Round 4 of the bLU cRU South Australian Junior Cup took place over the weekend in Monarto, South Australia, in conjunction with the FIM MiniGP Australia Series.
Road racing talents from around the nation, including Australian Superbike series champions, gathered at The Go Kart Club of SA from Friday for a spectacular weekend of small wheel racing hosted by Ohvale Australia. The FIM MiniGP Series has grown substantially in its maiden years with many countries now taking part, and the top performers having the opportunity to compete in an international finale.
The bLU cRU South Australian Junior Cup eagerly accepted the opportunity to have their Round 4 hosted alongside the Ohvale series, with 9 of the state's best young road racers gridding up on the distinctive blue Yamaha R15s.
A heavy fog surrounded the small circuit at the beginning of Saturday's events, but SA's talented junior riders got off to a brilliant start in qualifying. #69 Archie Schmidt broke the previous bLU cRU qualifying lap record and took pole position with a 52.767. #68 Lucas Warren secured 2nd position with an impressive 54.950, and rounding out the front row was #46 Ghage Plowman with a 56.006, his best qualifying result to date.
Race 1 concluded Saturday's events, with an epic battle for 3rd spanning the 10-lap sprint between #7 Xayvion Amoy, #27 Cooper Pitt and #46 Ghage Plowman. Front runner #69 Archie Schmidt lead the race from the start, putting a sizeable distance between himself and the rest of the field and meeting the chequered flag a solid 20 seconds ahead of 2nd place #68 Lucas Warren, who also put in a strong effort to break firmly away from the pack. 3rd place-getter #7 Xayvion Amoy rode defensively to keep #27 Cooper Pitt and #46 Ghage Plowman behind him, who finished in 4th and 5th respectively with less than a tenth separating them.
#7 Xayvion Amoy got off to a brilliant start in Sunday morning's Race 2, chasing down race leader #69 Archie Schmidt for the first few laps and lapping consistently in the 55s. #68 Lucas Warren fought his way through to 2nd position by lap 4, and ran a steady race from there through to the flag, with #7 Xayvion Amoy following not far behind to take 3rd, making it "2 for 2" for the trio.
"Xayvion, you've taken out 3rd place in both races so far, what do we need to see from you to reach that top step of the podium today?"
"I'd say pushing harder, trying to take more defensive lines, especially against Lucas because he's not very friendly when he passes, so just keeping those defensive lines and braking HARD." - #7 Xayvion Amoy
"Ghage, tell us about the battle you had in Races 1 and 2, and how you're going to bring that aggression into the next race?"
"I've got to push a little bit harder and brake a little bit later, so I can try and put a gap on everyone and focus on who is in front, and then try and hopefully get on the podium." - #46 Ghage Plowman
"Archie, 2 for 2 wins so far, how do you feel and what can you bring to Race 3?"
"The two races today and yesterday went well, I think that I'm going to hopefully win Race 3 and take P1 for the weekend. Improvements I could make would be to get a bit faster, and get my lines right." - #69 Archie Schmidt
#7 Xayvion Amoy didn't get the opportunity to show us his defensive lines in Race 3, after a collision between himself and #68 Lucas Warren sent both riders off course. The pair were able to regroup and get back on track, with Lucas putting in a tough fight to finish in 5th. Xayvion bravely rode to the end in true championship spirit but unfortunately was not able to record enough laps for a result. #27 Cooper Pitt had a strong race to take his first podium for the weekend in 2nd place, and right behind him was #46 Ghage Plowman with a well earned 3rd. #99 Jai Strugnell was hot on Ghage's tail for most of the race and crossed the line in 4th. #79 Jamie Gregory who travels from NSW to compete in the series, rode steadily and saw some of his best times of the weekend.
"Xayvion, how much have you learnt over the weekend?"
"I've learnt that in qualifying and races there are actually different lines, so qualifying lines are the classic outside-inside-outside, but with races there's more defensive lines such as if there's a double apex corner, instead of being in the middle of the track and then coming in to the inside like you would in qualifying, you'd come into the inside and then try and pull the bike around to the second inside apex." - #7 Xayvion Amoy
"Ghage, how do you think your season is going so far and how much have you learnt?"
"I've learnt a lot about passing and being defensive but I think I need to get a bit more aggressive to try and get a higher placing in the standings for this year." - #46 Ghage Plowman
"Archie, with only two rounds to go for the season how confident are you that you can take out the championship?"
"I'm feeling very confident that I'm going to take the championship, I'm up by a few points so that should help me get there." - #69 Archie Schmidt
After Race 3's mishaps, it would all come down to the final race for the weekend's leading trio. #69 Archie Schmidt put down some seriously fast laps in the 52s to firmly claim the weekend win with a perfect score. #7 Xayvion Amoy got through on #68 Lucas Warren by the second lap and put on a brilliant, tactical display to hold his position right through to the end, taking Race 4's 2nd place. Lucas had the quicker lap time by a whisker, but couldn't get past Xayvion this time and finished the race in 3rd. #27 Cooper Pitt came in just behind Lucas in 4th, and after being neck-and-neck in competition all year this round's results will change the game for these two friendly rivals. #17 Payton Kemp had an embarrassing mishap at the start line, but got back up to complete the race in a great show of courage. A brilliant effort from #42 Josh Schiller saw him putting in his quickest laps of the weekend in the final race.
The final results for the weekend were:
1st. #69 Archie Schmidt with 100 points
2nd. #68 Lucas Warren with 74 points
3rd. #27 Cooper Pitt with 71 points
With 4 rounds down and 2 rounds to go, #69 Archie Schmidt leads the bLU cRU South Australian Junior Cup with 345 points. #68 Lucas Warren and #27 Cooper Pitt are tied for second place with 238 points each, and #7 Xayvion Amoy is just 4 points behind them. The next round will take place at Mac Park, Mount Gambier along with the SA Road Race Championship and Master of Mac on the October long weekend.
BY REBECCA BOWDIDGE and GEORGIA STEPHENS