Lydd – 30/04/17
Championship expands to Lydd for some high speed action
The Kent Kart championships added an extra circuit to their schedule this year, with the first of two standalone events at the fast Lydd circuit, not far from Lydd airport. The first round of the championship last month at Bayford Meadows pulled in a large entry and it was good to see that the trend continued at the friendly Clarke Karts run circuit.
The little Bambino karts run regularly at the circuit’s monthly events and five karts made it out for three runs during the day. Taking the fastest time in two out of the three runs and therefore the highest merged points score was the bright blue kart of Kobe Taylor. Jack Pullen brought his Clarke kart run machine into 2nd overall, having proved to be fastest in the first runs. Timo Jungling was 3rd in the points from Kristian Stefanov and Harry Still.
There was some feisty high speed racing in the Clubman class, with Cj Morgan and Leon Frost taking the two Pre Final wins, Jack Matthews and Jai Lawrence also were right in the mix going into the Grand Final. From the start the Clarke Karts backed Frost, led away with the Ambition kart of Morgan working with him; Matthews in his KPi kart shadowed the pair, while Lawrence (Project 1) fell back into a dice with Ben Witham (DNL) for 4th place. As the race developed towards its climax the action at the front turned sour, when an incident forced Matthews wide coming onto the start finish straight, his blue KPi kart tagged the tyre wall sending young Jack into a violent high speed spin, this instantly brought out the red flags to end the race prematurely. Matthews limped out of his kart and then made it off the track unaided but no doubt winded. The results were declared with Frost taking the win from Morgan. Lawrence took 3rd with Witham 4th, Jack Theobald 5th and Blake Ticehurst 6th. The very unfortunate Matthews was classed as a DNF, Cj Morgan took the fastest lap.
Eight competitors were entered in the Junior X30 class with Frankie Taylor running a Mini X30 kart. Alfie Glenie in his pristine Alonso kart had proven fastest after qualifying but a couple of little mistakes in the first Pre Final cost him, finishing 2nd to the on form man of the moment – Daniel Gale.The 2nd Pre Final commenced with Glenie back in front, this was until disaster struck on the exit of the first chicane, when his kart’s steering failed due to a snapped bolt. Alfie was powerless to prevent an impact with the impending tyre barrier, hitting it with a sickening force. His day’s racing was over as he required a trip to the hospital, thankfully being released later in the day on crutches, feeling sore with bruising. The race was later re-run with Gale taking the win, setting himself up nicely for the Grand Final. Finlay Cross had his own sights set on winning though and led Gale into the first chicane; he then led the final for 3 laps before Gale brought his DKR kart back to the front, controlling the 17 lap race to the finish, to win by just 0.7 seconds as Cross had kept in touch throughout. Alfie Prince realised his earlier qualifying pace by finishing 3rd, this after oiling a plug in Pre Final 1 and then suffering heavy contact with a chicane kerb which had delayed him early on. Alfie Brookes debuted his new GDC Roalf racing sticker kit, finishing 4th after a close battle with Ben Cowley. The latter spun on the exit of the tricky final corner delaying him but still finishing 5th. Novice Charlie Sladden finished 6th behind Cowley. Frankie Taylor picked up a nose drop penalty on his way to the Mini X30 class win.
Junior Subaru UK
The popular Junior Subaru UK class held round 4 of their championship on the Kent program and had yet another big entry of 23 karts. The home circuit team -Clarke Karts, locked out top positions in both qualifying and the Pre Finals, with Riley Stephenson and Josh Pullen taking a win a piece. Callum Gunning was supporting new DNL colours this weekend and looked bang on the pace, running in close company with the red & yellow of the home team. Also looking for good results in the final were Zac Spence, James Black and Owen Hizzey after running well in the Pre Finals. Pullen led away Gunning and his team mate at the start this until Stephenson slipped by into 2nd, Spence briefly moved in front of Gunning before settling back into 4th. Black was a comfortable 5th, behind him a first lap incident down at the second chicane delayed a host of drivers, including Hizzey, Emily Linscott and Lewie Weaver.
Another incident further around the lap had the yellow flags flying once again, the yellow zone then present for several laps. And then barely before the race had the chance to settle down, karts could be seen tangling on the exit of the final corner, not for the first time during the day. James Tomsett was the worst affected with his #13 Sait Motorsport kart pirouetting off of the tyres and through the air, luckily staying the right side up. The race was stopped while help could be given to the unfortunate driver, who again thankfully didn’t sustain any injury. Many thought that the race would restart with only 6 laps and just over 4 minutes completed, but the decision was made to call the result as it stood. This was a shame as we never did get to see if Gunning could have challenged both Pullen and Stephenson at the front. So the final results read – Josh Pullen 1st, Riley Stephenson 2nd, Callum Gunning 3rd, Zac Spence 4th, James Black 5th and Leon Clarke working his way up to a fine 6th. Just 16 of the 23 competitors were classified at the end with Pullen also claiming the fastest lap.
Just seven drivers were entered into the Honda Cadet class, possibly due to the clashing 0 plate event at nearby Buckmore Park. Using the excellent tow that the 1000 metre circuit offers, were the breakaway three karts of Zach Walters, Louis Horsely and Ronnie Mansfield. Josh Hoy managed to keep his DNL kart with them for several laps before losing that vital tow. Walters eventually took the win just by 0.086 from Horsley, with Mansfield just dropping away as the race wore on in 3rd. Hoy succumbed to a charging Declan Russell by lap 6 but shadowed him to the finish in 5th place. Bradley Hardy was mysteriously off the pace in 6th and novice Ian Marginean 7th. The Ambition kart of Walters took the fastest lap on the 12th of the 15 tours.
Josh Wellard took the pole with a new lap record in the Junior Max class, but couldn’t show his raw pace in the 1st Pre Final as his kart refused to progress around the warm up laps, terrible luck for the KPI driver. Sean Berry had a dropped nose penalty in the first Pre Final which was won by the LICA kart of Thomas Rotherham, he made up for that with a win in the second Pre Final and looked on course for a resounding win in the Grand Final too. Rotherham had a messy first few laps in the final, dicing with a fast Thomas Lawson and then running wide onto the back straight losing himself time. By the closing laps the top four had closed right up with the GMS kart of Berry seemingly on his way to a fine win. Both Rotherham and Lawson had worked the tow together and the blue LICA kart took Berry by complete surprise when he just edged in front going into the first chicane at the start of the last lap, this after running the length of the straight side by side. The win was Rotherham’s as he held off Berry over the last lap, Lawson and Jake Kolosowski were 3rd and 4th as the quartet crossed the line as one. It had been as tense a final as you will see anywhere, a credit to the youngsters. Josh Wellard retired on lap 6 when he was on the back bumper of Kolosowski in 5th but he had lowered his lap record further before pulling off. Ryan Chapman was 5th from Max Goodwin in 6th.
The Kent Championship has brought a renaissance to the Senior Max class, with large grid sizes that have not been seen for years and a lot of quality entries too; they made for a spectacular sight on each of their appearances. Jack Mayle driving his bright orange BKC kart appeared to have an advantage over his fellow competitors all day, topping out qualifying and both Pre Finals before leading every one of the 17 lap final. Lewis Brown (GMS) managed to be within 0.172 seconds by the finish, once he had shrugged off Elliot Rice who unfortunately retired. Anton Stamps took the remaining podium spot in his GMS kart. Bobby Grove drove well to 4th, passing Liam Carter (6th) and Troy Beswick (5th) on his way. Luke Freestone was 7th from Drew Holmes in 8th; the top 10 of a very competitive 23 kart field was completed by Aaron Adams and Max Read. Rice took the fastest lap before his retirement on lap 10.
The 177 class were given their own finals during the day with the class size growing in the Kent Championship. Buster Mepham won by a comfortable 5.38 seconds over Jamie McGeoghan in 2nd. Bryan Kemsley was 3rd, John Weatherly 4th; Karl Mepham 5th after troubles early on and finishing 6th of the nine runners was Michael Jungling. B. Mepham took the fastest lap.
Report and images courtesy of Paul Babington