Erebus Academy’s inaugural Junior Esports Competition has been run and won, with teen iRacers Luke Pink, Blake Purdie and Jobe Stewart the big winners from an 80 strong field across two age groups.
Four races were on the schedule with two apiece in the 13-15 year old and 16-18 year old categories, with drivers racing Legends Cars at Summit Point in America, and an older-spec Supercar at Okayama in Japan.
Australian Karting Champion Luke Pink, nicknamed ‘’Cool Hands Luke’’ for his ability to stay calm under pressure, was fastest in the time trials and carried it through to qualifying and the races, taking out both race wins.
Luke led from start to finish in both races, building a comprehensive 4.5-second victory from second placed Tex Starr-McKoy from Victoria and New South Welshman Will Newall in Race 1.
He followed that up easily transitioning from the twitchy, light Legends Cars to the heavy raw power of the Supercars in the second race, taking the win from Sydney’s Dylan Debono with Victorian Corey Shepherd finishing in third place.
“It’s a bit difficult on the first lap when everyone is right on you pressuring you but once I got a little bit of a lead I just put my head down and I just went for it and tried not to make any mistakes,” Pink said.
“I just want to thank Erebus Motorsport for this awesome series and Pedders and Norwell Motorplex for their prizes.”
Luke took home not only bragging rights, but gift vouchers from Pedders Suspension and a day’s training with Sera Driver Development.
In the 16-18 years age group, Excel racer Cooper Webster was the fastest in time trials, winning the days training at Norwell Motorplex. Though it was Blake Purdie with real life experience in an Aussie Racing car, who took out Race 1 ahead of Erebus Academy driver Jobe Stewart and Jackson Souslin-Harlow.
“I’ve really enjoyed the racing, the win was really cool and I was hoping to do the same in the second race, but second was still a good result,” Purdie said.
“The simulator is great because you can still be smart and push and decide when you need to overtake so it’s a good way to practice your race craft for a real race.”
Stewart took advantage of a poor start from pole-sitter Souslin-Harlow in the final race to eventually finish ahead of South Australian’s Blake Purdie and Jack Boyd.
“It all opened up for me at the start of the race and I was able to move up and get myself in a really good position,” Stewart said.
“I had to really concentrate to keep it up because Summit Point is a challenge so it’s great to walk away with the win and some awesome prizes; the sim session with an Erebus driver is going to be really cool and I can learn a lot from that.”
Race Director, Penrite Racing’s Anton De Pasquale praised the competitors.
“I was so impressed with all the drivers in both age groups and how they handled themselves. They all did such a great job. They all showed such a good level of respect for each other while at the same time, displaying really good racing,” he said.
“It was so good to see kids who are regular and really good sim racers take part in our Erebus Academy Series. They all got out of each other’s way and avoided a lot of crashing, which is really good to see, and actually probably something us older guys who are i-racing should take note from.”
Victorian Tex Starr-McKoy was presented with the Pedders Hard Charger award for his improvements in the younger group; qualifying and finishing 2nd at Okayama after only qualifying 22nd in time trials.
Sam Christison took honours in the older category with an outstanding drive from 32nd to 12th in the final race.