8th April 2018
A very soggy Sunday morning greeted the competitors for round 1 of Lydd’s IKR Championship and round 2 of the Kent Kart Championship, which alternates between Bayford Meadows and the Clarke family run venue, situated between lakes in a picturesque corner of the south east. The ongoing circuit improvements are noticeable with every visit to the fast and flowing venue, promising a bright future for karting in the SE Kent area. Qualifying was held on a wet circuit, which mixed up the grids in one or two classes, ensuring some eventful races during the two pre finals. Later as the warm spring sunshine burnt through the clouds, the circuit dried until the end of the day.
The enthusiastic young Bambino drivers had three timed runs during the day and the results proved to be close in each. It was great to see the diminutive racers mixing it confidently out on the track, as the set intervals between each was gradually eroded. The merged results of the three runs had Fletcher Jamieson prevailing victorious, with two 2nds and a 1st in the final run. Charlie Warren was just two points behind after taking the fastest time in the second run. Third overall was Jayden Sherwood, he was fastest in the first timed run of the day.
Jack Pullen was 4th, with consistent points scoring, just two points in front of Alfie Howland in 5th. Archie Beard took 6th in his number 10 kart, matching Archie Howland’s points tally as he did so. Rio’s King and Licata were 7th and 8th. Oscar Askell-Tucker was 9th, after suffering a DQ in the second of the runs. Harry Freeman was classified 10th looked fast out on track but had also suffered unfortunate disqualifications in each of the runs.
Honda Clubman Standard
One driver dominated in the Clubman Standard class – Rylee Brown’s black number 53 kart. He took off from the front of the qualification races and the main final, to take convincing wins, highly impressive performances in all three. Ethan Bentley became the closest to being able to run with the rapid Rylee out in front, but a mistake at the fast first chicane early in the final, cost him dearly. Ethan smote the last of the tyre conveyor belts hard, bending his kart’s steering and brought out the red flag, as he was gently lifted from his kart.
Although thankfully okay, he was unable to make the restart of the final as the drivers completed the remaining 10 laps. Brown carried on back out in front and took the flag a good distance ahead of delighted Harry Chamberlin, Kyan Upton had initially diced with Chamberlin only to slip back as the race wore on, behind Kyan in 3rd was Reg Heywood’s Ambition kart in 4th, Jack Minter-Young finished in 5th. Cameron Charman was 6thh, a close battle for 7th featured Thomas Bearman, Joshua Graham 8th and Beau Sullivan 9th.
Eleven karts started the Junior Subaru final and this was a very close affair. Katherine White continued her stunning 2018 pace by taking the wins in the qualifying Pre Finals; she didn’t have it her own way though as Harvey Roffe, Ben Harper and Red Beswick finished right in her slipstream in both races. White led away from the pole and as the final settled down it was clear that both Roffe and Beswick wanted to topple White for the victory. Over the last few laps White drove very wisely, covering the inside line down the long back straight, preventing either of her pursuers from passing.
Roffe and Beswick took it in turns to attack the Clarke kart of White, but neither could find a way past. At the finish White celebrated a hard earned win, Beswick moved ahead of Roffe over the closing laps to take 2nd. It had been a tense battle and one that was great to watch. Marlo Cordell took 4th from Daniel Hughes in 5th, 6th was Rory Burke, Ollie Martynski 7th and debutant Chloe Clarke 8th. Kieran Janali was unfortunately disqualified after enjoying racing with Burke and Hughes, Ben Harper retired whilst challenging at the front and poor Poppi Stephenson never made the start , as her kart hit problems on the dummy grid.
Marcus Shephard came out on top of the quartet of 175 Prokarts, beating Archie Sherwood, Daniel Tidwell and Les Partridge. The trio of 200 Prokarts was won by Jack Denne, with John Denne 2nd and Ross Tidwell 3rd.
Junior Club Max
A disappointing four karts made it out for the Junior Club Max final, clashing events elsewhere unfortunately taking their toll on the class. The Clarke karts duo of Riley Stephenson and Josh Pullen were up against Jack Richards and Oliver Bullion. All three races produced the same results, as Stephenson got his head down early on in the races and pulled away from his teammate Pullen, who in turn gapped Richards and Bullion. It was emphatic display from Stephenson and he now looks to be an early favourite for the Kent Championship title.
Honda Clubman Elite
The Clubman Elite class proved to be very competitive for this second round of the Championship and first of the IKR summer series. Declan Russell made a welcome return to the Kent scene after travelling for his racing for most of this year. He was immediately bang on the pace and enjoyed some great racing with Leon Frost. ‘Frosty’ drove a corker in the second Pre Final, as he came through to take the win and therefore started the final from pole. He briefly led away before Russell passed him, then settling down into the lead. Barely had the race began when a big crash occurred at the final corner involving a number of karts, with drivers looking hurt the race was immediately halted. Luckily everybody was okay and the race restarted later after the Senior final had ended. Damian Baruss-Haggart, Jess White and George Oxford did not make the restart, having been involved in the incident. The last race of the day over 10 laps, had Russell once again taking the lead before the end of the first lap with Frost latched on behind him.
Archie Sugar-Harmer and Jamie Perilly were next up with Ethan Barford right behind them. As they started their penultimate lap it looked as though Frost was saving himself for a move on the yellow and blue kart ahead, however it never came and his Clarke kart dropped back a length on the final lap, leaving Russell clear to take the win, a great confidence booster for him. Frosty was happy with a bag full of points for the championship in 2nd. Perilly came out on top in the battle for 3rd, leaving Sugar-Harmer disconsolate as he crossed the finish line in 4th. Barford was in a very comfortable 5th, perhaps hoping that the track had stayed wet to show the speed he had in those conditions. Chris Doble also looked comfortable in 6th, clear of a battle between Nathan Marques and Jack Theobald in 7th and 8th. Finley Watson was 9th and Sonny Mortenson 10th.
Senior Club Max
19 karts rolled out on the fast Lydd circuit for the Senior Club Max final, the grid made up of 13 162s and 6 177 class karts. Watching these karts through the fast chicane, the swooping bends, the lift over the rise and high speeds along the back straight, is always exciting, as the drivers try to keep up a good rhythm without becoming too erratic, which can cost valuable lap time. To win against a quality field and make it look as though you are out for a Sunday drive is no mean feat, one driver who managed that on Sunday, was Bobby Grove. He calmly drove away from those behind, hitting his apexes with precision every lap and even managed a cheeky wave to his Dad on the back straight of the final tour! Behind the laid back Grove, Drew Holmes brought his immaculate kart through to 2nd place, passing Sam Gumbrell who had started well to take the runner up spot.
Hobbie Vickerman was next up until he disappeared from the lap charts, inheriting his 4th place was Troy Beswick who had worked his way up through the grid after morning problems. Josh Bacon was next up in 5th, ahead of Tom Richards, Mike Ashby and Will Barnes, the trio finding it difficult to pass the well driven 177 kart of Mark Figes. Behind Barnes was Stephen Bouffe in 9th, 10th place went to Jonathan Harrison. Karl Mepham impressed in the 177 class by showing a great turn of speed to finish on the road behind the Beswick and many of the lighter 162 drivers. Figes was 2nd in the 177 class, Dean Horlock 3rd, Dennis Tzeciak, Mark Waters and Nick Floyd.
So after a tough day for the officials with timing issues and the red flag incidents, the day came to an end, next up for the Kent Kart Championships is a trip back to Bayford Meadows in May, while the IKR summer championship continues here at Lydd next month.
Report and images courtesy of Paul Babington