Once again the TKM Festival lived up to the expectations of intense racing, close finishes, superb performances and deserved winners! The Festival never fails to produce a fantastic race and there’s no doubt when the videos are released of the finals the viewing figures through the roof.
In this article, we’ll focus on the Junior TKM class looking at the Elite Final, Festival Cup and O plate.
Abbi Pulling continues to prove that number one plate truly belongs on her kart after winning the Elite Final from Spencer Stevenson and Zak Oates. The only thing that was unfortunate to see was the slight drop in the Junior TKM grids. It reflects a similar situation in Super One, but it made no affect on the quality of the racing.
It would be Pulling who would start the Final from pole position after qualifying pole position for the Pre-Final before going on to win that by just over three tenths. All weekend it was the ever improving Stevenson who seemed to be the only driver to challenge Pulling and that did not change in the Final.
The start of the race would see the pair hold station before working together to pull a gap over the rest of the field. Once near the end of the race it was expected to be a real showdown, but credit to Pulling. When the pressure was on and the clock was ticking down she was able to find something that Stevenson couldn’t and opened up a gap of half a second to successfully defend her title.
Speaking of, the win comes off the back of her complete domination at round four of the British Championships at Shenington. Now she has retained one title, can she go on to retain another?
Completing the podium…
You have to give credit to Stevenson for his 2nd place finish. Quite simply the best of the rest and with the next driver over three seconds behind he, along with Abbi, were in a league of their own. Having finished 2nd last year there’s no doubt he’ll be slightly disappointed to just miss out, but if he keeps this form up he’ll have big titles coming his way very shortly.
Zak Oates finished in 3rd place after gaining six places in the final. The English Champion was never able to close the gap from there but it was his performance in the O plate that had everyone talking. More on that later…
The Festival Cup Final provided lots of drama with race winning contenders, Joe Harrison, Charlie Gaillard, James Barty and Jack Saunders all going from the front two rows to the back of the field! A mixture of penalties and incidents were the cause but this left William Baxter out front picking up the pieces. He would go on to win by just under half a second from Charlie Flynn and Marcus Jarmesty.
O Plate Final
It was a pleasant surprise to see Reggie Duhy’s name appear on the entry list ahead of the Junior TKM O Plate. He’s currently seeded third in the country in Junior X30 but after an eventful season, it was good to see him try something new and unsurprisingly he didn’t too badly!
After a strong set of heats Duhy qualified 3rd for the Pre-Final which he went on to win. The major surprise of the Pre-Final came from Oates who appeared to get involved in an incident after retiring from the ace on lap one which would leave him 18th and last in the Final. Another one to watch starting further back would Stevenson, but whilst some danger lay further down the field Duhy would be most concerned about Pulling who started directly alongside him.
Pulling got the lead and hit the front on lap one leaving Duhy to play catch up. It took five laps but with the race settling down slightly Duhy went into the lead on lap six but Pulling was having none of it and quickly changed things back a lap later. With a gap of almost 1.5 seconds behind Duhy waited a few more laps before trying again and once again Pulling went straight back past.
It was clear if Duhy was going to win this race he’d have to work very hard for it! Over the next two laps the pair would exchange places several times in what was an enthralling battle to watch, but what they didn’t realise is that there was a problem on it’s way and it’s name was Zak Oates!
Somehow from dead last Oates had worked his way through to 3rd place after twelve laps but by the time he was there the gap to the leaders was three seconds. But it was at this point the battle up ahead and kicked off and with that Oates was beginning to take chunks out of their gap and with every lap more people were starting to believe the ultimate achievement of last to first could be possible!
With three laps to go Oates was almost one second behind but he managed to close that gap down and take follow Duhy through to take 2nd. All that lay in his way now was Duhy but a master of defensive driving Duhy had now put the anchors on and after his difficult season he wanted this win as much as anyone else!
For Oates the fairy-tale wouldn’t quite come true with Duhy doing a brilliant job to hold him off and take victory by 0.07 seconds! But for Oates the drive can be described as northing other than stunning! A race he’ll remember forever I’m sure and one he’ll definitely enjoy watching back. He really did steal the show with that performance.
A big mention has to go to the driver who completed the podium in Morgan Kidd. Starting 6th she took a sensible approach to the race and never went backwards during the race. Good moves throughout the race would eventually see her finish 3rd overall and the driver who is currently sitting 12th in Super One is now really starting to show some strong form!
Images by Stu Stretton