Karting's top gun juniors skills speed up down the track
WHEN it comes to putting the pedal to the metal, these young drivers have their eyes on the track and their hearts in the kart.
And while racing down the straight around 170kmh seems like second nature, these future champions are committed to putting in the hard yards to make the top of the podium.
Last month some junior members of the Lismore Kart Club travelled to Queensland to compete in Warwick's cadet and junior feature meeting of the year Junior Top Guns.
Held over the weekend of September 22 and 23, the competition was fierce and the young drivers all came away with a sense of achievement, even if they did not place.
According to LKC secretary Jodie Nommensen, 14-year-old Jakob Lesha stepped up over the weekend to race KA3 Junior for the first time.
"It was a weekend of (Jakob) coming to terms with different tyre and kart set-up to what he was used to running," she said.
"Jakob managed a consistent weekend of results throughout each heat and the final, finishing all races inside the top 10."
He said the experience of racing in a highly competitive division albeit with a new kart set-up, was exhilarating.
"It was really competitive racing," Jakob said.
"I compete in the KA3 junior and while I won at Tamworth recently, the competition at Warwick as a lot closer with a lot of more experienced drivers."
The Richmond River Secondary College student may not have made it to the podium, but he said it was a great learning experience as he drove a different kart set-up.
"We got up to speeds around 170kmh," he said.
"The new kart I raced was a water-cooled 125cc which is different to driving an air-cooled 100cc."
Now Jakob who has been behind the wheel since he was 12, is looking forward to turning 15 in four months time as he will then go into the open age division.
Nommensen said the juniors really shone at the event.
"Our youngest competitors in the Cadet 9 didn't disappoint," she said.
"In a tough field of 18, Beau Bromhead managed to qualify first, with Kayden Thompson second and James Cittolin still learning the track managed to qualify 14th."
Nommensen said it wasn't to be the easiest of weekends with Beau dropping from first to sixth in the first race before managing to recover for the remaining heats with a second and two firsts.
"Kayden had a smoother run to the final with a first, two seconds and a third, while the final results were Beau first, Kayden second and James managed to improve a number of places throughout the weekend," she said.
"In the Cadet 12 class our club was once again represented by three competitors, Jakob Scott, Drew Bidner and Kye Suffolk in a large field with 25 competitive drivers."
Nommensen said it was an exciting race wit the drivers performing well.
"Kye made some unreal passes in heat two to place him well for the start in the final, only to come together with another competitor in the opening lap finishing Kye's chances after breaking the chain," she said.
"Jakob and Drew managed some good moves throughout the final but it wasn't to be their weekend, finishing outside the podium."
Meanwhile, Brody Nunn and Jack Porter raced in the ever-competitive KA4 Junior Light class with mixed results in each heat.
"After a crash in the fourth heat Brody started the final in 14th ...but managed to improve to 11th with his times improving throughout the weekend," she said.
"As we said the weekend was mixed results and Jack was struggling with engine issues throughout the weekend."
After a disappointing did not finish in the final, Kye was over the moon to win the Mini Rok engine in the draw from Paul Feeney Vortex and Warwick club whilst Brody was lucky enough to win a hoover board, Nommensen said.
"Most of these drivers will be competing in a few weeks along with other members from our club over two days at the Grafton Two Track Challenge on October 21 and 22," she said.
"Our final two race meetings for the year on November 12, the final round of club championship, and the Christmas meeting with junior senior teams race on December 3."
LKC Warwick Two Day Competitors
Beau Bromhead, 9
Kayden Thompson, 9
James Cittolin, 8
Jakob Scott, 9
Drew Bidner, 10
Kye Suffolk, 10
KA4 Junior Light
Brody Nunn, 13
Jack Porter, 14
Jakob Lesha, 14