Daniel Baker

Daniel Baker set the pac in Tamworth today. Pic:

With 287 competitors vying for the championship honours the action came thick and fast during qualifying day for the New South Wales State Championships at the Oakburn Park Motorsport complex in Tamworth today.

Sydney driver Daniel Baker qualified fastest in the highly competitive Clubman Heavy category.

Despite never having seen the Tamworth circuit prior to Wednesday’s practice, the Parramatta Kart Warehouse-backed driver set the pace in the opening qualifying session of the day before he encountered a mechanical issue in the second four-minute qualifier.

“The first session was great but the second….not so great,” said Baker.

“Starting off the front row is a perfect place to be for the heat races, now the aim is to stay there over the weekend. The competition in the Clubman Heavy category is very tough with some of the best drivers from across the country in there.”

Hot on the heels of Baker is current Australian Champion Shayne Piper from Forbes, who topped the second session. Behind the leading duo came Queensland champion Shay Mayes followed by Victorians Matthew Wall and Lee Mitchener.

After a successful career in junior karting Gold Coaster James Macken has made a great start to his campaign in the senior ranks by challenging 11-time National Champion David Sera in the 125cc Rotax Light division. The Tony Kartsport driver qualified a mere 0.019 seconds behind Sera setting the scene for a titanic battle between the pair along with Victorian Josh de Maio, and Towoomba’s Tyler Greenbury across the weekend.

Sera also topped the times in the Clubman Light category to snare his second pole position ahead of Matthew Waters.

In the junior ranks South Australian Todd Hazelwood leads the way from current Australian Champion Joseph Mawson, Anton De Pasquale and Mitchell Gee in the Junior Clubman category.

In the other high performance junior category, Formula JMA, Mawson qualified second behind recently crowned CIK Stars of Karting Pro Junior champion Pierce Lehane.

Tamworth’s Garnet Patterson has led the way for the local drivers by qualifying third fastest in the 125cc Leopard Light category.

Patterson’s time was only bettered by two of the best drivers in the country, Cian Fothergill and James Sera – both of whom are current Australian Champions in other categories.

“It’s been a good start to the weekend and to only have two drivers with that experience ahead of me gives me some confidence for a good result for the weekend ahead,” said Patterson.

“I only got my new Tony Kart last weekend so I’m still very much learning more about what changes to the set-up we need to make to get some more speed out of it but at the moment it is showing some good potential.

“There’s still a lot of racing to go before the state champion is crowned on Sunday afternoon.”

The opening round of heats will be contested this afternoon and continue tomorrow ahead of the 25-lap championship finals on Sunday.

To view the grids for the heat races please Click Here and select NSW followed by the Tamworth Kart Racing Club.

To view the notebook of some of the behind the scenes action please Click Here