British Superkart Association National Championships Rounds 1 & 2

Bishopscourt 8th April 2017

125 Open

Liam Morley didn’t change anything during the practice sessions and in the qualifying session set a time of 1m10.333s. But Noel Brennan was a smidgen ahead at 1m10.312s. He hadn’t changed anything on his kart from last season.  James O’Keefe was next at 1m10.405s and running an all white colour scheme after the Garda livery of last year. For the race, he would have a photo of his face in order to spook rivals.  Dan Edwards was fourth having achieved what he could without a tow, and wanting to preserve the Anderson, came in.  Fifth was Matt Robinson who believed there was more to come after having a misfire. Having used an F1 chassis last year, Andy Connor was in an Anderson chassis and was sixth. Conor McCormack was seventh and hoping to ambush competitors in his new urban camouflage livery and James Irvine was ninth using an ex-Liam Morley chassis with a new Vortex engine. Danny Butler was left “hung out to dry” after not finding anyone else to tow later in the session and was twelfth. Lee Harpham had an engine seize and ended up 28th on the grid. Trevor Roberts was behind him in a new Raider. He too had an engine seize and that was on his out lap.

Race One

During the start, Matt Robinson’s engine didn’t pick up and he dropped down the field. “It wouldn’t clear out,” he said. Brennan was also passed after getting the gear setting wrong and Irvine’s screw on the accelerator came loose which also lost him places. Morley led the field. After finding the balance “so so” while qualifying tenth, Cattermole was making progress.  He set fastest lap of the race at 1m09.701s and grabbed the lead, only for the piston ring to break.  Morley regained the lead and was closely pursued by Edwards. He just made it across the line with 0.166s separating him from Edwards. “I nearly got him,” Edwards said.  O’Keefe was third, having struggled on the straights while finding the other sections easier. McGaffin was fourth despite his kart having problems with its tail-end. Bishopscourt is hard on tyres and Connor was finding his were graining. He persisted and was fifth. Harpham was struggling with power having salvaged a piston from his previous engine and was seventh. After a “rampage” through the field following his problems at the start, Robinson was eighth.

  1. Liam Morley
  2. Danny Edwards
  3. James O’Keefe
  4. Matthew McGaffin
  5. Andy Connor
  6. Conor McCormack

Race Two

Thanks to his fastest lap, Cattermole started from pole position and led away from the start. It was looking good until the carburettor fell off and he coasted into the pits.  Morley took the lead again and only 0.934s covered the first six. Morley had new tyres on, and he tucked himself behind his steering wheel trying to do what he could to break the tow.  McGaffin challenged Edwards for second, but had to retire when a needle valve failed. O’Keefe inherited third and Edwards passed Morley. “He got me fair and square,” Morley said. Despite finding the engine rich, Edwards set a lap record of 1m09.486s and crossed the line 0.284s ahead of Morley. It was Edwards’ first victory since Snetterton in July 2013. A sweet, sweet victory.

After a nasty scare during Saturday practice when the bolts fell out of his steering wheel in the turn 4/5 complex resulting in a collision with the barrier, a sore Nathan Coss in the Phantom was “on the limit” and finished eighth in the second race after finishing thirteenth in the first.

  1. Danny Edwards
  2. Liam Morley
  3. James O’Keefe
  4. Andy Connor
  5. Conor McCormack
  6. Lee Harpham

Race Three

A red flag was waved for the first time after several karts speared off the track. At the second attempt, McCormack’s kart speared to the left and into the barriers. With the ambulance needing to take McCormack to hospital and the circuit requiring two ambulances at all times, the third race for every class was cancelled on safety grounds.

Division One/F450 National

Liam Morley secured pole by a considerable margin, 1m05.454s to Stuart Coey’s 1m06.438s. Coey was in a 2015 PVP. Carl Hulme was third on 1m07.371s and trying new parts, including an airbox that he’d designed himself. Dave Harvey had too much nose during second practice and spun, but ended up fourth with 1m08.056s. He was hoping to find more pace; looking for reference points before pressing down on the gas. A new airbox was also being tested. Tom Rushforth had another promising session and pulled into the pits after setting a 1m08.090s and on the DFS compound. Despite having his previously reliable engine give him trouble, Liam Fox was seventh. Jason Dredge managed only eight laps during the practice and qualifying sessions because of engine seizures.  Andy Waite was ninth and the quickest of the F450 Nationals.

Race One

Before the beginning of the race, Coey couldn’t get his engine to fire up as his battery failed.  After the start, Hulme lost one cylinder and coasted towards the pitlane ready to retire only for it to pick up again. He set off in pursuit of the pack. Rushforth needed to make steering corrections in the first sequence of corners and narrowly missed two karts who collided in front of him. On the final lap on the pit straight, he had another scare and narrowly missed James Clark. Rushforth was finding the kart more controllable compared to a 125. Dad Simon finished ninth on the older Spyda chassis which previously housed the twin 125cc engines. After progressing to eighth place, Dredge retired with a battery problem. Up ahead, Morley led to the flag despite suffering from a misfire. Richard Dewart, who had not had good luck at Bishopscourt in the past was pleased with fifth. Colin Menary had switched to an MSkart and was sixth.  Andy Waite was eighth and the leading F450 National.

  1. Liam Morley
  2. Dave Harvey
  3. Carl Hulme
  4. Tom Rushforth
  5. Richard Dewart
  6. Colin Menary

Race Two

Morley put new tyres on and the kart felt “much better”. However, Coey led for the first two laps before hitting a kerb and damaging the battery again, causing his retirement. On the first lap, Harvey had a trip across the grass which filled his air intakes. Hulme was again struggling with power and Dredge’s battery failed for a second time. Feeling more comfortable in the kart, Morley set a new outright lap record for Bishopscourt, 1m03.322s. A speed of 103.699 mph. Phew! Dewart finished again and Buckley finished fifth; fine-tuning what he has with limited funds available for new developments.

  1. Liam Morley
  2. Dave Harvey
  3. Tom Rushforth
  4. Richard Dewart
  5. Eoin Buckley
  6. Colin Menary

Words By Simon Stiel

Image By Niall Doherty


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