DOUBLE DOSE AT SOUTH AUSTRALIAN CHAMPIONSHIPS

Paul Pittam won the Clubman Super Heavy and Leopard Heavy categories (Pic: AF Images/Budd)

Adelaide driver Paul Pittam and Melbourne’s Leigh Nicolaou had double the reason to celebrate on Sunday with both drivers taking a pair of victories at the 2012 South Australian Open Sprint Kart Championships in Mount Gambier.

Pittam steered his new Omega Wasp chassis to victory in the Clubman Super Heavy and Leopard Heavy categories while Nicolaou won the Clubman Heavy and Leopard Light classes in his Arrow karts.

Over the past ten years, Pittam has now amassed an impressive 11 state championships – his first coming in the Junior National Light category in Tasmania in 2002.

In Clubman Super Heavy, Pittam led home Lismore’s Joshua Herne and Adelaide’s Danny Errigo while Victorian Michael Griffiths and Queenslander Kris Walton filled the minor positions in the Leopard Heavy category.

“It was just an amazing weekend, I was running in three classes so to come away with two wins and a third (Clubman Heavy) is fantastic for not only myself but the entire Omega Racing Karts crew,” said Pittam.

“It’s the first time that I’ve ran the new kart in the Leopard category and the first time I’ve raced it at this level in the Super Heavy category – I think we proved that it’s quite a good kart.

“This is my first big meeting here at Mount Gambier, I’ve won a couple of smaller events here but this is the first time I’ve raced here in a State Championship, so I’m very happy.

“A huge thanks to Kym Pearce from Omega karts, my Dad and also my mechanic Ben . I’d especially like to thank Anthony Williams who leant me the kart to race for the weekend, Colin Moat for the wicked Leopard motor and Shayne Piper for all of his hard work with the Clubman engine.”

Victorian Leigh Nicolaou on his way to winning the Leopard Light category (Pic: AF Images/Budd)

The weekend’s pair of victories were the seventh and eighth state championships of Nicolaou’s career. Finishing second behind Nicolaou in Leopard Light was Victorian James Sera ahead of Victorian George Geranis while Queenslander Brendan Nelson and Pittam joined him on the Clubman Heavy podium.

“I wouldn’t have been able to do it without my Dad and my mechanic Luke, along with all of the J&A Tuning guys, the team at Shamick Racing and Arrow Karts. I’d been struggling all year with the Leopard and I sent the kart back to Arrow and it came back as a missile – without their continued support this result wouldn’t have been possible,” said Nicolaou.

“I haven’t been here for about six years, back when I was running Junior Clubman, but that didn’t hinder me this weekend. It’s a pretty technical track and once we got our head around the set-up we were in good shape.”

Glenn Henley was the highest placed local driver, finishing third in the Clubman Over 40s category behind Monaco drivers Remo Luciani and Phil Smith. Luciani’s win was the 57th of his illustrious career.

John Dankowski finished fourth in the Clubman Super Heavy ranks, one spot ahead of Anthony Higgs, while Scott Moreland finished fifth in Rotax Light – as did Shane Moreland in the Rookies category

The Top Five results, and brief race notes, from each category can be found below.  To view the full results please click here.

2012 South Australian Open Sprint Kart Championships
Mount Gambier, SA

Junior Rotax
1. Nicholas Andrews
2. Liam McLellan
3. Jordan Boys
4. James Golding
5. Andrew Kahl
Race Notes: The pole sitter Jordan Murphy found himself involved in an opening turn incident, that dropped him and a number of other front-runners down the order. Leaving the chaos behind them was Jake Klein and Nicholas Andrews who led the way ahead of Matthew Smith and Holly Marquis. While there were a number of battle packs throughout the field, it was Jake Klein who led Andrews across the line. Liam McLellan charged his way to third place ahead of Jordan Boys.  Klein was later excluded due to a technical infringement handing the win to Andrews.

Leopard Heavy
1. Paul Pittam
2. Michael Griffiths
3. Kris Walton
4. Brendan Nelson
5. Matt Davis
Race Notes: Queenslander Brendan Nelson led the early laps of the Leopard Heavy final aboard his Arrow kart and by mid race it was Adelaide’s Paul Pittam who closed in on the rear of Nelson’s Arrow kart. When Nelson ran wide on the exit of turn three on lap 11 it opened the door for Pittam to lead the way ahead of Kris Walton and Michael Griffiths. As Griffiths and Walton battled for second, it allowed Pittam to drive away with the victory.

Clubman Over 40s
1. Remo Luciani
2. Phil Smith
3. Glenn Henley
4. Stephen Blee
5. Sparky Marquis
Race Notes: Phil Smith got the jump at the start of the Clubman Over 40s final in Mount Gambier, however, it wasn’t long before Remo Luciani asserted himself onto the race. The Horsham driver was never challenged on his way to the 57th State Championship of his career. Smith made it a Monaco one-two with local driver Glenn Henley finishing third.

Jordyn Sinni leading the way in the Cadets category (Pic: AF Images/Budd)

Cadets
1. Jordyn Sinni
2. Harrison Hoey
3. Benito Montalbano
4. Nathan Herne
5. Jack Harders
Race Notes: When Nathan Herne and Jack Doohan came together in turn two of the 21-lap Cadets final it allowed Jordyn Sinni and Harrison Hoey to open a slight buffer over the remainder of the field. Hoey then moved into the lead at the end of the main straight on lap two. Sinni shadowed Hoey for the majority of the race, while Herne, Doohan and Benito Montalbano battled for third position. Doohan retired with five laps remaining with a mechanical issue. Sinni passed Hoey for the lead at the end of the straight as the pair entered the last lap, despite his best efforts Hoey was unable to find a way back into the lead as Sinni took the win.

Jordan Boys dominated the Junior National Heavy final (Pic: AF Images/Budd)

Junior National Heavy
1. Jordan Boys
2. Nicholas Rowe
3. William Hawkes
4. Damon Strongman
5. Zac Soutar
Race Notes: Albury driver Jordan Boys was only ever headed in the final of the Junior National Heavy category on the opening circulation, beyond there he was simply dominant on his way to victory. Karratha’s Nicholas Rowe was a clear second place while Victorians Damon Strongman and William Hawkes had an intense battle for third place mid-race before Hawkes got the upper hand.

Clubman Super Heavy
1. Paul Pittam
2. Joshua Herne
3. Danny Errigo
4. John Dankowski
5. Anthony Higgs
Race Notes: In his first blue ribbon event in the Clubman Super Heavy category, Paul Pittam was unstoppable on his way to victory in the 21-lap final. The Omega Karts driver got the jump at the start of the race and was never challenged on his way to victory. Joshua Herne drove a lonely race while local driver John Dankowski and Danny Errigo battled it out for third position.

Leopard Light
1. Leigh Nicolaou
2. James Sera
3. George Geranis
4. George Guiterrez
5. Dean Foster
Race Notes: Arrow Karts driver Leigh Nicolaou took advantage of his pole position at the start of the Leopard Light final as James Sera, Jeed Stojakovic, Dean Foster and the like ran nose-to-tail. As the race progressed Nicolaou and Sera kept each other honest while George Geranis, Foster and George Gutierrez battled for third, fourth and fifth.

Rotax Light
1. Thomas Randle
2. Luke Bergens
3. Matthew McLellan
4. Jonathan French
5. Scott Moreland
Race Notes: Victorian Thomas Randle completed his ‘test session’ for the upcoming Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals in Portugal with victory at in the Rotax Light category. The 16 year-old was never challenged throughout the weekend – a trend that continued in today’s 21-lap final.

A late race pass earned Liam McLellan the Junior National Light win (Pic: AF Images/Budd)

Junior National Light
1. Liam McLellan
2. Bryce Fullwood
3. William Hawkes
4. Tyler Morrison
5. Damon Strongman
Race Notes: After being upstaged by Adelaide driver Tyler Morrison in yesterday’s Junior National Light pre-final Bryce Fullwood grabbed the ascendency during the early running of the 21-lap final. After leading for the majority of the race, Fullwood was caught and passed by Liam McLellan late in the race. The pair raced nose-to-tail before McLellan moved into the lead with one lap remaining to win his fourth state championship.

Clubman Heavy
1. Leigh Nicolaou
2. Brendan Nelson
3. Paul Pittam
4. Remo Luciani
5. Andrew Cash
Race Notes: It was all about the Australian-made chassis in the Clubman Heavy final with Arrow Karts drivers Brendan Nelson and Leigh Nicolaou battling with Omega Karts driver Paul Pittam. Nicolaou crossed the line clear of Nelson and Pittam.. Remo Luciani kept the youngsters honest with a fourth placing.

Rookies
1. Cooper Murray
2. Dylan Hollis
3. Thomas Bennett
4. Jordan Caruso
5. Shane Moreland
Race Notes: As he has done all weekend, Tony Kart driver Cooper Murray was dominant on his way to victory in the Rookies category. The Victorian drove away with the victory leaving Jordan Caruso to settle for second place. However, when Caruso spun late in the race it allowed Dylan Hollis and Thomas Bennett to move onto the podium.

Clubman Light
1. Jack Wynack
2. Thomas Randle
3. James Sera
4. Alex Baker
5. Andrew Mercuri
Race Notes: The ‘Apprentice’ Thomas Randle may have upstaged the ‘Master’ James Sera early in the weekend in the Clubman Light category but when it mattered most it was Sera who reigned supreme. Sera appeared as though he would dominate the event before Randle closed in on the rear bumper of his fellow FA Kart driver during the closing stages. When Randle made an attempted pass on Sera in the final turn, it allowed Jack Wynack through to snare the victory.