary Vick #49 on the way
out I thought he'd left me room on the right,
so I breezed on by only for the gap to close.
A brief bit of bush tracking ensued, and the bouncing
bashed my knee into the steering mounts which
brought on a sudden dose of leg cramp. In my throttle
leg. Very inconvenient. It seemed I'd reached
my "threshold of stupidity", where ideally
I need to stop, have a cup of tea, and calm down.
place. Not happy Jan.
an even-numbered heat, I didn't make any stupid
mistakes this time. The starts were becoming a
little less spectacular as the spark plug was
oiling up. Still I was in the front half and had
the ringside seat to witness Wicksy do an amazing
360 deg spin through the flip-flop and keep going.
I had a few laps battling with Brendan Luneman,
joined briefly by Wicksy as he stormed back to
fourth place. I cleared Luneman and set off after
5th placed Andrew Jackman. The gap was too great
so I had to settle for 6th.
6th place was my overall position. The three yellows
were as fast as ever, the evergreen McIntyre won
every heat he finished, Rod Clark was one of the
few to make no mistakes with second place in every
heat, and Jackman was amongst them. Under these
circumstances, 6th was acceptable, the mistakes
in heats 1 and 3 were not as costly as they could
have been. But they did cost...
Jon, that motorhome you've given me needs marble
benchtops. I can't work in these conditions..."