Despite being competitive in past seasons, the 2017-18 season was the most consistent yet for Angelo Karoussis, who racked up a host of pleasing results in what is his eighth Formula 500 season.
While the Whyalla, South Australia-based driver didn’t quite achieve the result he was hoping in the coveted Speedweek Series over the Christmas-New Year period, with his best result being a second-place finish in the final round at Portland’s Southern 500 Speedway, placing him sixth overall in the final point standings, it was this result that became the foundation for the rest of his season, prompting him to regroup and make several changes – both mechanically to the car and to his own driving style.
Proving that some minor changes and a new approach were exactly what he needed, Karoussis picked up a feature-race victory at Murray Bridge Speedway when he returned to action in early February, going on to take out the overall South Australian Club Championship point score after winning three individual rounds.
Racking up numerous minor podium results in blue-ribbon events, including placing second in the King of the Bridge, Karoussis struggled to clinch the top spot in his contested title events this season, placing runner-up in the South Australian Title at Bordertown’s Tolmer Speedway and the Victorian Title at Southern 500 Speedway.
Travelling to Murray Bridge Speedway for the two-night Easter Nationals, Karoussis backed up a second-place finish on the opening night of competition with a notable outcome in night two when he managed to achieve what most drivers haven’t been able to, beating Williams, who is the current and three-time Australian Champion, to the chequered flag to take the feature-race victory aboard his Suzuki powered SA # 27 MJM Abrasive Blasting supported CS9 Chassis.
“To go up against a driver the calibre of Liam (Williams) and actually come out on top is a huge achievement, so I was quite proud to have been able to prove my competitiveness this season,” commented Karoussis, whose previous career highlights include placing runner-up in the 2016 Speedweek Series, as well as strong qualifying performances in two Australian Titles (2011 and 2013).
Having travelled to America over the past four seasons where he crewed for 2016 Knoxville Nationals winner Jason Johnson, the 26-year-old racer has gained a wealth of knowledge from his more experienced counterparts which he has been able to apply to his racing in Australia, along with making numerous friendships and connections, such as Missouri-based driver Miles Paulus and his family.
Reaching an agreement with Paulus to race his Micro 600 car for a handful of shows in 2017, Karoussis wrote his name into the history books during his outing at Double X Speedway in California, Missouri, becoming the first ever Australian driver to claim the feature-race win at the track and joining Matt Brown and Brock Hallett as one of only three Australians to achieve Micro 600 A main wins in America.
“The experience I’ve had both crewing and driving in America has helped me tenfold,” added the ex-Junior Sedans racer, who spent just a season and a half with the junior class before making the move into Formula 500s.
“Being able to ask questions and get advice from drivers such as Jason (Johnson) who race full time is absolutely invaluable and it’s really given me an insight into how I can change my approach to driving in Australia, which has helped me to become more consistently competitive at a national level.”
With the regular season now finished, Karoussis will take a break before returning to the track up north, where he and the team will trek to Darwin’s Northline Speedway in the Northern Territory to contest the Australian Title that is to be held on the Friday and Saturday night of July 27 and 28.
Karoussis would like to thank the following 2017-18 season sponsors: MJM Abrasive Blasting, Aiden Transport, and Schure Built Suspensions (USA). Special thanks go to his mum (Colleen) and dad (Johnny), and his crew members: Alan Marks and Adam Tapley.Photos are credited to Savage Shots Photography.Photos are credited to Savage Shots Photography.