Western Cup Round Two. Mid West Kart Club Geraldton. By Christopher Mitchell. Photos by Brooke Maisey.

2017 Western Cup Round 2 at the Midwest Kart Club – March 25 & 26, 2017

Last weekend over March 25 and 26 saw the 2nd round of the 2017 Western Cup Series. This meeting was held at the Midwest Kart Club in Geraldton, Western Australia. 137 entries across 13 classes attended the weekend, including a field of 12 KZ competitors, the event doubling as the opener for the 2017 West Australian KZ series. This series is to be held over 5 rounds throughout the year.

The unique format of the Western Cup makes each heat result equally as valuable as the final, so some exciting racing was sure to take place over the 4 heats for each class.

In Cadet 9, Nash Ferraro started the weekend strong, setting the fastest qualifying time and winning heat 1 from Chase Wildman in 2nd, however Jackson Mitchell-Rosenauer would charge forwards with some great racing between Rosenauer, Wildman and Ferraro for the top 3, unfortunately Ferraro would DNF the final costing valuable points. After the final Jackson Mitchell-Rosenauer, would win the overall with 3 heat wins ahead of Chase Wildman in and Alexander Stefanovich.

KA3 Junior saw a smaller than usual field, but that didn’t stop a dominant performance from Jake Sawyer, as he set the fastest qualifying time before storming to 4 straight wins ahead of Kieren Ellis and Reece Maisey.

TaG 125 Heavy again with a smaller field than the first round, Taylor Thomas coming off the back of a win in round 1 would have a less than fantastic weekend, leaving Ryan Barron to take the fastest qualifying time and 2 heat wins to win the overall ahead of Mitchell Skeaf and Troy Stewart.

KA3 Light saw Thomas Schou start on the front foot by setting the fastest time in qualifying. He won the first three heats, but a DNF in the final unfortunately cost him the overall win. Ashley Morrissey won the overall ahead of James Howe and Thomas Schou.

KA3 Masters saw only 4 competitors, as such they ran combined with KA3 light. John Ray dominated the small field in style to take the win ahead of Stuart Dahl and Roy Tester.

TaG 125 Restricted Light saw Thomas Bowsher clear the field in qualifying. He also took the overall win ahead of Bruce Skyring and Mitchell Hade. Having only recently begun karting, Hade deserves an honourable mention for the speed increase he displayed over the weekend, challenging Bowsher in the final after racing forwards from the rear in the heats.

KA3 Heavy saw domination from Nathan Phillips all weekend long, taking the fastest time and straight wins in all 4 heats to win the overall. Braedyn Bowra looked solid early on but lost ground in the later stage of the weekend, being beaten out for 2nd by Nathan Davis, Bowra would finish the weekend on the podium in 3rd.

TaG 125 Restricted Medium sported one of the largest fields of the event, with 14 drivers taking to the track. John Ray looked a threat early and proved he had the pace to back that threat up, by winning the last 3 heats to win the overall from Luke Hall and Aaron Chivers.

KA4 Junior Light saw a strong battle between youngsters Jacob De Cerqueira and Max McRae, eventually going to De Cerqueira for the win ahead of McCrae and a great battle behind them, just 7 points separating Mason Harvey in 3rd and Luke Sawyer in 4th.

Cadet 12 in typical form never failed to impress, with Caleb Sumich setting the fastest time in qualifying to then lead out the opening Heat. Only to be upset by Jack Clohessy who won heat 2, but couldn’t keep up the fight for the remainder of the event, Jett Demarte helped put on a great show, dicing with Sumich, Clohessy and Joshua Byrne all weekend long to grab some solid 2nd place finishes. In the end Sumich would bring home 3 heat wins to win the overall ahead of Clohessy and Demarte.

TaG 125 Light was arguably one of the hottest fields of the weekend, and Sam Dicker was consistently the fastest on track as he stormed to the front by taking the pole position, followed by 3 comfortable wins in the heats. Brock Kenny proved he could fight with Dicker early on in each race, but Dicker proved too fast in the closing stages. Unfortunately for Dicker, a mechanical failure ended his campaign in the final, handing the win to Kenny, Tyler Spouse-Nastasi would round up 3rd overall.

KA4 Junior Heavy was dominated by Jacob De Cerqueira all weekend long, as he commanded a perfect score with the fastest qualifying time and 4 wins ahead of Max Whiting and Thomas Callaghan.

WA Open Performance involved a typical old style great battle between the single engines and twin engine powered Karts. Ross Sears would set the fastest qualifying time, only to be shuffled back as Glenn Fisher took wins in the first 2 heats. Jack May comfortably picking up some solid results all weekend long with his Rotax machine, but a DNF for Fisher in the final would cost him a podium place. Ross Sears would win the final 2 races to win the overall ahead of Jack May and David Harris.

The KZ class would prove to be a weekend long chess game during the heats, as they run differently to the Western Cup Series format, where the final counts for everything.  Jake Klarich set the fastest time in qualifying to start on P1 for the first heat, however that’s where the success stopped for Klarich, with a DNF in heat’s 1, 3 and the final. During the heats the name of the game was to look after tyres as drivers attempted to conserve where they can. Alex Barboutis, Sam Dicker and Hayden Patrizi would all pick up heat wins to set the stage for an exciting 25 lap final.

The final started with an incident a few laps in which saw the race end early for Jesse Thomas and Jake Klarich, while Tyler Peel was forced out after just 6 laps. With only 9 drivers remaining, Barboutis would lead a freight train of karts around for the first 11 laps, succumbing to tire fade in the second half which left him finishing down in 7th. Daniel Currey assumed the lead from there as the top few broke away into their own battle pack, with the exception of Joshua Merrit who was setting the fastest laps of the race as he drove back from 10th, catching the lead pack thanks to some tires that were a lot fresher than others (after a DNF in 2 of the heats).

With 12 to go, Dicker started to make his move from P4, wrestling his way past Alex Barboutis and Simon Gwilliam to set his sights on Dan Currey out front, Merritt still chasing hard now making his way up to the lead pack. With 5 laps to go Dicker made a good attempt to pass on Currey to assume the lead, and Merritt decided to follow suit, dropping Currey to 3rd. The two leaders broke away further in the remaining laps as Dicker’s tires began to give up, Merrit loomed closer and closer. As the Last Lap board was displayed, there were less than 2 tenths of a second that separated Dicker and Merritt at the line. Over the final lap, Merritt threw himself up alongside Dicker on the front straight but it wasn’t enough, Sam Dicker taking the KZ win on board the WA KZ Series ‘Arrive and Drive’ package, from Joshua Merritt and Daniel Currey.

It was an exciting weekend and the Midwest Kart Club are to be congratulated for organizing a great race meeting. The competitors enjoyed a great presentation as usual. We are  all looking forward to the remaining two rounds of the Western Cup. The next in the series will be held at the Bunbury City Kart Club on the 20th and 21st of May 2017.