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Opening round of the BMKR championship excites
Damien continues to fly
Damien Barruss- Hagett continued his recent run of taking the Bambino class wins, by topping all three of the timed runs during the day, his ability to carry his speed through the tight and twisty Bayford Meadows turns, reaping its reward. Reg Heywood was hot on his heels, gluing the front of his crash helmet to his steering wheel whenever he could, to help find that extra tiny bit of speed. Mikey Walker secured third in the points, just two points clear of Sonny Mortensen who had a less competitive second run. Completing the nine runners on merged points were, Timo Jungling, Antony Parfett, Harry Still, Charlie Warren and Kristian Stefanov.
Reece Lomax wins thrilling Clubman final
With both Joseph Knight and Reece Lomax taking a Pre Final win each, we knew we were in for a thrilling Clubman final. Lomax led the 16 kart field away in his RHP kart, while behind him DNL teammates Knight and Chris Doble tussled over 2nd and 3rd positions, that was until Knight managed to turn in some good mid race laps which brought him onto the tail of his adversary in front. By lap 10 of 12 he had forged his way past but then on the last lap went a little too defensive, allowing Lomax, Leon Frost ( who had climbed up from 6th) and Doble, to crawl all over the back of him. Lomax chose a deeper line out of one of the infield hairpins and this gave him the drive around the outside of Knight onto the infield straight, to take the lead which he held until the chequered flag. Knight was just 0.3 seconds behind with Frosty in 3rd, Doble took a well-deserved 4th, from Max Solarski in 5th and Luke Heyward in 6th. Leon Frost took the fastest lap during his climb up through the field.
Gale heads quartet in Junior X30
The least supported grid of the day was for the Junior X30 class. After a brief spell at the front for Brodie Rivers, Daniel Gale powered through to take a lead that he wouldn’t relinquish, finishing 5 seconds in front of Finley Cross, who demoted Rivers to third but could not make an impact on the leader. Behind these three was Kristian Brookes in 4th. Gale secured the fastest lap on lap 10 of 14.
Jack Wall holds off a charging Steve Crow for Senior max win
An all GMS front row was a mouth-watering lineup for the Senior Max class, Troy Beswick and Jack Wall had had a Pre Final win a piece but it all went wrong for Beswick when his Rotax failed to fire up as the flag was raised. This let Wall blast away, with Mike Ashby swerving around the stationary Beswick in his newly livered ‘Happy Headlights’ kart. Ashby couldn’t hold on for long though before the LICA kart of Stephen Bouffe took 2nd place. By lap 6 Steve Crow had found his brand new Evo kit powered kart had come alive and after passing Ashby, managed to make the move stick on Bouffe too. He then set off after Wall, setting the fastest lap along the way although falling 0.28 seconds short of finding a way past the GMS kart.
It was a good start to the championship for Wall this early in the season, taking points over his unfortunate teammate Beswick , who did eventually coax his kart into life. The experienced ‘Dad and lad’ team of Keith and Steve Crow will be buoyed by the speed they showed by taking 2nd place. Bouffe drove well to finish in 3rd, Ashby very happy in 4th, still remaining in touch with those in front. The father and son battle over 177 honours went the way of the former this month, with Karl Mepham beating Buster to 5th place overall. Paul ‘the cat’ Williams finished in 7th behind the Mephams. Hard luck story of the class (apart from Paul’s cat which was sent home on arrival) was Josh Young, he had his throttle stick open in the second Pre Final, leaving him embedded in the tyre barrier and then his brakes fail in the Grand Final also sending him into the rubber barriers ! At least his efforts were later recognised by the infamous Kart Bandit!
Zach Rips through the field to win in Cadets
After qualifying 8th in the morning and finishing 7th in the 1st Pre final, nobody would have put their money on Zach Ripley winning the 2nd Pre final, let alone the final by a huge 6.2 seconds, except perhaps for his Dad Luke, who’s enthusiasm rubs off on his son’s young shoulders. It was a fantastic performance by the Chatham lad, who looked a little overwhelmed with it all in post-race parc ferme. Watching the evolution kart disappearing up the road in front of them was Aston Millar, the morning pole man who nipped past Ronnie Mansfield early on, before settling into a comfortable runner up slot. Mansfield slipped to 4th until a late race surge saw him pass the impressive James Higgins on the last lap to snatch the final podium spot. Higgins was still happy with 4th a little way clear of an entertaining battle featuring Zach Walters 5th, Louis Horsley 6th, Matthew Hyde 7th and Joshua Hoy in 8th. It came as no surprise to hear that victor Ripley took the fastest lap, such was his dominance.
Declan Lee wins but fails to take the points in Junior Max
The Junior Max class final was a tense affair with a twist at the end. Declan Lee, Thomas Rotherham and Sean Berry each had a chance of winning the final, as they led away in that order, Berry soon succumbed to kart problems, pulling over just after the exit of the first hairpin. This left the LICA kart of Rotherham chasing down the Project One kart of Lee over the 14 lap duration, trying everything he knew to make a pass, but ultimately failing as Lee crossed the line in a delighted first place , annexing his first win in the class. Behind Rotherham, Benjamin Boros had been lying third but slipped to 5th at the end, with Ryan Chapman and Tom Lawson battling race long to 3rd and 4th. In the two kart Mini Max class, Callum Gunning overcame the extra Evo kit power of novice William Egby, to take the win on his debut in the class. Post race in parc ferme the on the track result changed, as Lee had a clerical issue with his scrutineering card, resulting in his disqualification, however Thomas Rotherham and his father insisted that Lee should celebrate his hard earned win, a fine gesture of sportsmanship that should be commended. Ryan Chapman’s kart was found to be underweight, so he lost his 3rd place on the road as he was also disqualified, Benjamin Boros also found himself disqualified post race for a chain guard infringement. So the final classified result gave the maximum points to Rotherham, with Lawson 2nd, Gunning 3rd, Egby 4th and Berry in 5th.
Good championship head start for Riley Stephenson in Junior Subaru
24 karts lined up for the Junior Subaru final, the grid having been decided over three Pre Finals, with each driver receiving two outings. The first of these gave a hint of what to expect in the final, when Riley Stephenson overcome a great start by James Black to take the win with Zac Spence in third. The second Pre Final grouped Stephenson once again and he took a comfortable win over Lewie Weaver and Joe Hunt. In the third Pre final Black took the win from Spence and Hunt. Could Black or Spence challenge Lydd Kart backed Stephenson’s kart in the Grand Final, we was about to find out ?
As the Union flag dropped for the start of the 13 lap final, Stephenson got away well with Black and Spence shadowing him. Spence managed to pass Black and looked threatening, however as the final unravelled it was clear to see that he couldn’t live with Riley’s consistently fast pace. Black moved back ahead of the Ambition kart of Spence on lap 5 and the two briefly swapped places again later in the race, James in his JB Motorsport kart, taking the fastest lap while trying to catch the impervious Stephenson. Riley’s margin of victory was 1.24 seconds at the finish over James, Zac was close behind in 3rd, with Joe Hunt holding down a good 4th throughout the race, clear of the 5th place battle behind. James’s Popple and Thomsett took 5th and 6th, with Lewie Weaver, Ben Hoare, Red Beswick and Mikey Gleeson completing the top 10. the new for 2017 Subaru plus class was won by Lewis Duncan.
Report and images courtesy of Paul Babington