Sydney Motorsport Park 250 International Preview


2012 Australian Champion: Jason SmithAfter a two-year break, the Rockpress Australian Superkart Championship returns to one of its favourite circuits in Sydney Motorsport Park at the opening round of the 2013 Shannons Australian Motor Racing Nationals. There has been a substantial shift in the 250 International class during the period.

Most notable of which is the revolution of a new younger generation of drivers which began roughly five years ago is now complete with Queenslander Jason Smith claiming the Australian championship last season. This shift began with the Harpas brothers from Adelaide and the Stebbing brothers of Melbourne and has seen a number of drivers added to the twenty-somethings chasing after the masters of the class, Warren McIlveen, Darren Hossack, Sam Zavaglia, Gary Pegoraro, Anton Stevens and Carlo Chermaz who had won almost all of the rounds the between them in the preceding decade.

Yiani Harpas was the first to emerge as a championship threat, coming very close to winning his home round at Mallala in 2009. Since then we've seen the emergence of his brother Ilya, then Kristian Stebbing, Shane Price, Russell Jamieson, Steven Tamasi and finally Jason Smith won at Queensland Raceway last year and took the championship defeating the old guard.

Smith is taking a step up this year and is off shortly to compete in the European Superkart Championship, along with fellow Queenslanders Russell Jamieson and Superkart constructor, Carlo Chermaz. Chermaz has contested the European championship previously in 2009, finishing in the top ten, but no other Australian has contested the European championship (apart from a one-off appearance by Zavaglia) going back over a decade ago to the last year the team of Gerry Siebert made the trip.

Gary Pegoraro leads Alex SoraviaHossack and Zavaglia have stepped away from the championship this year. Zavaglia has stepped up into a management role, becoming the primary force behind the burgeoning Stock-Honda class as well as Crew Chief within the Stockman Superkarts contingent. While Scott Ellis and Wayne Sprostans' Safe Evolutions team will be running New Zealand champion Karl Wilson in the Anderson Maverick Hossack has raced most recently. McIlveen returns as does the perenially unlucky but almost fast Gary Pegoraro. Pegoraro has been the vanguard of Victorian racing for the last five years and has always been competitive, leading the development of the tandem configuration engines, first with French FPEs then the powerful Canadian BRC engines. Pegoraro is also mentoring, 250 National class champ Brendan Luneman. 125 cc front runner Matt Bass from Victoria continues the young driver development stepping into a 250 International class Stockman-BRC this year.

Ilya Harpas also makes his return to the championship in the Red Ice Racing Zip Eagle and once you add in Brett Purdie, Kristian Stebbing and Anton Stevens, the net of quick drivers has been cast very wide indeed.

Apart from changes on the drivers side, there has been a technical shift as well. 2012 finally saw the tandem cylinder engines assert their dominance over the motorcycle style V-twin engines. It has been a gradual shift over the last decade as the tandems peak horsepower overcame the twins superior drivability. The shift from two-stroke engines to four-stroke in the shift from 250 cc Grand Prix  motorcycles to Moto2 has been the primary reason for development of the twins to slow, but not the only one. Twins still race well in the United States but the Tandems have been dominant in Europe for a number of years now.

Fast Facts: 250 International Superkart Class
Previous Winners at Sydney Motorsport Park:
2011: Warren McIlveen
2009: Sam Zavaglia
2008: Darren Hossack
2007: Warren McIlveen

Lap Record:
1:28.1929 Russell Jamieson (Anderson-DEA)

2012 top six points:
1st 141 Jason Smith (Anderson-DEA)
2nd 128 Darren Hossack (Anderson-SAFE)
3rd 121 Gary Pegoraro (Anderson-BRC)
4th 101 Russell Jamieson (Anderson-DEA)
5th 94 Brett Purdie (PVP-Yamaha)
6th 82 Kristian Stebbing (Stockman-Yamaha)

250 International class entries:
4 Charles Maddern Maddern Oil PVP-Yamaha
6 Martin Latta MJR Bricklaying Anderson Maverick-DEA
8 Anton Stevens's PVP-FPE
10 Gary Pegoraro Dunlop Kartsport/BRC Engines Anderson Maverick-BRC
11 Darren Kitchen Precision Constracting Zip Eagle II-BRC
14 Matt Bass Top Torque Engines Stockman MR2-BRC
18 Warren McIlveen Mac's Marine/Stockman Superkarts Stockman MR2-Honda
21 Matthew Ramsden Zip Eagle II-BRC
27 Mark Hanson Zip BDH Zip Eagle II-BRC
28 Ilya Harpas Your Amigo/Alex EMS/Davtec Zip Eagle-BRC
30 Jason Smith Fuji Xerox/Zahl 1 Karting/Middletons Printing Anderson Maverick-DEA
31 Jack Mackay Stockman MR2-Yamaha
33 Kristian Stebbing Suburban Accounting & Taxation Stockman MR2-Yamaha
35 Russell Jamieson Coach Design Anderson Maverick-DEA
38 Alex Soravia Stockman MR2-Honda
41 Brendan Luneman Wizzer Engies Anderson Maverick-BRC
54 Brett Purdie Martelco Equipment Hire/JR & RT Walker PVP-Yamaha
65 Carlo Chermaz Superkart Evolutions SKE-FPE
72 George Koutros Avoig Elise-Honda
96 Karl Wilson Safe Evolutions Anderson Maverick-SAFE