Fulbeck would welcome back Super One for a second year after a seven year absence and with it the circuit had made several upgrades to host the meeting. New toilets and showers were the main upgrade requested after last year and the general feedback from the drivers was very positive.
On top of that the racing was very close and competitive. There were some first lap incidents as ever and drivers cutting the chicanes was policed very well from what I could see in the commentary box. Overall I think Fulbeck put on a good show and deserve another visit next season.
The IAME Cadet class was once again the Taylor Barnard show as the Fusion Motorsport driver continues his dominance in a usually very competitive class. He qualified pole and went on to win both heats and both finals further extending his already comfortable championship lead.
His closest challenge over the weekend no longer came from a teammate or fellow seeded driver, it instead came from Arvid Lindblad (interview below). Since becoming the first driver to join Oliver Rowland’s (F2 driver) new kart team Arvid has risen in confidence and was just half a second away from Barnard in a close run first final. From the front row Chris Draper led the battle for 3rd home which took Josh Irfan and Alex Dunne prisoner after they came together at the last corner just laps from the end of the race.
Final two was a different story when it came to the lead battle. Barnard broke clear from Draper at the start, but when the pack was brought back together when the battenburg flags came out. With the likes of Matthew Rees and Lindblad just behind Draper it looked like Barnard’s lead was coming under threat, but you have to give the championship leader credit as he nailed the start and went on to take victory.
Behind the battle for 2nd became fierce with a growing queue of karts forming which eventually ended up back to 13th place. In the midst of it all were impressive performances from the likes of Max Dodds who finished 5th and gained nine places, Freddie Slater finished 7th and gained twelve places and Alex Dunne finished 10th and gained eighteen places. But at the front of the queue Rees and Lindblad joined Barnard on the podium after Draper was disqualified from the final.
A slight increase in grids for the Mini Max saw six drivers take to the track at Fulbeck. All weekend the main battle on track was between Tom Adams, Lewis Gilbert, Jamie Day and Kai Hunter for the win with Ben Caisley and Jenson Parker going head to head for 5th place.
Gilbert won heat one comfortably and for neutrals it was a worry that was a sign of things to come but a cracking heat two saw Hunter just pip Gilbert and Hunter to the flag with the Caisley, Parker battle at 1-1.
Final one for the most part looked to be a straight fight for victory between Gilbert and Day. The latter took the lead eight laps in before the battle recommenced with two laps to go. As the pair began to dispute the lead, Adams had started to close in and was able to pick up 2nd from Day in the process.
Final two was the best race of the weekend in the Mini Max class. All four lead contenders took their turn to lead and with five laps to go Adams was leading Day, Gilbert and Hunter in that order. From there on despite the order not changing the lead was closely contested and Adams did a good job defending to take a well-deserved victory! Behind the top four Parker took 5th with Caisley not starting the race.
Perhaps the most entertaining class of the weekend. Once again Junior TKM delivered to it’s high standards of racing with the closest racing all weekend. The heats saw a mixed bag of results, Daniel Butterworth took the win in heat one with James Pashley holding on to his pole position in heat two to secure the top spot for final one.
Despite a brief lead from Zak Taylor, Pashley had held on to his lead and as the battling started to commence he was able to pull a slight gap. However, once Kurt Roberts and Abbi Pulling started to work together he was quickly closed back and it wasn’t long before Pulling led. Ross Deal then had his turn at the front, but it was only brief as a race winning move came from Pulling just three laps in which was enough to take the win with Deal having to defend from Pashley and Roberts to hold on to 2nd.
Final two was by far the best race from the whole weekend in any class! It had a number of different race leaders and saw the lead group go as far back as 13th! At the front we had three different race leaders in four laps with Pulling, Deal and Roberts. Pulling was the one most determined to hold on to the race lead and did so before Deal started to challenge again in the second half of the race. As the top four battled away Scott McIntyre led the 5th place train up to the lead group with a number of drivers now in contention.
But up front Deal did a brilliant job in defending his race lead from teammate Pulling and won in the end by just 0.05 seconds! Roberts finished 3rd with the top 12 covered by just 2.67 seconds. In 12th was Spencer Stevenson, the rookie gained 17 places setting a time just 0.04 seconds off the fastest lap!
Despite taking pole position Lewis Gilbert did not have a weekend to remember and was absent from both finals. In the heats Clayton Ravenscroft and Bradley Barrett for 1st and 2nd in both heats with Tyler Chesterton and Tommy Foster sharing 3rd place.
Final one produced a very entertaining battle, Ravenscroft led early doors but championship leader Chesterton was out to try and extend his lead and hit the front seven laps in. Quickly queuing up behind were the KR Sport trio in Ravenscroft, Tom Edmunds, Rhys Hunter with Barrett and Foster also there. It was Edmunds who looked like he had timed his race to perfection as he hit the front with just a handful of laps to go, but perhaps with some inexperience in winning Super One races he lost that to Chesterton who won from Hunter with Edmunds 3rd.
Winning by over one second you’d have thought the race was straight forward for Chesterton, but that was far from the truth. After seven laps, clearly fired up Edmunds took the lead but was quickly passed by Ravenscroft. With as many as 12 drivers now in contention it was a tough race to call, but when Chesterton re-took the lead with two laps to go, Ravenscroft in 2nd had to get on the defensive which saw Chesterton take a comfortable and well deserved win. With some penalties being awarded Finlay Bunce took 2nd gaining seven places and Edmunds rounded out the podium in 3rd.
As ever the Junior X30 class was a highly anticipated race with the championship still wide open. Quickly turning into a contender is Dragan Pinsent, after his win at Whilton Mill Pinsent took pole for Final one after pole in qualifying and a win and 2nd in the heats. Morgan Porter and Louie Westover had both scored the same points which put the result back to qualifying,
Of all the best start came from Reggie Duhy who was straight into the lead from p5, before the championship leader himself Westover hit the front in 5th. Despite a number of drivers queuing up behind Westover had the balance of putting in good laps whilst convincing his opponents not to go in on him. In all of this Samuel White was charging through the order but that would come to nothing as he was reportedly given a penalty seven hours after the race. Back at the front and Pinsent re-took the lead with three laps to go and pulled the pin to take victory from Westover, Duhy and Porter. Big movers included Luke Whitehead in 7th (15 places), Louie Short in 12th (17 places) and Caeson Gibson in 13th (21 places).
Final two was another close one where there were surprisingly just two race leaders in Westover and Porter. Westover was once again under big pressure at the front and didn’t seem to have the pace out front to comfortably lead. That saw him drop to 3rd place as Porter took the lead from White with Pinsent rounding at the lead quartet. In the dying stages of the race the lead quartet broke up leaving Porter and White to contest the lead and Pinsent and Westover to contest 3rd. They’d finish in that order with Porter further closing in on Westover in the championship.
Sam Fowler continues his rise up the championship order as he out in another good performance at Fulbeck. Pole position and a 1st and 2nd in the heats were enough to put him in the front row for final one, with Chris Whitton alongside, a driver on the recovery after a difficult start to the season.
Taking the victory in final one was Whitton but he unfortunatley received a ten second front fairing penalty dropping him to 8th place. In the eight-kart battle for the lead Fowler had finished 2nd so he was promoted to the win, Harry Moore in need of some good points jumped up to 2nd with Joe Stockford 3rd. Stephen Letts did well to recover from a mixed set of heats to finish 4th.
Final two saw Fowler get off to a good start from pole position with Simon Vercoe and Letts close behind in 2nd and 3rd. The championship leader, Letts, then moved up to 2nd but knowing they need to take points off him Moore and Vercoe came back past and were followed by Whitton, Whittingham and Stockford. Up front Fowler, Moore and Stockford eventually escaped but would not contest the lead and finished in that order after 17 laps with Letts down in 9th.
Joe Turney was unbeatable on Saturday as he took pole position and both his heat wins. Also winning heats were Josh Skelton and Danny Keirle who would start final one in 2nd and 3rd with Brad Pennell 4th. After an incident in one heat Oliver Hodgson would start in 7th.
Turney didn’t get final one off to the best start as he dropped down to 7th place whilst Elliot Harvey was making his way through from 6th on the grid to lead. Behind Pennell continued to impress as he worked his way through to 2nd, but that was soon taken by Hodgson who now his weekend back on track. Behind Turney had also come back through to 3rd and both would move up the order post-race with Harvey receiving a ten second front fairing penalty. Rounding out the top three was Keirle.
In final two it was actually Turney who got off to the best start taking the lead before Keirle had his turn to lead and that was followed by Hodgson who would lead up until the red flag. An incident up at the turn two hairpin saw Paul Stewart needing medical attention which would bring a pause to the race with just under five minutes to go. At the restart there was no stopping Hodgson who nailed the initial getaway before setting times two or three tenths quicker than the rest of the field to take a very deserving victory from Pennell and Keirle who gained 3rd after Turney was given a penalty post-race. It was a shame for the KR Sport driver who set a very impressive fastest lap.
Written by Chris McCarthy
Images courtesy of Carol McLean & Chris Walker, Kartpix