Sunday 22nd April dawned bright and sunny for round 3 of the BMKR championships, following on from a period of lovely spring weather, ideal for the latest round of the popular series. With the club recently announcing a new Spring Cup, which is based over race times recorded over the first three rounds of the series, incentives for drivers were high, as this was the deciding round.
Bambinos – O’Sullivan victorious
The growing number of entries in the Bambino class was great to see at the friendly Sittingbourne circuit, with 15 youngsters continuing their first steps into the competitive karting scene. The three timed runs provided us with some closely matched times at front. Oscar O’Sullivan took the first, just 0.077 seconds in front of Fletcher Jamieson, Charlie Warren was close behind in third. O’Sullivan then took the second run this time 0.206 in front of Jamieson, Jayden Sherwood sped around some engine problems to take third. Freddie Duncan starred in the third run to take the fastest time, ahead of Jamieson and Warren. The merged points results after the three runs, showed that O’Sullivan came out on top, with Jamieson second and Duncan taking third; Warren and Sherwood were 4th and 5th. Alfie Howland and Jack Pullen were next up, separated by just two points in 6th and 7th. Harry Freeman, Jesse Phillips and Rio King rounded out the top 10. O’Sullivan won the inaugural Spring Cup from Jamieson and Sherwood.
Junior Club Max – Stephenson dominates
9 karts rolled out for the Junior Club Max class this month, this was down to eight for the second Pre Final as Lewis Boret failed to make the grid. The two Pre Finals had been won comfortably by the Clarke kart of Riley Stephenson, his teammate Joshua Pullen was 2nd in the first but pipped by the Project One kart of Zac Spence in the second. Stephenson blasted away from the rolling start to take the lead in the Grand Final, Spence faltered and ended up going wide at turn 1, leaving him back in 7th at the end of the first lap. Pullen was in a comfortable second early on; behind him he had the LICA run kart of Ross Hastings, who was showing a good turn of speed this month, nailing a beautiful getaway. The immaculately turned out Bristol Street Motors backed kart of James Black, was snapping at his rear bumper and increased the pressure with each lap. Back at the front Stephenson was in a class of his own, stretching out his lead over his teammate Pullen, who had gapped the fierce Hastings/Black battle. Spence had found his way back up past Oliver Bullion and Jack Richards to run 5th and was closing in on the duo ahead. Black finally pulled off a move down the inside of the blue LICA kart on lap 9 and set off after Pullen in 2nd, falling just short of time to mount a challenge. Spence did manage to pass Hastings for 4th but the crafty Ross wasn’t giving the place up easily and snatched it back to take a confidence boosting 4th. Stephenson eventually won by just over 7 seconds, a crushing victory over his rivals. Pullen took a good 2nd from Black, both happy with their races. Behind Hastings and Spence were Richards and Bullion in 6th and 7th. Harvey Colyerwallis struggled throughout the day with engine problems and retired early from the final. Stephenson took the fastest lap and the Spring cup, from Spence and teammate Pullen.
Honda Clubman Elite – Frosty on top form
The Clubman Elite class witnessed another Clarke karts driver at the top of his game, following on from the Riley Stephenson victory in Junior Club Max. Leon ‘Frosty’ Frost took victories in both of the Pre Finals and started as the favourite for the 13 lap Grand Final. Jack Badger showed a great turn of speed in the first Pre Final by shadowing Frost to the finish, things didn’t go so well for him in the 2nd Pre Final though, as he found himself spinning into the tyre barrier on the exit of turn one on lap 4, Jamie Perilly was following Jack closely at the time and was given a 10 second penalty post-race for contact, which left him starting from the back of the Grand Final. From the start of the final Frost got the hammer down and opened up an all-important gap by the end of the first lap. Josh Rudd had his Ambition run kart in 2nd with the Evolution kart of Nathan Marques close behind. Damien Baruss-Haggett initially ran 4th but slipped back into a competitive pack early on, Vinnie Lloyd, Jack Badger and eventually the recovering Perilly took over the position, a fine and impressive drive by Jamie. At the head of the field Frosty was stroking it along; any pre-race nerves completely vanished as he crossed the line 2.67 seconds ahead after enjoying a fine win. Marques overturned Rudd’s 2nd position to take the runner up spot; Rudd was still glued to the former’s bumper as they finished the race. Perilly’s fine charge ended at 4th, Badger took something away from an eventful day with 5th and fastest lap, Lloyd took 6th, Chris Doble 7th, Baruss-Haggett 8th, 9th and 10th were Ian Marginean and Jack Theobald. The top three in the Spring cup after three events were Frost, Perilly and Marques.
Junior Subaru UK – Clark takes dramatic final
The Junior Subaru UK championship this year is proving to be very competitive, with the closely matched karts putting on some thrilling races., the two Pre Finals provided us with two of the best kart races that you will witness anywhere in the UK ! SAIT driver James Tomsett annexed the pole after qualifying, ahead of Lewie Weaver, Leon Clark, Charlie Hand, Kieran Janali and Harvey Roffe, 2018 star performer Katherine White was next up in 7th of the 26 karts entered.
The first Pre Final saw many place changes, with the head wind down the main straight providing a good tow for following karts – turn 1 witnessed many exiting lunges ! Tomsett and Clark fought hard for most of the race until Clark was sucked into a scrap involving Weaver and amazingly White from 7th on the grid, a great drive up from the Clarke karts driver. Going into the last turn – 3 into 1 was never going to work, somehow through the chaos White emerged in front, with Clark and a despondent Weaver behind her, Tomsett meanwhile was cruising over the finishing line ahead. Pre Final 2 featured the same protagonists battling for the all-important Grand Final pole position spot. Tomsett initially led away until the Clark Motorsport kart of Leon Clark and Katherine White usurped him, they then entertained swapping the lead position repeatedly, at the end of 9 breath taking laps it was Leon Clark who led them over the line, in a kart set up by his absent father, who was out of the country on business, it was his mother and the experienced DG racing squad that ensured Leon was switched on for the day. Tomsett confirmed his credentials for the Grand Final by taking 2nd from White at the end. Red Beswick and Charlie Hand were close by, ready to push for honours in the final, although Hand had picked up a nose drop penalty dropping him back to 16th.
The 14 lap final began with Clark leading the 26 colourful karts away, snaking their way around the home of Junior Subaru racing. As they began to settle down, White’s Clarke kart continued to battle with Leon’s Clark Motorsport version, Tomsett had slotted in behind for now. An early off by Kipp Chorley, who hit the tyres hard after being caught up in somebody else’s crash on the run down the turn 2 hairpin, threatened to bring out the red flag, but double waved yellows covered the incident, as Chorley extracted himself from his kart. Just as the dust settled from this incident though a more serious incident happened just past the same point, when White and Tomsett tangled, the consequences of which were that the unlucky number 13 kart of Tomsett was launched into a scary roll, leaving his kart inverted and the driver nursing a very sore broken finger. This time the red flags were flown and the drivers brought to a stop out on the circuit
The race resumed after the Senior Club Max final in single file and this time Leon Clark looked comfortable out in the lead, Katherine White soon came under fire from the GMS kart of Red Beswick, giving Clark a breather out in front.. White eventually pulled back to 2nd but Clark was gone finishing 1.6 seconds clear in front of her. Beswick crossed the line almost side by side with Katherine, a fine result for Red. 4th went to Lewie Weaver who found some good pace in the final to move up the order, dropping Harvey Roffe down to 6th, in 5th was Charlie Hand, a fabulous effort up from 16th. Behind teammate Roffe in 7th was Catlin May, who finished as the top silver rated driver, a fine effort for her. 8th went to the 2nd silver rated driver Oliver Martynski, with Joseph Knight 9th and 3rd in the silver driver honours. 10th place went to Poppi Stephenson. Beswick recorded the fastest lap and finished 2nd to Clark in the Spring Cup, with White taking 3rd.
Senior Club Max – Hunt out in front
In-between the two part Junior Subaru UK final was the Senior Club Max event. Joe Hunt rocked up to the Swale circuit in great form, as he won each of the Pre Finals with relative ease from Stephen Bouffé (1st Pre Final) and Troy Beswick (2nd Pre Final). Hunt again made a perfect rolling start in the final and pulled comfortably away in his Project One run kart, eventually taking 5.3 second win over the GMS kart of Beswick. Bouffé was a delighted 3rd having briefly held 2nd early in the race and managing to keep within striking distance of Beswick in his LICA run kart.. Both Lewis Deacon and Drew Holmes were delayed on the first lap of the final, they then fought back up through the field, enjoying some great racing between themselves as they did so. Mike Ashby drove to a comfortable 4th and as top classic driver picked up a trophy too. James Popple took 5th just over 2 seconds behind the Happy Headlights driver Ashby. 6th and first in the 177 class went to Karl Mepham, carrying on his good form from Lydd a couple of weeks ago. The battling Holmes and Deacon recovered to 7th and 8th, 177 driver Mark Figes was 9th and Tom Richards 10th. Fastest lap went the way of victor Hunt, he also wrapped up the Spring Cup from Bouffé and Ashby.
Honda Clubman Standard – White wins
A bumper entry of 27 karts required the drivers to be split into three groups A, B and C for their two Pre Finals. The winners in the three finals were Jessica White, who took two wins with the other going to super-fast novice Rylan Echberg. A ‘B’ final was required due the entry numbers with for four drivers progressing through to the 20 kart final, the four that made the cut were Ethan Bentley, Rohan Nainei, Owen Neave and Joshua Graham. As the starter marshal dropped the Union flag Jessica White took off into the lead in her Clarke kart, behind Rylee Brown was debuting his DNL sticker kit and was keen to get ahead of the DG kart of Ryan Echberg and chase after the speedy White, it all went wrong for Brown however as he was sent spinning on the twisty infield section and also suffered a dropped nose cone, leaving him devastated. Young Jess was away and gapped the impressive novice Echberg, romping to a 4 second win after 12 laps. The battle for third wen the way of Harry Chamberlin, after a good race with Ralph Jungling who finished 4th . Matthew Copsey was next up in 5th ahead of the recovering Brown, prior to his enforced nose drop penalty. 6th place fell to a battling Henry Ng- Zeederberg, Zain Khan finished 7th, in 8th was Reg Heywood, 9th Will Hickman and 10th B final winner Ethan Bentley. Jessica White took 1st in the Spring Cup, Harry Chamberlin 2nd and Rylee Brown 3rd; fastest lap went to the charging Brown, some reward for the disappointed driver.
Racing returns to Bayford Meadows on May 27th for round 4, this also incorporates the next round of the Kent Championships.
Report and images courtesy of Paul Babington