Close racing in every class as the summer championship begins
BPKC’s summer championship began on Easter Sunday at the Chatham circuit and with the predicted rain absent, the competitors enjoyed some tremendously close racing.
With the Cadet ‘0’ plate Festival event coming up in just two weeks’ time, this was the last chance for the teams and drivers in the Honda and IAME classes, to fine tune their karts settings, to the fast and undulating circuit.
Ripley takes the Honda 0 plate warm up
Lucas Ellingham had looked one of the favourites for the Honda Cadet final, with wins in both the heat and pre final. Indeed he led the 12 lap final from the front of the 26 kart grid up until the 7th lap, when Aston Millar made a bid for race honours bringing Zach Ripley through with him. Ripley took the lead on lap 10 as Millar and Ellingham were caught up in the frenetic dash to the flag. Alfie Rigby had latched onto the local driver Ripley’s bumper and the two pulled a small gap over their pursuers, which they held onto the finish. Archie Brown finished where he had started in third, somehow coming out in front of a very close group of hungry drivers as they crossed the finish line. Millar was 4th, with Archie Walker making up two spots over his grid position to finish a fine 5th, Oliver Gray was very close behind in 6th, with a disappointed Ellingham in 7th, just two tenths covered 3rd to 7th places. Liam McNeilly, Declan Russell and Jack Clements round out the top ten. Winner Zach Ripley whipped his Evolution run kart around to the fastest lap on his way to victory and now sets himself up as the man to beat in the upcoming ‘0’ plate event.
Maksymillian Solarski driving for the 303 squadron took the Clubman class win from Jack Theobald, Amy Brunton and Macie Hitter, Jack Matthews and Jai Lawrence ended their race in a first hairpin incident involving several other karts.
Appleby turns his day around with an empathic win in Junior Max
In the Junior class Oliver Appleby (KPi) almost had a day to forget, after picking up a front fairing penalty in the heat and then suffering an incident in the pre final, which dropped him to the back, before recovering to third place behind the two Project One karts of Ben Fayers and Henry Ayers. Things went to plan in the final however for the Essex lad, as he fought his way through to head the final after 2 laps. The Project One pairing could not live with the superbly driven KPi kart finishing 1.7 seconds behind after 14 laps, Ayers finishing in front of the fast starting Fayers. William Newham finished 4th after Ryan Chapman retired and Joshua Wellard recovered well too, from a low grid slot (due to a nose drop penalty in the pre final) to place 5th, Lewis Boret finished 6th. Winner Appleby secured the fastest lap on the fourth tour.
Barnard dominates the day in IAME Cadets
A large grid of 20 karts lined up for the IAME Cadet final. Two drivers had dominated the qualifying races -Taylor Barnard and Matthew Rees. This was then repeated in the final itself when Barnard held the lead for every lap except on lap 10, when Rees did manage to find a way past the #7 kart of Barnard, but the latter reclaimed the premier position back on the next lap holding off Rees of to the chequered flag taking the win. Behind these two a titanic battle was going on for the final podium position. Alex Dunne and Maxwell Dodds swapped 3rd place until late in the race when Dunne slipped back to an eventual 7th, this after nose drop penalties were enforced on others. Dodds secured the third spot, just from Oliver Gray and Archie Mace in 4th and 5th.Arvid Lindblad finished sixth in front of Dunne, Freddie Slater, Christopher Draper and Sam Shaw completing the top 10. The fastest lap was taken by the winner Taylor Barnard.
TKMs return to produce a thriller
For this month the club had a visit from the TKM Extreme class and they provided a very competitive and close final. Contact on the first lap at hairpin 1, forced Lucas Sullivan and Daniel Burgess out, with James Buckingham delayed. At the front Owain Rosser, Peter Newman and Alex Rees fought amongst themselves over first place, displaying some excellent race craft and close action. After a fraught 13 laps of classic TKM racing, it was Newman who took the win from Rosser, with Rees and William Lakin close behind in 3rd and 4th, less than a second covering the four. Matthew Ayres was 5th, from Curtis Grainger, novice Rob Aston, Lewis Bickers and the delayed Buckingham. The fastest lap went on lap 3 to Alex Rees.
Prince takes JX30 win for Ambition, while Brookes wins in MX30 for Evolution
The Junior and Mini X30 class finals were combined and both provided great action packed races. In the Junior X30 class, Freddy Simpson-Stacey, Daniel Gale and Alfie Prince took turns in leading and it was really hard to pick a winner from the trio, Rupert Flynn was close by waiting to pick up any pieces from the battling three. On lap 11 contact out of my sight down at the bottom of the circuit between the leaders Gale and Simpson-Stacey, saw the race take a dramatic turn, as Gale crossed the line with his rear bumper hanging off and Simpson-Stacey with hefty damage to his nose fairing. Gale received a black flag for the damage to his kart, his race over. Prince took full advantage of the incident and regained the lead from Simpson-Stacey, then pushing on to take a delighted win in his Ambition run kart. Flynn had closed up to finish 2nd with the damaged Evolution kart of Simpson-Stacey taking a nose drop penalty in 3rd, the only other class runner Archie Garlic went out with a hefty collision after 6 laps. Gale took some recompense with the fastest lap before his retirement.
In the Mini X30 class it was Evolution versus Ambition again with a fast starting Kristian Brookes tussling with Charlie Typaldo-Cole throughout, Fraser Bunton was in close attendance after leading a lap early on. The three crossed the line with Brookes being at the front when it mattered taking the win, on his bumper was Typaldo-Cole and Brunton after an enthralling race. Frankie Taylor and Nooris Gafoor finished 4th and 5th.
Nail-biting final goes the way of Brown in Rotax, while Gent breaks the outright circuit record in X30
The Seniors ended the day with their final. In the Rotax class Lewis Brown driving his blue GMS Wildkart fought off the close attentions of Kit Brough in his privately run well sorted Kosmic Kart for the full 12 laps, Brough just failing to find a way past the consistent Brown. Lewis Ridd couldn’t live with the two circuit regulars in front but he had his hands full trying to fend off the challenges of both Robert Springate and Max Read, finishing in those positions. Novice Drew Holmes was the remaining Rotax runner in 6th, just three seconds behind the battle for 3rd. The X30 class fell apart in early in the day with novice Michael Hafford hitting starter motor gremlins and James Hills also non-starting the final. This left an on fire Harry Gent to enjoy an extended test session as he brought himself up onto the back of the battle for Rotax 3rd place to cement the class win.Gent in his KPi kart had broken the outright lap record (38.760) during his first heat, proving that he and his Dad had his set up absolutely spot on, this they can no doubt take away for their upcoming races.
That ended a day of great racing in every class, karting at its best slickly run by the BPKC. Next up are the ABkC ’0’ plate Cadet festival over the weekend of April 28/29th, followed then by the Kent Championships, which make their appearance at the circuit on May 21st.
Report and images courtesy of Paul Babington