Round 4 of the BPKC summer championships took place under warm and dry conditions, with the threat of afternoon rain thankfully not materialising.
Clark dominates in Bambinos
The Bambino class opened the afternoon’s finals, with Archie Clark cementing a clean sheet for the day with the fastest lap to take the win. Eden Spanswick was 0.250 seconds behind in 2nd and big Lewis Hamilton fan Freddy Duncan 3rd. Alexi Sorial was 4th in front of the winner’s brother Benjamin Clark in 5th. Novice Laith Khan , Oscar Cheasley and Sebastian Minns completed the classified finishers, Mason Bishop suffered an exclusion post race for an engine irregularity.
Gale takes another win in JX30 as Hardy seals debut Mini X30 victory
The Junior X30 and Mini X30 classes both proved to be very competitive this month. Freddy Simpson-Stacey won the Pre Final just from Daniel Gale, the Evolution kart a mere 0.09 secs ahead of the Roalf racing run kart, Ben Fayers was in touch too finishing 3rd in his Project One machine. The final continued as the Pre final left off with Simpson-Stacey and Gale exchanging the lead at the head of the field. Fayers had established himself in 3rd from welcome returnee Alfie Brookes in 4th. Disaster struck two of these four at the front on lap 6,when leader Simpson-Stacey had a mechanical flag for a loose rear bumper, forcing him to pit. A few laps later Brookes race ended at hairpin 2 when his rear axle moved causing him to sadly retire on the spot. This left Gale comfortable out in front holding a lead that he would keep to the chequered flag, continuing what has been a successful year for him, he now faces a mammoth 500 lap Demelza House charity event, held at Bayford Meadows on July 25th. Fayers kept him honest in 2nd place finishing just 0.39 seconds behind. Behind these two post race events affected the positions with 3rd place going to a deserving Ben Cowley, who had recovered from a frightening roll at Paddock Bend after tangling with Max Herbert in the first heat. The latter Herbert finished 4th after Alfie Prince had a post-race 10 second nose fairing penalty added, dropping him to 6th behind Novice driver Charlie Sladden in 5th. Ben Hodge had run near the front but was excluded post race for a rule non-compliance. Simpson-Stacey was classified 7th in class at the finish after re-joining the fray, taking the fastest lap.
In the Mini X30 class, debutant Bradley Hardy drove a stellar race as he completed his move up from the Cadet class, with a win over Virtus driver Scott Sumpton, after Sumpton had led the first 5 laps.
Gunning victorious again in Junior Subaru UK
The Junior Subaru UK class visited the Chatham park land circuit for the second time this year, with a very healthy 26 karts lined up for timed practice in the morning. DNL’s Callum Gunning topped the timesheets, from Joe Hunt who was continuing his recent fine form. James Black lined up third with Jonathan Dalton in 4th. Riley Stephenson was only 0.21 behind pole man Gunning but found himself in 5th, James Tomsett was close behind in 6th, with Harvey Roffe, Lewis Berry, Ross Hastings and Poppi Stephenson completing a competitive and close top 10.
True to recent form both Gunning and Stephenson finished in that order in heat 1, with Hunt and Black 3rd and 4th. For the pre Final the top 3 remained the same although the gap from first to second was a little closer, Hunt continued to mix it with the top two and Tomsett moved ahead of Black in 4th and 5th.Tom Emson, Zac Spence, Dalton, Lewie Weaver and Berry secured the top 10 grid for the final which was to be held over 15 laps.
The blue and yellow kart of Gunning led away a clean start which thankfully didn’t involve any of the loading incidents that occurred in the heat and Pre Final, a credit to the 26 amongst the long rumbling 4 stroke snake of karts. Hunt had started the final strongly, letting the two season long rivals know that he was now joining in the fun. Twice he led during the first half of the race until Gunning and the Clarke kart of Stephenson took control at the front. Stephenson’s recent one lap race pace has been phenomenal and after taking the lap record in the last round at Bayford Meadows he set the fastest lap as he battled with Gunning throughout the second period of the race. A couple of times Stephenson drew level with Gunning, both getting their young elbows out at least once during what was becoming an epic battle. At the finish line just 0.7 seconds, was all that separated the two junior combatants, with Gunning once again just securing the win, Stephenson drawing alongside as they crossed the white stripe. Hunt ran close behind over the final lap in 3rd, waiting to pounce if the two in front tangled. Tomsett came out on top of an earlier dice with Black for 4th, the latter then just losing out to Spence over the last lap when fighting over 5th and 6th. Dalton was in the mix in 7th, as was Emson who also lost out in the frantic last lap kerfuffle to finish 8th. Owen Hizzy and Lewie Weaver were 9th and 10th. Lewis Deacon once again took the plus category. The next round of the championship moves onto Lydd in two weeks’ time, running alongside the Kent Cup. With Gunning missing the round who will take the fight to the home Clarke Karts of Stephenson and his team mate Josh Pullen?
Ripley fights his way through to win in Honda Cadet
17 karts lined up for the Honda Cadet final, Britain’s #2 Oliver Bearman lined his Virtus kart up on pole after his Pre Final win with Frank Elwell (Project One) alongside him. Theo Micouris was giving his Tiger Prints teamware livered kart it’s circuit debut in 3rd, buoyed by a recent breakthrough Whilton Mill victory, in 4th Zach Ripley (Evolution) was not to be discounted as he wanted to continue his winning 2017 form. From the start Bearman led away and even managed to pull a gap as the others fought over the second spot. Micouris took up the chase and by mid distance had his #74 kart on the bumper of the #2 leader. Ronnie Mansfield had gone with Micouris but couldn’t live with his pace, as Ripley and Elwell lost touch initially but then caught and passed the #16 of Mansfield. Ripley was now on a charge and managed to peg back the gap to the two leaders, bringing Elwell along with him.
On lap 8 positions at the front changed dramatically as Micouris made his move into hairpin 2 snatching the lead from Bearman, Ripley saw his opportunity too and followed Micouris through as they went through the esses and by the end of the lap had his Evolution kart into the lead. Elwell sniffed a chance of victory at this point and moved past Bearman and Micouris to briefly run 2nd, the four karts now running together in a tight bunch. By lap 10 Ripley and Micouris had now settled into 1st and 2nd places as a little way behind Elwell, Bearman and Mansfield fought hard. As they approached the finish Micouris tried all he knew, just falling short of a pass on the ecstatic Ripley, Bearman had closed back in and was a close 3rd setting fastest lap as he did so, Elwell was 4th from Mansfield in 5th, less than a second covering these 5 after 14 laps tense and exciting laps. 7 seconds back in 6th was Zach Walters, heading another titanic scrap with Declan Russell heading the Project One twins of Oscar Teuten an Archie Walker, in 7th, 8th and 9th. Jai Lawrence completed the top 10.
Wins for Ayers and Sawhney in Seniors
The lack of entries in the Senior classes led me to believe that most were either on the beach or watching the British GP at Silverstone ! Henry Ayers (P1) won a thrilling battle with Harry Gent (Kpi) to take the X30 honours, the only other class runner Michael Hafford sadly hit problems on the warming up lap. Gent took the fastest lap whilst trying to find away past delighted victor Ayers. Just two karts made it out for the Rotax Max final, Dan O’Brien managed to stay within striking distance of Kartik Sawhney until his chain broke on lap 6, leaving the Ambition driver to take a confidence boosting victory.
Appleby victorious in Junior Max
Oliver Appleby had a good day at the office, overcoming brake problems that he suffered during Saturday testing, to take wins in the heat, Pre Final and main final in his immaculate Kpi run kart. Declan Lee just kept within a second of Appleby to take a fine 2nd from his Project One teammate Jack Steadman in 3rd. Lewis Boret, Sam Sanders, Oscar Lewis and Josh Wellard completed the seven runners, after problems hit Harry Fleming, Harry Canham and a post race exclusion hit Ryan Chapman. Appleby also took the fastest lap.
Matthews holds on to win in Clubman as Stevens takes IAME class
The Honda Clubman and IAME runners completed the finals and gave us another thriller. All season long there has been nothing to choose between the trio of Jack Matthews, Joseph Knight and Leon Frost, their rivalry growing from race to race. For this weekend it was Kpi’s Jack Matthews turn to take the win, he came from 3rd on the grid to take the lead from DNL’s Knight on lap 5 and then managed to drive superbly, even running side by side with Knight through the esses to hold both him and the Clarke kart of Frost to the finish. Behind the battle for 4th was equally as thrilling, Max Solarski and Macie Hitter fought hard all race until Nathan Marques skillfully pipped them both on the last lap to take the 4th spot. Jack Theobald was 7th behind Solarski and Hitter, Damien Baruss-Haggett and Ian Alexandru Marginean completed the nine runners. The IAME class had three entries, Ella Stevens and Maculey Bishop featured a race long duel to finish in those positions, Jakub Jakoniuk couldn’t quite stay with the leading duo 0.5 seconds back in third.
There is no meeting at Buckmore Park in August, the summer championships resume in September.
Report and images courtesy of Paul Babington