Tom’s unheard 12 second lead – From the Young Witness
TEN-YEAR-OLD Thomas Sargent enjoyed success in the Cadet category (formerly Midgets) taking victory at the 2012 Yellow Tail Cup held at Griffith Kart Raceway in his Arrow AX9 Go-Kart.
Karters travelled from all over NSW and Victoria to challenge for the prestigious cup and part of the $18,000 prize money up for grabs.
There was no doubt that Tom was on a mission to improve on last year’s fifth position, firing the first shot across the bow of his fellow competitors with a blistering 44.14 second qualifying lap around the twisty 840m Griffith circuit.
He beat Sydney’s Lucas Lichtenberger by 0.3 of a second in the four minute timed shoot out for pole position.
This time was even more remarkable when it was revealed that he achieved it in his first flying lap but due to traffic, was unable to get a clean run to improve on his time.
The first of the 10 lap heats saw Tom demonstrate his skill on cold tyres grabbing an early lead and pulling a massive 1.4 second lead on the first lap over Dubbo’s Blake Fardell.
Tom went on to take out the win while Fardell and Lichtenberger fought an intense battle for second.
Heat two saw Tom again jump to an early lead while Benalla’s Zac Best in his new Intrepid chassis imported from the US fought his way from fourth position to second.
He set off in hot pursuit of Tom but the gap was too great with Best crossing the finish line two and a half seconds behind.
Best was much quicker off the start in heat three and latched on to Sargent’s rear bumper, determined to elevate himself higher on the grid for the pre-final and final.
However he was unable to match Sargent’s pace on cold tyres when he pulled a 1.8 second gap on the first lap and maintained this lead to the finish.
Griffith’s famous night of racing always proves to be a great spectacle with the glowing of brakes and exhausts as well as the odd trail of sparks, thrilling both drivers and spectators.
Once again Tom’s speed on his first lap saw him grab the narrowest of margins then press on his advantage with some masterful passing of lapped traffic in the dying moments of the race to secure the win 1.2 seconds ahead of Best.
A crisp autumn Sunday morning met the 100 plus competitors as they made their final adjustments to chassis’s, engines and tyre pressures prior to the start of the 15 lap final sprint to the chequered flag.
Cadets were the first class to face the starter as the rest of the competitors eagerly watched over the fence for some hints on chassis set up and tyre pressures on the cold track.
From the experience learned during the previous night’s pre-final, Tom made some changes to his Arrow’s set up, hoping to regain the advantage he had enjoyed earlier in the weekend.
When the lights went green it was Best who made the early jump, but Sargent held tight to his inside line through the high speed turn one ‘horseshoe’ emerging in the lead before the run down the twisty back section of the circuit.
Tom regularly reached 90 kmph leading onto the short 50 metre start/finish straight.
Tom already had one hand on the trophy and it was obvious that he was not going to let it slip, with every lap the gap back to second grew.
He crossed the finish line with an almost unheard of 12.5 second lead back to Best and Hodgson, bringing the Yellow Tail Cup and winner’s cheque back to Young.
Tom’s younger brother Josh also showed great pace leading home the “P” Platers on only his fourth race meeting.
Tom has started 2012 well with a fourth place at the Young Guns Classic in Melbourne, Second Place at the Brian Farley Memorial in Sydney and wins at the first round of the NSW State Cup in Orange.
He has also won the Col’s Castle Sprint at Lithgow and Junior Development Sprint at Wagga.