An interesting new venue, perfect weather, great
racing and a new champion topped off the 2006
Vic State Superkart series.
I dragged the family along for the long drive
up the Hume, stopping at Winton for some quick
test laps to make sure the new HyperRacer seat
and steering wheel were all fitted nicely. They
Park, a hilly 2.2km club circuit just outside
Goulburn is a great series of corners, but bumpy.
Very, very bumpy. The track was privately built
in the early 90's by enthusiasts whose vision
was for a classic, old-fashioned club circuit.
They even duplicated old heritage-coloured garages
and original 60's advertising signs (since gone).
Unfortunately they never envisaged that the bitumen
would be ripped up by V8 Supercars and there are
very few sections which don't pound a superkarter's
ribs. Apart from that I love the place.
circuit is actually for sale if anyone is interested.
I'd buy it but it's too far away. That, and the
small matter of a few million bucks...
The big gearbox karts handle the bumps even worse
than our little 125 non-gearbox machines, hence
we were all over them through corners. I admit
that it was tough, bone-jarring stuff. I'd love
something with suspension. Nahhh...this is more
My only introduction to the track would be 20
min of qualifying on Saturday morning, and those
who made it early for Friday practice spent as
little time out there as possible. Not me though,
I hammered away but I spent more time trying to
survive the bumps than learning the corners and
could best manage a 1:12.2. The Champion elect
for 125 Maxes, Dean Crooke in the HyperRacer,
poled with a 1:09.05. I don't mind that difference,
First race off provisional licence, I had qualified
not much further from the rear...9th out of 12
Maxes, 18th outright from 25 karts (combined field
of gearbox and non-gearbox karts)
were supporting the Festival of Sporting Cars
Spring meeting (Or were they supporting us? As
glorious as some of the classic sports cars were,
the most entertaining racing was from the karts).
I was even reunited with a couple of stalwarts
from my old Austin Healey Sprite Club days. They
have some rapid cars, but were reasonably impressed
with the speed of these silly little karts.
that I am off my P's and therefore with no excuses,
I really must improve my starts. There's this
little trick everyone does of lubricating the
clutch so it slips more off the line and increases
the revs. Everyone does it, that is, except me.
another problem was that I was not rolling fast
enough. The supposed standing start format was
non-existant halfway up the grid. People who were
two rows back were flying past me as the starting
flag dropped. Sure, the organisers were trying
to keep things moving but it must have looked
a shambles. This is one reason why superkarts
will always be low on the food chain.
I was swamped from 18th to 23rd before the first
corner, then back up to 21st by end lap 1. It
was all forward from there, passing Horswell (NSW),
Filliponi, Sinani (NSW- 80 Gearbox) in an eventful
Vic Championship contender Rod Clark threw it
down the road in clouds of dust on lap 4, something
that was to be a regular occurance. But he's mighty
quick and hauled us all in, passing me on my last
lap. However, the winning 250 of Darren Tyler
had passed Clark right before the line, putting
him a lap down before my final lap, so I was credited
a place ahead of Clark. If that makes sense.
place outright, 6th of the Maxes and a 1:11.4,
almost a second faster than quali.
shocking start off 14th, dropping to 20th at the
first corner but 18th by end lap 1. Following
Filliponi, we were both baulked by the 80cc Gearbox
of Ward, a legacy of the 'box karts being slower
over the bumps. A frustrated Filliponi had to
watch me slipstream easily past him as he had
to stay off the throttle behind Ward onto the
I then took off after Metham (NSW), nailed him
and then got past Mehmet Sinani's 80 Gbox, which
didn't improve my class placing but got me closer
to Evan Fuller (Vic). But, I ran out of laps to
get him and Rod Clark, who managed to go a race
without binning it.
other tardy driving and attrition got me 14th
outright again but 5th place of the Maxes, my
highest finish thus far, and a 1:10.4. Another
1-second chunk off my previous times.
Another beautiful day in Goulburn. The track was
a little slower in the morning, but thankfully
while everyone was a little slower, I was a little
quicker. A customary awful start for me again
as I set off after Lee Filliponi and Fuller (NSW).
This all went well as I got past Filliponi and
others but still couldn't crack Fuller. A recovering
250 of Clint Brown (NSW) split us as I was getting
about lap 4 I copped a huge piece of metal bracket
from one of the gearbox classes in front. It skewered
the lower front left of my fibreglass nosecone,
where it sat for one worrying lap. I was bracing
for it to go under the front tyre, but fortunately
it dislodged and attacked poor Lee Filliponi instead,
to add to his misery!
This time Rod Clarke left his excursion until
lap 7 but still recovered to get past me on the
last lap. He flew past me down the straight like
I was standing still. Maybe my old Series 1 Rotax
is getting on a bit.
outright and 6th in class again, this time a 1:10.6,
almost a second faster. A this point, with things
running smoothly, I got a dose of ambition and
made some tweeks to try a and crack the 1:09's.
May as well have a goal!
It was time to get serious! I still drifted to
the rear of field. The start was better, but still
not as good as everyone else's. End of lap one
I was 21st and 9th in class.
Rod Clark tossed it on lap 2 this time which gave
me a leg up, and it was all downhill from there,
so to speak. Next, Filliponi, who was having a
shocking weekend, then the rest of the race duelling
with a nice older gentleman called Graham Taplin.
He was also amazingly quick. I nabbed him on lap
8 of 9, then got a massive tow from a gearbox
kart to set my fastest lap on the last lap.
outright, 4th in class, and a 1:09.6. the second-fastest
race lap of the Rotaxes, second only to Dean Crooke,
the now-crowned State Club Champion. I had to
look at the timesheets twice before I believed
There was quite the relaxed, end-of-term atmosphere
on the grid for the final race of the season,
but with the usual niggle. Dean Crooke had wiped
the floor with the rest of them throughout the
season in the remarkable HyperMax. Father Jon
is a relentless promoter for his son and their
creation, a kart successfully designed specifically
for long-track racing. Consequently they have
invoked the disdain of the boys club. Every sport
has a boys club.
even at this meagre level of motorsport, there's
backbiting about someone who simply wants to "sex-up"
and introduce innovation to the tired sport of
non-gearbox superkarts. There is all sorts of
gossip and excuses, none of it constructive.
few seem to be trying to go out and out-engineer
and outdrive them. It's as if some people think
whinging is more impressive than competing. If
you can't beat 'em, ban 'em.
one look at the HyperRacer and you'd see a machine
that people from outside the sport of karting
will want to own and race. That is, people without
pre-conceived ideas or prejudices. That's good
for the sport. End of story. Superkarts cannot
survive on an unstable diet of converted sprint
why it was refreshing that up ahead of me, Dean
Davies in the more conventional Speedkart simply
went at it hard all day, keeping the other Dean
honest. Apart from a spin in race three he scooped
second every time and this is despite a weight
race was somewhat messy. Another poor start and
all sort of action up front. Once again I settled
in to a duel with Mr. Taplin and had him stitched
up. Then a misfire developed in the last two laps
and I struggled home in 17th, 7th in class, with
a 1.11:04. Still, it was a great weekend with
my second fastest lap intact. No more P-plates,
mixing it with the big boys. I'm not in Kansas
thanks to all the suppliers and customers who've
taken an interest in this little game throughout
the year. A big thank you to sponsors Lagler Australia,
and Timbermate Products. We've got some big plans
for next year...stay tuned!