Siberian blast does little to freeze the on track excitement !
Bayford Meadows kicked off their 2016 club championships with a healthy entry gracing the Swale circuit on a bitterly cold Fe’brrr’uary weekend.
The Bambino class had three runs around the 1100metre circuit, with Blake Ticehurst topping the merged point’s total; he was just two points clear of Sherrie Powell, with Tighe Wratten 3rd and Marco Horsley 4th.
The Honda Clubman class started off the first of the afternoon’s finals. Mika Renzullo (Ambition) led the opening 3 laps from the pole until Alfie Brooks (AJB Racing) took over the position on lap 4 and held onto a comfortable lead until the completion of the 12 laps. Behind, on lap 6 Renzullo had problems, as KPi drivers Josh Wellard, Jamie Perilly and Jack Matthews were caught up in a tumultuous battle, which allowed Wellard and Perilly through past the Ambition kart, Matthews had a half spin and dropped a few places and poor Ryan Willis (Project One) was taken of the race through contact. Within a lap or two Matthews was back battling for 4th and grabbed it from Renzullo on the 9th lap. The scrap for 5th was really hotting up and was highly entertaining for those watching in front of the Bayford Diner with karts at times five abreast along the start/finish straight! At the conclusion Brooks won by 3.6 seconds, dedicating his win to the late Boss engine builder Steve Palmer, the KPi trio of Wellard, Perilly and Matthews finished 2nd, 3rd and 4th. Corbin Newbury (DNL) had driven with maturity that belies his tender age and experience to take 5th from top novice Mitchell Gibbons (Ambition) in 6th. Renzullo ended up a dejected 7th.
Another KPi star Oliver Appleby come of age in the Junior Rotax class by taking a good win over last year’s championship runner up Liam Carter, who was no doubt feeling a bit rusty in his Team Bull kart but still clear of Sean Berry (Privateer) in 3rd place, the top three positions were static from the third lap, behind though there was some shuffling going on with James Freeman (Privateer) taking a good 4th from Luke Freestone (Team Bull) in 5th. Joshua Young battled his striking blue ‘Tyreart’ kart up to 6th from the back of the grid. Aaron Fearon wasn’t far behind in 7th from the two Wavetree drivers, Sam Attard and Ben Gosling.
The Junior X30 class had their own final this month and it certainly got off to a bang! Max Goodwin (GMS) who was looking forward to his first final in the class, had his kart refuse to complete the warm up lap, he was beached out the back of the circuit with his engine back firing alarmingly, certainly enough to scare the local Sittingbourne Seagull ! Luke Shopland (Evolution) also struggled early on with his engine proving temperamental too before retiring. This left last year’s Mini Max champion – Ronnie Foster (Evolution), to power off into the distance and win, 8 seconds clear of last month’s dominant victor Bobby Grove (Privateer) in 2nd place, he was a further 6 seconds in front of class debutant Jenson Harvey (GMS) in 3rd and Finlay Cross (Ambition) 3 seconds back in 4th.
With only one more BMKC event before the Honda Cadet ‘0’ plate event, nailing that magical race day setup is becoming all the more important. Mother Nature played her part in confusing everyone by providing a short shower for qualifying, thus confusing many parents/mechanics over the ideal tyre choice for the all-important 10 minute session. Of the top four in qualifying, Callum Tadman was the only driver who had the pace to fight for the final win. He started from the pole in his newly livered black and green kart, with Evolution driver Kristian Brookes alongside, DRS driver Zak Ripley was back on the pace in 3rd and Oliver Greenall (Evolution) in 4th. Tadman held the lead for the first two laps before losing pace and slipping to 4th; Ripley had taken the lead closely perused by the yellow and white karts of Brookes and Greenall, these three steadily pulling a decisive gap over Tadman. It was very close and tense at the front with Ripley swapping the lead with Brookes – Greenall too had a moment in front before the white blue and red kart of Ripley led going into the last lap. All eyes were on the front two on the run down to the bottom hairpin and sure enough, Greenall pulled an audacious move on Ripley, with two wheels on the inside kerbs, he squeezed inside the right rear corner of Ripley’s kart, Zak tried to hold him off but was forced sideways losing momentum, an opportunist Brookes grasped the chance to take advantage and nicked the second spot over the remainder of the lap. Greenall it was then who crossed the line 1st, showing the crowd just who he thought was the #1! Ripley couldn’t retaliate to Brookes and finished 3rd. Just 1.1 seconds covered the three at the line, with the trio proving that they are ready for the ‘0’ plate event.
Callum Tadman had dropped 4.7 seconds behind the winner but had nearly a 4 second advantage over a charging Sam Heading, who had yet another disastrous qualifying session and first Prefinal, which left him starting the final in 12th place. Last month’s winner Oliver Bearman finished 6th in a four kart battle that was covered by just 0.3 seconds, Archie Brown was bouncing up and down in his seat in 7th, Theo Micoris up to 8th from 15th and Max Herbert in 9th, rounding out the top 10 was Liam McNeilly.
With 23 juniors in the Subaru class lined up fireworks were expected and they didn’t disappoint! Troy Beswick (GMS) held the lead until just over half distance before last month’s winner George Leeves (Clarke karts) found a way through, this he held until his teammate Riley Stephenson found his way to the front, with some excellent passing that he couldn’t quite make stick last month. John Victory and Ross Connolly joined in with the aforementioned drivers to give us at times some thrilling three abreast racing, perhaps Ian Ward the circuit boss should make the circuit wider for these guys and girls ! Further back a fired up Cameron Poynton was involved in a nasty looking crash with Dillan Lewis on lap 4. With both karts stuck together and partially blocking the track, young Cameron shrugged off her immediate disappointment by jumping out and separating their entwined karts, she then jumped back in and drove flat out to the chequered flag; no doubt her run of bad luck will change soon as she certainly has the fight to succeed,Dillan Lewis wasn’t going anywhere with a bent axle side lining him. At the flag Stephenson took a great win for his mum and all at Clarke karts, John Victory took 2nd with Beswick completing the podium, Connolly took 4th from one time leader Leeves, Charlie Nash was close behind in 6th.
Spencer Younger (Privateer) comfortably took the spoils in the Senior Rotax class, he finished 6.1 seconds in front of a race long dice between Jake Wall (GMS) and returnee to the class after a leg breaking 2015 – Steve Crow (Privateer), the part time Uckfield DJ qualified poorly but kept the pressure on last month’s winner Wall. Mike Ashby (Privateer) had made a lightning start as he did last month only this time he tangled with Darren Bartlett (DG) at one of the infield hairpins, the resulting heavy contact ended both driver’s races. Zephan Richfield (DG) took a good 4th from Stephen Bouffe and a delayed Karl Meopham in 6th.
The last race of the day was for the Mini Max class. The LICA trio of Thomas Rotherham, Ben Boras and Ben Cowley, took on the Project One karts of Henry Ayres and Declan Lee. Rotherham dominated the final after having a couple of close Prefinal races, Declan Lee threatened but fell back to 4th at the flag. It was Ayres who finished 2.5 seconds behind in 2nd, with Boras 3rd, Cowley rounded out the top 5.
Report and Photos by Paul Babington