PFI Pro Kart Round 4 Race Report

June 26, 2016


Once again, the meeting was dominated by the GX200 Extreme grid – a magnificent 49 – but the GX160 ProKart grid was also enlivened by the visit of the Modified 160 Sprint Championship tour. With no permanent home of their own, they seem to enjoy the nomadic life. The rasp of sixteen modified 160 engines overwhelmed the regular GX160 ProKarts with whom they were mixed. The Extreme Cadets held steady at twenty and behind the scenes, work is still continuing to create a viable Junior ProKart grid.

No one can doubt the pulling power of this ProKart meeting at PFi. As you would expect, many are from the East Midlands, but you can hear quite a lot of Brum in the paddock as well.  There are many entries from   round the corner in East Anglia and the North West provides as many competitors as the North East.  Further afield, there’s Kris Prosser from Bridgend and the afore-mention Modified 160’s from south of the M25 as well as the Batty contingent from the Isle of Man.

Longest distance travelled surely has to be Extreme Cadet Darren Dawson, with a 600 mile/ten hour round trip from Motherwell — a tribute to his dedication to racing at PFi that was a significant factor in being acclaimed Driver of the Day – that, and his solid top-quartile results in only his second time here.

The award for Best Presented Kart is always tricky as so many competitors and teams take obvious pride in the design and presentation of their sticker kits and liveries. What caught the eye again was James Donner’s powerful red, white, and blue design, and his matching helmet and   gleaming white race suit clinched the award, and did his sponsors Bridgett Conservation proud.

Darren Dawson, Driver of the Day

Extreme Cadets

It was racing all the way for the Extreme Cadets, even though the front row of Thomas Short and Harvey Charter   worked together as a unit to carve out their own space with Daniel Holdsworth an effective buffer ten seconds behind.  Deadly rivals with massive respect for each other, their co-ordination was so effective that the Lap Charts only recorded 0.0 s between them seventeen times over. But it only takes one little wobble or a well-timed slingshot to reverse the order and on the last lap, Charter took the initiative and was first over the line with Short in full cry behind him.

Both of them beat Short’s previous Lap Record on the final circuit – Charter lopping off 9/100 s and then Short pushing it further down into the 1:06’s, where it may not last long with such intense competition between the top two, and with Scott Smith also showing his speed by equalling the old record.

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Daniel Holdsworth (21), third, leading a group of eager challengers

While the first two were well in the clear, Holdsworth had to work hard to keep his third place against Smith and Blake Angliss early on before he was able to break free. Smith and Angliss were joined  by Darren Dawson, Travis Mitchell, and Oliver Phillips in a five-way race with little distance between any of them until Smith and Dawson decided the final tight order on the penultimate lap putting a second between them and Angliss, Mitchell, and Phillips.

After a short interval, Morgan Kidd and Jack Plant came in together, with no appreciable distance between them, as they had been race-long, occasionally flipping the lead between them.  We were then treated to another eighteen-lap duel as Samuel Flaum eventually won out against Sandro Ballesteros.

Manxman Isaac Batty then came in on his own with a place gain, after he had shaken off Jack Ford and Lewis Spiers, who also treated us to a cameo race-within-a race, worth watching for its own sake.

TomHarvey 2 A
Close racing as a unit by Thomas Short and Harvey Charter with Thomas congratulating Harvey on his last-lap victory

GX160 ProKarts and Modified 160’s

The regular ProKarters were rather lost amid the throng of touring Modified 160’s and were seldom in touch with each other for any racing encounters. Tony Feasby had beaten Lewis Johnson in all the heats and they started five places apart mid grid in the Final. Both of them were shunted down the order by the end of lap one with Johnson losing two more places than Feasby.

He held steady though, while Feasby progressively slipped back until they met up on lap thirteen, hemmed in by Modifiers.  It was Johnson who was able to break out and finish two places above Feasby near the end of the pack while the Modifiers romped home 3-4 s a lap faster leaving Harry Gill and Graham Gillis in their wake.

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A rare occasion when the ProKarts of winner Lewis Johnson (74) and Tony Feasby (46, runner-up) raced together among the larger Modified 160 grid

Meanwhile, the Modifiers were revelling in the vast expanses of their new playground, though well tested by the length of the Final. In their Light class, the front row of Graham King and Anthony Whitehead kept it that way race-long, finishing three seconds apart.  Third in was Lee Mitchell who had to chase down Steve Potter, edging him out on lap eleven and holding him off for a vital two seconds gap over the line.  Fifth was George King who had to cut through a lot of traffic to get up from the back before tucking himself up in fifth — a performance that rightly earned him their Driver of the Day on his debut in the Championship.

In the Heavies, Steve Potter was the winner and fourth overall, with Stephen Hobbs second and Phil Dewhurst third.

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George King, Modified GX160 Sprint Championship Driver of the Day

GX200 Extreme ProKarts

Poleman Austin Munday immediately lost his position to P2 Charlie Bingham and was forced to hunt him down for the next fifteen laps until he could get back the lead.  It only lasted two laps when, in an exciting finale, Bingham got it back for one circuit only to lose it again on the last lap. Munday took the chequered flag by 1/5 s.

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James Donner, Best Presented Kart

The next three were close behind and all the top results could have ended quite differently had not P4 Ben Cook lost thirty places on lap one.  He got ten of them back in the next two laps but then had to work his way patiently through the traffic.  By the time he got back to ninth on lap thirteen, the top order had been pretty much set and he was still a long way from the front and running out of time against better drivers.  It was an impressive drive that might well have earned him Driver of the Day on another occasion, especially when he set the fastest lap time, the third of the day.

There was just enough daylight between the top two to allow them to get on with it and let the next four jockey for position, and most importantly, the last podium place.  Ben Fallon retook his third starting position on lap nine after he had shrugged off Lewis Cannon and Adam Nichols and was able to mount a challenge against Bingham in the closing stages.   Dan Crosley ran an assured race to come fourth with Cannon, fifth. Jonte Beswick got the better of Steve Thompson and Nichols in the closing laps in a thrilling finish.

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Ben Cook. Impressive drive in the Final attempting to retrieve thirty lost places
Final Positions
Extreme Cadets GX200 Extremes GX160 ProKarts
First Harvey Charter Austin Munday Lewis Johnson
Second Thomas Short Charlie Bingham Tony Feasby
Third Daniel Holdsworth Ben Fallon Harry Gill
Fourth Scott Smith Dan Crosley Graham Gillis
Fifth Darren Dawson Lewis Cannon

Andrew W Webb

Sprocket Photography

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