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Lydd kart circuit
Drivers head south as the championship battles hot up
Round 4 of the popular Kent Kart championships descended for their second visit to the fast Lydd Kart circuit which is close to Dungerness on the south east coast. The circuit’s fast and flowing nature favours drivers using kerbs, especially through the two chicanes, which can take its toll on both the drivers and their machines. With the long back straight before the final corner, slipstreaming is key as is the exit from the last sweeping left/right combination of bends.
Three drivers of the seven that were entered in the Bambino class, found themselves disqualified in the last of the three timed runs. This gave Sonny Mortensen the merged point’s victory, over Jack Pullen and Alfie Morgan. Oscar O’Sullivan had taken the fastest times in the first two runs, but his exclusion left him 4th in the merge. Fletcher Jamieson also suffered from a DQ in run 3 to end up 5th along with Jayden Sherwood in 6th. Kristian Stefanov had problems during the day and completed out the runners.
Ethan Barford topped the qualifying times in the Clubman class from Jai Lawrence, however when it came to the two Pre Finals, Cj Morgan and Leon Frost took a win a piece, with Barford hot on their heels. The final saw the three young drivers continue their close slipstreaming battle, with Max Solarski joining in the fun, place swapping all race long. The last couple of laps had the watching parents biting their nails as Frost and Morgan ran side by side down the length of the start finish straight, touching wheels as they did so, eventually something had to give and as Frost tried to turn into the first chicane, he found Morgan resolutely sticking to his line, with Barford glued to his bumper. The resulting contact briefly saw both leading karts jump in the air with their drivers fighting for control. Somehow they both made it through the chicane with the Clarke kart of Frost holding onto 2nd place from the Teambase kart of Barford in 3rd. Morgan was delighted with his win, punching the air as he crossed the finish line in his Ambition kart. Jai Lawrence managed pass Solarski on the last lap to take 4th, Chris Doble was 6th behind Solarksi, Marco Horsley 7th, Jack Matthews 8th, Blake Ticehurst 9th and comeback kid Damian Baruss-Haggett 10th. Ethan Barford proved he still had the outright pace to match the leading two by taking the race’s fastest lap.
Just five karts turned out for the Junior X30 class with wins going to Alfie Brookes and Finley Cross in the Pre Finals. The Grand final was a more settled affair as Finley Cross blasted away from pole, opening up a lead that he held to the end. Daniel Gale cleared front row starter Ben Cowley to take up the chase of Cross but appeared to be suffering handling problems as the race progressed, causing him a few wild moments over the Lydd chicane kerbs. Alfie Brookes took advantage of this passing the struggling Gale to go second, he then held the gap to Cross without making any real impression on his lead. Gale fell back to 4th behind Cowley and then had novice Charlie Sladden pressing him to the finish. Cross finished with a 5 second margin over 2nd place Brookes and took the fastest lap too.
Junior Subaru UK
The home Clarke karts of of Riley Stephenson and Josh Pullen locked out the front row of the Junior Subaru UK Grand final grid, with Stephenson taking both Pre Final wins. From the moment the Union flag fell on the 15 lap race the duo pulled clear enjoying their own inter team battle. Leon Clarke and Lewie Weaver paired off behind them, leaving behind James’s Thomsett and Black. The last Kent championship visit witnessed Pullen beating his teammate Stephenson, although the race was prematurely cut short after 6 laps due to a red flag. This time Pullen took over at the front on lap 5 and then managed to hold on until the chequered flag fell, his teammate trying all he knew to pass but ultimately failing by just 0.224 seconds. Clarke won his battle with Weaver for 3rd place, some 3 seconds back on the top two.Thomsett ended up alone in 5th as a bewildered Black slipped back into the pack, no doubt feeling discombobulated at his lack of race pace. There was a fierce battle for 6th made up of five karts, Lewis Berry impressed to head the quintet finishing 6th,Zac Spence, Tom Emson, Red Beswick and Black completed the top 10. Pullen topped off his victory with the fastest tour on lap 12.
Ronnie Mansfield sat on the pole for the 7 kart Honda Cadet final, having taking the wins in both Pre Finals. Things didn’t quite go his way in the Grand final though even after he had established a lead of early leader Zach Ripley, Zach Walters, Louis Horsely and Frank Elwell. Declan Russell and Josh Hoy couldn’t live the pace of those ahead and slipped behind. Ripley had dropped to the back of the leading group but fought his way back up as he has done recently in his last few races, to close up on Mansfield. Elwell and Walters had their own race as Horsley retired with exhaust problems. On lap 10 of 13 Ripley stole the lead away from Mansfield and despite intense pressure held on to take another crushing victory in the class. Behind things became a bit heated on the last lap leaving Walters spinning wildly onto the back straight, thankfully keeping his Ambition kart out of the tyre wall. Elwell took 3rd right on the tail of Mansfield, Walters recovered to 4th, Declan Russell was a second back in 5th with Josh Hoy a couple of seconds behind in 6th. Walters took the fastest lap on lap 12.
Declan Lee looked in fine form after the Pre Final wins in the Junior Rotax class and he led away from Thomas Lawson at the start of the Grand final. Sean Berry soon found a way past Lawson and moved onto the back of Lee. Lawson slipped behind Thomas Rotherham to 4th as the race settled down, Jake Kolosowski ran a close 5th from Ryan Chapman and Oliver Appleby who had started from the back of the nine kart grid. Back at the front the pace had dropped off, the pressure no doubt telling on Lee was desperate to take a championship win. Berry behind in 2nd was quicker than Lee out of the second chicane into the bottom hairpin and had a couple of stabs down the inside only to have the door firmly shut on him.
On lap 9 the GMS kart of Berry felt he had the move done, he aced the last chicane and made his move on the inside Lee, in my view Lee hadn’t quite anticipated how far alongside Berry was as he turned into the hairpin resulting in the inevitable contact between the pair. Both karts and drivers suffered, Berry reversing hard into the tyre wall and Lee left to limp just past Berry’s point of impact, staying in his damaged kart feeling stunned. What happened afterwards will be left to the MSA to decide, as a frustrated and very angry Berry let his feelings be known in an ugly fashion to Lee, while he was still sat in his kart. Rotherham briefly inherited the lead before Lawson usurped him. At this stage the unfortunate events down at the bottom of the circuit required the red flag to be shown, as Lee needed attention while in his Project One kart, the win therefore going to the GMS kart of Thomas Lawson. Rotherham (LICA) was 2nd , Oliver Appleby (KPi) had fought his way up to 3rd with Jake Kolosowski (DNL) 4th. Ryan Chapman, Joshua Mason and an off form Josh Wellard were 5th and 6th. The fastest lap was recorded by Berry.
A fantastic grid of 25 karts were entered for the Senior Rotax class, making for a quite spectacular sight on the Lydd circuit. The lure of the Kent championship bringing out the best Rotax drivers in the south east. GMS made the most of testing on Saturday and their recent run of good form by giving Lewis Brown and his teammates set ups that the others couldn’t match. Brown led away on what looked to be a very comfortable win over the 17 lap final. Sam Baker managed to keep him in sight as he ran 2nd from Kit Brough and Troy Beswick who had both demoted Anton Stamps. Elliot Rice found some good pace in the final and he too soon moved up past Stamps, chasing down Beswick and Brough.
A mix up between the latter two caused Beswick to drop back in the pack and Rice almost took advantage of this as he closed onto his former Buckmore Park sparring partner Brough. At the finish Brown took a comfortable victory and fastest lap, Baker too was very comfortable in 2nd. Brough just held off Rice for third, both complaining about tyre wear compared to the GMS duo in front. Stamps, Bobby Grove and Drew Holmes were close together in 5th 6th and 7th and Lewis Ridd (complete with a loose engine) held off a snarling train in 8th. Josh Young hounded Ridd for 8th, himself being pushed along by Steven Crow, Jack Wall, Luke Freestone the recovering Beswick and Max Read. Karl Mepham took class victory in the 177s, from Mark Figes, Buster Mepham and Dennis Trzeciak.
The next round of the Championship takes place at Bayford Meadows on August 27th.
Report and images courtesy of Paul Babington