Local Dominates Coffs Harbour Ford Kartstars
The 2002 Ford KartStars Series is starting to hot up with Adam Graham becoming the third different winner in as many rounds, following a totally dominant performance at the Stone Brothers Racing sponsored event at Raleigh, near Coffs Harbour.
At what is considered to be his home track, the Lismore racer not only took victory in all heats, the Pre Final and Final, but also qualified fastest and set the fastest lap time in every race.
The 17-year-old’s performance has seen him jump from fifth to second in the standing’s behind the winner of round one in Canberra, Clint Cathcart.
With such a dominant performance out front, the real interest was the fight to see who could claim runner-up.
Round Two winner at Geelong, Taz Douglas, was only driver in sight of Graham during the heats and Pre Final, but he was sent spinning early in the Final allowing Josh Arandt to claim second ahead of Scott Auld.
“This round was really important if I was to make my mark in this year’s Ford KartStars Series,” said Graham.
“The previous round in Geelong was wet and I had very little experience in those conditions. Back on a track I know well in good conditions was a big plus and everything worked out extremely well.
“This year’s series still has another two rounds in Adelaide and Queensland, I can’t relax as there are 31 others out there trying to hunt me down.”
One person who was impressed with Graham’s performance was Caltex Havoline Racing V8 Supercar driver and former karting champion David Besnard.
“Even going back to my days in karts, Graham’s run was certainly one of the best drives I’ve seen,” said Besnard.
“I’m sure that he’s got a very good future not just karting but potentially higher levels of racing.
“This is a great example of just what the Ford KartStars series is all about, giving talented young drivers the opportunity to showcase their talents in a strong competition.
“Last year’s Ford KartStars champion, Mark Winterbottom, was earlier this year signed by my team Stone Brothers Racing. Along with Adam Graham, there are some guys in this year’s series that will also gain the attention of the V8 teams.”
In just its third year of existence, the KartStars is the only motor racing series aimed solely at identifying talented Australian drivers and providing them with a clear and direct path, regardless of their ability to raise the significant sums of money required to compete at the top levels.
Instead of simply picking the winner of an existing series, Ford management realised that to really identify talent, a one-make class had to be created where the strength of competition relied on skill rather than money.
The top-four placegetters from the KartStars Series will be put through an intensive evaluation process with the Victorian Institute of Sport (VIS). Two of these four drivers will receive a full season in the 2003 Australian Formula Ford Series courtesy of Ford Racing as well as a day’s testing with the Super Cheap Auto Racing V8 Supercar team of Steve Ellery.
All competitors run the same Drew Price Engineering (DPE) Arrow chassis and the Rotax Max FR125 (cc) engines.
A control Bridgestone YGK tyre is used specifically for this Formula, and is the same tyre that was used at the World Max Challenge final and during the Ford series in 2000 and 2001.
The fourth round of this year’s Ford KartStars Series will be held at Adelaide’s Bolivar Raceway on August 10 11.