NWKC – Statewide Series – Round 2 – 25th & 26th March 2023

29 Mar 2023

The North Western Kart Club hosted Round 2 of the Karting Tasmania Statewide Series on Saturday 25th and Sunday 26th of March. Just under 70 competitors convened at the Harding’s Hotmix Highclere circuit for a weekend of action-packed racing which thankfully served competitors up with weather conditions a lot more consistent than round one in February. Round two produced more clean sweeps than ever seen before with seven of the nine classes competing being dominated by a singular driver.

Cadet 9 would see Launceston’s Andy Rowlings register his second consecutive pole position by 0.181 seconds over Ethan Youd who was in his first race meeting back in Tasmania since competing in the Victorian Kart Championship a few weeks ago. Rowlings would go on to record wins in heats one and two with Ethan Youd bouncing back to take the win in heat three. Youd would continue his form from heat three to win the final by nearly four seconds back to Eli White in second with Andy Rowlings crossing the line in third. However due to a post-race two place dropdown bumper penalty, Rowlings was relegated to fifth with Launceston’s Cooper Lockett inheriting third place. At the midway point of the series Eli White takes a 129-point lead over Andy Rowlings with Cooper Lockett a further one point behind in third place.

In KA3 Senior Medium qualifying Gene Medwin would beat out newly crowned KA3 Senior Medium Ladies Champion Renee Hinds by just under three tenths to take his first ever pole position. Medwin would take the win in heats one and two with Renee Hinds getting the better of the boys to win heat three. Sadly, in the final front row starter Medwin would return to the pits before racing even began with suspected brake issues which put an end to his chance of winning the final. This would then leave a three-way battle between Hinds, round one series leader Riley Newick and Patrick Johnston for the victory. At the end of the fourteen-lap final, it would be Newick who edged out Hinds by 0.250 seconds. This continued Renee’s perfect podium finishing record since returning to karting at the beginning of the year. Third place would go to Burnie’s Patrick Johnstone who ended up only 0.175 seconds behind Hinds. After two rounds Riley Newick leads the series by 717 points from Patrick Johnstone with Joel Howe in third, an additional 27 points adrift.

KA3 Junior Heavy would see Smithton’s Jaiden Marshall beat out current Tasmanian State Champion Jonty Rowbottom to claim pole position by just 0.109 seconds. Once racing began though it would fourth place qualifier Harrison Duske who would take away maximum points completing a clean sweep to take victory in all three heats and the final. He would be pushed all the way to the checkered flag by Jaiden Marshall who just couldn’t quite match the outright pace of Duske to finish just under two seconds behind. Third place would go to Launceston’s Jonty Rowbottom who returned to form after a tough round one in Hobart holding off Jack Taylor by 0.179 seconds. With eight top two finishes Jaiden Marshall will take a 184-point lead over Harrison Duske in second heading into his home track event of Smithton at the beginning of July. Jack Turnbull is a further 602 points behind in third place, with Jonty Rowbottom jumping three positions into fourth.

TaG 125 Restricted Medium would go down as the closest qualifying session of the day with the top six drivers being separated by only 0.179 seconds. At the end of the six minute session it would be Burnie’s Nigel Sheahen who would claim his first ever pole position by 0.004 seconds over Ben Dobson. On paper the heat races looked like a walk in the park for Dave McCullagh who registered maximum points in all three. However, this was not the case with McCullagh being pushed all the way by Nigel Sheahen in heat one, Ben Dobson in heat two and Allan Sheahen in heat three with the average winning margin being just over half a second. In the final Dave McCullagh would get the best of start taking the lead however the race was red flagged on lap two due to two karters being buried in the gravel trap, with one needing medical attention. Once racing restarted Allan Sheahen began his onslaught of attacks on McCullagh, generally trying to have a look up the inside every lap or two but McCullagh was just to strong and held on to win by 0.254 seconds. Ben Dobson would capitalise on Sheahen’s failure to get the move done on McCullagh to sneak up the inside going into the centre hairpin on the final lap to steal second place. Allan’s day went from bad to worse after crossing the line in third, receiving a post-race drop down bumper penalty knocking him off the podium. His loss was younger brother Troy’s gain who would inherit third place. After two rounds Dave McCullagh recovered from a less than ideal round one to lead the series over Troy Sheahen by 245 points with Allan Sheahen a further four points behind in third.

In KA3 Senior Light Denzil Sargent would secure a comfortable pole position over Hobart’s Fletcher Bellars by just over four tenths of a second. For the second straight round one driver has remained undefeated in KA3 Senior Light with Denzil Sargent producing four comfortable wins. Second place in the final would go to William Blair who would finish over five seconds behind Sargent with Cameron Jeffrey coming home in third. At the midway point of the series its Hobart’s Lewis Turnbull who leads Cameron Jeffrey by 49 points. In equal third place are the two drivers who have each only competed at one round, Gemma Wyllie and Denzil Sargent, a further 869 points behind Jeffreys. With both Gemma and Denzil looking likely to compete at round three in July it will be interesting to see if either driver can continue their undefeated streak and claw back enough points to pull themselves into contention before the final round in Launceston.
KA3 Junior Light pole position would go to Launceston Kart Clubs Jordan Wickham over round one series leader Samuel Gorisch by 0.195 seconds. Heat racing would be dominated by Wickham who went three from three to register maximum points. The final would also go the same way with Wickham crossing the line just under five seconds ahead of Hobart’s Harry Bresnehan. Third place would see a ding dong battle between series contenders Samuel Gorisch and Lucas Furphy with Gorisch crossing the line in third place just in front of Furphy. Heading into his home round in Smithton Lucas Furphy takes a 185-point lead over Samuel Gorisch with Gorisch dropping back to second due to a DNS in heat two. Eli Davey sits in third position a further 114 points behind Gorisch.

In Cadet 12 current Tasmanian State Champion Harry Warmsley would make it back-to-back pole positions in the series edging out Burnie’s Ayden McCullagh by 0.242 seconds. Heat racing saw Warmsley take three wins from three starts, but he was pushed all the way in heats one and three by Burnie’s Elenah Rankin who was the only driver to snatch the lead away from Warmsley but didn’t quite have the overall pace to keep the state champion at bay. In the final again it was Warmsley taking the win by over three seconds from Rankin with Hobarts Levi Bush crossing the line in third. At the midway point of the series Harry Warmsley has a 371-point lead over round one leader Ayrton Myers. Levi Bush sits in third place an additional 45 points behind Myers with Elenah Rankin recovering from a tough round one to jump three positions into fourth a further 13 points behind Bush.

TaG 125 Restricted Heavy qualifying was taken out by Luke Millar by 0.121 seconds over Burnie’s David Fidler. Heat racing would see Luke Millar continue his strong form from qualifying to win all three heat races but was only one minor mistake away from losing the lead to Fidler who was right on his tail. The story would be the same in the final with Millar crossing the line just over a second clear of Fidler. Marcus Howe would make a last lap pass on Launceston’s Brett Fulton to cross the line in third place. Heading into round three in Smithton Luke Millar takes a 240-point lead over David Fidler with Brett Fulton a further 500 points behind in third place.

In KA3 Tas Masters it would be former State Champion Malcolm Watson taking the pole by 0.177 seconds over current State Champion Shane Stonehouse. All three heat races in KA3 Tas Masters were won by the ever-consistent Shane Stonehouse who put to good use his home track advantage to register maximum points. Stonehouse was caught late in heats one and two by Watson who was plagued by engine issues at the beginning of each race, but just couldn’t find a way to get to the lead. In the final Watson would tack onto the back of Stonehouse with both drivers easily driving away from the rest of the field. However, the script would read the same as the earlier races with Stonehouse being just a smidge too good for Watson, holding on to win by 0.121 seconds. Over fourteen seconds behind in third place was Darren Creedon who was making his debut in the KA3 Tas Masters division. At the midway point of the series Stonehouse holds a 743-point lead over Matty Mayne, which is the largest margin of any class in the 2023 series. Hobarts David Hazell sits in third place a further 213 points behind Mayne.
The series will take a two month break and will return on the 8th and 9th of July. Round 3 will be hosted by the Circular Head Kart Club in Smithton.
Jade Stone