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Good action at season opener

Friday, February 07, 2014    

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THE first meet in the Jamaica Karting Association's (JKA) 2014 season, held at Palisadoes International Raceway last Sunday, was a good show for both competitors and spectators alike.

Leading things off was a wonderful set of career highlights for young Mattea Issa, the sport's only currently active female karter. She began her year with a pole position and then followed up with a pair of Comer50 race final victories.

"It felt great," she said after collecting her trophy alongside brother Thomas and beaming mother Kimberly Issa.

In the first final, she executed the pass of the day on Zachary Sirgany. Falling to third after a slow start, she worked her way back to second position and then spent several laps trying to get around Sirgany. After two attempts to pass on the outside down the front straight, he instinctively went to cover on the third try. To his surprise, she wasn't there as Issa took the inside line into the first corner, drawing Ryan Lue into second place with her. The second of the class finals would finish in similar fashion.

Ryan Chisholm continued where he had left off in 2013, winning both his Comer80 finals in an intense battle with Zander Williams. The longer format made little difference as Chisholm took final number one, but in the second pre-final found himself facing the stewards after a passing move on Williams went wrong.

"I saw the gap and went for it," explained Chisholm.

Penalised for the contact, he was pushed to second on the starting grid. The change made little difference in the results as Chisholm easily took the Comer80 final number two victory.

Justin Sirgany continued his domination of Rotax Minimax beating Senna Summerbell and Justin Stanley. In Rotax Junior, the Sirgany name also flew high as Joshua won both his finals ahead of MarcAnthony Eaton. Competition was thin on the ground for 2013 Abe Zaidie Champion Thomas Issa, as he ran away with all his Rotax Senior races in the light of minor challenge from Spencer Whittingham and Aaron March. Issa revealed that he was focused on retaining his title despite it being an exam year for him.

"I should be here for most of the year, since with CXCs, I'll be travelling less, but I am planning on defending my Abe Zaidie Trophy," said Issa.

The extras on the day added more fun to the event for all. During the lunch break, for a small fee, Rae Racing made their rental karts available. This facilitated several fun races for the crowd to watch and even participate in. After the main programme was over, an exciting exhibition race was put together featuring David Summerbell Jr, Christopher Issa, Peter Rae, Guy Eaton, and Thomas Issa thrown in for good measure. As expected, with that level of talent on the track the racing got serious very quickly and went down to the wire. Issa, Summerbell and Rae all took the chequered flag.

Heather Eaton, JKA president, said both these additions were incentives to increase the value for spectators and would continue in the future.

"We're not sure what type of challenge race we'll be having next meet. But there will be more," she said.

— Rory Daley

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