F125 Open British Superkart Grand Prix

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Donington Park 5th June 2016


Liam Morley added the F125 Open Grand Prix title to his Division 1 win and became the first driver in the history of the event to collect two Grand Prix titles on the same day.

Reigning champion Lee Harpham won both the BSA F125 Open Championships rounds, with the fastest laps from those races determining grid positions for the Grand Prix. However, despite his success, Harpham would line up on the front row but not in pole position. That honour went to series rookie Matt Robinson. After a water pump failure in the first race, he stormed through from the back of the grid to finish 9th in race 2, setting a lap time which was over half a second quicker than his rivals. On the second row was Sam Moss who picked up a third place in race 1 despite the engine not pulling out of the Melbourne Hairpin. He was joined by Danny Butler who collected a pair of fourths in the championship races. Liam Morley headed row 3 after finishing second in the opening race despite the ignition mapping being wrong. Alongside was multi-GP winner Dan Edwards who picked up a fifth and a sixth. Kirk Cattermole had struggled with fuel pressure problems on Saturday but had resolved the problem on Sunday and collected a second place to head row 4. Joining him was Phil Garrett who set his best time in race 1 when he chased and caught the group dicing for fifth place.

Superkart GP 2016 - Cattermole took a turn at the front
Superkart GP 2016 – Cattermole took a turn at the front

It was a superb sight when the forty-five karts exited Goddards on the warm-up lap and the slow run to the start. The biggest grid of 125’s for a long time. When the lights changed Robinson’s clutch failed and he received a whack before getting away and losing ground. This caused a bit of confusion and Dan Edwards burst through from the third row to run side by side with Harpham down to Redgate for the first time.  Behind them it was five abreast as they approached the corner. We were in for a great race.

Harpham led at the end of the opening lap from Morley and Cattermole with Jake Coward making a great start from the seventh row to hold fourth place. Trevor Roberts was next ahead of a snarling mass of karts, only 2.83s covering 5th to 16th. Chris Needham, the current GP holder, peeled off into the pits at the end of lap 1 with a misfiring SGM, his race over. He was joined in retirement a lap later by team mate Matt Isherwood who was also struggling with engine problems. Garrett pitted at the end of lap 3 with an engine down and power and was followed soon after by Robinson whose clutch had given up.

At the front Harpham opened up a lead of just over a second as Cattermole, Coward and Morley fought over second place while Roberts held off Moss, Larder and Edwards for fifth spot.  Harpham was looking to secure his third win of the weekend but Cattermole put in a sub 1m38s lap to close the gap and put some daylight over Coward, who was suffering from an ignition problem and Morley. On lap 7 Cattermole took the lead and was still there at the end of the following lap. But the pace was quickening. Harpham was on his tail and Morley was closing in, setting the fastest lap of the race. Coward’s challenge disappeared on lap 8 when a top water hose clip broke so it became a three-way fight.

Harpham regained the top spot on lap 9 but on the final lap Morley made a late lunge into the Melbourne Hairpin and took the lead. They raced up the hill side by side into Goddards but Morley had the inside line and exited first to cross the line and win by 0.178s. “We had set the DEA motor up with some fairly extreme jetting in the carburettor. It was either going to be a missile or it would seize. After 6 laps I thought my chances were over, but then something switched on in the motor and it flew,” explained the double GP winner. Harpham would have to wait another year to secure a win. Cattermole was happy to be on the podium but thought he had let a good chance of victory slip away.

Superkart GP 2016 - Harpham holds off Morley and Cattermole as they start the last lap
Superkart GP 2016 – Harpham holds off Morley and Cattermole as they start the last lap

With Coward out, the next scrap was now for 4th place. The Irish were coming. James O’Keefe from Limerick had joined the party at half distance and they were being caught by Conor McCormack and Joseph Daly. Unfortunately, McCormack’s challenge ended on the final lap when the bottom end let go and the TM motor seized.

Into Goddards for the last time. 4th place was still in doubt. Larder made a move up the inside but Roberts had the line for the corner. The resulting contact pushed him into Moss and they spun. Larder emerged from Goddards in fourth place and just held off Edwards by 0.260s. O’Keefe in the Garda liveried kart led fellow Irishman Daly across the line for an excellent sixth place with Moss and Roberts relegated to eighth and ninth. arphamHar

Results (10 laps)

1 Liam Morley (Anderson DEA)
2 Lee Harpham (Anderson Redspeed TM)
3 Kirk Cattermole (Raider SGM)
4 Ian Larder (Anderson TM)
5 Dan Edwards (HRK TM)
6 James O’Keefe (Anderson TM)

Fastest Lap Morley 1m 37.390s (91.94mph)

Written by Gary James

Images courtesy of Nick Purdie


Read more from the Donington Park Grand Prix here:

F450 British Superkart Grand Prix

CIK-FIA European Superkart Championships Rounds 3 & 4 Report