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The annual Southern Championships took place at Forest Edge last weekend with drivers battling it out for the more coveted SC plate and the Rotax classes pulled in particularly impressive grids with over 100 drivers racing across the four grids in an action packed weekend!
JAG were on hand for the weekend to lend support to various teams and drivers as well as watch the 102 drivers battle it out for victory across the five Rotax classes. The response from the drivers was hugely positive and seems to be tempting drivers back in the Rotax class with it clearly on the rise once again!
There were 31 drivers entered into a hugely competitive Senior class and some of the favourites for the win included Danny Russell, David Wright, Scott Wylie, Peter Griffin, Lewis Round, Luc Oliver and Jack Mayle.
After three heats qualifying on pole position was Oliver with Wylie joining him on the front row. A bad start for Oliver saw him drop backwards down the top ten whilst Wright quickly moved forward! In the space of just two laps he had gone from the fourth row to the lead and started to escape down the road. Russell was giving chase, but his race would come to an end nine laps in.
Up front Wright would go on to take the win from Wylie with Griffin 3rd. Michael Cheek drove well as he gained five places to finish in 4th, but the biggest mover on track was Sam Harrison who gained ten places to finish 10th.
Overall there was a nice mix in the Senior grid. Some really fast and experienced drivers up front with some drivers in their first few races towards the back. It’s good to see a strong Senior grid and they’ll be another one at Clay Pigeon this weekend!
A grid of 27 drivers would contest the SC plate in the Junior Max and a big name of recent was included on the entry list. Clayton Ravenscroft is the current championship leader in the BNL Karting Series and is a top Super One driver, but would not have things all his own way at Forest Edge.
Scoring the most points in the heats was Lucas Bright with Mason Ruff starting on the outside of the front row. Just behind them on row two was Ravenscroft was Jemima Hepworth. Ravenscroft would hit the front after just one lap though as Ruff and Hepworth hit trouble on lap one with Bright also dropping to 3rd place.
Keeping Ravenscroft honest for the first half of the race was Anqi Stenning before Ravenscroft went on to take a demanding victory. Behind Stenning was passed by Lewis Halliday with Bright 4th a whisker ahead of Luke Francis. The biggest mover in the field was Zachary Arthur who finished11th gaining nine places.
Rotax 177 & Masters
The most impressive victory came in the Rotax 177 where John Parsons led the 32 kart field home despite starting in 18th place! It was a wet final and as a result the variation in pace always rises somewhat. But from row nine Parsons calved his way through the field and the space of just nine laps had taken the lead. Setting constant fastest laps he then had time to pull out a lead of almost ten seconds to take a very popular victory!
The best of the rest was Chris Wright with Alex Ponting rounding out the podium. Big names to miss included Chris Thomas, who hit problems whilst challenging for the lead on lap seven, and the Masters driver Gary Anderson who went off row three.
Speaking of the Masters drivers, Lee Hodge took the win and an impressive 5th place overall! He was over two seconds clear of Tony Dickinson with Paul Horton a further three seconds back in 3rd.
The Mini Max field was the only class that struggled for numbers somewhat but that said, it still brings in much higher grids than Super One. Twelve drivers entered and thw two leaders put on the closest battle of the day with Ryan Taylor-Trueman and Harry Newman-Oakley going head to head in a race long battle that saw them separated by just 0.2 seconds at the flag with Taylor-Trueman ahead. Finishing 3rd and taking fastest lap was Harrison Collings.
Other champions included:
Honda Cadet – Joshua Conrad
IAME Cadet – Samuel Shaw
125 Gearbox – Ben Blick
250 Gearbox – Kenton Ashforth
Written by Chris McCarthy
Images courtesy of Stu Stretton