A wet and newly upgraded circuit greeted the competitors for practice and qualifying on Sunday morning, with the conditions persisting under the grey overcast skies early into the afternoon.
With the passing of a good karting friend in Steve Palmer, many of the Honda cadet teams and drivers paid tributes to the ‘Boss’ engine tuner and former British Rallycross champion, during the day. Fittingly it was the Honda Clubman class that started the afternoon’s finals, for this weekend they were joined by a selection of colourful IAME karts.
Alex Ley (DKr) and Franklyn Taylor (Virtus) led away the two classes for the 15 lap race. Ley who has been on fine form this year, pulled a sizeable gap in the early laps and from then on had the race under control, finishing with both his arms raised aloft in a victory salute over the finishing line, 5.8 seconds in front of the next Clubman Zac Walters, a novice driver showing impressive pace. Mika Renzullo was close behind in 3rd from Aston Millar, Alfie Brooks and Ryan Willis.
Craig Morgan won the IAME class comfortably from the visiting Goundry sisters of Tilly and Sienna, with Archie Mace in 4th. A mention must go out to Josh Hoy (DNL), who found himself covered in fuel in the early laps of the Prefinal leading to an early pit stop, he managed a ‘dry’ 10th in the final.
The Mini Max class had some visiting Super One stars, which bolstered the grid for this month and entertained us with their presence. KPi run Jenson Butterfield, looked to have found something with his set up that the others couldn’t achieve, when he bolted away in the early laps of the final. For the majority of the race’s 15 laps he looked in total control, driving beautifully, only for a sudden lack of pace near the end see him become sucked into the pack behind. A frantic last lap witnessed highly rated Coles driver, Jonny Edgar go from 4th to 1st, with Tom Canning a mere 0.11 seconds behind, Butterfield clinched the final podium slot after Dexter Patterson was given a 10 place penalty. Clayton Ravenscroft finished 4th from Ben Burgess and James Wharrier in 6th.
The biggest grid of the day was for the Honda Cadet runners, with 26 karts taking to the now dry track. Ben Fayers and Oliver Bearman had a slight edge over the rest in the qualifying races but somehow managed to trip over each other at the paddock bend on the last lap of the Prefinal, this gave Kristian Brookes (Evolution) a front row start for the final alongside Fayers (Project One), with Bearman starting 4th. It was the pole man that led to the end of the first lap with a gap over Wesley Mason and Bearman. It took last month’s winner Bearman 6 laps to snatch the lead from Fayers, but tellingly he could not pull away. Fayers slotted back in front on lap 11 before the Virtus driver Bearman snatched it back. It was all down to the last lap for these young stars to sort out who would be this month’s victor amongst them and this time it was the #6 kart of Fayers who took the win, Bearman came out worse for wear during the last lap scramble to finish 3rd, in-between these two was Mason who had driven very well in the 0 plate kart. Alex Eades took the fastest lap and 4th from front row man Brookes in 5th, with Archie Brown taking 6th. Ambition racing’s Sebastian Bloch climbed 9 places to finish 7th, a great drive for the #97 kart.
Joe Turney started on pole for the Junior Max final but after slipping to third, then disappeared from the results on lap 7. Enjoying a great fight for the lead was Charlie Bennett and Tyler Chesterton, both whom took it in turn to head the field with the latter holding sway comfortably until the last lap, this was when Bennett mounted his master plan, flinging his Project One kart up the inside of Chesterton into turn 1. The two of them went side by side throughout the corner, a real battle of wits between the two teenagers, Bennett held onto the inside down to the first hairpin to assume lead, a decisive move from a driver who is revelling in his new chassis capabilities. He then held on to take an emphatic win over Chesterton, Scott Symons, Oliver Appleby, Harry Gent and Sean Berry.
The Junior X30 class had their own final this month in what has become an increasingly popular class. Fusion’s Louie Westover led in turn 1 from Ambition racing’s Luke Whitehead and Alicia Goundry, who was being run by the KPi team. Westover and Whitehead swapped the lead until the Ambition driven kart settled into a pace that the others couldn’t match on lap 5, Whitehead eventually winning by 2.4 seconds over Timothy Amandi. This was a defining moment for young Luke after a desperately unlucky start to his season and you could tell it meant something gauging by the huge grin on his face after the race ! Amandi had driven well to take the runner up spot from Goundry, Westover, Alfie Glennie and Freddy Simpson-Stacey in 6th.
The Senior Max final win looked as though it would be the property of Jack Bartholomew after a very impressive run in the qualifying heats. Away from the start he had looked in control until disaster struck down at the bottom end of the circuit on lap 2, when his kart threw its chain, this was galling for a driver who wanted to go into his car racing season with a win under his belt, however the knowledge that he is to drive the Beechdean Aston Martin GT4 this week in Spain, soon made up for that. Spectators were denied the race they were looking forward to, as Elliot Rice would surely have taken the fight to ‘Barty’, even though he couldn’t quite match his pace in the heats. For the young family man Rice, it was another crushing win over his rival Rotax drivers, visiting Tom Croydon took second 5.6 seconds behind, David Wright finished 3rd from Max Aitken, who had looked fast in the heats, Stephanie Le Vesconte finished 5th and Jamie Mcgeoghan the 177 class win.
In the Senior X30 class Ben Steward impressed with a great drive to the chequer to take the win, just under two seconds ahead of Rory Smith, Chris Bridle took 3rd with twin brother Edward 4th, Scott Lee 5th.
Next month brings the final round of the series, dropped nose regulations, more circuit upgrades and hopefully some sunny weather !
Report and photos by Paul Babington
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