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We conclude our ones to watch feature with the X30 classes. We will be looking at Honda Cadets, OK and KZ1 later in the year. These two classes are certainly the stand out ones with absolutely monstrous grids in both, there’s 10-20 in each class to win and picking a winner is like trying to pick the winner in the Grand National. It’s fair to say this season in the X30 classes will be epic.
We’ll kick things off with Junior X30 and with a grid just shy of 60 drivers there are plenty of names to watch out for. Looking at last year’s championship you’d have to look at Oliver Clarke as one of the favourites. He was very strong towards the end of last season and has carried that through to 2017. Shane White was the top rookie and has entered for another season and Harry Platten was the Vice Champion in 2015!
My first one to watch is Alex Simmonds, he has just won the super competitive TVKC Winter Series despite just coming out of Cadets. The MBR driver has already proved he can go the distance of a championship, but he’ll have to now prove he can do the business away from PFI. He has experience of all the circuits on the calendar and is currently flying with confidence. Watch for him to challenge!
Usually the unlucky driver Louie has found an extra turn of pace since moving to the KSR team. He has won races at TVKC in the Winter Series, but has also been unlucky at times. His win in the O Plate support race last weekend will have left him very confident for the season opener this weekend. If he can stay out of trouble all season he’ll be there or there abouts by the time we head to the PFI finale.
Of the several rookie’s entered I think the driver that will take the title will be Nelson King. He’ll have tough competition in the shape of Harry Restall, Frankie Taylor, Abigail Ross and Jamie Rogers, but his recent performances at club level have been pretty impressive. Especially at Whilton Mill where he was just one tenth off the quickest lap in the final!
There are lots of promising Cadets who have moved into the class this year which include Josh Rattican, Tyler Read, Owen Marlow, Caden McQueen, Reggie Duhy, Caeson Gibson and Jonny Wilkinson. Between them there will be podiums, wins and maybe even a title challenger. But which one will it be?
My pick for the title this year is Morgan Porter. He’s now with the Msport team who were impressive with Oliver Clarke and Kyle Connolly last year and I think Morgan has been building up to this result for a while. He was the Vice Champion in OKJ last year and was 5th in Junior X30 at Kartmasters. If he gets beaten this year, that person will be the British Champion.
In terms of a Senior grid, this is the best Super One has seen for a number of years. When Rotax was flying around five years ago, there was big senior grids, but the only thing that has come close since was last year’s TKM Extreme grid. Almost 70 drivers entered and several of British Champions included. It’s great to see not everyone is interested in leaving karting so young, in my opinion this is the class that will be the ultimate test! It’s going to be a joy to watch, I just wish I was racing in it myself.
My first one to watch is Thomas Turner. Thomas has raced in the Rotax classes in recent years with Tooley motorsport with his stand out result being 2nd place at the ABkC O Plate last year. However, he moved out of the Junior class and joined Mark Baines Motorsport and entered the last round in the Senior X30 class last year where he won the round by eight points. His form so far by this year has been outstanding and what a story it would be if he could take the MBM team to the title in their first year of Super One. Once a Dad and lad team they now have a huge team and Thomas could make it even bigger with a good result this year.
Joe Turney has made a last minute decision to race in Senior X30 this year with OK and Rotax Max both struggling to get enough entries for a proper championship. Joe has done little to no testing in the class, but I think he’ll be a name many see as a serious contender. He was a Super One and BNL Karting Series Champion in the Junior Rotax class last year and was highly commended in our Karting magazine Driver of the Year Award. I’m pleased he’s decided to go and race in the 61 kart field, with the confidence and momentum he has behind him I think he is certainly one to watch this season.
With Strawberry Racing moving over to the X30 class it’ll be interesting to see how they get on in their first full year at it. They’ve got a decent line up with Jenson Butterfield and Mark Kimber both moving up, but the interesting one for me is Gus Lawrence. He spent some time racing with BMR, but now with Strawberry I think he’ll be a title challenger. He confirmed that with his recent win at Whilton Mill.
Although many may see Oliver Hodgson as the obvious favourite in this class, I think it’s Danny Keirle’s time to take the title. He had two big wins in the IAME European Open and Kartmasters last year and pushed Hodgson all the way in the LGM Series. Although Hodgson will be keen to take yet another title I think it’s Keirle’s time. Now on the Fullerton chassis the Jade team is hugely strong and I think that Fullerton backing will give him the edge needed to go all the way.
So, that’s the ones to watch done, all is left to do is wait and see who does it this weekend. Keep an eye on #kartingmag for daily updates from the season opener!
Written by Chris McCarthy
Images courtesy of Stu Stretton, Chris Walker, Bethanie Lawson