Thrilling summer action on track at Bayford Meadows
Round 5 of the popular BMKR championships took place under warm sunny skies after an overcast start.
The Bambino class proved very competitive this month, with different drivers heading the three timed runs. Fastest around the Sittingbourne circuit in the 1st of the runs was Mikey Walker, he headed Antony Parfett and Mason Bishop with a lap time of 1:01.961. For the second runs Eden Spanswick topped the times with a faster time of 1:01.765, showing that the circuit was becoming quicker, Walker was 2nd with Parfett 3rd. In the final run Bishop scorched around in a 1:01.654, proving to be the fastest time of the runs, Walker was again 2nd and finished at the top of the merged runs. Bishop secured second in the merge from Parfett 3rd, in 4th was Charlie Warren, 5th Sonny Mortenson, 6th Reg Heywood, from Harry Still, Jack Pullen, Spanswick who missed the first run and Timo Jungling in 10th.
Eight karts ventured onto the twisty technical circuit in the Junior classes, this consisted of 5 in the Max class, 2 in JX30 and 1 in the MiniX30 class.
Sean Berry and Thomas Lawson had a good tussle in the Max class, with Lawson leading initially and Berry tracking him down after earlier pre final problems. Berry soon took the lead and although Lawson briefly fought back, he couldn’t find another way past but still finished a close 2nd to the consistent Berry. Jack Steadman finished third and was the last of the runners in the class after Benjamin Boras and novice Dillon Stepney retired.
Max Herbert had proved the faster of the two JX30 runners in qualifying; however Daniel Gale headed him in both Pre finals. Come the final though Gale’s kart refused to start, this despite the efforts of his Dad and helpers on the dummy grid, even a couple of extra warm up laps didn’t help him, as he dropped in a lap behind before his kart had fired into life. Herbert no doubt used the race as an extended test session as he crossed the line to take the win, with Gale taking the fastest lap in his forlorn chase of the Project One kart. Kristian Brookes in the Mini class, sealed victory sadly without any on track opposition.
Junior Subaru UK B final
With a very impressive entry of 32 karts the Junior Subaru UK class required a B final, with the top four progressing through to the Grand Final. 16 karts fought for the 4 grid slots and put on a very entertaining display. Zac Spence isn’t somebody who you associate with in the B final and he had to fight hard in his Ambition kart to overcome an impressive Lewis Berry, who had led away from the start. Once in front of the DNL kart of Berry, Spence controlled the race with Berry glued to his bumper in 2nd. Ross Hastings drove well to come through a tight field to take 3rd, wiping the sweat away from his brow as he crossed the finish line! 4th and the last of those who would progress was Rookie Katherine White, fellow rookie Joseph Gethen was 5th. Lewis Deacon sealed the Plus category with his 11th place finish.
Having set blistering times in testing on Saturday, Jack Wall set the fastest time in Senior Max qualifying; it was very close though with his teammate Troy Beswick fractionally slower and Bobby Grove next up in third. Eleven drivers were within a second of each other in what has become a super competitive class at the Swale circuit. Chaos ensued at the first corner of the first Pre final with a number of drivers taking to the grass banking facing the wrong way! This gave Wall a breather over his nearest rivals as he went on to take the win. The second Pre final saw Wall again lead, although this only lasted to lap 5 as Grove had scythed his way through from 4th on the grid to take a lead that he would not lose.
We were then set for a tense final between the two Pre final winners on the front row, by the end of the first lap however the anticipated duel had been torn apart by Troy Beswick and Anton Stamp, as these two prevented Wall from staying with an absolutely switched on Grove, who was driving as though he was in a different class. It took the GMS kart of Wall until lap 8 to pass his teammate Beswick, who was showing great pace in the final. By this time the fat lady was singing and Grove was on his way to the top step of the podium, indeed he won by a comfortable 2.6 seconds over Wall despite the latter taking the fastest lap during his chase. Beswick was a second further back in a stellar third place after the 14 laps. Stamp’s early pace dropped off and ended in retirement after 6 laps, giving Drew Holmes 4th place. Steve Crow drove superbly up from 13th on the grid (after a visit to the popular turn 1 grass bank in the 2nd Pre final!) to finish 5th, setting the race’s third fastest lap behind Wall and winner Grove. Mike Ashby made a welcome return to the sharp end of the results with a fine drive to 6th, after some fierce dicing with Steven Bouffe 7th and Josh Young in 8th. Nichola Evans and Robert Walters completed the top 10. Karl Mepham overcame early carb problems to win the closely fought 177 class from Paul Williams.
In the Honda cadet class Zach Ripley looked the man to beat, nailing pole in qualifying and taking both of the Pre Final wins. His form continued in the final as he pulled an early gap over circuit returnees Owen Tolley and Oliver Greenall, who have been away on SuperOne duty this year. As the race reached its climax, the two chasers began to catch the seemingly impervious Evolution kart of Ripley, both working together to close down the lead. Ripley then made a small mistake and going into the last lap the chasers pounced, both passing the championship leading #36 kart of Ripley, Tolley still ahead of his season long rival Greenall. As the trio approached the chicane at the end of the lap, we all held our breath and wondered if Greenall would attempt to try a move, sure enough he did, but Tolley reacted covering the only line through the tight right hand corner, contact was inevitable with Tolley’s adversary unfortunately spearing off into the outside tyre wall. Ripley came through the melee to finish on the bumper of Ambition kart of Tolley as they crossed the finish line. Project One’s Oscar Tueten put in his best result with a fine third place after starting 2nd , finishing just ahead of Virtus driver Jack Clements in 4th. Greenall recovered to a disappointing 5th and although he did set the fastest lap, wasn’t happy with Tolley in parc ferme. Louis Horsley finished 6th after a race long battle with James Higgins in 7th. Completing the top 10 were Declan Russell, Ronnie Mansfield and Ryan Willis.
Junior Subaru UK Grand Final
The three Pre Finals for the Junior Subaru UK class, saw two wins for DNL driver Callum Gunning over fierce rival Riley Stephenson and a debut win for SAIT driver James Tomsett. Surprise pole sitter had been Joe Hunt and he continued his impressive form in the Pre Finals, with 2nd and 3rd place finishes. With the Gunning starting from pole and the Clarke Karts machine of Stephenson alongside, we had a repeat line up of the Buckmore Park start, tellingly this time Gunning managed to judge the start perfectly, with Stephenson falling into position behind him by the time they hit turn 1.The two Pre finals had the pair locked together once they were clear of the pack, this time they lead away from the start and together pulled a gap over Hunt. They then put on a superb display of controlled aggression, with the blue and yellow kart of Gunning setting the pace which the red and yellow kart of Stephenson matched. As with the preceding Pre Finals Callum managed to respond to any attack by quickly regaining control of the race before Riley got into a rhythm. It was great to watch these two at the top of their game, not losing any time over the pack as they fought hard but fair throughout the 13 lap race. As they began their final lap Stephenson appeared to slightly lose the tow to Gunning and although he closed back up, setting the fastest lap as he did so, he just failed to mount a challenge before the finish line, you could sense his disappointment as he tossed his head back on the approach the chequered flag, Gunning on the other hand showed his elation at winning with a clenched fist. This season is really bringing out the best in these two young stars.
Behind Hunt gallantly tried to hold onto the pair but with nobody to work with it was a vain effort. He was well clear of a tumultuous battle which was eventually won by Owen Hizzy, he just held off the impressive Lewie Weaver, Red Beswick, Jono Dalton and James Black in 8th place. Leon Clark finished 9th with B final winner Zac Spence moving through to 10th. Lewie Weaver was top Inter driver and top Rookie Katherine White managed to climb up to 14th.
14 drivers started the Clubman final, which had been moved to the end of the day after Reece Lomax had a ride in the circuit ambulance following an incident in Cadet Pre Final 2. Suitably recovered he joined the grid for the final, hoping to match his race winning pace which he set in Pre Final 2. Leon Frost had been on pole after qualifying and took the first Pre final win. Lomax led away from Joseph Knight at the start of the final with Frost close behind, after some initial shuffling between these three, Frost’s Clarke Kart headed the field, with the DNL Kart of Knight snapping at his rear bumper, Lomax’s RHP machine retook the lead between laps 8-10 before Knight and Frost usurped him. Going into the last lap Knight held the advantage with Frost and Lomax trying everything they knew to get past, as they approached the finish line, Knight was already celebrating unaware that Frost had pulled up alongside, he just held on to break the timing beam first but it had been very close. Post race Knight’s jubilation was shattered when an engine irregularity meant he lost his hard earned win, handing the victory to Clubman man of the moment Frost. Lomax who had been disappointed with third, no doubt felt better with the second place he now inherited. Nathan Marques had a great race to take the final podium spot from top novice Joshua Rudd in 4th. Ethan Barford was 5th, Luke Hayward 6th. The top 10 was completed by Ben Witham, Damian Baruss-Haggett, Ian Marginean and Jack Theobald. Chris Doble (11th) who had an early race spin took the race’s fastest lap.
Report and images courtesy of Paul Babington