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All the reports from the long-circuit 150mph 125, 250 and 450cc Superkarts

British Superkart Association F125 Open Championship Rounds 1 & 2

Oulton Park, 24th March 2018

MORLEY MAKES AN EARLY START

Liam Morley started the defence of his F125 Open title with victory in the opening round. Unfortunately, the chance of making it a double were scuppered when two red flags caused the abandonment of race 2.

A new season with new drivers, new colour schemes, new chassis and new numbers. The event format was the same with a free practice and qualifying session of 15 minutes each and two 15-minute races. Overnight rain had left the track wet for the free session, which saw Sam Moss top the time sheet ahead of Matt Robinson and Ian Larder. With no further rain the track dried in time for the timed qualifying session. Kirk Cattermole set the initial pace before Morley struck back with a lap underneath the lap record. He improved 2 laps later to secure pole position with a 1m 43.738s and then pitted with five minutes of the session remaining, satisfied that he couldn’t be beaten. Robinson was also under the lap record with the benefit of new tyres and posted a 1m 44.506s.

Cattermole lapped consistently, but without a tow managed a 1m 44.656s for third quickest. Joining him on row 2 was English Champion Lee Harpham. Having tried the MS chassis at Snetterton the week before he reverted back to the Anderson and set a 1m 44.771s. Moss (1m 44.898s) and Larder (1m 45.129s) completed the top six.  Chris Needham was back on an Anderson chassis after using the Silverstone in 2017 but was struggling with carburation issues on the IAME. After a few visits to the pits he finally went out near the end of the session, but red flags ruined a chance to set a quick time and he ended up 16th. Danny Butler was another ex-champion in trouble. The left hand rear tyre went flat on the opening lap. After crawling back to the pits and inflating the tyre he only got as far as Shell Oils Corner before it went flat again. No time recorded, the lap record holder would have a lot of work to do from the back of the grid.

The grid was reduced to 22 before the start of Race 1 when Alan Crossen pulled out from row 4 with a brake pad issue and Clint Bridge couldn’t get his TM motor to clear on the warm-up lap. When the lights went out, Morley made the most of pole position to lead into Old Hall while Harpham squeezed into second place ahead of Robinson who ran wide on the exit. This allowed Moss and Larder to get a better run down through Dentons and into Cascades and Robinson found himself down in 5th place. Cattermole made a slow start from row 2 while Needham had made up 5 places on the run into the first corner. Morley had a two-length lead into Hislops chicane for the first time, but it was now Moss and Larder that were chasing having relegated Harpham down to fourth place.

The positions were unchanged at the end of the opening lap with Cattermole in 6th place and rookie team mate Anderson Chilcott next through. Butler’s bad day continued when the rear tyre went flat again and he pulled into the pits at the end of lap 1 to retire. While Morley and Moss edged clear, the battle for third place was hotting up. Harpham dived inside Larder at Old Hall starting lap 3 to take the spot and held it until the exit of Cascades when Larder went past. Robinson got a great run out of the corner and also relegated Harpham and then ran side by side with Larder through Island Bend taking third on the entry to Shell. He then set about closing the gap to Moss but at the exit of Druids the EGT sensor blew out of the exhaust and he cruised into the pits to retire. Moss was keeping Morley in sight, but then the champion started lapping in the 43’s and the gap increased rapidly. A new lap record was set on the penultimate lap and at the flag Morley had an advantage of nearly seven seconds.

Maximum points and the best start possible to the defence of the title. Moss was content with second place and looking forward to the next race hoping to put more pressure on the winner. Third place was still in doubt up to the flag. Cattermole closed onto the back of Harpham and took the place on lap 7. But Harpham fought back. Starting the last lap, they ran side by side through Old Hall with Harpham coming out ahead on the run down to Cascades. Over Hill Top they came across a slower kart and Harpham went for the gap while Cattermole was a bit cautious. That gave the Anderson driver an advantage that he held to the flag to take third spot by 1.851s. Larder lost touch with this pair during the closing laps but was in a safe fifth spot. Chilcott had looked good in sixth place but then started to slow when a coil wire broke and he retired with two laps to go. Andy Connor inherited the place after coming through the pack from a poor start with Needham closing on him during the final stages after his IAME overfuelled on lap 2 and he stormed back from 14th place.

Race One (9 laps)

1 Liam Morley (Anderson DEA) 15m 40.076s (92.78mph)
2 Sam Moss (Anderson DEA) 15m 47.004s
3 Lee Harpham (Anderson TM) 15m 50.244s
4 Kirk Cattermole (Raider CAT IAME)
5 Ian Larder (Anderson TM)
6 Andrew Connor (Anderson Redspeed TM)

Record Lap Morley 1m 43.492s (93.64mph)

The start of race 2 was a bit delayed due to stoppages in the car races but when the start was finally signaled Morley led into Old Hall for the first time followed by Moss. That was still the order at the end of the opening lap with Cattermole, Harpham, Larder, Needham and Robinson completing the train. On the next lap at the exit of Shell Larder was tapped into a spin and rolled back into the path of Robinson. Matt took avoiding action but hit the barriers hard on the left-hand side. Moss took the lead at Hislops as Morley faltered and at the end of two laps the reigning champion was down in third place, his DEA starting to misfire. Fortunately, for his sake the red flags came out to remove Robinson’s kart from a dangerous position. Matt was a bit battered and bruised but thankfully walked away from the incident. While everyone lined up on the start line for the re-start, Morley dived into the pits. The battery had gone flat and the team hastily changed to a charged one.

However, it meant that he would have to start from the pit lane. Larder and Cattermole also pulled into pit lane to retire after earlier contact. With the light starting to fade the decision was made to re-run over 10 minutes and the clock was ticking when the pace car set off. This was going to be a 5-lap dash. Moss took the lead from Harpham into Old Hall while Alan Crossen had got a superb start from row 6 to take third place. Harpham crossed the line at the end of lap one from Moss but there was an ominous gap before Jonathan Bell came through in third place. Crossen and Needham had gone off at Druids and the red flags were shown again. With the noise curfew upon us there was no chance of another re-start and the race was declared void. Despite damage to both karts, both Crossen and Needham also walked away. However, with the next round in 3 weeks’ time there were going to be some busy days getting ready.

BSA F125 Open Championship Points after 1 round

1 Liam Morley         40pts
2 Sam Moss            35
3 Lee Harpham      32
4 Kirk Cattermole  30
5 Ian Larder            28
6 Andrew Connor   26

BSA F125 Cup Points after 1 round

1 Ian Larder            40pts
2 Luke Clemson       35
3 Paul von Gerard    32

Words by Gary James

Images by Dave Robinson

 

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MSA British Superkart Championship and BSA F450 Challenge – Round 12

Oulton Park 21st October 2017

Keeping it in the family – Clarks triumphant

Dan Clark finally secured the MSA British Superkart Championship after a calculated drive netted him sufficient points. Cousin Stephen added to the family celebrations by regaining the F450 four stroke championship.

The MSA Championship returned to Oulton Park after missing out last year. With storm Brian threatening the North-West area, weather conditions were not ideal with the possibility of cancelled races. Following the judicial hearing by the Motor Sports Council and the exclusion of Paul Platt from race 2 at Cadwell in July, the championships points were recalculated. This meant that three drivers were still in with a chance of lifting the number 1 plate. After a free practice session, there was a fifteen-minute timed qualifying session. James Hassall was due to have a run out for the first time this year but wrecked the DEA in testing the day before and Gareth James was also a non-starter. Matt Isherwood was having his first taste of racing a 250 National when he joined the Parker Motorsport team for the weekend, using Barry Weston’s Anderson DEA. Dan Clark had a scare in testing on Friday when a misfire re-appeared on his Gas Gas but it was traced to a faulty ignition wire. In the wet qually session there were no such problems and after 2 laps he had pole position by 1.6s. But the Parker Motorsport team were working in tandem.

Layton was towing round Isherwood and after 3 laps Isherwood claimed pole position with a time of 1m 52.669s. Fantastic. “It’s easier to drive than the 125cc kart I am used to but great fun.” Clark was on a quicker lap when he came across Layton and Isherwood touring back to the pits but couldn’t improve on his earlier lap so occupied the other front row slot with a 1m 52.844s. Layton chipped away at his times but ended up over a second slower than his team mate, third quickest on 1m 53.674s. “The wet tyres didn’t feel great and I am not sure what to do for the race.” Andy Bird had gained 5 points as a result of the judicial hearing which meant he was in with a chance of taking the title. In Friday testing he had run in a new Gas Gas barrel and was confident of a good result. On used wet tyres he set a 1m 54.161s lap to close out the second row. James O’Reilly was slow off the mark in the qually session and with 75s left on the clock put in a time of 1m 54.188s to head up row 3. He was joined by the leading F450 kart of Stephen Clark who was looking to regain the four-stroke championship that he lost at Pembrey last year when the final round was cancelled. Aaron Sifleet had got his Gas Gas running well and headed up row 4 with a time of 1m 55.436s. He was joined by Paul Platt who was having to run reversed used wets and only managed a 1m 55.792s.  “I have got two brand new sets for the races though.” Gavin Bennett was also in with a chance of taking the MSA Championship. He struggled to get on the pace but did record a 1m 55.796s before pitting with a water pump issue. The team then set about swapping engines ahead of the opening race. Completing the top ten and second quickest in the F450 class was Charlie Johnson with 1m 55.916s.

The weather still required wets to be used for race 1 and when the lights went out Isherwood kept his cool and led into Old Hall Corner chased by Clark, Layton and Bird. Bennett made a great start from row 5 and was up the inside of Sifleet, O’Reilly to take fifth place as the field headed down the Avenue to Cascades for the first time. Layton dispensed with Clark and set about his Parker Motorsport team mate. But Isherwood was not prepared to give up the lead and they were side by side heading into the Knickerbrook Chicane for the first time. The ‘new boy’ held his ground and at the end of the opening lap had a slight lead of 0.82s. Layton was fending off Clark with Bennett looming large in fourth spot. Bird, the other championship contender, was next ahead of Sifleet with Johnson leading the 450 class ahead of Platt. Bennett knew he had to win the race and passed Clark and then got ahead of Layton for second place at Knickerbrook on lap 2. Bird’s title hopes deflated when he crawled into the pits with a mysterious left rear puncture. O’Reilly spun out of 9th place at Old Hall while Platt went off at Shell. Both drivers continued but they were down in 13th and 14th places after 2 laps. Bennett was in determined mood and took the lead at Knickerbrook on lap 3, but Isherwood clung on. They were only separated by a tenth of a second as they crossed the line to start lap 4. Could Isherwood fight back. Sadly no.

The gap was up to a second at the end of the lap and had doubled next time around. On lap 6 he pulled off when the motor seized after the fuel pump failed. The end of a great drive. Layton took over second place and started to reduce the gap. On the last lap they encountered three back markers that were having their own private dice. Bennett came off worse but held on to get the crucial win by 0.785s from the current champion. “I knew what I had to do after battling with Matt and that was to get the win,” explained Bennett. But he was the first to walk across to Dan Clark in parc ferme and congratulate him on finally winning the MSA British Superkart Championship. Clark had been happy to sit behind the group knowing that fourth place was all he needed. When Isherwood dropped out his job was made easier. But he gave the team a scare in the closing stages. “I backed off to worry my Dad and the team on the pit wall, but I had it all under control.” He crossed the line just over 12s behind Bennett but was still 10.7s ahead of Sifleet who drove a great race to collect 4th place, his best result of the season. Stephen Clark made up for a slowish start to catch and pass Charlie Johnson on lap 3. He reeled off the remaining laps to secure the F450 Challenge and make it a double family celebration. Johnson kept him in sight to claim second place in the four-stroke class. Ross Allen was heading for 7th place but he had a gearbox failure on lap 7 which badly damaged the cases of his DEA motor. Platt inherited the spot but was passed by fellow spinner O’Reilly on the final lap as he set the fastest lap of the race.

With the championship wrapped up Clark decided to sit out race 2. Allen was also a non-starter with his DEA showing a big crack in the cases. O’Reilly had pole position with Layton alongside while Bennett and Isherwood lined up behind. When the lights changed O’Reilly led the field into Old Hall for the first time with Bennett tucked in behind. However, the Viper engine wasn’t on full song. Bennett took the lead and at the end of the opening lap he was ahead of Isherwood and Platt. O’Reilly had slipped to fourth and was fending of Stephen Clark on the 450 KTM with Layton down in sixth place. Andy Bird had started at the back of the grid and was already up to 12th place.  Platt took second place at Knickerbrook on lap 2 and was closing on Bennett at the end of the lap with Clark up to third. Layton had gone missing on lap 2, going off at Shell Oils Corner. Next time round at the same corner Andy Gulliford, who was holding 6th place, skated off on the wet, oily surface into the back of Layton’s kart. The red flags were shown and the race was stopped. Jack was expertly lifted out of his kart and into an ambulance but thankfully after precautionary x-rays he was only badly bruised with a sore back while Andy escaped any injury. With the timetable having no room for delays and stoppages there was insufficient time to get a re-start. The race was declared void as only one full lap had been completed by everyone. A sad way to finish the championship but it was good to see later that all the drivers were ok.

Race One (8 laps) 1 Gavin Bennett (Anderson DEA) 15m08.923s (85.29mph); 2 Jack Layton (Anderson DEA) +0.785s; 3 Dan Clark (Anderson Gas Gas); 4 Aaron Sifleet (Anderson Gas Gas); 5 Stephen Clark (Anderson KTM 450); 6 Charlie Johnson (Anderson KTM). Fastest Lap James O’Reilly (Anderson Viper) 1m52.078s (86.46mph).

Final MSA British Superkart Championship Positions after 12 rounds (Best 9 scores to count)

1 Dan Clark             319 pts

2 Gavin Bennett       305

3 Jack Layton           297

4 Andy Bird             287

5 Paul Platt              253

6 Ross Allen             217

 

Words by Gary James

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MSA British Superkart Championship – Rounds 9, 10 & 11 and F450 Challenge – Rounds 9, 10 & 11

Anglesey 2nd & 3rd September 2017

Clark Edges Closer Title

Dan Clark continued his advance to the MSA Championship with a win and two other podium finishes. In difficult conditions, he took overall honours in some very close racing.

The MSA Championship returned to Anglesey for its annual visit on the Coastal Circuit and the infamous Corkscrew. After a free practice session, there was a twelve-minute timed qualifying session. It was interesting to see the main championship rivals Dan Clark, Jack Layton and Gavin Bennett start the session line astern. However, Bennett only got as far as the Banking on the opening lap before the battery went flat. Without a time to his name he would be starting at the back of the grid. Clark and Layton continued to run close together and it was the Redspeed driver who was the first to dip under the 1m5s bracket.

His lap of 1m 04.630s was good enough to take pole position before pitting 5 laps later. “I am happy with the chassis and engine and didn’t want to show my hand in the early laps as Jack was right behind me.” Layton felt that his DEA was running a bit on the rich side as he chased the Gas Gas and put in a 1m 04.917s before he followed Clark into the pits. After a couple of adjustments, he went out again but left it too late to improve. In the meantime, Andy Bird put in three quick laps and pipped Layton to the other front row slot with a time of 1m04.891s. Paul Platt spent a bit of time in the pits but put in a quicker lap at the end of the session to record 1m04.987s and line up alongside Layton on row 2. James O’Reilly headed the next row on 1m 05.606s and he was joined by the quickest of the 450’s, Andy Gulliford who recorded a 1m 06.079s.

The grid exited the Corkscrew and when the lights went out at the start of race 1 it was Clark who led them away and round to the Banking. While the leaders were through the first corner there was a scattering of karts in the midfield when Ross Allen, Gareth James and Andy Waite spun. They all managed to continue while Steve Burton went off trying to avoid them and was out. Clark crossed the line at the end of the opening lap with an advantage of 0.546s. O’Reilly had make a great start from the third row and held second place but then the Viper motor seized on the approach to the Banking and his race was over. That elevated Platt into second spot ahead of Bird, Layton, Gulliford, Stephen Clark and Sifleet. The pace of the Gas Gas motors was drawing Clark and Platt away from Layton who was struggling to keep Bird behind him. “I was losing out when they went from 4th to 5th gear out of Church and along the back straight,” explained the reigning champion. Bird went past on lap 4 at Rocket but he was two seconds behind the lead pair.

Platt had been biding his time and went ahead of Clark into Rocket on lap 8 followed by Bird who had closed the gap dramatically and set the fastest lap of the race.  On the next lap Bird tried a pass on Platt into Rocket but didn’t want to take his team mate off and hung back. On the final lap he was too far behind to make another attempt and Platt crossed the line to win by 0.445s. Clark thought he could get ahead of the pair but had to settle for third spot just over a second behind. There was joy in parc ferme afterwards as this was the first time there had been a 1-2-3 for the Redspeed team. John Riley was over the moon. Layton was suffering from a bit of understeer at the top of the hill and collected fourth place but was five seconds behind Clark. Stephen Clark took fifth place and maximum points in the 450cc after rival Gulliford understeered off at the exit of turn 1 on lap 4. “I was trying Hoosiers for the first time. The chassis needs a bit more set up so I pulled in as it wasn’t worth continuing.” Bennett did well to keep out of trouble on the opening lap and was up to 14th spot. He dispensed with the midfield runners by lap 4 and chased after Sifleet, finally grabbing sixth place on the last lap.

What a difference a day makes. After the bright sunshine on Saturday the circuit was shrouded in rain on Sunday. Sensibly, everyone was given two warm up laps to acclimatise to conditions. Bird was on pole position for race 2 with Platt alongside. But coming out of the last corner on the approach to the lights Platt’s Gas Gas motor died. The ignition box had failed. Somehow everyone managed to avoid the stranded kart. Bennett took advantage of the gap that appeared in front of him and led away followed by Clark and Bird. Stephen Clark saw an opportunity along the back straight and charged up the inside on the approach to Rocket. But he had picked up a puncture and skated off at the top of the hill just missing the leaders.

Layton was forced wide in avoidance. At the end of the opening lap Bennett led Dan Clark with Bird, Layton and Gulliford nose to tail. Stephen Clark pitted for a new tyre and lost three laps in the process. His cousin was making no mistakes and passed Bennett on lap 2 to take the lead. Layton also moved up a place but then ran wide at Rocket and dropped back behind Bird. Bennett set the fastest lap of the race on lap 4 but was only marginally quicker than Clark. The Redspeed driver controlled the race and thought he had pulled out a gap over the others. “But when I looked over my shoulder they were still there.” The trio closed up on the final lap when they encountered traffic but Clark took an important win by 0.488s from Bennett with Bird only another 0.261s adrift. “I got the gearing wrong and it wouldn’t pull along the back straight so I couldn’t get past Gavin,” explained Bird later. Layton had to settle for another fourth place with Gulliford take the 450cc class win in fifth place. Aaron Sifleet was heading for sixth place but dropped to the back of the field on lap 6 allowing Ross Allen to come through and hold that position to the flag.

The weather had improved for race 3 but the track was still greasy. Bennett made no mistakes from pole position and led the field into turn 1. Clark’s Gas Gas ‘popped and banged off the line’ and he lost ground while Platt, starting from the back of the grid, again suffered with an ignition problem and pulled off soon after the start. Bennett led at the end of the opening lap with Gulliford up to second place from the third row of the grid. Bird had Layton on his tail then it was Allen and the two Clark’s, Dan ahead of Stephen. Bennett set the fastest lap of the race as early as lap 2 and continued to extend his lead from then on. His final winning margin was nearly twelve seconds. “We tried a few changes and they worked,” he said later. Gulliford looked comfortable in second place and was under no pressure from behind until Bird flew past on lap 7. Bird couldn’t relax as the four stroke was still on his tail as they started the last lap with Layton and Dan Clark two and a half seconds behind and having their own dice. Up at Rocket for the final time Bird lost the back end of the Anderson on the exit, or was he distracted by a wayward seagull. Gulliford spun to avoid him and Layton and Clark nipped past the pair of them.

Clark chose the inside line and found himself in second place with Layton going around the outside of the two karts to claim third spot. Clark held on to his second place and crossed the line 0.327s ahead of the reigning champ while Bird and Gulliford recovered to finish just behind them. James O’Reilly had been heading for sixth place but his miserable weekend continued when the fuel cut off valve stuck and flooded the motor with one lap to go. Allen inherited the place with Stephen Clark finishing seventh. “We got the gearing wrong but I knew that second place in class would be enough to keep me on track for the 450cc championship.” However, it was cousin Dan that had the biggest grin knowing that he could wrap up the MSA Championship at Oulton in October having come close in the past.

MSA British Superkart Championship Positions after 11 rounds (Best 10 scores to count)

1 Dan Clark             343 pts

2 Jack Layton           296

3 Gavin Bennett       293

4 Andy Bird             282

5 Paul Platt              267

6 Ross Allen             214

 

Words by Gary James

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MSA British Superkart Championship – Rounds 7 & 8 and BSA Division 1 Championship – Final Rounds

SNETTERTON 19TH AUGUST 2017

CLARK DOUBLE PUTS HIM ON TOP WHILE HARVEY LIFTS DIVISION 1 TITLE

Dan Clark’s luck finally changed at Snetterton when he collected two wins and went top of the championship table. In a close decider for the Division 1 championship, Dave Harvey benefited when rival Carl Hulme retired.

For the first time since the re-configuration of Snetterton, the Superkarts were racing on the ‘200’ circuit as this meeting was organised around the 2CV 24-hour marathon. Everything was shoe-horned into three-quarters of a day and there wasn’t much time to make changes or repairs between each track visit. There was a free practice session and a fifteen-minute timed qualifying session. Dan Clark was in a buoyant mood and happy with the pace of the Gas Gas with no sign of any misfires. He was the first to dip under 1m 13s but then Gavin Bennett went quicker. Clark responded on his last flying lap to claim pole position with a 1m 12.432s with Bennett second quickest on 1m 12.863s. Andy Bird was trying different gearboxes in his Gas Gas and wound up third quickest with his final lap netting 1m 12.958s.

Dan Clark now leads the MSA British Superkart Championship

Jack layton had been fastest in the free practice session with a time quicker than Clark’s pole time. But he struggled in qually and couldn’t get near it when it mattered, ending up fourth quickest on 1m 13.095s. Ross Allen had sorted out the puncture problems from Cadwell Park and wound up fifth on 1m 13.124s. Sixth fastest was James O’Reilly who put in a lot of laps to record 1m 13.365s. Paul Platt went off at Riches on his second flying lap and then it took a couple of laps to get the tyres working properly. He managed to get in a 1m 13.664s lap and was hoping to go quicker but got baulked on his final run so ended up seventh. The Division 1 class were sharing the track with the 250 Nationals. As expected they were quicker with Dave Harvey taking pole position on 1m 11.113s. He was joined on the front row by Swedish visitor Invar Bjerge with a 1m 11.359s. Carl Hulme was third on 1m 12.401s.

– Dave Harvey won the BSA Division 1 Title

The grid was in good order as it approached the line for race 1 and as expected the twins led away when the lights changed. At the end of the opening lap it was Hulme from Harvey and Bjerge. Bennett led the 250 Nationals and had opened up a useful gap over the pack. Layton led the train from Clark, Allen, Bird, Platt, O’Reilly, Gareth James and Tom Rushforth. Andy Waite had forsaken his 450 KTM and was having a run out on a 250 DEA. Unfortunately, he went off and dropped to the back of the field. Bjerge also made a mistake on lap 2 and lost a lot of ground. Hulme eased away at the front and Harvey had no reply. The contest was won early on and Hulme’s winning margin was nearly thirteen seconds. The race for the 250 National class was a lot closer.

 

Clark took over on lap 3 with a move into the hairpin but couldn’t relax as Layton went ahead of Bennett, who had his hands full keeping Allen behind. Layton had dropped to the back of the group by lap 6 but next time around set a new class lap record and took over the lead from Bennett, Clark and Allen. O’Reilly dropped out of 8th place with a broken exhaust on lap 7 and the same fate befell James three laps later. Clark and Bennett went around the outside of Layton into Riches on lap nine to demote the reigning champion back to third. But on lap 10 he picked off Clark into the hairpin and Bennett down the Bentley Straight. The four-kart group caught a pair of backmarkers at the end of the lap, however, Layton weaved through them to lead the group across the line with Clark, Bennett and Allen getting past before Riches. More backmarkers were caught on the next lap and this split the four-kart train into two pairs. Clark and Layton continued to swap positions until Clark got ahead along the Bentley Straight for the final time and held off Layton to the flag to record his first win of the season. Bennett was heading for third place but Allen got a better run around Coram for the final time and took the position. Platt kept the group in sight but couldn’t do anything about closing the gap and finished fifth in class. Bird struggled with the gearbox in his Gas Gas and dropped back cross the line sixth.

Hulme, Bjerge and Harvey occupied the first three positions on the grid for race 2 based upon lap times from the earlier race. The Division 1 title was up in the air with Hulme and Harvey tied on points. Layton was quickest of the 250 Nationals ahead of Clark, Bennett and Platt. Paul Hewitt was a non-starter in this race after securing the Division 1 English Championship in race 1. While the grid followed the pace car Platt dived into the pits with a problem. He managed to get it fixed but would have to start from the pit lane along with Paul Glenister. When the lights changed Hulme scorched away chased by Bjerge while behind it got a bit messy. Rushforth didn’t make a great start and held up Bennett while further back Julian Davies had the THR motor fail and pulled off at the end of the pit lane just as Platt and Glenister were emerging. It was a bit close. Hulme led Bjerge at the end of lap 1 with Harvey just ahead of Clark. Allen was on his own then came James, O’Reilly, Layton, Bird, Bennett and Rushforth all nose to tail.

Race 2 lap 1 at Murray’s

Platt’s chances of making up ground came to nothing when he pitted at the end of the lap with a loose top water hose. O’Reilly’s good run also ended early when the Viper motor seized coming round Coram on lap 2. Bjerge took the lead on lap 3 and set the fastest lap next time around. But Hulme knew that if he was ahead of Harvey the Division 1 title was his. On lap 6 the championship was decided when Hulme retired with the top of a VM piston having detached itself. Bjerge drove a faultless race to collect an excellent win. Harvey kept him close until the closing stages when he got held up by backmarkers and eased his pace. The number 1 plate was his. The 250 National class was also a less fraught affair. Allen closed onto the back of Clark on lap 2 but then retired on the following lap leaving the Redspeed driver with a comfortable lead over his rivals. This he maintained for the remainder of the race to complete a ‘class weekend’ and 80 points that takes him to the top of the championship. Has the luck changed? After Allen stopped Layton took over in second place in the 250 National class and held off Bird and Bennett. Bird had changed engines for this race as the 2017 gearbox was better suited to the circuit layout. But on lap 7 he slowed and then coasted to a halt at the end of the following lap when the ignition battery failed.

Layton also dropped out when the shut off valve in the carb failed so that left Bennett with an untroubled run to the flag and second place in class. James had kept the group in sight in the early stages but dropped back after half distance. However, he had a big enough gap over his pursuers to take third. Andy Waite was making a return to the 250cc class this weekend and surprised a few people including himself with an excellent run to fourth in class ahead of Aaron Sifleet, the last unlapped runner. Martin Goodliffe seized his DEA in free practice and had to switch to the slower Honda engine. Perseverance paid off and despite being lapped finished sixth in the 250 National class.

Race One (13 laps) 1 Carl Hulme (Anderson VM) 15m25.757s (100.29mph); 2 Dave Harvey (MS Kart VM) +12.818s; 3 Dan Clark (Anderson Gas Gas); 4 Jack Layton (Anderson DEA); 5 Ross Allen (Jade DEA); 6 Gavin Bennett (Anderson DEA). Record Lap Carl Hulme 1m10.316s (101.57mph).

Race Two (13 laps) 1 Invar Bjerge (Anderson VM) 15m32.288s (99.59mph); 2 Dave Harvey (MS Kart VM) + 6.680s; 3 Dan Clark (Anderson Gas Gas); 4 Tom Rushforth (Spyda VM); 5 Gavin Bennett (Anderson DEA); 6 Gareth James (Anderson DEA). Fastest Lap Invar Bjerge 1m10.454s (101.37mph).

MSA British Superkart Championship Positions after 8 rounds

1 Dan Clark             262 pts

2 Paul Platt              227

3 Jack Layton           204

4 Gavin Bennett       190

5 Gareth James        186

6 Andy Bird             185

 

BSA National Championship for Division 1 Final Positions

1 Dave Harvey         185pts

2 Carl Hulme           177

3 Tom Rushforth      159

4 Danny Chan          128

5 Liam Morley          120

6 Simon Rushforth    108

Words by Gary James

Images by Nick Purdie

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English Championships for F250 National, F450 National, Division 1 & F125 Open

Cadwell Park 5th & 6th August 2017

Thrilling Climax to the E Plates

There was a close finish to three of the class championships at Cadwell with Jack Layton, Stephen Clark and Lee Harpham emerging triumphant.

The larger capacity classes had their rounds on Saturday while the 125’s had their final rounds on Sunday. There was a ‘lot of traffic’ on the circuit during qualifying but Andy Bird managed to pick his way through. Using old tyres and a different gearbox in his Gas Gas he set a pole time of 1m 26.075s. Quickest in the F450 class was reigning English Champion Andrew Gulliford who set a 1m 26.882s to join Bird on the front row. Stephen Clark only managed to get one decent lap in but his time of 1m 27.078s was sufficient for third spot.

With the absence of series leader James O’Reilly, Ross Allen was in the prime position to take the E plate after collecting a win at Croft in April. He put in a lot of laps and wound up fourth on 1m 27.421s. Jack Layton arrived at Cadwell in 9th place in the championship. After a dreadful time at Cadwell a month earlier, he was treating this meeting as an extended test session to iron out problems ahead of the MSA rounds at Snetterton. He was a frequent visitor to the pits but put in a time of 1m 27.997s for 5th quickest just ahead of his team mate Tom Hatfield on 1m 28.963s. Nathan Barton was the quickest in the Division 1 class with ninth overall on 1m 31.392s but he had a clutch problem and the Barker Racing team worked frantically to get him ready for the opening race.

Guilford set a new Lap Record – Steve Addison

Unfortunately, Barton didn’t get to see the red lights for the start of race 1 when he struggled with carburation issues on the warm-up lap and then wiped out Adam Mitchell when the clutch failed again. Gulliford made good use of the torque from the 450 KTM to lead away at the start followed by Bird and Clark. But it was Clark ahead of his class rival at the end of the opening lap. Bird held third from Allen and Layton in the 250 National class with Andy Dean leading David Ede in the Division 1 category. Ede’s race ended on lap 3 when he was punted off by Charlie Johnson when they were contesting 11th place. Gulliford took the lead on lap 3 setting a new F450 class lap record in the process and pulled away from Clark. Layton’s DEA was performing a lot better than last month and he went past Bird and Allen to lead the 250 National’s.

Bird was looking to challenge back as his Dunlop tyres ‘came on’ after 5 laps but then the big end failed in his Gas Gas and that was his day over. At the front Gulliford continued to lead while Layton had got past Clark and closed the gap. It looked like we were in for a close finish but then Layton spun at the hairpin on the last lap when lapping a back marker. Gulliford won comfortably from Clark, while Layton recovered to finish third and take the 250 National class win. Andy Waite had a steady drive to claim the next spot after Allen struck trouble. A left rear puncture slowed him over the last lap and he just managed to get across the line ahead of Aaron Sifleet for second in class. Dean’s lead in the Division 1 class evaporated on lap 5 when the chain broke. That gave the win to Paul Hewitt who was a long way clear of John Faulkner.

Layton leads from Clark – Steve Addison

The E plates were still to be settled as the grid approached the line to start race 2. In the 250 class Allen needed a win or a second, Layton needed a win while in the 450’s Gulliford and Clark needed a win to seal it. It was Gulliford, Clark and Waite into Coppice for the first time and that was still the order at the end of the opening lap. Layton had made a slowish start and dropped behind Allen and Sifleet but he was on Waite’s tale after the first 2.1869 miles. Gulliford stretched his lead over Clark and looked to be heading for the title but on lap 4 the KTM motor cut out and his chance of retaining his E plate was over. There was similar dram in the 250 National class. Allen tailed Layton for the first two laps before going ahead on lap 3.

Layton regained the class lead on lap 5 and then moved ahead of Clark to lead overall. Allen was still in the right place to take the title but on lap 7 he suffered another rear right puncture and his title aspirations were deflated. Layton cruised away over the remaining laps to take the overall win and retain his E plate. Not bad for a supposed test day. Clark eased his pace once Gulliford was side-lined and added the E to his GP title. Sifleet drove another good race on his new Anderson chassis to claim third place. Hatfield made up a lot of ground from his sixteenth row start position and picked off Johnson and Waite in the closing stages to claim 4th place on the road. That also gave him enough points to secure third place in the championship. Hewitt was the Division 1 class winner comfortably ahead of his Barker racing team mate Barton.

Harpham ahead of Edwards – Dave Robinson

Sunday saw the final rounds of the F125 Open championships, although a few drivers had taken the opportunity to race with the 250’s the day before. With series leader Liam Morley away racing his Division 1 kart at Assen it was still anyone’s championship with four drivers in with a shout. The qualifying session was sunny and dry. Reigning English Champion Kirk Cattermole was trying an IAME engine for the first time. He whistled round the circuit to set a pole position time of 1m 29.225s on his fourth lap but three laps later he was parked up at the side of the track. A big end had failed. The team then had to swap back to his usual SGM motor for the first race. Second quickest was Dan Edwards but he was eight tenths slower on a 1m 30.088s. Current second in the championship was Lee Harpham. After experiencing all sorts of ignition problems at Cadwell a month earlier, he put in a lot of laps in the timed session and was a lot happier recording a 1m 30.661s for third quickest just ahead of Andy Connor on 1m 30.704s. Chris Needham had problems with him IAME engine the day before and swapped to an SGM but only managed one lap so would be starting at the back of the grid.

Cattermole and Edwards moved off together at the start of race 1 but at the end of the opening lap it was Harpham who led with Cattermole and Edwards glued to his bumper. Connor held fourth spot with Ben Warsap and Nick Kirk further back in 5th and 6th. Cattermole took over the lead on lap two with Harpham pushed back to third but Cattermole’s grip on his E plate ended on lap 3 when the SGM motor seized. His day was over. That left Edwards and Harpham to fight over the race win. Edwards just had the advantage but on the last lap Harpham made a challenge. Into the left hander before the mountain he went ahead but then his foot slipped off the throttle pedal and he lost drive over the crest of the hill. This allowed Edwards to retake the lead as they entered Hall Bends and he hung on to win by 0.111s. Connor was having a lonely race in third place but he was caught and passed by Needham with a lap to go. Kirk dropped out on lap 4 so it was left to Ridout and Warsap to contest fifth spot with the positions changing on the final lap.

Needham settled for third – Dave Robinson

There was only one point separating Harpham from Edwards with Connor still in with a chance of the E plate as they approached race 2. Edwards got the perfect start as Harpham struggled to get the TM off the line. That dropped him behind a couple of four strokes and Needham. Edwards led the opening lap and crossed the line with a two second advantage over Harpham who had dispensed with the 450’s. Needham was third with Conner, Ridout and Warsap locked together over fourth spot. Harpham chipped away at Edwards lead and on lap 5 went ahead as they swept through Coppice. Each driver knew that a win would settle the E plate. Edwards tailed the Redspeed driver for the remaining laps but wasn’t quite close enough to put in a pass. Harpham ran out the winner by exactly half a second. Once again Edwards was a runner up – the GP, the UK Cup and now the E plate. Needham lost touch with the leaders and had a steady run to the flag mixing it with the other Silverstone chassis drivers in the 450 class over the closing laps. Connor was heading for fourth place but dropped out with two laps to go allowing Ridout to inherit the position well clear of Ian Reid, the only other finisher in the 125cc class.

Words by Gary James

Photography courtesy of Steve Addison Photography and Dave Robinson.

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MSA British Superkart Championship – Rounds 5 & 6 and the F250 National UK Cup

CADWELL PARK 9TH JULY 2017

PLATT UNBEATEN AS LAYTON HAS A BAD DAY

Four-time MSA British Superkart Champion Paul Platt was on top form to collect two wins and go top of the championship table and lift the UK Cup. For Jack Layton, it was a day to forget as he struggled with engine issues.

With this meeting being the first kart only event for a long time there was a hectic schedule. There wasn’t a free practice session so it was straight into timed qualifying, although a lot of drivers had tested the previous day. After one lap of qualifying it was Francois Kishtoo who was quickest. However, on the second flying lap Andy Bird spun in front of him and the Raider driver had to take avoiding action, hitting the barrier hard. The session was red flagged for about 15 minutes and Francois was taken to the medical centre. He had suffered a nasty hand injury but the latest news is that an operation at hospital went well and we all wish him a speedy recovery.

The session resumed and Jack Layton was instantly on the pace lapping in the 1m 26’s but it was James O’Reilly who was the first driver to dip into the 25’s. Layton responded and set a pole lap of 1m 25.397s. O’Reilly had to settle for second quickest on 1m 25.855s and then had an issue with a rabbit that got a bit too close to the action. Tom Hatfield backed up his Parker Motorsport team mate with a lap of 1m 26.213s to end up third on the grid. Gavin Bennett was sporting the GP plates for the first time in the F250 National class, after his success at Donington, and put in a time of 1m 26.559s for 4th spot but the DEA motor was not performing at it’s best. The Gas Gas drivers headed out on track in line astern and it was Dan Clark who put in a time of 1m 26.751s on his last lap to secure fifth place.  He was joined on row three by Gareth James with a 1m 26.868s. Paul Platt and Andy Bird shared row 4 with a 1m 27.318s and a 1m 27.472s respectively.

The grid was in good order as it approached the line for race 1 and when the lights went out it was Layton who took the lead. Hatfield was slow away from row 2 while Platt benefited from row 4. Up at Park Corner, Bird spun and Allen also went off. They both continued but at the end of the opening lap they were 22nd and 23rd. Layton had put a second over his pursuers at the end of lap 1 but it was all change at the end of the next lap with O’Reilly holding a narrow advantage. Platt was in third spot with Bennett next coming under pressure from Clark. Hatfield was holding sixth place but was being caught by James. At the end of lap 3 Hatfield pitted with a flat right front tyre. The team replaced it but the balance of the kart had been upset and he retired after another lap.

Up at the front Layton had regained the lead and set the fastest lap of the race on lap 4. O’Reilly had been shuffled back to 4th place and it was now Platt and Clark who were after the reigning champion. On lap 6 it was all change. Platt crossed the line in the lead with Clark on his tail while Layton was in trouble and had dropped back to fifth place. The gear lever had broken and he was having to change gear using the rod attached to the engine. That left Platt and Clark to fight over the lead. Clark reduced a one second deficit to just 0.087s as they encountered traffic. But Platt held on to take his second win of the championship season by 0.224s. O’Reilly lost ground in the closing stages as he got held up back markers and settled for third place. Gareth James had been holding fourth spot since lap 6 but a reed petal was damaged and broke off with two laps to go. He dropped back to sixth while Bennett and Julian Davies fought over fourth. Bennett got the verdict, although his DEA was down on power, while Davies was lucky to finish when the big end started breaking up. Ross Allen recovered from his first lap incident with Bird to take seventh spot while Layton kept going despite his gearchange problem to collect a lowly 10th place.

As he had set the fastest lap from the earlier race, Layton was on pole for race 2 with Platt alongside him on the front row. Clark and Allen were on row 2 ahead of O’Reilly and James while Bennett was way back on row 5. When the lights went out Layton made a shocking start and was swamped by the pack and it was Platt that led away and up through Coppice for the first time. At the end of the opening lap he had a lead of just over a second from Clark. Allen was third ahead of O’Reilly while Layton had slipped back to 8th spot behind team mate Hatfield. Tom’s race ended on the next lap when his exhaust broke and he was joined in retirement by Julian Davies with a similar problem. At the end of lap 3 Clark set his quickest lap of the race as he reduced the gap to the leader. But he was slightly distracted when Platt’s chain guard flew off as they crossed the line. Next time around the black and orange flag was shown to the leader. Allen overtook Clark whose Gas Gas was starting to misfire and he started to drop back. O’Reilly’s Viper also developed a misfire and he pulled out on lap 5, followed a lap later by Bennett. “We tried something to improve the engine after race 1 but it didn’t work.” Allen started closing the gap to Platt and looked capable of a win but on lap 7 Platt responded with the fastest lap of the race. Allen was now beginning to tire and Bird closed onto his rear bumper. Layton had benefited from a couple of retirements and had recovered from his bad start to hold 4th place but he was over 5s behind the Allen/Bird dice. The black and orange flag had been withdrawn and Platt was now shown the black flag, although he did continue racing. Layton’s recovery ended on lap 9 when the engine started to misfire badly and he dropped back to 7th. Starting the last lap Platt got held up by traffic and Bird closed the gap with Allen now trying to stay with him. Platt encountered more back markers on the final lap but crossed the line for the win subject to judicial proceedings. Bird pulled clear of Allen for second place. James also slowed in the closing stages but took 4th place with Clark also struggling home in 5th spot with a misfiring Gas Gas. Layton was determined to get a finish and he crawled round the last two laps averaging 56mph to collect a lowly 12th spot and the last unlapped driver. Platt was summoned to see the officials after the race regarding the display of flags, however, the result was allowed to stand and he took another 40 points and a useful championship lead.

With all the championship races out of the way, the final race of the day was to decide the winner of the O plate – the UK Cup. Platt and Layton were on the front row, Bird and Allen on row 2, James and Clark row 3 with O’Reilly and Bennett on row 4. Anyone of those drivers could take the win. When the lights went out Layton made another terrible start, the DEA not picking up, and he was passed on all sides. Platt used pole position to his advantage and sped off up through Coppice. At the end of the opening lap he had Clark on his tail and looking determined. James held off Bird for third place, then came Allen, O’Reilly, Layton, Hatfield from row 9 and Bennett. Gareth James’ challenge ended on the next lap when he spun off at Hall Bends and Bennett pulled into the pits with an over-revving motor. Platt increased his lead but Clark responded on lap three and set the fastest lap of the race. But then disaster. At the end of lap 4 Platt appeared out of Barn Corner on his own and Clark toured into pitlane. Dad Kevin thumped the pit wall in frustration as Dan stopped with a broken cylinder head bolt which was causing a water leak. That left Platt with a lead of 5.665s over Allen with Bird just holding off a recovering Layton. Allen’s chances of putting in a challenge ended on lap 5 when the bubble bracket broke. Layton moved into second place on lap 5 and when Platt got held up by traffic the lead shrunk to 3.624s. Could Layton close further? Unfortunately not when the DEA started to misfire again. This allowed Platt to pull clear and he took the flag and celebrated in his customary style. “The engine has been great all day. We have fitted a new rear radiator and it has certainly helped with better cooling for the motor. It is nice to get the O plate that I last held in 2013.” Bird capitalised on Layton’s problem and collected second place but he was over 7s behind the winner. Layton’s misfire wasn’t as bad as earlier in the day but he had to settle for third spot, three seconds behind Bird. Hatfield had moved into fourth place when O’Reilly retired with an overheating Viper motor due to a loss of water. But then the Parker Motorsport driver had a gear selector fork failure on the last lap and he retired. That handed fourth place to Don Kennedy who just held off fellow THR driver Julian Davies, these two running nose to tail since half distance.

Words by Gary James

Photography By Steve Addison Photography

 

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F125 Open MSA British Superkart Grand Prix

Donington Park 4th June 2017

MORLEY MAKES IT SEVEN

Liam Morley added his seventh Grand Prix title to his impressive list of success but he was pushed all the way by Dan Edwards, also a previous GP winner.

After the two exciting championship races, the grid for the Grand Prix would be determined by a drivers fastest lap across both those races. It was Sam Moss who took pole position for the GP having set a new lap record earlier in the day. Joining him on the front row was the current GP holder Liam Morley. The second row had Kirk Cattermole, a win under his belt already this weekend, and a rejuvenated Dan Edwards. On row 3 were Redspeed team mates Matt Robinson and Lee Harpham and behind them were Chris Needham and Ian Larder. Anyone of those eight could run out the winner.

When the lights went out Moss made a terrible start when the DEA engine flooded and he ended up last on the run down to Redgate. For the third time Cattermole got it all hooked up and took the lead. At the end of the opening lap, he led a train of karts with Larder, Needham, Morley, Edwards, Robinson, Connor and Brennan snapping at his heels. Moss had recovered some ground and was up to 18th place. Where was Lee Harpham? The team had discovered a water leak before leaving the dummy grid and had to make rapid repairs. He started the race at the back and was down in 27th spot at the end of lap 1.

Cattermole’s bid for the GP plate ended on the second lap when the SGM seized. “It hadn’t got up to the correct working temperature.” This allowed Morley into the lead and by the end of 3 laps he was nearly a second ahead of Edwards, Needham and Larder who were fighting for second place. Brennan was up to 5th spot ahead of Robinson whose motor wasn’t up to temperature and not running properly. Moss continued his recovery and was now in 8th spot but unfortunately Harpham only reached 20th place before the TM engine seized.

Morley looked as if he was going to run away with the race, but Edwards broke away from the others and pegged back the gap to 0.697s. Morley responded and doubled the distance, however, Edwards was chasing another GP plate. With one lap to go he set a new lap record and brought the gap down again. All round the final lap Edwards edged closer. Out of Goddards for the last time Morley kept it tight and flashed across the line to collect his seventh GP title but Edwards gave it a good try and was only 0.4s behind at the flag.

The battle for third place was equally as close. Robinson managed to get his TM performing better and closed onto the back of Larder and Needham. They ran in close company for several laps and Needham appeared to have the upper hand. Starting the last lap it all closed up. Needham, Larder and Robinson in that order covered by 0.317s. At the Fogarty Esses, Larder got a better run through and pounced to take third place which he held to the flag with Needham just holding off Robinson.

Moss persevered with his chase. Brennan dropped out at half distance with a seized engine which elevated Moss a place and then he passed Connor with two laps to go to claim sixth spot.

Results (10 laps)

1 Liam Morley (Anderson DEA)

2 Dan Edwards (Anderson TM)

3 Ian Larder (Anderson TM)

4 Chris Needham (Silverstone IAME)

5 Matt Robinson (Anderson Redspeed TM)

6 Sam Moss (Anderson DEA)

Record Lap Edwards 1m 36.313s (92.97mph)

Words by Gary James

Images by Nick Purdie

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