Last weekend saw the return of the King of Clubs event after a five year absence. The last time the event ran was back in 2010, where Whilton Mill played host to what was a popular annual event back then.
Thanks to lots of hard work from Whilton Mill and all the other clubs involved the event was able to make its return this year. Although the grids may have not been anything to rave about, it was a solid start and the ‘King of Clubs’ looks in good stead to come back even bigger and better next year.
How does it work?
The King of Clubs is quite a simple concept in all honesty. Clubs taking part put drivers forward to represent them in each class. At the end of the finals the best five results (one results per class) are taken and added together, the winner the becomes the ‘King of Clubs’.
There were a good number of clubs taking part this year, 12 in total, although some clubs had entered more classes than others. Well represented clubs included Whilton Mill, Forest Edge, Buckmore Park and Shenington.
The Honda Cadet class produced one of many races which went all the way down to the last corner! The start saw a group of six karts break away which contained Reggie Duhy, Caden McQueen, Casper Stevenson, Theo Micouris, Harry Garman and Callum Gunning.
Out of all six it was Duhy who did most of the leading with McQueen having his turn early on. But in typical Honda Cadet style this was a race that saw the lead group push away and the inevitable fight for the lead kick off on the last lap. Going on to the last lap Duhy led closely followed by Garman with McQueen 3rd, the trio now clear from the rest of the field!
Duhy defended perfectly but going into the second part of the boot he left the door open and Garman went for the move! The pair ran slightly wide which allowed McQueen to get the run on the pair of them on the exit and take a dramatic victory by just 0.120 seconds to Duhy. In 4th was Gunning with Micouris 5th and Luke Preston 6th.
IAME Cadet saw another three kart battle for the lead go all the way down to the last lap, although the battle for the lead never contained more than three drivers. The men in question were Samuel Shaw, Charlie Typaldo-Cole and Alex Keens.
Shaw took the lead at the start and was pushed away from Typaldo-Cole and Keens until the latter stages of the race. Behind there was an almighty scrap for 4th which involved the very impressive Alfie Baxter Davies, Cian Shields, Maximus Hall, AJ Arnold and Lorenzo Kordal.
Baxter-davies who had looked a favourite for victory all weekend hit the front of the group early on and the chase then started for the lead group. Unfortunately he was never quite able to close them down although he was able to break away from the drivers behind where Kordal eventually led to take 5th.
Back at the front and it was still as you were until we hit the last lap where Keens moved into 2nd. It looked like he had timed his race to perfection as he sized on Shaw for a pass, but Shaw made no mistakes and took a deserved victory. Finishing 2nd was Charlie Typaldo-Cole.
There was a slightly smaller grid in Mini Max with seven drivers lining up for the final, but it was a race that took a very dramatic turn early on. Piers Henderson had been the man doing most of the leading all weekend but when the all important final came he ran into problems early on and would go no further than lap 2.
This left Ben Burgess to take up the lead with Ryan Taylor Trueman close behind. The driver catching everyone’s attention though was Zak Oates from Shenington who had set the fastest lap in the Pre Final but an incident half way through the race dropped him to last. However, he was now making the progress everyone expected and was soon up to 3rd.
As we entered the last three laps Oates had chased the top two down and the lead trio were now covered by 0.3 seconds. But Taylor Trueman proved a tougher task than expected for Oates and by the time he was passed Burgess was up the road and a second clear. Burgess took victory with Oates 2nd and Taylor Trueman 3rd.
Junior Max & Junior TKM
There were only five Junior Max drivers on the grid with Riley Phillips forced to retire on Saturday after injuring his hand. However come the end of the race the five drivers were split by just 0.46 seconds! Here’s how they got there…
For the majority of the race this was very much a two horse race. Tom Edmunds and Liam Carter pulled away from Harry Gent, Bradley Barrett and Ethan Haynes who were too busy fighting over 3rd behind. Their gap when the last lap board came out was two seconds! So how did they finish so close together?
Going onto the last lap Edmunds had retaken the lead from Carter after losing it a lap earlier before making his kart as wide as possible. The defending allowed the trio behind to catch up with the five karts now all together going into the boot. Remarkably Edmunds dropped right to the back of the queue and coming into the last corner Haynes grabbed the lead from Carter to take a dramatic victory!
So it was Haynes who won with Carter 2nd, Barrett 3rd, Gent 4th and Edmunds I’m sure a very disappointed 5th.
In Junior TKM Archie Strong and Charlie Whitehouse were separated by just 0.9 seconds across the line with Strong taking victory.
The X30 Junior took many twists and turns over the weekend which all led to a very exciting Final. Josh Pickford looked a favourite at the start of the weekend but fell off on Sunday, despite good pace Axel La Flamme never got the luck he deserved and the exact same could be said for Robert Welham who was 2nd in the Pre Final but was given a penalty post race!
However, come the final the lead group consisted of Patrick Kibble, Luke Whitehead and Alfie Haralambous. Kibble had been up there all weekend, Whitehead had been slowly improving and won the Pre Final, with Haralambous taking the fastest laps in most of the races.
Kibble did most of the leading in the final with Whitehead just behind. Haralambous joined the lead group late after fighting his way through the order but his electric pace soon saw him catch the lead duo. A move on lap 11 saw Whitehead hit the front with Haralambous pouncing to take 2nd. The latter had to then chase Whitehead down bringing Kibble with him but Whitehead defended perfectly on the last lap to go on and take victory!
Senior X30 & Rotax Max
Tye Mason nursing an injured kart did most of the leading at the start of the Senior X30 race but Brett Wykes behind was doing what he had been doing all weekend and waiting for the second half of the race before pulling the pin.
He passed Mason on lap 11 and that was the last anyone saw of him as he cleared off to win by 2.1 seconds. Mason was a comfortable 2nd with Ben Steward 3rd, Brad Perrett 4th and Steve Bull 5th.
In Rotax Max no one could keep up with Dan Horsey who won by an almighty 24 seconds! Behind Jodene Newman, Brandon Bethall and Harriet Stiles found themselves in a race long battle with Bethall at the front. Despite Newman’s efforts she couldn’t pass Bethall and eventually retired with a puncture leaving Bethall to take 2nd and Stiles 3rd.
King of Clubs
With the finals finished it was time for the results to be counted and overall title was decided by just one point! Whilton Mill just pipped Buckmore Park for victory with Forest Edge finishing a creditable 3rd. I’m sure they will be back next year to grab the title for themselves.
The King of Clubs is set to return in 2017 on the 28th, 29th & 30th April
Written by Chris McCarthy
Images courtesy of Stu Stretton