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Feb’rrr’uary’s icy ‘Beast from the East’ fails to stop the karting action
The opening round of the Bayford Meadows kart championship took place on Sunday 25th February, on a bitterly cold but sunny day at the Sittingbourne circuit. Good grid sizes were the order of the day and the event ran very smoothly despite one red flag incident amongst the Clubman Standard class drivers. Morning qualifying, two Pre Finals and a Grand Final were ran for each class, with the Bambinos running over three timed runs.
O’Sullivan tops the Bambino times
Oscar O’Sullivan fresh from a racing trip to Dubai, topped the day’s three Bambino timed runs. Under the experienced guidance of Paul Janes at Ambition Motorsport, Oscar whipped his blue kart around with an average lap speed of nearly 58 km/h, with a big smile on his face as he did so! Jayden Sherwood finished second in two of the timed runs to annex the runner up spot over the merged times, his Clarke kart run machine just getting to within one second of the rapid Oscar during the second of the runs.
Fletcher Jamieson took third in the merged times; he was second after the first timed runs, before slipping behind Jayden thereafter. Kristian Stefanov continued to improve with fourth overall in his gleaming red Wright kart. Harry Freeman’s shiny blue Wright kart took 5th, Charlie Warren 6th, Jack Pullen 7th, Alfie Howland 8th, Ayda Sexton, Rio’s King and Licata were 9th, 10th and 11th overall.
Perilly holds off Frost to take Clubman Elite class
The first of the afternoon’s Grand Finals was for the 18 kart Honda Clubman Elite class. Two drivers managed to pull clear from the start with Project One’s Jamie Perilly leading away from Leon Frost. The two pulled a clear gap over Project One’s Nathan Marques, who was trying everything he could to stay with the pair ahead, whilst pulling clear of those behind. Ian Marginean was similarly comfortable in 4th leaving a scrapping bunch behind him. Ethan Barford initially led this group from Luke Hayward until Jai Lawrence and Jack Theobald moved ahead.
Back at the front it looked as though ‘Frosty’ was saving his challenge on leader Perilly for the last lap, that was until he missed the last lap board and sat watching Jamie celebrating as he crossed the finish line at the end of the 12 lap race, the pair just 0.077 seconds apart. Marques and Marginean were comfortable in 3rd and 4th, Theobald snatched 5th from Lawrence on the last lap, Barford took 6th from Hayward, both enjoying competitive runs. Vinnie Lloyd and Chris Doble completed the top 10. Frost took the fastest lap on the 11th tour.
Lee saves his best for the final in Junior Clubmax
In the 11 kart Junior Clubmax class, Clarke Karts Riley Stephenson took both of the Pre Final wins from Project One’s Declan Lee and looked to be the favorite for the 13 lap Grand Final. The rolling start was delayed while Lewis Boret tried to catch up following problems on the dummy grid and when it did start Lee managed to get the jump on pole man Stephenson into turn 1. This proved crucial as he could then control the race at his own pace. Behind these two Zac Spence couldn’t quite match the leading pair’s pace, he pulled clear of Joshua Pullen though in 4th.
There was a great battle over 5th, as James Black was caught out with a tardy getaway at the rolling start, allowing Oliver Bullion through. It took Black until lap 5 to pass Bullion after several earlier attempts, by this time Pullen was several seconds up the road ahead. At the head of the field Lee was doing everything he could to keep the eager Stephenson behind and proved successful by taking an eventual 0.33 second win over the #87 kart. Spence was 4 seconds back in 3rd at the finish, with Pullen a similar distance back in 4th. Black’s hard work in 5th was lost as he took a nose fairing penalty after earlier contact with Bullion dropping him to 8th. The latter Bullion – lost a further spot to William Egby who took 5th and then Bullion succumbed to Jack Richards before recovering 6th place on the final lap with Richards 7th.
Ross Hastings who is looking for set up improvements before the next round of the championship finished 9th from Harvey Colyerwallis in 10th. Lewis Boret had to retire after 3 laps when his kart refused to run cleanly. The fastest lap fell to Stephenson during his efforts to pass the eventual winner Lee.
White takes classy Junior Subaru UK win for Clarke karts
Katherine White has begun the year in style and on Sunday she put down her marker for the 2018 Junior Subaru UK title. With dominant wins in both the morning Pre Finals behind her, she followed up with a comfortable victory in the afternoon’s 13 lap Grand Final. Her margin of victory was 0.7 seconds over one of the pre-season favorites – Sait motorsport’s James Tomsett, as he tried in vain to hold onto her Clarke karts rear bumper. Although the first two positions were settled early on, the battle for third raged throughout the races’ duration.
Lewie Weaver, Harvey Roffe, Red Beswick and finally Leon Clark held the position at one point through the race, with Clark sealing it on the 11th lap, an entertaining battle typical of the competitive class. 4th went the way of GMS driver Beswick, from teammate Weaver in 5th, Roffe in his newly livered orange CHR Karting kart was 6th, Sonic racing’s Louis Barker finished 7th from Roffe’s teammate Charlie Hand in 8th. 9th fell to Jonathan Dalton and 10th from the 23 kart entry was Joseph Gethin. The fastest lap went to Roffe on the very last lap of the race.
Girl power leads the way in the Clubman Standard class, as Jessica White emulates her sister
An excellent entry of 23 karts lined up for the burgeoning class, a positive statement for the year ahead for the circuit management .Jessica White had just seen her elder sibling win the Junior Subaru UK final and was keen to try and match her result. She had been on fine form driving her Clarke kart during the Pre Finals taking two wins and she rocketed off of the line in the Grand Final. Her teammate Chloe Chong followed her away from the standing start, with Harry Chamberlin and Ralph Jungling behind. As the race wore on the two Clarke karts continued to pull clear, with White looking safe from Chong in 2nd place.
The two girls were setting a fine pace eventually cruising to the chequered flag 5 seconds ahead of the 3rd place driver Ralf Jungling who passed Chamberlin midrace. Chamberlin was 4th just ahead of a hard charging Rylee Brown in 5th, who had recovered from a low grid start due to a Pre Final 2 spin. Kaiser Reimann was 6th, Rylan Echberg 7th, Thomas Bearman 8th, Matthew Copsey 9th and Zain Khan 10th. White capped her 2.7 second win by also taking the fastest lap, something that her sister couldn’t quite do.
Hunt picks up first Senior win as Springate is disqualified in Senior Clubmax
A respectable twelve karts were entered for the inaugural Senior Clubmax championship round. Ambition racing’s Rob Springate had everything going to plan by winning the Pre Finals and Grand Final; however a post-race engine check found an irregularity, which was a rule book non-compliance leading to his exclusion. With Springate’s demise the win went to Joe Hunt who was once again driving for the Project One team. This marked his first win since progressing from the Junior Subaru UK class, in which he ran last year. It was also a great recovery from his hefty crash from last month when he was sucked into the tyre barrier on the start/finish straight. Hunt had to fight hard for the win as Bobby Grove held the position for the majority of the race, until the Project One kart found a way past going into the 12th lap of 14. It was good to see Grove back racing at Bayford Meadows and a good yardstick for his competitors to judge their pace.
Grove fell to 1.2 seconds behind at the finish but was 4 seconds clear of LICA’s Mike Ashby in 3rd, who earned a place on the podium on merit, with consistent pace all day. Ashby ran alone having cleared the enthralling fight over 4th place early on, which was won by Mark Figes driving in the 177 class, showing the 162 drivers behind him some experienced race craft. Tom Richards and Stephen Bouffe (Club classic winner) were next up, locked together with Figes and Ryan Haines all race. Josh Bacon was a couple of seconds back in 7th with James Popple and Will Barnes completing the finishers.
Class debutant Lewis Deacon had a dreadful day after a very promising 5th place in qualifying, when his kart refused to run cleanly despite every attempt to cure it between races. I’m sure he will be very eager to complete some race laps next month. Of the classified finishers, Grove took the fastest lap, the only driver to break into the 46 second bracket apart from the disqualified Springate.
Report and images courtesy of Paul Babington