Smith and Sciacca Win at Queensland Superkart Season Opener

Lakeside Park played host to the opening rounds of the Exclusive Auto Centre Superkart Challenge Series and the Exclusive Auto Centre Rotax Max Superkart Cup. Under bright skies Australian Champion Jason Smith (Fuji Xerox/Zahl 1 Karting Anderson-FPE) asserted himself over the gearbox karts while Joe Sciacca dominated proceeding in Rotax Max aboard his new Arrow X2.

For the first time in several season the Rotax classes run their own races with the gearbox classes claiming their own slot on the Top Gear program for 2013. Without the distraction of faster karts coming through the field the Rotax Max field got stuck into some great racing... for second. The 2011 champion was eight tenths faster in qualifying and had no opposition in the races, winning by over five seconds in both races. 0.5 seconds covered second to sixth in qualifying and those karts fought over the minor places. Junior Max driver Quintin Slabbert (Arrow X1E) had to fight off Daniel Callingham (Wildkart), John Caruana (Top Kart) and Sean Maberley (Intrepid Explorer). Callingham lost an engine on the third lap, and was joined in retirement by Rod Tredgold (Arrow X1) a lap later. Nick Contarino's Energy Reactor lost an engine in qualifying and Steve Scott broke an engine mount in the Laurus Enterprises Azzurro R6B.

Young Slabbert held the chasers off to finish second ahead of Caruana. Series debutante Nick Marshall (Arrow X1) picked off the Intrepids of Maberley and Grant McKay to finish fourth.

Marshall climbed into second place in the second race after Slabbert spun. Third became a real dogfight between Warwick Donsky (Arrow AX9), Caruana and Maberley. Caruana claimed the final podium position after Donsky pulled over with a holed radiator and a cooked Rotax. McKay (Intrepid Cruiser) took fourth from team mate Maberley ahead of John Thorogood (FRC Environmental Arrow X2) and Steve Scott. Slabbert came home ninth. The third race was cancelled by a serious incident in another class.

Sciacca won Rotax Light from Caruana and McKay while newcomer Marshall won Rotax Heavy in his first appearance from Maberley and Scott. Slabbert won Junior.

In the gearbox races the Australian champion Jason Smith was pushed for most of the weekend but still claimed all three wins. Smith raced his spare kart, the 2009 Fuji Xerox/Zahl 1 Kartin Anderson Maverick with FPE power and fought for race leads initially with Carlo Chermaz, then later Russell Jamieson. Chermaz was debuting the third of his striking SKE chassis, now with PVP power that Chermaz has used for many years before running a DEA last year. Jamieson was shaking down a new DEA engine for 2013 and raced only briefly after running his older engine in qualifying.

Chermaz took pole with a 53.37 lap and led for the first four laps before Smith took the lead and held on to win by a tenth of a second. Steve Cloake finished third in his Stockman MR2, 31 seconds behind. Tim Weier finished fourth in his GasGas powered Anderson Maverick, winning 250 National ahead of Daniel Lewis in the ex-Brendan Luneman Anderson-Yamaha that won the 250 National Australian title last year. Sixth was Grant Yarrow in a now look Motorsport Zone Cougar EV-1, winning 125cc class after race long battle with Jason Laker in his BRM Stock-Honda. Stewart Bell was just behind in the Linra Properties Gladiator, winning 85 cc class on its official return to Queensland racing. Paul Davis (Flowtek Stockman MR2) was next ahead of Phil Silcock (Rockpress Stockman MR2), Errol Wright (Haase) and John Spalding (Stockman MR2).

Race 2 has Smith lead all the way, building up a five second win over Chermaz. Jamieson, who changed engines after qualifying, climbed through the field to finish third. Weier was fourth again as Cloake did not take the start after damaging his Stockman going off track exiting Eastern Loop in the first race. The Lewis Plumbing Anderson-Yamaha was fifth again with Lindsay Jamieson following his cousin and Lewis through the field from the back in the Linra Properties Stockman MR2 to win 125. Laker got the better of Yarrow to be seventh with Bell and Silcock completing the top ten. Barry Kunowski dropped out of the meeting at this point.

The third race saw Russell Jamieson surge to lead the race before backing off. Smith climbed past Chermaz and Jamieson to lead the second lap until the race was red-flagged when Errol Wright crashed his 125 cc Team Rage Haase exiting Eastern Loop. Wright was unhurt, but the race was declared. Weier finished third behind Smith and Chermaz. Lindsay Jamieson was fourth ahead of a coastin Russell Jamieson. Laker was next ahead of Silcock, Yarrow, Bell and Paul Davis.

Smith won 250 International from Chermaz and Jameison. Weier won 250 National from Lewis and Kunowski. Yarrow won 125 Gearbox from Lindsay Jamieson and Silcock. Laker won the MW Motorsport Stock-Honda Challenge and Bell won 85.

The next meeting for Queensland Superkarts is the opening round of the State Championship at Morgan Park on March 2/3 weekend, as well as the opening round of the Australian Championship at Sydney Motorsport Park.

Exclusive Auto Centre Superkart Challenge Series
250 International
Jason Smith 1523, Carlo Chermaz 1140, Russell Jamieson 570, Steve Cloake 285
250 National
Tim Weier 1443, Daniel Lewis 720, Barry Kunowski 0
125 Gearbox
Grant Yarrow 1298, Lindsay Jamieson 1120, Phil Silcock 1050, Paul Davis 655, Errol Wright 476, John Spalding 356
85 Gearbox
Stewart Bell 1283
MW Motorsport Stock-Honda Series
Jason Laker 1283

Exclusive Auto Centre Rotax Max Superkart Cup
Rotax Light
Joe Sciacca 1271, John Caruana 950, Grant McKay 625, John Thorogood 471, Warwick Donsky 358, Rodney Tredgold 204, Nick Contarino 0
Rotax Heavy
Nicholas Marshall 1070, Sean Maberley 800, Stephen Scott 301, Daniel Callingham 0
Junior Max
Quintin Slabbert 869