Cooper Stapleton had his first run in the KA4 Junior Heavy class over the weekend at the Victorian Kart Championship. Cooper has come off a tough weekend at the second round of SP Tools Australian Kart Championship, jumping aboard a new kart and trying to find his feet. Stapleton has had success at the Eastern Lions Kart Club this season coming away with a podium at one of their large club championship meetings. After showing excellent pace in Friday practice, Stapleton looked to Saturday morning qualifying to start his weekend off.
With a field of twenty five plus karters to hit the track, Cooper was ready to hit the track and make his mark. The A1 Engines Motorsport powered entry jumped straight up in the top five on the times and was right in the battle for pole position. Stapleton put himself up on the front row in second position in the middle to late part of the session, before being run off the circuit and out of the session. Cooper had luckily done enough to maintain his front row start in second spot.
Heat one was the first race of the weekend and Stapleton was looking for victory after the incident in qualifying. The Brighton Alpine backed entry was able to jump into the lead off the start but had local driver Grace Riddell for company. Cooper was able to put in fast and consistent laps and was able to open up the margin over the race. Stapleton took out victory in the first heat of the weekend by over two seconds!
Stapleton was looking to back up his opening heat win in heat two on Saturday afternoon. The R & D Signage Solutions backed entry slotted into third spot off the start behind Zach Findlay and Riddell. Cooper made his way into second by lap two and was able to take the lead on lap five and put the head down. Stapleton was able to hold his nerves and pull away from the rest of the field in the back end of the race. Cooper was able to take out both wins on Saturday, putting him off pole position for heat three on Sunday morning.
The nerves were up on Sunday morning as Cooper was off pole position and wanting to continue his strong weekend. The Pro Floor backed entry led out of the opening lap but had pressure from Riddell and Denzil Sargent in the early laps. Stapleton was once again able to put his head down and he had a package that was working extremely well in the back end of the race. Cooper crossed the line over three seconds up the road and was looking for his maiden state championship in the final.
The nerves were sky high for young Stapleton who was looking to climb a mountain he never had before in winning a blue plate state championship. The Harrison Steele Salon backed entry got away cleanly and was in the zone in the opening few laps opening up a strong margin. Cooper drove his heart out and was never in danger, opening up margin and riding off into the sunset to take out his maiden state championship win!
Cooper’s father Troy spoke post weekend of his son’s maiden state championship. “It was an emotional moment to see Cooper achieve something he has strived for since he first drove a kart at the age of 4. The pressure and expectation was high heading into the final but he focused and delivered despite some pre-race butterflies. To see him spray the champagne as a state champion was amazing and a big thanks to Brett Arnett from A1 Engines Motorsport”. Cooper and Troy would like to thank their sponsors A1 Engines Motorsport , Brighton Alpine, R&D Signage Solutions, ProFloor, Harrison Steele Salon and Connect Sport Australia.