Home » Reports » National Reports » English Championships for F250 National, F450 National, Division 1 & F125 Open
English Championships for F250 National, F450 National, Division 1 & F125 Open

English Championships for F250 National, F450 National, Division 1 & F125 Open

Cadwell Park 5th & 6th August 2017

Thrilling Climax to the E Plates

There was a close finish to three of the class championships at Cadwell with Jack Layton, Stephen Clark and Lee Harpham emerging triumphant.

The larger capacity classes had their rounds on Saturday while the 125’s had their final rounds on Sunday. There was a ‘lot of traffic’ on the circuit during qualifying but Andy Bird managed to pick his way through. Using old tyres and a different gearbox in his Gas Gas he set a pole time of 1m 26.075s. Quickest in the F450 class was reigning English Champion Andrew Gulliford who set a 1m 26.882s to join Bird on the front row. Stephen Clark only managed to get one decent lap in but his time of 1m 27.078s was sufficient for third spot.

With the absence of series leader James O’Reilly, Ross Allen was in the prime position to take the E plate after collecting a win at Croft in April. He put in a lot of laps and wound up fourth on 1m 27.421s. Jack Layton arrived at Cadwell in 9th place in the championship. After a dreadful time at Cadwell a month earlier, he was treating this meeting as an extended test session to iron out problems ahead of the MSA rounds at Snetterton. He was a frequent visitor to the pits but put in a time of 1m 27.997s for 5th quickest just ahead of his team mate Tom Hatfield on 1m 28.963s. Nathan Barton was the quickest in the Division 1 class with ninth overall on 1m 31.392s but he had a clutch problem and the Barker Racing team worked frantically to get him ready for the opening race.

Guilford set a new Lap Record – Steve Addison

Unfortunately, Barton didn’t get to see the red lights for the start of race 1 when he struggled with carburation issues on the warm-up lap and then wiped out Adam Mitchell when the clutch failed again. Gulliford made good use of the torque from the 450 KTM to lead away at the start followed by Bird and Clark. But it was Clark ahead of his class rival at the end of the opening lap. Bird held third from Allen and Layton in the 250 National class with Andy Dean leading David Ede in the Division 1 category. Ede’s race ended on lap 3 when he was punted off by Charlie Johnson when they were contesting 11th place. Gulliford took the lead on lap 3 setting a new F450 class lap record in the process and pulled away from Clark. Layton’s DEA was performing a lot better than last month and he went past Bird and Allen to lead the 250 National’s.

Bird was looking to challenge back as his Dunlop tyres ‘came on’ after 5 laps but then the big end failed in his Gas Gas and that was his day over. At the front Gulliford continued to lead while Layton had got past Clark and closed the gap. It looked like we were in for a close finish but then Layton spun at the hairpin on the last lap when lapping a back marker. Gulliford won comfortably from Clark, while Layton recovered to finish third and take the 250 National class win. Andy Waite had a steady drive to claim the next spot after Allen struck trouble. A left rear puncture slowed him over the last lap and he just managed to get across the line ahead of Aaron Sifleet for second in class. Dean’s lead in the Division 1 class evaporated on lap 5 when the chain broke. That gave the win to Paul Hewitt who was a long way clear of John Faulkner.

Layton leads from Clark – Steve Addison

The E plates were still to be settled as the grid approached the line to start race 2. In the 250 class Allen needed a win or a second, Layton needed a win while in the 450’s Gulliford and Clark needed a win to seal it. It was Gulliford, Clark and Waite into Coppice for the first time and that was still the order at the end of the opening lap. Layton had made a slowish start and dropped behind Allen and Sifleet but he was on Waite’s tale after the first 2.1869 miles. Gulliford stretched his lead over Clark and looked to be heading for the title but on lap 4 the KTM motor cut out and his chance of retaining his E plate was over. There was similar dram in the 250 National class. Allen tailed Layton for the first two laps before going ahead on lap 3.

Layton regained the class lead on lap 5 and then moved ahead of Clark to lead overall. Allen was still in the right place to take the title but on lap 7 he suffered another rear right puncture and his title aspirations were deflated. Layton cruised away over the remaining laps to take the overall win and retain his E plate. Not bad for a supposed test day. Clark eased his pace once Gulliford was side-lined and added the E to his GP title. Sifleet drove another good race on his new Anderson chassis to claim third place. Hatfield made up a lot of ground from his sixteenth row start position and picked off Johnson and Waite in the closing stages to claim 4th place on the road. That also gave him enough points to secure third place in the championship. Hewitt was the Division 1 class winner comfortably ahead of his Barker racing team mate Barton.

Harpham ahead of Edwards – Dave Robinson

Sunday saw the final rounds of the F125 Open championships, although a few drivers had taken the opportunity to race with the 250’s the day before. With series leader Liam Morley away racing his Division 1 kart at Assen it was still anyone’s championship with four drivers in with a shout. The qualifying session was sunny and dry. Reigning English Champion Kirk Cattermole was trying an IAME engine for the first time. He whistled round the circuit to set a pole position time of 1m 29.225s on his fourth lap but three laps later he was parked up at the side of the track. A big end had failed. The team then had to swap back to his usual SGM motor for the first race. Second quickest was Dan Edwards but he was eight tenths slower on a 1m 30.088s. Current second in the championship was Lee Harpham. After experiencing all sorts of ignition problems at Cadwell a month earlier, he put in a lot of laps in the timed session and was a lot happier recording a 1m 30.661s for third quickest just ahead of Andy Connor on 1m 30.704s. Chris Needham had problems with him IAME engine the day before and swapped to an SGM but only managed one lap so would be starting at the back of the grid.

Cattermole and Edwards moved off together at the start of race 1 but at the end of the opening lap it was Harpham who led with Cattermole and Edwards glued to his bumper. Connor held fourth spot with Ben Warsap and Nick Kirk further back in 5th and 6th. Cattermole took over the lead on lap two with Harpham pushed back to third but Cattermole’s grip on his E plate ended on lap 3 when the SGM motor seized. His day was over. That left Edwards and Harpham to fight over the race win. Edwards just had the advantage but on the last lap Harpham made a challenge. Into the left hander before the mountain he went ahead but then his foot slipped off the throttle pedal and he lost drive over the crest of the hill. This allowed Edwards to retake the lead as they entered Hall Bends and he hung on to win by 0.111s. Connor was having a lonely race in third place but he was caught and passed by Needham with a lap to go. Kirk dropped out on lap 4 so it was left to Ridout and Warsap to contest fifth spot with the positions changing on the final lap.

Needham settled for third – Dave Robinson

There was only one point separating Harpham from Edwards with Connor still in with a chance of the E plate as they approached race 2. Edwards got the perfect start as Harpham struggled to get the TM off the line. That dropped him behind a couple of four strokes and Needham. Edwards led the opening lap and crossed the line with a two second advantage over Harpham who had dispensed with the 450’s. Needham was third with Conner, Ridout and Warsap locked together over fourth spot. Harpham chipped away at Edwards lead and on lap 5 went ahead as they swept through Coppice. Each driver knew that a win would settle the E plate. Edwards tailed the Redspeed driver for the remaining laps but wasn’t quite close enough to put in a pass. Harpham ran out the winner by exactly half a second. Once again Edwards was a runner up – the GP, the UK Cup and now the E plate. Needham lost touch with the leaders and had a steady run to the flag mixing it with the other Silverstone chassis drivers in the 450 class over the closing laps. Connor was heading for fourth place but dropped out with two laps to go allowing Ridout to inherit the position well clear of Ian Reid, the only other finisher in the 125cc class.

Words by Gary James

Photography courtesy of Steve Addison Photography and Dave Robinson.

Like this article? Then check out all our other race reports here:

All Superkart Racing reports

Main Race Reports page