Kartmasters is always a special meeting in the British karting calendar. It’s the only event you’ll go to for more than just the karting. Trent Valley Kart Club always do their best to make the event memorable with added entertainment and the added live TV coverage by Telemundi Media. The event was watched by 10,000 people on Sunday with 7,000 people tuning in on Saturday!
The weather certainly played it’s part, with glorious conditions all weekend perfect for racing. Almost everyone who isn’t racing makes the journey to PF International to watch the racing and see friends from the karting community. Off track it was certainly a great advert for our sport in this country, but what about on it?
There were reportedly bad driving standards on Friday on social media, but from what I personally saw on Sunday it was very clean bar one or two last lap incidents involving leaders. That was confirmed with a chat with Race Director Nigel Edwards at the end of the day who seemed very pleased. A front fairing penalty unfortunately saw a Junior lose his GP plate, but that’s something that will happen in this new era of Karting.
I really enjoyed the whole day. Commentator, Henry Beaudette helped make the event more exciting and dramatic as he always does, the grandstand was packed with spectators all round the circuit showing their appreciation to podium finishers and most of all the racing was great!
IAME Cadet yet again continued it’s trend to produce a dramatic finish and perhaps kick start a young drivers winning streak.
Harry Thompson led for the first few laps of the race before being passed by Bray Kenneally on lap four. He was briefly joined by his AIM Motorsport team mate Alex Simmonds at the front before Simmonds was replaced by Maxwell Dodds. The young Fusion driver got his tactics spot on and played the long game with Kenneally pushing him away in the attempt to make it a two horse race.
On lap twelve Dodds hit the front at the second hairpin with an immediate roar coming from the Fusion camp. However, his lead was short lived with Kenneally coming straight back at him on the next lap with brother Fin, newly crowned CIK-FIA European OKJ Champion, watching on. All of this had allowed Harry Thompson to make it a lead trio with the last lap board now out.
As Kenneally valiantly defended 1.8 seconds behind were Joseph Taylor and Zak O’Sullivan who had caught the leaders by Bobby Game corner. As Thompson went for glory into the Mike Wilson comples, the top four found themselves going wide allowing for O’Sullivan to help himself to the lead. No one could tell who had won in the grandstand with a sea of Fusion drivers sweeping up Kenneally. It wasn’t until a few meters before the line that Henry called it to the surprise and joy of the O’Sullivan crew with Zak clearly overwhelmed. Yet another dramatic IAME Cadet race and a change of luck for Zak O’Sullivan who truly deserves the GP plate after his performances on the national scene this year!
Special mention – A mention must go to young Coskun Irfan who gained nine places to finish 7th. The young Arden driver is starting to gradually put himself amongst the favorites for a run at next years Super One and LGM championships! One to watch…
Unlike IAME Cadet, the Honda class was very much a two horse race. It was Harry Thompson vs. Oliver Bearman with the pair evenly sharing the lead as we hit the last couple of laps.
With two laps to go it’s programmed in every Honda Cadet drivers head that it’s time to attack or in Thompson’s case, defend! Bearman very briefly took the lead, but would lose it almost immediately to Thompson. As the last lap board came out Thompson was looking over his shoulder at pretty much every opportunity and I think the race was won over the bridge section. Bearman went for the lead under the bridge, but as Thompson came back at him on the switch back he seemed to bog down and lose time.
The job wasn’t done yet, but on this occasion Thompson defended flawlessly and took the win with Bearman 0.09 seconds back at the flag.
Behind there was some brilliant drives, the first one coming from Oliver Marsh. The Project One racing driver gained nine places to round out the podium with Privateer, Sam Heading gaining six to finish 4th. In his first ever national event, Theo Micouris drove through to 5th from 15th on the grid with Archie Brown rounding out the top six.
Special Mention – He was my one to watch going into the weekend and Arvid Lindblad certainly lived up to my expectations having a great debut in the class. The eight year old qualified on the outside of row two for the final and had the pace for a podium, but perhaps ran out of the steam in the final eventually finishing 8th place. Great drive!
In an interview after Thursday practice, Jenson Butterfield told Karting magazine he was very confident in taking the GP plate and why shouldn’t he be! He’s already won the ‘O’ plate and leads the Super One championship.
Up until the final things had gone to plan for Butterfield, he qualified pole for the Pre Final which he went on to win by just under half a second from Jonny Edgar. The main final was a much closer affair though, Butterfield led for twelve laps only to then be passed by his new team mate Dexter Patterson.
Patterson’s lead was short lived as Finlay Bunce went for glory, but Patterson was able to get the lead back a lap later and hold off Buterfield all the way to the flag. After a tough first season out of Cadet’s this was just what Patterson needed although I imagine Butterfield would have been pretty disappointed to lose out at the last hurdle. Bunce rounded off the podium with Tom Canning driving a fantastic race to come from 25th and dead last to 4th place!
Special Mention – A mention must go to the Coles Racing driver Clayton Ravenscroft. From 22nd on the grid, Ravenscroft calved his way through the field to finish 4th on track only to be given a front fairing penalty post race. That unfortunately dropped him to 19th, but it was nevertheless a fantastic performance.
One of the most dramatic finishes came in the shape of the Junior Max final. From the outside of row one Joe Turney wasted no time in hitting the front, he had driven fantastic all weekend and looked a favourite for the final.
He had company in the shape of Myles Apps with the DHR driver happy to sit in 2nd and study Turney to work out the best place to pass. After thirteen laps the pair had built up a lead of 2.5 seconds over pole sitter William Pettitt and on lap fourteen Apps passed Turney for the first time at the second hairpin. Game on!
Turney’s response came straight away and the battle had allowed Pettitt to close up just in time for the last lap board. Heading into the first hairpin Turney and Apps queued up on the inside and Pettitt went for a move round the outside of the pair of them. It was a typical Kartmasters do or die move, but it unfortunately saw him crashing into a nervous looking Turney ending his race and handing the lead to Apps who went on to win by 0.3 seconds!
Turney looked dejected in 2nd and things got worse post race after he was harshly given a ten second penalty for a jump start. The fact no penalty was given to either Turney or Pettitt makes it pretty clear to me the race officials deemed it a racing incident although I’m sure both drivers would argue their case. From where I was stood (the bridge) it was too hard to tell who was at fault, it seemed like an ambitious attempt gone wrong. Rounding off the podium was Tyler Chesterton and Mark Kimber.
Special Mention – A mention must go to Cole Kilner. From dead last he gained eleven places to finish 6th to turn his weekend around when it most mattered. He gained seven more places than any other driver in the field.
Junior Max may have provided late drama, but the post race drama came from the Junior X30 final. BKC Racing had three drivers starting in the top three positions on the grid and I imagine had a plan making them hard to catch straight away!
Once the race settled it was BKC team mates Sam McDonnell and Jac Maybin who were working together at the front. Their team mate Callum Bradshaw was 3rd but he had Oliver York crawling all over the back of him. York eventually passed Bradshaw and it wasn’t long before we had a four kart battle for the lead with Matthew Graham and Morgan Porter doing all they could to try and make it a six kart battle!
It was obvious Maybin was unsure whether to pass McDonnell and that eventually dropped him to 3rd on lap fourteen with York originally coming passed before Bradshaw and Maybin repassed him. Bradshaw then took the lead as McDonnell dropped to 4th, but on the last lap Bradshaw over defended on the banking and York swept all the way round the outside to win in dramatic fashion.
He received a huge cheer across the line and couldn’t hide his emotion with the BKC Racing camp struggling to figure out how they lost the GP plate. But as the truck came out carrying the the podium finishers, three BKC Racing drivers emerged with Bradshaw, Maybin and McDonnell in that order. York received a ten second penalty for his front fairing dropping him to 18th.
Special Mention – A mention must go to Elliot Harvey who came from the B Final to finish 6th place. At one stage he looked like finishing on the podium but seemed to lose pace in the second half of the race. Other hard chargers included Ed Hack (15 places), Ross Woodford (11 places), Ben Wooldridge (21 places), Toby Stephenson (11 places) and Alessandro Ceronetti (16 places).
The Senior X30 final was the last race of the day and the grandstand was packed out with pretty much everyone staying to watch a race which promised excitement.
Mark Litchfield led the race for the first few laps, but a driver on a charge was Connor Hall. He worked his way through the lead pack to take the lead on lap seven. Unfortunately, it was short lived as his race quickly turned into a disaster with a lead group of four breaking away. They were Danny Keirle, Brett Ward, Mark Litchfield and Derek Morgan.
As they started the penultimate lap Ward led Keirle, but a mistake at the first hairpin invited pressure from the Jade Karts driver who punished Ward into the chicane. A fierce battle then erupted with Morgan and Litchfield closing in once again, but Keirle was able to hold on and take victory with Litchfield finishing 2nd and Ward 3rd.
A front fairing penalty for Morgan saw Matthew Hirst finish 4th from 22nd on the grid!
Special Mention – A mention must go to Tom Sharpe-Reynolds. He ran at the front all weekend only to have a disastrous Pre Final, but he turned it round in the Final to gain 28 places and finish 6th! Other hard chargers included Matt Davies (12 places), Johnathan Browne (15 places), Jordan Baines (23 places) and Fraser Rose (20 places).
The most boring race of the whole event came from the OK class which was a shame although not a surprise with only thirteen entries.
A lead battle was non existent. Oliver Hodgson commanded the whole race leading from lights to flag to win by 1.14 seconds. That certainly would have been much greater had he not gone into conservation mode for the last five minutes to the point where he was barely accelerating through the chicane.
Trying to chase him down was Tony Kart Factory driver Clement Novalak who was shown how tough British racing really is. In fairness to Novalak he showed up the Strawberry Racing drivers Dean MacDonald and Luke Knott who were close at the flag with MacDonald racing slightly injured.
Ross Martin had everyone feeling sorry for him after he lost his 5th place at the line when his engine went bang. He ended up 8th with Archie Tillett 5th who gets our special mention for a great recovery drive after a mistake put him down in 10th on lap six.
So that’s another year of Kartmasters ticked off and seven new champions who have the honor of wearing the GP plate for the next year. Watch out for all videos to be post on the Karting magazine website shortly!
Written by Chris McCarthy
Images courtesy of Chris Walker, Kartpix