News 4 Oct 2022

Watts claims FIM MiniGP Australia Series title in final race decider

Top two secure place in world final following 2022 success.

Words: Russell Colvin

Image: Russell Colvin.

Evolution Sports Group’s Harrison Watts has won the first ever FIM MiniGP Australia Series title, with the championship going right down to the wire at the Oakleigh Go-Kart Racing circuit in Victoria last weekend.

The 14-year-old Queensland-based rider entered the final two rounds with a 20-point margin over nearest rival, Teerin Fleming, with Levi Russo 38-points behind in third place.

From the word go on Friday it looked as if Watts was never going to be headed as he topped all three practice sessions and claimed pole position for round four on Saturday courtesy a 46.117s, 0.115s ahead of Russo, with South Australian Judd Plaisted completing the front row of the grid notching a 46.308s.

Race one started off as a five-rider battle for the lead, with Plaisted out front for the first four laps from Watts, Russo, Jake Paige and Fleming.

It wasn’t until lap five when Watts took command of the 19-lap race with Russo giving him a serious hurry along. However, on the last lap, Watts got caught by surprise with Russo passing him up the inside into turn four and going on to win by 0.267sec, his first race victory of the 2022 season. Plaisted completed the top three ahead of Fleming and Paige.

Drama struck for Watts in race two. As he was griding up he pulled the front brake lever in and the brake line popped, which meant his race was over before it even began

Once the lights went out, Plaisted led the opening lap before getting passed by Russo who held onto the lead for the following three laps.

By lap five it was Fleming who took control and went on to beat Russo by 4.313s, with Plaisted a further 9.718s down the road in third. Russo took the overall round win for round four, scoring 45-points, seven points clear of Fleming with Plaisted in third place, his second top three overall finish for the year.

Paige and Race Center’s supported rider, Jed Fyffe rounded out the top five, with Watts in sixth place with just 20-points in the bank.

Entering the final round of the championship, Watts held a slender two-point advantage over Fleming, with Russo a further 11-points adrift.

Watts claimed pole position for round five with a 45.969s, his fourth straight pole position of the year. Joining him on the front row of the grid were Russo and Fleming.

The opening race was a two-horse fight to the flag between Watts and Russo with Watts holding onto the victory by .517s, and in the process, posting a new race lap record with a 45.650s. Fleming came home in third, some 15.142sec down the road.

The final race of the year was taken out by Fleming. After getting by Watts on lap nine he was never headed and went on to win the bout by 4.681s, as Russo in finished third behind champion Watts. Second place was more than enough for Watts to lock up the title, scoring a total of 196-points, six points clear of Fleming who was runner-up in the standings.

Watts also took out round five of the series ahead of Fleming and Russo, while the top five in the championship was Watts from Fleming and Russo with Plaisted in fourth from Fyffe in P5.

In the support classes, Matt Watkins took out the Veterans championship. Buzz Kiely won the Ohvale GP-2 championship with 309-points, two points clear of Watkins. The Ohvale GP-0 title belonged to Marcus Hamod, while Craig Arnold took out the Mini Motard/Grom category.

Having finished first and second in the series, Watts and Fleming will head to Valencia, Spain to participate in the FIM World Series Final that takes place during the week of the final round of the 2022 FIM MotoGP World Championship.

Detailed results