Henry Johnstone takes out Australian Kart Championship opener

Published on Monday, February 26, 2024

Henry Johnstone takes out Australian Kart Championship opener

Victorian Henry Johnstone has taken the first round of the SP Tools Australian Kart Championship, presented by Castrol at Adelaide’s Bolivar Raceway after a gruelling final in blazing heat, while reigning KA2 Champion, Max Walton made a successful transition to senior racing, taking out the X30 category. Johnstone was embroiled in a four kart battle for the lead, headed up by returning two-time KZ2 Champion, Joshua Fife – who was being chased down by Reece Cohen and a hard-charging Toby Dvorak in fourth who joined the freight train.

With seven laps to go, Cohen made a move on Fife at turn one, however, it didn’t pay off, both went off the track. Cohen – despite winning two heat races – didn’t continue, however, Fife was able to get back on track. He consolidated Championship points by bringing his Kart Republic machine home in fifth place. This led to Dvorak coming home in second spot and Sydney-sider Leon Cordato rewarded new sponsor, Scape with a podium.

Max Walton made his move to the Senior ranks end in fine style after winning X30 on debut. The Parolin driver had mixed results through the weekend, however, amassed enough points to start the final on the front row alongside Brad Jenner. Jenner, racing for the Nick Percat-owned JND Racing outfit, had set the pole position and won each heat race comfortably to that point. Jenner heads to round two with the Championship lead nevertheless. Tony Kart driver, Hugh McGuire ended a tough weekend with a podium, following a hard fought battle that raged with many competitors throughout the 20 lap final.

New South Welshman, Kobe McInerney took his first ever KA2 round win for the TF Racing squad. The youngster was dominant and wasn’t headed from the beginning of the race.

He took the win by 2.3 seconds, however the battle for the minor placings was where the real interest was. Ayrton Dalmaso was looking to grab second place for DAP, however Isaac McNeill had other ideas. The Queenslander, driving for the brand new Empire Kartsport team, closed the gap to Dalmaso. The duo both took an off-track excursion and emerged unharmed, however McNeill ultimately grabbed second and Cordato dropped back to sixth position.

Finishing third was South Australian, Oceane Colangelo. Colangelo created history on Saturday as the first female racer to ever win a heat race in the elite Junior category and then backed that up with the third placed finish.

Fourth place was Queenslander, Ky Burke. Burke – who will represent Karting Australia in the FIA Academy Trophy in Europe this year – had one of the biggest workloads of any driver across the weekend after being disqualified in qualifying, meaning he’d start last in the 37 kart field in the first two heats. He was able to make ground and put himself in position to score bulk Championship points.

There was a South Australian double in the KA3 Junior category. Jack Szweczuk wrapped up his second consecutive KA3 Junior round win after winning the final round last year. In the off-season, the now Queensland-based teen switched over to the Percat-led JND team and delivered its first victory in fine style. He led home Bonetti Transport/Advanced Motorsport supported South Australian, Noah Enright – who’d been strong all weekend – and Victorian Samuel March, who won the corresponding category on the Australian Championship’s last visit to Monarto in 2022.

The South Australian victories kept coming in the hotly contested TaG 125 category. Ben Holliday driving for the Kart Class team took just his second AKC victory. It has been a long time between spraying champagne – the last win coming in Cadet 12 way back in 2016.

Perennial front-runner, Jackson Souslin-Harlow pushed Holliday the whole way, however came up one second short in his eponymous JSH Racing team kart.

A pair of recent Australian Champions duked it out for third placing, with reigning title holder, Harrison Hoey taking the #1 to the podium just edging out former Champ, Zachary Heard – after a battle with five-time Australian Champion and class specialist, Matthew Waters.

The finals of the 10th edition of the AKC got underway with local Josh Elliston scraping across the line to win KA3 Senior. Benito Montalbano – who switched to a new team to the Championship – Andrew Starkey Motorsport – pushed along to draw alongside Elliston on the final lap. The gap between the pair was just six one-hundredths of a second.

Winner of the WA round of KA3 Junior last year, William Thompson finished in a hard fought third position.

Victorian Parolin driver, Archie Bristow won every race he finished in Cadet 12 across the weekend, including a dominant final position, winning by 2.5 seconds. The only race Bristow didn’t win was his second heat yesterday when he was a participant in a multi-kart collision at the first turn. Jack Larsen edged home in second place after a close fight with West Australian BRM pilot, Valentino Giorgella.

It was an Oscar performance in Cadet 9, with Olivers occupying first and second position. Oliver Armitt was supreme, marching to a 5.8 second win in the class in an unusually dominant performance. It was his first ever round win, while Oliver Williamson took his first podium in a TWM Kart Republic in second. Riccardo Johnston celebrated his birthday that took place across the weekend with a third placed finish.

Thus completes the opening round of the 2024 SP Tools Australian Kart Championship presented by Castrol.

The next round of the Championship will take place in Seymour, northern Victoria at the Eastern Lions Kart Club on April 18-21.

Full results from the weekend’s competition are available here with full championship points here.


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