Round 8 of the Formula 270 started with keen interested from the championship regulars and Covkart hopefuls due to the arrival of the brand new fleet of Biz Karts. Generously Red Lodge Karting had extended qualifying from just a 1 lap shoot out to a 4 lap qualifying session to let everyone get used to the new karts. The newer karts appear wider and now have the typical closed rear wheels of corporate karts now with the wrap around bumper. However, the chassis was a vast improvement on the slightly tired karts of the previous round. As usual the field was split in half, the lightweight drivers starting first with those 80kg and over watching from the side lines with one eye on the timing screens.
Aaron Lask puts it on pole with a respectful 52 second lap doing what he needs for his championship campaign. The race starts dry and with a minor tangle with George Parker and Bob Willis at the first corner there positions barely change. The whole field manages to keep within 10 seconds of each other, with the top 3 of Aaron Lask, James Rose and Josh Adams on his debut, less than a second apart. However on lap 10 the rain began to fall and chaos ensued. With the top 3 running so close it was inevitable contact would happen, with Aaron Lask taking the brunt of it. Jacob Heyne-Ford running in 4th almost a second behind takes full advantage by swooping into the lead on the last lap with James Rose holding onto 2nd and Aaron taking a commiserating 3rd.
In the heavies it was Covkart Race Director and Red Lodge Regular Chris Daines on pole, with Will Gibbs creeping into the 80kg class this time around in 2nd. At the start of the now dry track Jono Holland got off the line quickly to take 3rd from Paul Turland. The top 3 then pulled away from the field as Charlie Tatum demoted Paul Turland further to lead the chasing pack. The lap times were only a second off the best which was impressive on a damp to drying track. On lap 7 Jono Holland took a punt for 2nd place but couldn’t make it stick, so the positions remained unchanged with Chris Daines taking the win, Will Gibbs second and Jono Holland 3rd, 12 seconds in front of the chasing pack.
Heat 2’s reverse grid saw 2016 Formula 270 Champion Lewis Nurse start pole due to a penalty in the previous heat that put him a lap down. Making up for the contact in the previous round George Parker took advantage of being at the front overtaking Mathew Rout on lap 2 and leader Lewis on lap 3. In the midfield Covkarters Dante Dhillon and Greg Smith (3rd in F270 Championship 2016) were changing places lap after lap, but Aaron Lask had the better of them coming through from the back. Jake Taplin was doing well in 4th until a chain snapping ended his race early on lap 10 which seemed to set off a chain reaction releasing Aaron Lask and Charlie Pickering to both demote Lewis Nurse and Mathew Rout out of the top 3. By this time George Parker was out of reach, winning by 8 seconds with Aaron Lask runner up and Charlie Pickering close behind in third.
In the reverse grid for the Heavies Will and Chris stormed from the back with Covkart’s Jason Keeler mixing it with the regulars. This time Will Gibbs was leading Chris Daines with Jason Keeler in toe, but it would appear there were still some teething issues with the new karts. Chris Daine’s stuttered to a halt on lap 10, with a pursuing Charlie Tatum demoting Jason Keeler to 3rd. This seemed to wake up the midfield too who scrabbled for position just two laps from the end. It finished this time with Will Gibbs in first, Charlie Tatum second and Jason Keeler third. Because of this though the heavies, bar the top 2 of Will Gibbs and Andy Cornish, were separated by just 2 points.
Heat 3 was the most competitive of the night with the whole field separated by just 5 seconds. Jake Taplin made up for his failing kart in the last heat to start on pole, leading the first 3 laps being pursued by Jacob Heyne-Ford and Josh Adams. Jacob took the lead on the next lap hoping to make it two wins for the night with Josh Adams following him through a lap later into second. After finally making his way from the back of the pack to the front Aaron was poised to take the lead, and on lap 10 just the tap 2 thousands of a second behind Jacob. A lap later it was done and it was Aaron atop the podium once more, with Jacob 2nd and Jake slipping down the order meant James Rose was 3rd. To top off his win Aaron also got the fastest lao of the evening being the only driver to make it into the 51 second bracket.
The Heavies was just as lively as the final trophy was to be decided by our finishing position. Will Gibbs made it a repeat of starting at the back and slicing his way to the front into second place, with Charlie Tatum in the lead and Jono Holland in 3rd. The Black and White flag was being well used by race controls as drivers bumped each other into the hairpin, shuffling the order, promoting Rafal Wolski to 3rd. However it wasn’t long before Andy Cornish took 3rd place off him and Jason Keeler taking a further place into 4th. The battle between Will and Charlie intensified swapping places over 4 laps but Will eventually made it stick to take a second win, Charlie 2nd, Andy 3rd.
Overall in the lightweights Aaron Lask took the win with 102 points, an impressive 9 points ahead of James Rose, who himself was just 1 point ahead of Jacob Heyne-Ford. In the 80kg it was Will Gibbs in 1st with 106 points, Andy Cornish in 2nd on 94 and Jason Keeler’s 4th place in the last heat took the final podium position on 89. In the 90kg category it was Charlie Tatum first on 86, David Lask second with 78 just one point ahead of James Oakley with 77.
In the Championship Aaron Lask was now on 781 points after 23 heats with George Parker second with 747 over 24 heats, and Charlie Pickering 3rd with 707. In the 80kg Andy Cornish now made it mathematically impossible for anyone to catch him with 776. Paul Turland in second on 656 points is now unable to surpass that total, as winning the last 6 heats would only give him 758 points. However second place is yet to be decided with Jono Holland now just 18 points behind on 638. In the 90kg championship it is all to play for as James Oakley leads with 692, David Lask on 626 and Charlie Tatum on 589. Only the top 25 heats count out of the 30 for the year so the next round will only gather more points for some drivers if they better their previous results – although with some drivers experiencing DNFs and last lap spins there are plenty of points to be had.