F125 Open Superkarts – Rounds 7 & 8

Rounds 7 & 8, Rockingham 10th August 2014

Needham extends his title lead in tricky conditions

Chris Needham scored another double win, this time at the new venue of Rockingham where severe weather and red flags were the order of the day.

Qualifying

There was a disappointing entry for this meeting for a variety of reasons. Nevertheless the top ten in the championship were all present. The timed session was held in dry, cloudy but breezy conditions. Liam Morley was soon on the pace and banged in a time of 1m 10.502s to claim pole position. “We hadn’t made any changes since this morning and had a target time that was half a second quicker. We bolted on a new set of Dunlops and went for it. When I saw the time come up on the data logger I was happy that I had the job done,” he said. After topping the times in the morning warm-up, Chris Needham was struggling to get near the time as his Hoosier tyres were past their best having done three meetings. He pitted and put on a set that were only one meeting old. On his second lap he set a time of 1m 10.563s just 0.061s behind Morley. Lee Harpham (1m 11.465s) secured third place on the grid but he was suffering from under steer and went off twice at Brook corner. Only 0.022s slower was Matt Isherwood (1m 11.487s). “The motor is a bit down on power. I could get more out of the kart but I am not sure how,” he said. Recently crowned English champion Kirk Cattermole (1m 11.563s) was fifth quickest. He had cured an understeer problem but the motor was cutting out through the long right handed Kirby Deene section. Sam Moss (1m 11.995s) was first out on track but struggled with a lot of oversteer but persevered and set his time on the last lap. Danny Butler (1m 12.303s) reverted back to his F1 chassis for this meeting feeling that the new HRK chassis and a new circuit would be too much to learn. Unfortunately, he ended qualifying with a seized TM motor. Completing row 4 was Louis Wall (1m 12.733s). He pitted after one lap having scrubbed in a new set of tyres before going out on a set used at Anglesey. He had a slight misfi re through the Kirby Deene section so decided to park the kart rather than risk any damage. Dan Edwards (1m 12.876s) was a lowly ninth quickest. He had changed from Hoosiers to Dunlops but hadn’t changed the gearing so he was only pulling 12kph along the straight. Neil Robinson (1m 13.816s) rounded out the top ten.

Race 1

As a result of Hurricane Bertha paying a visit to Rockingham, the first race was delayed by almost 90 minutes. With skies brightening, the Superkarts went out on wet tyres and were given two laps behind the pace car to acclimatise. When the lights changed, Morley bogged down on pole position, allowing Needham and Isherwood to get past on the run to the first corner with Moss also getting ahead. Sam then drove around the outside of Ma. to grab second place. At the end of lap 1 Needham had an advantage of 0.534s over Moss while Harpham, who had his TM load up at the start, passed Morley up the inside at Tarzan hairpin to take third place with Isherwood shuffled back to fi . h spot. Needham doubled his lead on lap 2 with Harpham closing in on Moss while Isherwood wasn’t having a good time and lost another place to Wall. Moss then found the track conditions to his liking and halved the lead setting the fastest lap of the race in the process. He was noticeably quicker than Needham and at Yentwood on lap 4 he made a challenge for the lead but wasn’t quite close enough. Next time around Moss made the same manoeuvre and this time he was through and into the lead. But a red flag was waved with seven minutes still remaining on the clock. Simon Rushforth and Tony Long had gone off without damage at Gracelands but were deemed to be in a dangerous position so the officials had li_ le choice. The results were then taken counting back one lap so Needham regained the top spot. “Sam drove a good race. I wasn’t going to fi ght him for the lead as I knew that he wasn’t challenging me in the championship,” explained Needham.

Race 2

With grid positions determined by lap times in race one, Moss was on pole position with Needham alongside. A. er the circuit was lashed with rain again, the sun came out and we had blue sky. Half an hour behind schedule the grid formed up with the track dry enough for slicks, although there were a couple of damp patches. Moss didn’t make the cleanest of starts and allowed Needham to take the lead. Morley looked for a way up the inside of Moss entering Brook but got on a wet patch of Tarmac and this allowed Isherwood into second place. Isherwood then outbraked his team-mate into Tarzan to take the lead at the end of lap 1 while Morley had displaced Moss at Yentwood to take third place and Cattermole passed Moss on the exit of Tarzan to claim fourth. Dan Edwards was next ahead of Harpham who had lost out again at the start when his TM loaded up. Needham repassed his team-mate on lap 2 and opened up a useful lead as the rest squabbled over second place. Isherwood was struggling with the handling of his Anderson. Ca_ ermole and Morley got past at Yentwood while Moss drove round the outside at Gracelands to push Isherwood back to fifth place. By lap 4 the race had se_ led down with Needham 2.017s ahead and Morley fi rmly established in second place ahead of Cattermole. Moss, Isherwood and Harpham were dicing over fourth place but Isherwood lost ground on the pair on lap 5. Edwards was holding seventh place but he spun at Yentwood letting Butler and Wall past. Butlers race ended 200 yards further on when the big end in his TM failed. Needham set the fastest lap of the race on lap 6 and continued to increase his lead over Morley. Cattermole lost his third place at the end of the following lap when he pulled into the pits with a broken split link on the chain which le. Moss and Harpham to fight over that position. Moss was struggling with oversteer while Harpham also had some handling issues. They were locked together for the next three laps and then Harpham seized his chance when they came across backmarkers at the end of lap 10. Harpham drew alongside on the exit of Tarzan and moved ahead as they started lap 11. But then we had another red flag. There was some confusion as to why but the reason given was debris on the track. With results taken back a lap Needham was declared the winner while Moss benefited on the count back and secured third place.