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Championship, Round 5, 19th July, Glan-Y-Gors, North Wales
From the sun and heat of the early races, intermittent rain developed for the two finals by mid-afternoon. Barlow led from pole in the first final, but he had an inspired Euan Johnson pressing hard from grid 3, from the closely following Huntley and Wroot. There was little to choose between them from the entire race, with Barlow hanging on for the win by 0.170s, with the next three just one second apart, as Huntley caught Johnson for the runner-up place in the closing seconds, ahead of Wroot. Harry Graham was several lengths further back in 5th place, with leading rookie Joe Sheppy in the top six.
With Barlow on pole for the main final it was all over for his rivals once it started to rain. Barlow pulling away into a very big lead. He set the fastest race lap in the early stages of 56.990s (lap 3), then sat back and relaxed, before cruising to the flag with a five and a half second gap over Johnson in 2nd place, and his two shadows, ‘E’ plate Georgie Anker and Wroot. Huntley was a distant 5th, pushed hard by rookie George Evans.
Paterson made the best of his hard-earned pole position, opening out a small gap over Churchill before the end of the first lap. Any hopes Churchill had of getting closer to the leader during the following laps, were soon thwarted by Brian Trott, who got into the ‘E’ plate champion’s slipstream from mid-distance and started to push hard.
Up front though and Paterson was running quick and smooth, keeping tight lines and gently opening out his advantage over Churchill. 2.25s was the winning margin over Churchill and Trott, the latter two separated by only 0.23s. Simon Mace took 4th place, helped by Roland Breadner dropping out of 4th position in the final few laps at the first corner. Shaun Port ended up in 5th place, with rookie Crutchley rounding off the top six after getting the better of Mark Lawrence a couple of laps earlier.
The main final dawned wet with a persistent drizzle, which worked perfectly for Paterson. By the time the rain stopped and the sun came back out half a dozen laps into the 20 lap final, Paterson had such a lead it was all over bar any mistake from the leader. An eight second+ winning margin at this level is more than a little impressive, especially given the quality of the opposition. For Paterson it could not have gone better. “We had a great weekend and everything went to plan. The kart was fantastic in both wet and dry conditions. Me and John (my mechanic) make a great team and we understand each other. Carl pushed me all day, but we had the edge; he is a great driver, a great competitor, and a good mate.”
Churchill looked to have the better of everyone except Paterson, but it soon became clear that Trott had other ideas. As the track dried, and with no opposition to worry about from behind him, Trott closed in on Churchill and started to apply pressure. Churchill started to slide more in the closing laps giving Trott his opportunity. Around the last lap Trott pushed hard, and as Churchill’s kart twitched coming onto the finishing straight, Trott pulled alongside to steal 2nd place by 0.01s!
Breadner’s run to 4th place had been a great effort from grid 21, showing only just how quick he had been until his pre-final retirement, and with the fastest race lap of 51.940s, maybe the front battle would have been a touch more interesting if he had started higher up the grid. Grand Master rookie Peter Mills finished 5th (from grid 10), ahead of Mello. Unfortunately for both Port and Lawrence, both of whom had been inside the top five, problems led to Port slipping back to 12th after an off, with Lawrence retiring at mid-distance.
The best one word comment of the day came from Owen Jenman, who after finishing in 2nd place to Sam Massey in the pre-final, which had taken place on slicks on a wet track, had simply been an understated “interesting!” It had looked to the increasingly wet spectators more like “troubling”. That was apart from Sam Dimelow who appeared to have been the only driver on wets. He was well placed at the start, running in 2nd place, before slipping back into the chasing pack as his tyres struggled in the semi-dry conditions. If the rain had been just slightly heavier, it was a gamble that could have reaped dividends.
It soon became clear how no one could touch Sam Massey in the relatively poor pre-final conditions. With Jenman the ‘best of the rest’, Massey had what appeared to be an easy run to the chequered flag for a solid win on a testing track surface.
Because of a kart problem, Kieran Gordon had not been at his best in the damp of final 1, but come the main event he was untouchable. Coming from grid 7 a few spots of rain by the end of lap 1 suggested problems, but it did not develop into a deluge, and Gordon moved forward with determination. “My day started with a big off in qualifying with a bent axle and steering column, and at the end of the day we realised I had ruined the frame! In the first heat we started 16th and finished 7th with the chassis being out by around two inches! The pre-final I started 7th and finished 7th after getting hit at the start back down to 12th. At the start of the final I was running in 6th just in the tow of the leaders, when the rain came down. I moved up to 3rd, then on lap 12 I passed Sam Massey for the lead in the double right coming back down the hill. From there I just settled down in to a rhythm and saw out the last 8 laps.” Jenman’s retirement was Newman’s gain, as he stepped forward to claim the final podium place, clear of Richard Moxom, Matthew Pearce, and Jack Golding.
Esmee Hawkey is one quick racer, and she showed her pace in what could be her final karting year, before moving onwards and upwards in the sport in 2015 if her current plans reach fruition. With pole for the pre-final ahead of Jenson Murchison we were set for a good race and so it proved. With the drivers taking to the track on slicks as a fine drizzle of rain fell, it soon became clear this would, barring incident, be a two driver race.
Hawkey made a good start from pole, but she had Murchison tracking her for the distance. There was little between them on lap times, with Hawkey’s best of 43.570s comparing to Murchison’s 43.580s, although the latter’s ‘turn-in’, especially on the final corner was looking that much sharper than the leader’s. Around the final lap there was nothing to separate the two of them, particularly when they raced side-by-side through the infield, but it was at the final corner where Murchison held the advantage and he used it well, claiming the win from Hawkey by 0.210s. In the two leaders wake a good scrap had developed between ‘E’ plate Sam Faulkner and James White, with Faulkner surviving a grassy moment up the hill, before recovering to wrest 3rd place from White by the flag. Elliot Webb and Mitchaell White completed the top six.
The final was all Hawkey and Murchison once again, except the rain was now falling heavier and every driver was racing with wet tyres. Hawkey made the better start once more and opened out a small gap in the early stages, looking as though she had the race well under her control, with a best lap well clear of anyone else. Unfortunately Hawkey picked up a slow puncture with three laps to go and Murchison closed in quickly. Around the final lap they touched at the bottom of the hill, leaving Murchison to win easily by over 10 seconds from Faulkner and White, with Hawkey slowly crossing the line in 4th place before pulling up on the slowing down lap