James Lodge continued his busy season of gearbox racing over the weekend at the 2022 ROK Festival at the Oakleigh Go Kart Club. Lodge took on a high-quality field of drivers with 4 national titles and multiple state championships won across the field. James was once again running out of the Parolin stable and was looking forward to a big weekend of racing!
Lodge hit the track for Saturday morning qualifying and was looking to get as far up the grid as possible. James worked his way into the top 10 but had a mechanical issue in the timed session that had him ending up in 9th position and looking to move forward in race 1. Lodge started his racing weekend with a bang, moving into the top 5 across the race and setting the fastest lap on the way through. James was able to show excellent pace once again and move forward to 4th position overall in race 2 before a post-race penalty dropped him down to 6th position. Lodge was starting out of position 5 for the Saturday feature and knew he had the pace to contest for a strong result. James got a great jump off the start moving into position 4 and was stalking the top 3 looking for a podium result. Lodge was able to move his way into the top 3 on lap 12 and was pushing hard to grab a podium result. James crossed the line in a sensational 3rd spot in a great recovery from qualifying earlier in the day!
The heavens opened up on Saturday night – Sunday morning and James was presented with a wet track for qualifying on Sunday morning. Lodge wasn’t quite able to replicate his Saturday afternoon pace but was battling on the edge of the top 10 in the times. James set a time fast enough for 9th position and was looking to race 4 to try and move forward. Lodge didn’t have the race 4 and 5 he was after with 10th position in race 4 and not being able to start race 5 due to a mechanical issue. James was off the rear of the field for the final race and feature on Sunday and was hell bent on trying to make his way forward through the field. Lodge put himself into the top 10 quite quickly and was working hard to try and push after the top 5 drivers. James showed he could mix it with the best gearbox drivers in the country once again coming home in 6th position overall just outside the top 5 drivers.
With a podium on Saturday and 6th position on Sunday, Lodge had done enough to come home equal on points in 4th position overall. James’ father Simon spoke post weekend on his young son’s performance. Saturday started tough and I thought it was going to be one of those days. James fought back brilliantly and to finish 3rd behind the 2 drivers that have won the last 4 national championships in the gearbox class was an awesome result. Sunday didn’t quite go our way but we fought back nicely in the final to just miss the top 5. We look forward to the meeting again in 2023!”