Rotax/Honda, Round 6 – PF International, 27-28 September 2014
Balmy weather embraced the longest circuit of the series but the action on that track was fast and furious with several appeals to the Stewards, points being so vital.
Championship leader Dean MacDonald started as he meant to continue with fastest qualifying time, whilst Alex Quinn was only 24th. MacDonald won both his heats whilst Quinn did well enough for fourth on the grid for the pre-final with Collard 14th, whilst Oliver York shared the front row. Although MacDonald set off in the lead of final one, many trades were to take place before the finish. Rory Hudson was first to depose MacDonald, then York, Hudson again with a brief tenure before MacDonald came storming back at him. After a brief melee, MacDonald went ahead once more before the fast rising Collard took over.
As the others fought behind, MacDonald took second from Thomas Turner on the bridge and defended to the flag letting Collard escape. York took seventh. Collard was then given a five-place penalty for blocking but won his win back on appeal. Collard and Smalley broke away in the second final with MacDonald hung out to dry over the bridge and Turner falling back in the complex. The pack had caught up with the lead duo, Quinn moving ahead then momentarily falling to third but soon back in the lead. York grabbed the lead at the first hairpin, and hence the win. “I didn’t need to win, the others were crashing but I managed to stay out of trouble,” said MacDonald.
In the first final Tom Canning tried to slice past Myles Apps at the chicane but Apps stayed ahead only briefly as Harry Thompson then Kiern Jewiss took command. Thompson established himself as the pace setter and managed to stay in front until the chequer despite pressure from Jewiss after he had taken Alex Lloyd. Canning had fallen to seventh but was hit with a five-place penalty. He appealed, meaning the second final was shifted to the last race of the day, but the penalty stuck putting him back behind Jewiss in the title race. Running second behind Thompson, Jewiss was hung out to dry at the first hairpin putting him down in sixth. Although he leapfrogged Kimber, Canning was storming up and overtook Jewiss as the latter went on a grassy trip out of the hairpins. That reversed the title positions, Jewiss only recovering to eighth when the race was stopped early to deal with a fire on an overturned kart. Kimber had won, but a second placed Canning had the title over a disappointed Jewiss, who said he had been hit off at the second hairpin.
Sandy Mitchell began on pole beside Richard Verschoor for the first final. Tom Gamble took Verschoor at the first hairpin for the lead but then ran wide onto the grass off the bridge, A
five place penalty put him even further down. Verschoor next lost the lead to Mitchell who led many laps until Wooder, who had lost places at the start, came back. Wooder swept into the lead up to the bridge, and held off McCarthy to the flag, whilst Mitchell dropped to third defending against Zak Fulk and Lucas Vaus. William Tregurtha would have been next save for his five-place penalty. A half decent finish was all that stood between Mitchell and the ABkC National title.
Wooder was elbowed back from the lead early in the second final, then Mitchell leapfrogged Stefano Charalambous and Vaus in quick succession to lead. Mitchell fell to seventh as Vaus took up the running. Meanwhile Wooder was storming back through to the front, an interchange with Verschoor and then Gamble delaying him slightly. McCarthy was now in the lead, then briefly Gamble before Wooder forged to the front at the second hairpin. Gamble and McCarthy joined him on the podium whilst Verschoor took a fiveplace penalty for gaining an unfair advantage but Mitchell had beaten Wooder to the title. “It was just down to consistent results and being up the front,” said a modest Mitchell.
A win and a second in the heats restored Joseph Reilly to the first final pole over Luke Knott. Reilly soon threw off his pursuers for a lights to flag victory and although Jack Bartholomew twice reached second he failed to hold it. Kyle Fowlie was first to battle past, Bartholomew dropping behind Jake Dalton before having a fight with John Stewart. Dalton lost his chain, then Bartholomew had a big fight with Josh Price, eventually ending in disaster when the pair speared off at the chicane.
Bartholomew fell to ninth, as Fowlie finished a lonely second. Matthew Hirst had just got the better of Stewart for third. Reilly again enjoyed a lights to flag victory in final two, easily sealing the title, but Knott kept him honest through much of the race after Stewart fell back from his initial second. Hirst had lost his initial second place, then fell out of fourth with a visit to the weeds. He managed to recover to sixth. Bartholomew struggled up to fifth behind Glear and Stewart but the title had been lost in the first final. A delighted Reilly exclaimed: “I had a bad round at Larkhall and it’s been really hard after four years out of a kart seat. I won’t be driving next year, I will be helping Strawberry develop their drivers.”