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Cadet Column – September 2014

It’s a fairly obvious truism that club racing remains the backbone of karting, without which our sport wouldn’t exist at all.

It’s easy to get tied up with the major championships in such a way as to believe that all meaningful racing begins and ends with Super 1 or the Little Green Man. In actual fact competitors in both of these Series make up a very small percentage of the cadet scene, yet they’ve undoubtedly received the lion’s share of publicity. As a regular Karting magazine contributor, I’m as guilty as anyone for failing to ensure that club competitors get the recognition they deserve. Roughly twice as many IAME cadets are competing in the national championships compared to their Honda counterparts. At club level, though, Hondas hold the advantage in numerical terms.

For the sake of brevity I’ll be referring mainly to Honda Cadets this month and perhaps deal with IAME’s in the next issue. It would be remiss of me not to mention Comers, although in truth the class appears to be in its final death throes. Despite an official MSA title being awarded for Comers in S1, there was insufficient support for it to run. That hardly came as a surprise, but we believed numbers would still hold up at club level. In fact very few clubs have been able to include Comers as part of their programme, although there are a couple of notable exceptions. Both Whilton Mill and Rissington have been able to run separate finals this year where this class accounts for around 16% of the total cadet entry. At Whilton Mill Max Fenlon, Toby McDonald, Taylor Whitson and Josh McCallum have all claimed race wins. Connor Kearney has been the most prolific Comer winner at Rissington, with Max Fenlon and Oliver Stratford also successful. Small Comer grids have also been run at Larkhall where Paul Beattie currently heads the championship table ahead of Jessica Edgar and Robert Proudlock. With Gerard Cox and his Project One outfit situated at Bayford Meadows, Kent has been a Honda stronghold for many years.Numbers continue to be very strong.

Rounds of the Kent Championships are run alternately at Bayford and Buckmore. 29 competitors have taken part in the Honda Clubman category which incorporates a compulsory purchase system. George Leeves leads the championships ahead of Philip Anthony and Oliver Bennett. In the Honda Open category Luke Whitehead tops a table consisting of 38 participants. Rye House is another venue that has chosen to run the Honda Clubman class. Billy Styles has won four out of six meetings in this class and currently heads the championship table. Harvey Hendy occupies 2nd place ahead of Theo Pastou. Josh Steed, Jake Yilmaz and Sam Lementz-Jones are leading competitors in the Open category. Red Lodge is another Honda stronghold with 20 to 30 drivers turning up at each meeting. Race winners here include David Shearing, Ben Kaspercjak, Khali Atkins, Angus Marks, Jason Hutton and Oliver Richardson. Kaspercjak has also been very successful at Kimbolton where similar numbers of Honda cadets regularly turn out. He’s won four of the seven meetings on this circuit so far, with Wesley Mason notching up a couple of wins and Myles Apps grabbing another.

The Honda entry at Forest Edge in Hampshire is always impressive and rarely falls below 30. Ruben Brown has won two of this year’s meetings, with Matthew Herbert, Guy Cunnington and Jake Cranstone also claiming their places on the winner’s rostrum. Brown, Herbert and Cranstone are familiar figures at Blackbushe where up to 20 Honda Cadets can turn out. Ellough Park stopped staging MSA events several years ago but commands good Honda Cadet grids nonetheless. Callum Yarham has notched up the majority of race victories here. Scott Cansdale and Harvey Norton also appear on the list of winners. With entries often approaching the 30 mark, Whilton Mill is another good circuit for Hondas. It has also managed to attract some of the top S1 stars with a list of race winners that includes Mark Kimber, Ollie Hall, Harry Thompson, Henry Laws and Jenson Butterfield. Henry Laws is leading the championships here ahead of Tom Canning and Louie Short. It’s hard to imagine that, just a few years ago, there weren’t any Hondas at PF. Yet almost 50 of them have contested the 2014 club championships, currently led by Ben Thomson. Harry Thompson holds 2nd place ahead of Henry Laws. Shenington also does pretty well for Honda entries, with 20 or more drivers often turning up at their meetings. Keaton Samra, Luke Whitehead, Charlie Webster and Kaleb Marshall are amongst the winners here. Zach O’Sullivan, Harry King, Josh Martin, Casper Stevenson and Archie Brown all appear on the winners list at nearby Rissington where entries average around the 16 mark.

Further north Honda entries are scattered rather more sparsely. Sam Cunliffe is the man to beat at Hooton Park in Cheshire and he has also notched up three very good wins at the 3 Sisters circuit near Wigan. Over on the North East at Warden Law, Max Edmondson and Kai Hunter have both claimed a couple of race wins. Kai has a good record on the opposite coast at Rowrah where he’s won the last two meetings. Riley Banks has also won at Rowrah and he was successful in last month’s race at Larkhall amongst a grid of 14 drivers. That’s about the average entry for this circuit although figures in May and June were significantly boosted prior to a S1 round being held there. Josh Nekrews has claimed a couple of race wins and lies 2nd in the club championships behind Matthew Collings.

Space considerations prevent me from including more names in this piece. To all those who have been omitted I apologise.