Subarus sizzle at September club event
Some welcome early autumn sunshine welcomed the competitors to Sittingbourne’s Bayford Meadows on Sunday for round 8 of the club championships. The Junior Subaru UK class proving to be the highlight of the day with an excellent 28 kart entry.
Reg Heywood tops the times in Bambinos
Reg Heywood topped the results for the three timed runs, this after the fastest competitor in the 2nd and 3rd runs – Mason Bishop was excluded post event. Antony Parfett who finished second twice in the three runs got the closest to Heywood, finishing 0.27 seconds behind in the 2nd run. Mikey Walker finished 3rd behind Parfett in the first two runs and then 2nd in the third run. Charlie Warren and Laith Khan were 4th and 5th in all three runs, Sebastian Minns, Kristian Stefanov and Sonny Mortensen shared the remaining positions.
Nathan Marques in control of the Clubman class
The Cadet Clubman class began the afternoon’s finals and with Joseph Knight and Reece Lomax taking a Pre Final win each; leaving us anticipating a close final between the two. Nathan Marques had other ideas though as he took the lead on the second tour of the 13 lap final. Lomax who had led the first lap latched onto the back of the Project One kart of Marques and appeared to be waiting for his chance to pounce. Behind Knight slipped back, unable to match the leading duo’s pace and had one of his season long rivals – Leon Frost breathing down his neck. Ian Marginean who had looked a threat after the Pre Finals, sat just behind the Knight/Frost pairing, just unable to tow around with them. As the race progressed we waited for Lomax to make his move on Marques and as we went into the final lap he looked set to strike, Marques though, a product of the Bayford Meadows Bambino class, held his cool and took a narrow win, with Lomax just 0.083 seconds behind. Trailing these two just under two seconds back was the duo of Knight and Frost, even when working together they couldn’t close down the two leaders. Marginean finished a comfortable 5th, a little further back Luke Hayward looked set to take a fine 6th until novice Ethan Barford snatched the place on the last lap, this being a fitting reward after his kart was virtually written off last time out at Lydd. Behind Hayward was Finley Watson 8th, Josh Rudd 9th and Vinnie Lloyd 10th. Nathan Marques completed his successful day by taking the fastest lap on the 7th tour.
Declan Lee delivers in Junior Rotax while Scott Sumpton takes solo win in JX30
Project One’s Declan Lee had the perfect day at Bayford Meadows on Sunday, taking wins in both Pre Finals and then a comfortable victory in the Grand Final, although he missed out on the fastest lap to cap it off. Lee pulled away from the start and then controlled the race pace over the next 14 laps. Behind Thomas Lawson held off a spirited challenge from Lee’s teammate Jack Steadman, who took the fastest lap during his challenge. There was never much between the pair who finished 1.5 seconds behind the winner. Benjamin Boras was 4th from Jake Kolosowski in 5th .Dillon Stepney was 6th from a troubled karting returnee Max Goodwin in 7th. Scott Sumpton enjoyed mixing it with the Rotax runners as the only JX30 entry in his Virtus run kart.
Zach Ripley romps to crushing Cadet win
The Cadet class was once again the property of one driver, driving his Evolution run kart Zach Ripley dominated both Pre Finals before romping away to win the Grand Final in style. Having already been out testing in the Mini X30 class for next year, he was keen to see off his last few Cadet races in style, his 4.7 second margin of victory was proof of that. Behind Ripley a hot battle was played out under the warm sunshine between James Higgins and Ronnie Mansfield. The duo had taken a 2nd place each in the Pre Finals and their battle continued into the final. Initially Mansfield had the runner up spot covered until Higgins, still a relative novice in the class, made his move on lap 4, managing to hold on over the remainder of the race. Oscar Teuten, Matthew Hyde, Declan Russell and Louis Horsley squabbled over the remaining positions finishing in that order from 4th down to 7th. Jai Lawrence and Jamie Perilly had their own little entertaining dice over 8th and 9th, Perilly actually spinning out of the last corner in his efforts to beat Lawrence. Not unsurprisingly winner Ripley took the fastest lap.
Lewis Ridd returns and takes Senior Max win
The Senior Rotax class looked a close run affair up until the first corner of the Grand Final. Birthday boy Jack Wall’s kart refused to fire up on the dummy grid, despite some vigorous attempts to cure the fault by GMS team members, taking out one of the challengers on the spot. Two more contenders were eliminated at turn 1, when Steve Crow and Troy Beswick argued over the same piece of Bayford Meadows real estate! Both were left on the outside of the corner shaking their heads. This gave pole man Lewis Ridd a comfortable lead on his return to the club championship, also securing the two Pre Final wins. Stephen Bouffe found himself in 2nd place, a remarkable effort after suffering two engine failures over the weekend, he was ahead Mike Ashby in 3rd, the two beginning a race long battle of the fifty somethings. In the 177 class Paul Williams and Karl Mepham continued their day long rivalry with the latter leading initially, until Williams managed to find a way pass, thankfully without the two making contact as they had done earlier. Mepham later retired leaving an easy class win to a delighted Williams. With two laps to go Ashby driving with a swollen hand (after earlier Pre Final contact with Mepham), had dropped off the back of the LICA kart of Bouffe, he now had his hands full of keeping the recovering Crow and Beswick, behind him. Ashby stoically defended and held onto his well-deserved 3rd place, behind the absolutely chuffed Bouffe, who now claims be the oldest 2nd place finisher in the class at Bayford Meadows! Crow and Beswick were left wondering what might have been in 4th and 5th, especially as the GMS kart of Beswick took the fastest lap, Williams finished 6th.
Junior Subaru UK
With a bumper 28 kart entry the Junior Subaru UK class required a B Final, of which the top four finishers progressed into the main Grand Final later in the proceedings. Joe Wood took a comfortable 2 second win over Jono Dalton, who along with Owen Hizzy in 3rd, had had a dreadful day thus far. Hizzy had earlier been involved a frightening looking accident at one of the fastest parts of the circuit, thankfully he was released from the on circuit medical team and cleared to race on. The final qualifier was Novice Max Lee. Catlin May, Oliver Martynski, a frustrated Lewis Deacon and Tom Richards with front bumper penalty missed out.
Grand Final – Stephenson digs deep to take a valuable win
With the drivers split into A,B and C groups each had two Pre Finals. The top 3 in each were Callum Gunning from James Tomsett and Harvey Roffe in the 1st, James Tomsett, from Riley Stephenson and Gunning in the 2nd, the third Pre Final having Stephenson winning from Joe Hunt and James Black. Surprise pole man for the Grand Final was James Tomsett, the SAIT Motorsport driver really standing out as one to watch for the race win. Championship rivals Stephenson (Clark karts), Gunning (DNL) and Black ( SAIT) lined up next on the grid. The 23 four stroke karts blasted off over 13 laps of the 1000km twisty Swale circuit, still under warm sunny skies, snaking their way through the fast turn 1 and down into the tight right handed first hairpin, making for a spectacular sight. Early on Gunning had his head down as he pushed to the front, relegating Tomsett and Stephenson, after 4 laps though it was clear that he wasn’t going to pull a lead on this particular day, as Tomsett grabbed the lead back. Gunning and Stephenson then continued their earlier Pre Final battle, with a superb display of close and clean racing, letting Tomsett pull away. Stephenson’s determination eventually shone through as he cleared Gunning and set off after the leader.
Gunning held his position but just could not match the pace of Stephenson at this stage of the race. Behind this trio Black had held a comfortable 4th until his brake started to bind, forcing him to slip back in the train and eventually to retire, a disappointing end for him after an excellent build up to the final. The battle train for 4th place was pretty hectic, with place changes galore, initially Ross Hastings took over from Black’s demise until he slipped back, giving the place to DNL’s Lewis Berry, who held on until two laps from the end when a charging Leon Clark usurped him to make the place his own, this after starting from the rear of the Pre Finals due to a qualifying disaster, a commendable effort. Berry held onto to a stellar 5th just in front of two drivers who had started back in 14th and 15th, Joe Hunt and Lewie Weaver, fine recovery drives from both. Back at the front Stephenson’s determined effort had brought him onto the tail of Tomsett and he took the lead on lap 8, he then managed to pull clear to the tune of 1.14 seconds at the finish, his jubilation was clear to see as he crossed the finish line, setting down a real marker to his championship rivals. Tomsett was delighted with 2nd, Gunning probably a little bemused in 3rd. The remaining top 10 at the finish were as follows – Clark 4th, Berry 5th, Hunt 6th, Weaver 7th, Hastings 8th, Roffe 9th and Zac Spence in 10th. Owen Hizzy recovered well from his earlier crash by taking the Plus class, Hastings took the Inters and Joe Gethin finished as the top novice in 15th overall.
Joe Hunt grabbed the fastest lap during his progression up through the field. It had been a cracking final, great to watch with exciting racing throughout, as the class goes from strength to strength. Next month the championship visits Buckmore Park on 15th October for what should be another closely fought event.
Report and images courtesy of Paul Babington