The 2016 Covkartsport Winter Series kicked off at Whilton Mill on 31 January in tricky conditions, challenging each and every competitor’s kart control skills on a track surface that seemingly became ever slipperier as the day went on.
Alongside the championship’s seasoned hands, 2016 has brought plenty of friendly new faces to the series, novice and experienced drivers alike. Founded in 1996, Covkartsport will celebrate its 20th anniversary this year as a four-stroke arrive and drive multi-circuit championship, offering organised racing at the lowest cost possible, using karts supplied by each track on the calendar.
Aimed at experts and beginners alike, the three-round Winter Series runs from January to March, offering drivers a chance to stay sharp at a time of the year when organised racing tends to be thinner on the ground than frost.
The 2016 Winter Series continues the format established last season, with a seven-minute qualifying determining the grid positions for a quick-fire ‘pre-final’ race, and a longer feature-length final, with the grid decided by a combination of the pre-final results and fastest lap times.
This was to be the final day of racing for Whilton Mill’s fleet of 390cc Sodikarts before a new fleet was introduced the following week. They were given a fitting send off (and the odd mud bath), with spectacular racing throughout the day in all three classes.
In the Junior category (age 12 to 16), Daniel Beardmore scored a fine win in the pre-final but it was 2015 champion Dante Dhillon back on top in the final, recovering from a mid-race spin to regain the lead. George Hucknell, beginning his first full season in Covkartsport, took second place ahead of Andre Careless. Fastest lap (67.60 seconds) went to Daniel Beardmore.
In the senior Lightweight class, James Taylor started the final from pole position but fell foul of the increasingly treacherous Turn Two, leaving fellow front-row starter Paul Cox to battle with James Saunders and Louis Dymond. Saunders took the chequered flag, ahead of Dymond and Cox with fastest lap (67.13s) going to Sam Lovelace.
In the Heavyweight class (80kg and above), Connor Marsh took an early lead from third on the grid before also getting caught out by the butter-slippery Turn Two, falling to fifth place after a 360degree spin. Despite the setback, Marsh fought back to take the win ahead of Andrew Spencer and Slawek Piskorz. Elsewhere in the Heavyweight class, Dean Davis missed out on the podium following a muddy moment, but showed his pace with the fastest lap of the entire day, an untouchable 66.01 seconds.
Round 2 will take place at Daytona Tamworth on 21 February, with all drivers welcome. Visit www.covkartsport.co.uk for details.
Words: James Taylor
Photos: Mandy Marsh