May 22, 2016
Another splendid turnout on a dry, sunny day: forty five GX200 Extremes, nineteen Cadets, and seven GX160 ProKarts keeping the flame alive for their class. We came within touching distance of a Junior ProKart grid this meeting, but numbers were just shy of the minimum required, so efforts will be redoubled to make it viable from the June meeting. All in all, the racing was keen and competitive in every class with an intriguing number of twists and turns along the way.
Once again, there were many strong candidates by privateers and teams for the Best Presented Kart but, having reviewed the Beauty Parade, the judges unanimously agreed that the award should go to Extreme Cadet Aaron Alexander for his and his father Adam’s distinctive and pristine livery. Everything was right about it, kart, helmet, and suit: a coherent design based on black, white, and metallic grey with judiciously placed orange highlights. Even, Aaron’s sunglasses had matching orange frames. It was eye-catching, stood up to scrutiny, and did his sponsors proud.
Once again, the Driver of the Day was a GX200 Extreme. Lewis Walters’ clean sweep of wins in the Heats were nearly negated in the Final when he lost his pole position to Charlie Bingham and he was made to fight hard for his victory and secure his award against the other contenders.
This is much more than a tale of two Cadets, even though the spotlight was invariably on Harvey Charter and Thomas Shaw.
Morgan Kidd lead the way in Qualifying, and named after not one but two Pirate Captains, certainly showed her buccaneering spirit, which took her high into the results this meeting and into the top five of the Championship.
Championship Leader Thomas Shaw didn’t have the best of racing prep, having had two molars extracted the week before in readiness for an orthodontic fitting the day after. But #2 Harvey Charter has been knocking on his door all year, and found the key to unlock it this meeting. On balance, Charter won two thirds of all the laps, where both he and Short were first and second every time, usually separated by less than half a second.
Quantum’s Charter had won the first heat but lost to Short in the second, but did set a new lap record for the year, previously owned, inevitably, by Short. It didn’t last long. Charter was on a roll in Heat Three gaining momentum to carry him into the Final, but Short retaliated with yet another new lap record.
The Final was a torrid affair with Charter on pole and keeping the lead for five laps, with Short almost welded to his back bumper. Short lead for the next three, then Charter again for the next five. When Short regained the lead on lap fourteen, it looked as though that would be it, even though Charter stuck to him like the proverbial glue. The dice were shaken and re-thrown on the last lap and it was Charter that took the chequered flag first by 1/100 s.
We were given nearly ten seconds to catch our breath before the next wave stormed in, with the third podium place at stake. Scott Smith was in the clear, and he has been surreptitiously creeping up the ranks wherever he has raced, and will no doubt soon catch a few out unawares before this year is out, and appear on many more podiums. Close behind him, Morgan Kidd was enjoying bossing the boys about and outran Travis Mitchell, with no weight issues for him this month. Darren Dawson, down from Scotland for the weekend and making his debut at PFI, just missed the top five by 8/100 s.
Other top-ten finishers, who had figured consistently throughout the day, included Oliver Phillips, Blake Angliss, Harry Wainwright, and Jack Plant. Last, literally, but by no means least, plucky Aiden Evans entered his first competitive race and did what every Novice should do: he got stuck in, he finished every race, and showed great track awareness by getting out of the way when lapped.
Another grid where the old order was turned upside down. Seven ProKarts had started the day, with Tony Feasby winning the first two heats as expected with Lewis Johnson a good second. Then in Heat 3, with six on the grid, Feasby suffered a puncture half-way through and of course, Johnson was on hand to take over and retain the lead by a wide margin.
By the Final, the number had dropped to four with the significant loss of Ian Robertson, but Feasby was in. Johnson though had scented blood and eager to taste victory again, trailed Feasby by less than a tenth. With two laps to go, he seized his chance, slipped by him, and held his nerve to stay ahead right over the line by 11/100 s. It was an exciting climax and a well-deserved first tier of the podium for Johnson. Feasby remains Championship leader and for the record, Paul Richmond came in third on the day.
GX200 Extreme ProKarts
Lewis Walters had not raced in this Championship before but had a big impact on the results. Second in Qualifying, he carried his performance over into the first heat, which he won by seven seconds. By the next two heats, the established Extremes, Bens Cook and Fallon and Austin Munday, had got their act together and halved his lead. So the Final was an entirely different affair, with more than a hint of upset at the hands of Munday.
By the end of the first lap, Munday was out in front closely followed by Fallon, Cook and Lewis Cannon, with Walters consigned to fourth. By lap seven, Walters had worked his way up through the dense traffic to second, and retook the lead a lap later. With only a second separating the top six, it was no surprise that he lost out to Munday again on lap ten, by which time the leading pack was slightly more spread out down the order. Not so the top two, and Walters retook the lead on lap thirteen. This time there was no turning back as the gap widened to half a second as each of the last five laps was completed.
Munday’s second place was far from secure as Lewis Cannon, later found to be underweight, and Ben Cook put on the pressure. But he kept it, while Cook, White and Tugwell followed him in with tenths of a second to spare between them. It was a breath-taking race for drivers and spectators alike, and Walters had been forced to fight to be well worthy of the title of the Driver of the Day, which might so easily have eluded him at the very last.
|Extreme Cadets||GX200 Extremes||GX160 ProKarts|
|First||Harvey Charter||Lewis Walters||Lewis Johnson|
|Second||Thomas Short||Austin Munday||Tony Feasby|
|Third||Scott Smith||Ben Cook||Paul Richmond|
|Fourth||Morgan Kidd||Steve White||Richard Day|
|Fifth||Travis Mitchell||Sam Tugwell|
Andrew W Webb
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