50 Little Green Man contenders turned out at PFi on October 5th for the final round of 2014. Six drivers were in with a title-winning chance. What followed was a fitting finale to the season. Dave Bewley looks back on an eventful year for the IAME Cadet class. Photography by Kartpix.net
Saturday March 29th had been an eagerly awaited day on the Cadet calendar. 37 young competitors had entered the opening round of the British Championship at Shenington and were greeted by warm sunshine. Tom Wood, Teddy Wilson, Kiern Jewiss, Jonny Edgar, Alex McDade, Lewis Thompson, Dexter Patterson and Zac Robertson were starting the season as championship favourites, with all eight looking very quick during Friday’s practice sessions. Edgar won both of his Heats and Wilson claimed the other. Jewiss, Edgar and Thompson took turns at leading Final 1. Eventually it was Jewiss who crossed the line 1st ahead of Joe Turney, with Alex McDade claiming 3rd place ahead of Thompson, Edgar and a delighted Albert Carter.
Jewiss was initially excluded for a last lap incident involving Thompson and Edgar. After taking supporting evidence from Edgar into account, however, the Stewards reinstated him. Jewiss led Final 2 until just after half distance when Wood took over. With a couple of laps remaining, Edgar moved up into 2nd place behind Wood and these two immediately opened up a large gap before Turney came around in 3rd position ahead of McDade and Patterson. They remained in that order up to the chequered flag, but a last-gasp effort from Robertson brought him up to 6th place. Because Heat results are included in the Super One points tally, Edgar left Shenington holding a narrow lead from Turney, Jewiss and McDade.
A week afterwards, the Little Green Man opening round got underway at PFi. 67 competitors turned out and Patterson bagged a pair of Heat victories. Jewiss also won a couple, with Edgar and Thompson successful in the other two. Wood displaced Turney for the lead but lost out to Edgar shortly afterwards. Jewiss retired with mechanical problems three laps from the end. That gave Wilson victory over Wood by the narrowest of margins. Patterson had done well in recovering from a dreadful start to finish 3rd ahead of Robertson and Thompson, while Turney grabbed 6th following a last lap incident with Edgar.
Two weeks later the LGM series moved up to Larkhall where 11 drivers took part in the first ‘C’ Final ever run for Cadets. Edgar claimed pole position for the ‘A’ Final by winning two of his Heats and finishing 4th in the other. Tom Wood, Teddy Wilson, Ben Wooldridge and Mario Mills also emerged as Heat winners. Edgar and Patterson swapped places a couple of times in the Final closely shadowed by Wilson. Onto their last lap Patterson led but Edgar overtook him halfway around the circuit to notch up his first victory in an LGM final. It was also the first major win for Gary Byatt’s Synergy kart. Patterson narrowly beat Wilson across the line to take 2nd place, with Wood a distant 4th ahead of Turney and Robertson. That left Wilson holding onto a championship lead of two points from Edgar and Patterson
A fortnight later, Rowrah staged Round 2 of the British Championship with 32 drivers turning out. Edgar thought he’d won both of his Heats but was hit by a 5-place penalty. A big change in weather conditions meant that Sunday’s Finals all took place on a wet circuit. Wood claimed a narrow win over Jewiss in Final 1 with Fin Kenneally and Dexter Patterson a good 50 yards behind as they contested 3rd place. Wilson and Robertson made up the top six. Kenneally, Jewiss and Wood pulled out a big lead right at the start of Final 2. Jewiss soon moved through into 1st spot and remained ahead until the finish. Wood lost out to Kenneally right at the end with Edgar taking 4th place ahead of Patterson and Wilson. Jewiss now headed the championship table, 13 points ahead of Edgar, with McDade lying 3rd.
Next up on the championship calendar was Glan-Y-Gors, where 57 LGM contenders turned out for Round 3 of the series. A heavy rain shower just before the ‘A’ Final got underway was good news for Thompson who generally performs well in such conditions. During the early stages of this race he was content to sit in 5th position behind Robertson, Wilson, Wood and Jewiss. Another heavy rain shower was all the impetus Thompson required and he nipped past Wood to take the lead with just over a lap remaining. Wilson finished 2nd ahead of Wood and Jewiss with Turney finishing behind Robertson in 6th spot. That result extended Wilson’s points lead to eight, with Wood now replacing Edgar for 2nd position.
Glan-Y-Gors had also been selected to host Round 3 of the British championship, with just 30 drivers entered. Wood and Thompson had emerged as Heat winners but it was Wilson who came out on top in Final 1, winning by a margin of around ten yards over Jewiss. Thompson made it into 3rd place ahead of Edgar and McDade, with Wood slipping down to 6th position. Wilson led Final 2 up until the halfway mark when Jewiss took over. Edgar managed to get into 2nd place but was then forced off the circuit. Thompson saved his best effort until the end when he relieved Jewiss of 1st place. Wilson followed in 3rd spot, with Edgar recovering to 4th ahead of Fin Kenneally and Owen Marlow. That left Jewiss holding a championship lead of 18 points over Edgar who had Wilson breathing down his neck just a point behind.
Any LGM title ambitions Edgar may have harboured were dispelled during the club meeting at Little Rissington when he suffered a broken right arm that would put him out of action for two weeks. At Rowrah he could do no more than watch as drivers from the AIM camp dominated proceedings. By this time the LGM entry had dropped slightly with 53 contenders making their way to West Cumbria. Patterson bagged a couple of Heat wins, with Carter, Thompson and Fin Kenneally victorious in the remaining three. From pole position in the ‘A’ Final, Patterson held onto 1st spot right up until lap 13 when Wood made what appeared to be a decisive move. Patterson fought back almost immediately to claim his first ever LGM ‘A’ Final victory. Wood finished some five or six yards behind in 2nd place with Carter replacing Jewiss for 3rd position right on the line. Also making a last gasp effort was Zac Robertson who snatched 5th position from Teddy Wilson. There was now a change of leader in the standings as Wood moved out in front by a single point over Wilson, with Patterson taking over 3rd place.
A week later, 50 drivers arrived at Buckmore Park for Round 5. Notable absentees were Edgar, still waiting for his arm to heal, and McDade. From pole position Jewiss and Robertson worked together to pull well clear of the chasing pack, led by Wood and Thompson. Jewiss made a small miscalculation on the final lap and Robertson seized 1st place which he held to the finish. Wood resisted Thompson’s determined efforts to seize 3rd place, with Finlay Bunce finishing 5th ahead of Josh Rafferty. 7th spot for Wilson meant that he was now lying six points behind Wood in the championships. Robertson moved up into 3rd position, 4 points ahead of Patterson.
Just a few days later the championship circus moved from Kent right up to Lanarkshire where Larkhall hosted the ABkC ‘O’ Plate for IAME Cadets. Fortunately for Jonny Edgar, the postman arrived just a few minutes before he was due to set off on Thursday morning. The MSA had written. instructing him that he couldn’t compete in the event due to his injury sustained three weeks earlier. That gave him time to make some urgent phone calls and a letter faxed from the fracture specialist finally succeeded in this ban being overturned.
Wood emerged from the Heats at Larkhall as a firm favourite with two wins. McDade won the other. 21 laps were required to settle the final outcome. Wood led for all but one of these, followed closely by Jewiss. The pair pulled out a good sized gap right up until their final tour when they were caught by McDade and Edgar. At the final corner Jewiss and Wood collided, allowing Edgar to nip through for his second ‘O’ Plate title in just over 12 months. McDade was unlucky to be penalised, allegedly for causing the collision, which put Owen Byatt through into 2nd place with Wilson locking out a Synergy podium.
There was scarcely time to breathe before we were back at Larkhall on June 28th for Round 4 of the British Championship. Sadly, the number of contenders was now down to just 26.
From pole position, Wilson took an early lead and held it to the end. Jewiss almost lost 2nd place to Patterson and Edgar, who had each made substantial inroads during the latter stages. Thompson finished 5th with Wood 20 yards or more behind in 6th spot. Wilson got away in Final 2 but Jewiss lost no time in taking over 1st place. Edgar then led from half distance right up until just before the final lap when Jewiss found a way through. At the line there were just a few feet separating Jewiss, Edgar and Wilson. Thompson finished 4th ahead of Wood and Turney. “That’s the title race over,” declared John Davies afterwards. “There’s no-one can catch Kiern now.” It’s not often that John’ gets his predictions wrong, but this one turned out to be slightly wide of the mark.
We had to wait a couple of weeks before Round 6 of the LGM series took place at Kimbolton, where 54 young drivers signed on. Teddy Wilson completely stole the show with three immaculate Heat wins. Edgar and Kenneally were successful in the other two, Wilson, Patterson and Wood all took turns at leading the ‘A’ Final before Teddy made a decisive move with less than two laps remaining. Tom had his hands full trying to hold onto 2nd place as Thompson, Carter, Robertson and Kenneally all lined up behind him. That result, along with three bonus points for pole position, placed Wilson back on top of the standings. Wood moved down to 2nd place, 2 points behind, with Robertson still holding 3rd and Patterson 4th. Allowing for a dropped score, Wilson’s lead over Wood increased to 7 points.
35 IAME Cadets contested the Kartmasters GP that took place at PFi on August 1st. Josh Rafferty caused a stir by emerging from Friday’s Timed Qualifying as the fastest contender. There were shocks further down the field as Jonny Edgar could do no better than 14th while Lewis Thompson was even slower as he finished 19th quickest, actually 5 places above Teddy Wilson. Friday’s Heats were won by Wood and Patterson. On Saturday Rafferty again headed the Timed Qualifying list, but this time it was Thompson and Wilson who emerged as Heat winners. That put Wood on pole for the Pre-Final followed by Thompson, Kenneally and Jewiss. In the end, McDade secured 1st place, just inches ahead of Wilson. Wood finished a good distance behind in 3rd spot while Robertson took 4th ahead of Finlay Bunce and Fin Kenneally. Jewiss should have been on row 4 for the main final, but his starter cord snapped at a crucial moment. It meant that he started this race from the pit lane.
Wilson led the Final early on, with Edgar making a lightning start from grid 9 to slot into 2nd place halfway around the opening lap. McDade was never far behind in 3rd place and he actually went into the lead just past the halfway stage. By then Jewiss had moved up into 10th place but was more than 100 yards behind the leaders. Patterson entered the fray and went into 1st spot for a couple of laps. The pace upfront had dropped dramatically as Wilson assumed control once more. With a couple of laps remaining, Jewiss moved through into 6th but was still 40 yards behind the leader. Wilson began his final tour with a lead of some 15 yards, surely enough to secure the GP title, However, he was still in defensive mode and the pack bunched up behind him. Jewiss went through with a couple of bends remaining to claim an impossible victory. Harry Thompson surprised even himself by taking 2nd place, closely followed by Robertson, Edgar, Patterson and a disconsolate Wilson.
There was time for a fortnight’s rest before Round 5 of the British Championship took place at Rissington. By this stage, the IAME Cadet field had been whittled down to just 23 contenders. Wilson and Edgar were the Heat winners, with Edgar claiming pole position in Final 1. The pair rapidly pulled away from the chasing pack, with Wilson eventually finishing a comfortable winner. Wood and McDade both chased hard in the latter stages, but had to settle for 3rd and 4th positions. Owen Byatt finished 5th followed by Owen Marlow. Wilson stormed away at the start of Final 2 but was eventually caught by Robertson. The duo began their final tour more than 100 yards clear of the chasing pack containing McDade, Wood, Byatt and Edgar. The race ended in controversy after Robertson went through into the lead. He was then tagged by Wilson and sent spinning off the circuit. Wilson slowed dramatically but still won with over 70 yards to spare. Wood came through into 2nd place on the final turn, followed by McDade, Byatt, Edgar and Kenneally.
The race officials deemed that Wilson had sought an unfair advantage and he was subsequently docked a lap. The appeal hearing was postponed for a further month until the final round at PFi. There were smiles all around the Wilson camp on Saturday morning when Teddy won his appeal. It meant that he would start the final meeting of the season with a championship lead of 13 points over Edgar. On dropped scores, the position was much closer, however, as Jewiss assumed 2nd position just six points behind the leader. During Friday practice, Kiern looked to be curiously off the pace and he actually switched from his TonyKart to a Zip in time for Saturday’s racing.
The Heats were won by Robertson and Wood with Tom earning pole position for Final 1. Taylor Barnard did well to gain a place alongside him on the front row. Championship rivals Wilson and Jewiss shared row 2. Wood took an early lead but was overtaken at mid-distance by Jewiss. Wilson had recovered from a bad start and was lying 6th behind Edgar. McDade took over at the front and Edgar followed in 2nd. Wilson hit the front for a short spell but was then overtaken by both McDade and Edgar with these two pulling away. Wood took over 3rd place and he finished some 10 yards ahead of Wilson. Thompson claimed 5th ahead of Robertson, with Jewiss dropping valuable points back in 10th.
A reasonable finish in Final 2 would decide the title for Teddy Wilson. McDade and Edgar went in front with Robertson soon joining them. The trio quickly opened up a big gap over Wood. Wilson had made another poor start but soon fixed his eyes upon Jewiss in 5th position. Edgar and Robertson swapped places a couple of times but McDade held steadily onto the lead. They crossed the line with McDade winning by mere inches from Robertson and Edgar finishing a yard or so behind. Wood took 4th spot with Wilson finally overtaking Jewiss and coming home as the 2014 British champion. Jewiss took the runner’s up place with Edgar 3rd.
After this heady success you could hardly blame Teddy Wilson for feeling a little jaded when they regrouped at Shenington for Round 7 of the Little Green Man six days later. For the first time in this series entries had dropped below 50, with 47 drivers taking part. Edgar looked quick during the Heats, winning two and finishing 3rd in the other. Jewiss, Rafferty and Turney claimed one apiece. Edgar and Wood led the ‘A’ Final but were unable to pull away. It all turned into a game of musical chairs as positions were swapped on just about every lap. An official forgot to put out a last lap signal and, when the music stopped unexpectedly, it was Jewiss who celebrated victory ahead of Robertson, Wood, Thompson, Turney and Rafferty. Wilson finished back in 11th position and that gave Wood a championship lead of seven points, although it reduced to just two on dropped scores.
Entries picked up slightly for the final round at PFi and we were back to 50 once more. Hanafin, Wooldridge, Wood, Edgar and Jewiss were the five Heat winners, From pole position in the ‘A’ Final Hanafin led initially, but was soon replaced by Wood. Edgar then moved into the lead followed by Wilson and Robertson. These three then opened up a 10-yard gap and Wood dropped down to 6th. It was starting to look as though Wilson would emerge as champion until Thompson caught up with the leading trio. He moved into 2nd place, compromising
the lines of both Wilson and Robertson so that they were suddenly swallowed up by the chasing pack.
Thompson went into the lead as Wood slipped past Wilson and Robertson. Edgar regained the lead as they moved into the final lap, but this time there was a line of eight karts behind him. Wilson saw his championship chances evaporate when Turney knocked him off the circuit. Wood pulled off an incredible manoeuvre that brought him from 4th spot up to 1st and Robertson followed him through. Wood crossed the line just 0.04 seconds ahead of Robertson with Edgar just a couple of feet behind. Robertson set the fastest lap, collecting two bonus points. A few more inches and he would have tied on points with new champion Wood. By such narrow margins was the 2014 LGM title decided.
MSA British Championship Standings
1 Teddy Wilson
2 Kiern Jewiss
3 Jonny Edgar
4 Tom Wood
5 Alex McDade
6 Lewis Thompson
LGM Championship Standings
1 Tom Wood
2 Zac Robertson
3 Teddy Wilson
4 Kiern Jewiss
5 Dexter Patterson
6 Lewis Thompson
7 Joe Turney
8 Josh Rafferty
9 Lorcan Hanafin
10 Owen Byatt
11 Ben Wooldridge
12 Finlay Bunce
13 Brandon Martland
14 Jonny Edgar
15 Mario Mills
LGM Privateers’ Championship
1 Ben Wooldridge
2 Clayton Ravenscroft
3 Joe Willoughby
4 Daniel Butterworth
5 Matthew Hunt
6 Dylan Hotchin