Rochester Cup Race Report
Author: Jim Lane and Steve Polak

 

Rochester Kart Club

 

The Rochester Cup was run on Sunday, September 7th, and MKC Rookie driver Matt Lane was in amongst the action at the engaging and entertaining Rochester circuit. The atmosphere was friendly, the organisation behind the scenes great, and the track one of the best tracks for the racing enthusiast. The view from the pits down across the track and onto the farmlands is picturesque, and the three hairpin configuration at the top end of the circuit made for some exciting overtaking action.

 

The track opened early on Saturday for practice, and the weather co-operated with fine and mild conditions. Numbers quickly grew and soon the sound of many karts filled the air. Matt jumped in his kart for his first run at the track and was soon building pace as he learnt the track. In just his second session he set a reasonable time compared to the other competitors, but frustratingly, that's where it stopped. As the day went on most of the leading drivers continued to improve, but even after trying a number of different setup options we just couldn't make inroads. As we were packing it in for the day, seemingly resolved to being off the pace, we got a tip from one of the friendly Dads about a setup change that worked for them. That night back at our accommodation, we went through the Mychron data and assessed what changes to make. In the end, Matt decided he had nothing to lose and decided he wanted some changes made. This meant going into race day with an untested setup....

 

Raceday dawned nice and clear, a little cooler than the previous day but that wasn't going to worry anyone. Quickly getting organised in the pit area, the changes were made to the kart setup and everything was set for carby session. Rookies were 8th in race order, and soon enough off they went from the out-grid. When they came in, the data showed the result - in just his first full lap in carby session Matt was already half a second quicker than the previous days best lap! Things were looking better.

 

A good quality field had shown up in Rookies, 11 in total, with a couple of locals, a few fellow drivers from Oakleigh, and others from Morwell, Bendigo, Albury and Todd Rd. Matt had drawn P6 on the grid for heat 1, which also turned out to be P6 for heat 2. This is on the outside, so the starts were going to be challenging as the first corner is near full speed and quite narrow on exit. Not the place to be caught on the outside of the pack!

 

Matt Lane (right) and friend James Mastorakos

 

Race 1

 

After a couple of form ups the green light was given and they were away. Matt had a good start, cutting to the inside and holding his position. The next few laps sorted out the field, Matt confidently overtaking when the opportunity arose, but also releasing some positions. In the wash up, Matt gained a position to be running in 5th and stuck with the lead pack for the remainder of the race. A couple of good overtaking moves were attempted. I was all good clean racing with no contact from any of the boys, but Matt had to settle for 5th in the end. A good race, speed was good, up there with the rest so it was looking promising.

 

 

Race 2

 

Second race and Matt got a poor start. He dropped back to eighth and a good 15 metres behind the pack. However, Matt knuckled down and put in some good smooth laps, and with the lead pack dicing for position it wasn't long before he had caught up. Shortly after Matt slipped up the inside of the nearest rival to take 7th spot. A couple of laps later found his way through to grab 6th spot, then on the last corner of the last lap pulled off a good move to finish in 5th.

 

 

And the final. . . .

 

Two 5th place finishes meant that Matt was off P5 for the final. The start was good, moving up to 4th, which he held for a couple of laps until a small lack of exit speed at the most important corner on the track meant he dropped back to 5th. Shortly after, the kart in front of Matt experienced engine difficulties and propped on the straight, disrupting Matt’s line enough to lose another position. Down to 6th. Shortly though, Matt had recovered to 5th and the chase was back on. Matt sat back patiently over the next few laps as the two karts in front diced for position. At one point they made contact with each other and it looked like Matt could slip through, but they recovered and continued without losing too much speed. On the last lap, Matt made his move up the inside and got up to 4th. Unfortunately, this put him slightly off line on exit and the other kart came back up the inside. It was a side by side duel, with Matt not quite making it stick, so finishing in 5th again! It was a great race though, and well done to all the boys for good clean racing all day.

 

Matt (#30) pressing for position with Beau Hogan in the Final

 

Trophies were awarded from 1st to 5th in the junior classes, however, despite finishing 5th, 5th and 5th in an "all points count" competition, Matt finished 6th overall by just a few points to miss out! Matt didn't let this detract from what was a great day, having had a ball and learning some things along the way.

 

Thanks to the Rochester Kart Club for a great meet and all the competitors for entertaining racing all in good spirit.