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Karters show their support for Billy Monger at round 3 of the BMkR championships
An impressive 13 karts made it out for the three Bambino runs during the day, around the 1100m twisty Sittingbourne circuit. At the head of the times for all three runs, was Damien Baruss-Haggett, proudly supporting a number 23 sticker in support of our karting friend Billy Monger, who was horrifically injured in a F4 crash at Donington Park last week. He wasn’t alone as many of the day’s competitors wore #BillyWhizz visor strips and #23 stickers on their karts throughout the event. Second behind the impressive Damien in the three run points merge was Reg Heywood with Mason Bishop completing the top 3. Eden Spanswick finished 4th, followed by Mikey Walker and Antony Parfett in 5th and 6th.
Reece Lomax was unbeaten all day in the Honda Clubman class, leading the 16 kart entry every one of the 12 laps when it mattered in Grand Final. It wasn’t quite as easy as it seems though as he was pushed hard all day, less than half a second behind at the finish was Jai Lawrence. He managed to jump ahead of a battling Joseph Knight and Leon Frost on lap 9 and held onto the place while the other two squabbled over the remaining podium spot. Knight eventually took the 3rd place honours from Frost at the flag, with Chris Doble and Jack Theobald close behind in 5th and 6th. 7th and 8th were Nathan Marques and Ben Whitham, both fighting their way up from the last row of the grid. The fastest lap went to Lawrence on the final lap, during his chase of the eventual winner.
The Junior & Mini X30 classes were poorly supported for this month, with only 3 entries in the former and one less in the later. Daniel Gale won comfortably by over 7 seconds from class newcomer and former circuit Cadet Clubman champion Alfie Brooks, the only other runner Ben Cowley retired four laps from the end. Frankie Taylor beat Nooris Gafoor to the Mini class.
Junior Rotax Pre final winner Sean Berry, led away the eight kart final, his job made a little easier by the Project One kart of Declan Lee failing to start on the dummy grid. Berry’s GMS kart was initially chased by the P1 kart of Henry Ayers, that was until lap 4 when he was usurped by the charging blue LICA kart of Thomas Rotherham, who had had a difficult Pre final. The aforementioned Rotherham then tracked down Berry in the lead, who had been driving beautifully.On lap 9 the #15 LICA kart made it’s move on the run down to the first infield hairpin, Berry tried to respond into the second hairpin but Rotherham had closed the door firmly, from that moment the race was sealed in the favour of young Rotherham, a great recovery from his grid slot. Behind Berry not only held off Ayers but managed to finish just 0.253 seconds behind the winner, securing the fastest lap too, Ayers was on his bumper in third. Tom Lawson had a day of 4th’s and ended the day in that position, not far behind the 3rd placed kart. Benjamin Boras was 5th from Jayden Walker, Brandon Dyer and the dreadfully unfortunate Lee, the last of the runners.
Having won the two Pre finals Zach Ripley looked odds on favourite to continue his winning ways in the 13 lap Grand Final, little did he know that Zach Walters had shadowed his Evolution kart for the race’s duration, patiently waiting until the last lap to pounce. When he did Ripley could not retaliate against the Ambition run kart of Walters, finishing a scant 0.068 seconds behind. Declan Russell started off the day on his back foot after qualifying 14th out of the 16 entries, however by the Grand final he had managed to pick his way through to finish third, 4.9 seconds behind the leading pair, he headed a group featuring a good drive by Oscar Tueten in 4th, Jamie Perilly who started 2nd finishing 5th and Jack Steadman in 6th. Winner Walters also took the fastest lap on the 12th tour.
In the Senior Rotax class Steve Crow has been threatening to win since the start of the season and it all came good for the father and son team at the weekend. Having comfortably won both Pre Finals he set off in the lead from the now rolling start which has been re-introduced for the class. On the run down into the first hairpin however he was jumped by the Ambition kart of Rob Springate and had to give up the position into the second hairpin. Crow wasn’t prepared to give in easily though and returned the favour to Springate by pulling the same move on him into the first hairpin on the 3rd lap. Unfortunately for the Ambition driver an opportunist Troy Beswick squeezed his GMS kart past too. Beswick then sat in Crow’s slipstream for the duration of the race, not quite able to manage a challenge to the Strawberry kart ahead of him finishing 0.43 seconds behind. Springate cemented a stellar drive with 3rd place, Jonathan Harrison was not far behind in 4th, Steve Walker and Drew Holmes were some 6 seconds further back in 5th and 6th. Two drivers who should have finished further up were Josh Young and Jack Wall, but they had a spectacular clash at turn 1 early on the race delaying both, Young finished 7th and previous winner Wall 10th. Karl Mepham took the 177 honours and Troy Beswick the fastest lap.
The last race of the day was for the biggest entry on the program, with the Junior Subaru class managing an impressive 28 karts for this month. After the completion of three Pre Finals which gave each driver two races, a B final was needed to finalise the Grand Final grid. Katherine White fought off a stern challenge from Charlie Hand for the whole race to take the win, Ben Hoare and Poppi Stephenson followed the two through into the Grand Final.
Two wins for Clarke kart’s Riley Stephenson saw him start on the pole with surprise newcomer Leon Clarke (DNL) starting alongside after taking the other Pre Final win. James Black and Zac Spence were next up, with Callum Gunning losing his Junior Subaru 100% winning record in the Pre Finals starting 5th, Emily Linscott was alongside him in 6th. From the start Stephenson had his head down and concentrated on trying to pull a gap, Clarke behind him couldn’t hold off the snarling, colourful, snake of rumbling Subarus and slipped back to 5th on lap 3. Black and Spence couldn’t hold a driver off who was on his way to the front, this was a hard charging Gunning, by lap 3 the former Cadet star had worked his way up into 2nd and set off after Stephenson who had eked out a gap at the front. On lap 11 of 13 Gunning had closed the gap, bringing Spence and Black with him and then made his move for the lead, Stephenson wasn’t having any of it though and dived up the inside into turn 1 to take the lead back a lap later. Going into the last lap Gunning hadn’t given up and as Stephenson went defensive into the infield hairpin 1, Gunning went wide and deep, turning in later giving him a faster exit, he then drove a wall of death around the outside of hairpin 2, giving him the inside line into the next left handed turn. To be fair Stephenson knew he was there and gave him just enough room to make the move work and save them both from clashing. Gunning then covered the line into the horseshoe section and had the race won. Spence and Black were on the tail of the combative two in front, waiting to pick up on and scraps that were left and finished close behind in 3rd and 4th. Just half a second covered Gunning, Stephenson, Spence and Black as they crossed the line after what had been a tense and fitting finale to the day.Emily Linscott just pipped Jono Dalton to 5th and took the fastest lap too. The top 10 was rounded with James Tomsett 7th, Joe Hunt, James Popple and Leon Clarke who was bumped back to 10th after such a promising start. Tom Richards took the win in the plus class.
Report and images courtesy of Paul Babington