Wright and Norman compete at Speedweek
BY JEM ANSHAW
Two local teenagers have made their annual school holiday trip for the Victorian Formula 500 Speed Week.
For the junior class the series is made up of four events where the field of 21 entrants vied for points in the overall series.
Kobi Wright of Muswellbrook and Cooper Norman of Murrurundi finished third and eighth respectively, and their results for the week of racing are as follows (in some cases they ran in different heats).
The 2022/23 Victorian Speedweek has been a bittersweet run for Kobi Wright.
While he is pleased with his results, it is hard not to imagine what could have been.
“We got the podium every night, we got the two wins, which was probably the highlights of the week, we were pretty consistent other than that one DNF,” he said.
“In the heat races were in the top five for most of them so it set us up for the nights and that’s why we ended up on the podium for the features because we were able to race past cars a little bit better than everybody else.”
That one DFN, on night one at Simpson Speedway, was due to a battery terminal issue just corners away from winning the second heat.
If he had of maintained the position he held before the issue it would have seen him take out the series by four points, but instead he finished third for the week of racing.
“Starting seventeenth was pretty fun when I was working my way through the field, it kinda gets to your mind where you know you’ve got a good car and you can run it in a lot harder than everyone else,” Kobi said of the feature that night.
“We come from the back, it was fun, just passing everyone and it really improves your race craft, whereas if you just start the front all the time you know you can drive away in clean air but you don’t really have that race craft.”
“It made the driver make a decision on the spot, it just made it more technical and with such high numbers you had to be on your game every race to be able to go out the front.”
Kobi had two heat wins and placed second in the feature race at Tamworth on the weekend back in the NSW Formular 500 series, and will next week head up to Queensland for the Summer Series.
Cooper Norman was feeling positive about the possibilities at Victorian Speedweek 2022/23.
The draw for night one put the Murrurundi teen right down the grid which was not what they were hoping for.
“We pulled the draw and we pulled 19 out of 22, that was a rough start to the night,” he told The Hunter River Times.
“We went out in heat one, I think we were starting second last because there was eight in a heat, and then we had problems with the motor because we plugged the cam sensor into the wrong port.”
The problems kept coming for night one, before the second heat there were some oil and fuel leaks that had to be tightened, but still the car died on the start line so Cooper pulled infield.
He started off the back for the feature and moved his way through the 20-car field to finish 10th, which he admits is not what they had hoped for but not bad considering how things started.
Night two at Laang it was the track that provided a bit of a challenge for the drivers.
“We started second (in the feature) and there was a couple of stoppages, the track was very rutty and it was kind of fun because when we entered the corner we were hoppin’ over the ruts, it was more of a challenge to drive,” he shared, adding he finished third in the main event that night.
Nights three and four were more mixed results, with some more mechanical issues and racing incidents making it difficult to stay up the front the whole time.
When all four nights were run and done Cooper finished eighth for the Speedweek Series, one of the biggest achievements was pulling off back-to-back nights at Avalon where he rolled during the same competition last year.
“For the first heat it was a little bit scary, but after that it was fine,” Cooper said.
Proving that with a bit more time to focus on what they are doing to get the car set up, on the weekend Cooper won the feature at Tamworth before attention turns to heading to Queensland for the Summer Series.