Last weekend saw the British Open Championship take place at Rowrah for the IAME and Honda Cadet classes. Often a great way to get a guide on who the favourites are for the British Championships, it was Freddie Slater who emerged victorious in IAME Cadet, with Sebastian Bloch winning a closely fought Honda Cadet final.
Freddie Slater takes Fusion Motorsport’s ninth consecutive British Open win
In IAME Cadet Slater, Maxwell Dodds and Arvid Lindblad were in a league of their own with fellow seeded drivers, Luke Watts and Samuel Shaw struggling to get anywhere near them. In the heats William Macintyre was the only driver able to separate the trio but any chances of him winning the O plate banished in the final after he retired from the race.
That left just the Slater, Lindblad and Dodds who started on the grid in that order. A tricky start to the race saw Slater drop down to 3rd with Lindblad keen to lead the way. At one stage, it looked as if Slater was starting to lose touch but he quickly turned things around and was right back in the fight by lap eleven.
Passing Dodds for 2nd straight away Slater then had a half a second gap to close to Lindblad which did in just two laps! With the momentum behind him Slater hit the front on lap 14 and built a lead of over two tenths, arguably a comfortable gap in Cadet terms! Behind a battle for 2nd began and that was enough to seal the victory for Freddie Slater! The 2016 Karting magazine Rookie of the Year will now sport the O plate heading into this year British Championships which kick off in under a month’s time.
Rounding out the podium were Lindblad and Dodds. Watts led the 4th place battle home, with Shaw, Harley Keeble, Ashton Hodgson, Vinnie Phillips, Brandon Carr and Aiden Neate rounding out the top ten.
Sebastian Bloch confirmed as title contender with O plate win
Sebastian Bloch came agonisingly close to finishing in the top ten of last year’s British Championship. He ended the season 11th overall just 11 points behind Harvey Charter who finished 10th. On several occasions Bloch showed great pace, but often hit problems in races which ultimately left him with some catching up to do at the PFI finale. With no seeded number Bloch would have entered Super One under his usual number ‘19’ but that will now turn into the coveted ‘O’ plate after his win at Rowrah.
Qualifying was extremely close with Theo Micouris, Leon Henderson, and Bloch covered by just 0.08 seconds! Clearly we were going to be in for a close days racing and that was proved in heat one with Bloch taking the win by just 0.07 seconds ahead of Daniel Guinchard who had found some pace since qualifying. Henderson was very much in the fight for the lead too finishing just 0.23 seconds back.
Guinchard continued to find pace in heat two and took the win without a huge amount of pressure from Bloch. Going into the final many would have been putting their money for Guinchard to take the win who would start from pole position with Bloch alongside. Micouris and Alfie Rigby were both ones to watch down the top ten with Sonny Smith breathing down the necks of the front two.
A difficult start to the race saw Bloch pushed down to 5th place with Guinchard leading the race but lap four saw the start of the resurgence back through the lead pack. Bloch started by passing Rigby with Micouris also gaining a place to 5th. Two laps later and it was not one but two places gained and it was the turn of Ollie Greenall with Guinchard’s lead starting to quickly decrease.
Eight laps in and Bloch was now up to 2nd with Guinchard only two tenths up the road. However catching him was becoming difficult and running out of patience behind Micouris went into 2nd. He would tow Bloch up to Guinchard and on lap 13 came the pivotal point in the race. As the leaders all began to battle Bloch was able to go into first place and with just a handful of laps to go just needed to defend to the end!
It was not an easy task with the lead queue increasing all the time but Bloch was able to hold on and take the win 0.25 seconds ahead of Micouris and Smith. Rigby gained four places to finish 4th with Edward Pearson finishing an impressive 5th from 12th on the grid. Completing the top ten were Oliver Stewart, Leon Henderson, Mitchell Gibbons, Jack Plant and Greenall.