Round 2 – April 19, 2015
The PFi ProKart non-MSA sprint meeting is enjoying a massive revival with the introduction of RPM GX200 engines in Cadets and ProKarts and the year-old management of Paul Barnicoat Services.
There are now over 60 karts participating in the current three Championships on the third Sunday of every month. Overseen now by a dedicated Clerk of the Course, racing is intensively competitive, yet the meeting retains its “clubby” atmosphere.
A timetable of free practice, timed qualifying, three heats of fifteen minutes, and a Final of twenty minutes – all for the cost
of a normal racing day — must be one of the best value for money packages for a day’s racing. GX200 engines – or indeed complete racing-ready karts – can be hired on site from RPM by booking in advance.
It is no wonder then, that the Extreme Cadet grids are approaching 20 strong with the Extreme ProKarts nudging thirty. There is a separate grid for the fifteen or so GX160 ProKarts, all of them racing on the renowned full PF International Circuit.
This Championship has taken off after its rather tentative introduction last year, attracting a wide range of competitors from seven-year olds right through to the occasional Super One contestant. The April meeting was nothing if not eventful with defending Champion Harry Restall coming out on top in Heat 1 within a second of Travis Mitchell, Lucas Ellingham, and Taylan Babbs. It was for him however, his last hurrah. Nursing a leg injury from the day before, he lost the advantage in Heat 2 to Lucas Ellingham, and in Heat 3 was called in for a lost side pod.
The Final was full of incident with nine-year old Ellingham taking full advantage of his pole position and breaking free from the standing start to keep his nerve and win unchallenged by eight seconds. The remaining two podium places were
up for grabs and a bit of a lottery with leading contenders Mitchell and Cian Ketteringham getting themselves tangled up half-way through, both ending up out of the reckoning with Ketteringham recovering to come fifth. Restall made fantastic progress starting at seventh to come second, but had made contact along the way with George Smith, which did his podium bid no favours, consigning him to fourth. Restall’s five- lap penalty more than cancelled out a great race, but not the achievement of the fastest lap of the day. All this left the way open for Taylan Babbs, a consistent top-five finisher, to come second and impressive ex-Bambino Josh Irfan, whom Babbs beat by a mere 6/100 s into third.
There was a remarkable uniformity in the results for GX160 ProKarts throughout the day and it was therefore no surprise that Ben Cook and Kathleen Sore’s first and second place consistency was replicated in the Final with a gap of around three seconds. Dull it certainly wasn’t! Cook produced a lights- to-flag victory by three seconds but Sore scored the fastest lap times in every heat. Third place was again contested between defending Champion Matt Dorling and Steve Thompson, but the momentum in the third heat was with Dorling and he got onto the bottom tier of the podium by less than two seconds. There was a similar intense battle for the next two places between Piers Cooper and Sean Dorling on their first appearances this year with fifth place going to Cooper by 1/5 s.
GX200 Extreme ProKarts
This was a monster grid of 28 and Ben Fallon was the undisputed victor in the Final as he had been in all the heats, pushing
the fastest lap times down relentlessly into the 1:04’s. Seven seconds later, another top contender, Lewis Cannon, came second. Last podium place was taken by Sam Pitchford after fourteen seconds. Times were closer lower down the order with Jamie Harris coming fourth and Jack Grinsell, fifth. The event didn’t get off to a good start with the first heat cut short by a serious accident to Jason Crouch on the overpass, which saw him underneath his kart with both engines on fire. Thankfully, he escaped with cuts and bruises, but of course, could not take part in the later heats.