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PF International Celebrates 20 Years

The Paul Fletcher International circuit celebrated its 20th anniversary during December.

The Lincolnshire track held its first club meeting at the start of December 1994, in which Junior TKM was one of the key classes. The circuit now hosts national meetings and is the only track in Britain with an international licence. World governing body, the CIK-FIA, recently confirmed it will host the second round of next year’s European KF and KF Junior Championship on June 21.

“I built the circuit not for international meetings, but for the good of British karting,” owner Paul Fletcher said. “Getting an international round is good for the ego but I wanted to help the karting scene in this country. I spent three years before buying the land from the local farmer, assessing and putting in planning permission for up to five different areas of land including one near Donington Park.”

Fletcher said the building of the Litchfield Bridge, which enabled the circuit to gain its International A licence, was one of the big moments of its history.

“Drivers usually wear the outside of their tyres down on most circuits, but with the addition of the bridge, both sides of the tyre are worn at PFi due to the incline. There’s not much else to do with the circuit. I’d like to put more lights around it than there currently are, so we can run past 1800hrs. The circuit has set the standard and other tracks around the country have followed. High kerbs were initially built as drivers cut them. They were fantastic, but became dangerous as it could catapult drivers into the air.”

Fletcher said the new IAME X30 engine is one of the best powerplants he has run on the track in its history: “It sounds like a fantastic class: it’s reliable and sensible and tyres last a long time.”

Wilson Takes IAME Cadet Crown

Fusion Motorsport boss Dan Hazlewood has praised racer Teddy Wilson for his maturity and professionalism after he was crowned this year’s MSA British IAME Cadet champion at PF International.The 13-year-old succeeded in an appeal following an incident at the penultimate round at Rissington, which would have dashed his title hopes, enabling rival Kiern Jewiss to take the crown. But a pair of top five finishes in Sunday’s finals were good enough for him to take the title.

“Teddy began the year up and down with decent pace and Jewiss did make the stronger start,” Hazlewood said. “But Teddy’s attitude matured over the course of the season and he has shown amazing calmness and professionalism. He has confidence in his own ability and in the ability of the kart.

“Ahead of Rissington, it looked an almost impossible task to overhaul Jewiss who had led the way but favourable results set us all up for last weekend’s finale. Sometimes it’s easier to come from behind to win.”

Hazlewood said a mooted move to KF racing would suit Wilson but warned he would have to select the right team: “Teddy has the potential to be a KF success. His fitness and strength, which is vital in that class, is already good. It won’t take long to be competitive, but it’s crucial he chooses the right team. If he does, he has the ability to match the achievements of Enaam Ahmed.”

 

Daytona DMAX – Round 6

The TW Steel DMAX Champs 2014 – Round 6 20th July– PF International

The DMAX crew visit the excellent PF circuit in Lincolnshire to do battle

Light Enduro

James Baldwin converted his Pole Position to an easy race lead in the Lights Class and an easy win looked on the cards until he lost his exhaust and had to pit for repairs. An epic race back through the field to fourth followed, leaving Tom Kempynck to take the win from Chris Hackworth and Jonny Spencer.

Inter Enduro

Anthony Kirk proved his class with the win in the Inters Class ahead of Joseph Ellis and Adam Nakar. Behind them Joe Holmes lacked pace down the straights and had to work very hard to hold on to fourth ahead of Andrew Knapp and James Pratt.

Heavy Enduro

An hour long three way race at the front for Vincent, Pender and Zaustowicz entertained the spectators. More reminiscent of a Moto GP crap with the lead changing up to three times a lap, the win went to David Vincent with Tomasz Zaustowicz second and Jamie Pender third.

Light Heats – Final

Chris Hackworth led from Jonny Spencer. At the top of the hill, James Baldwin overtook Johnny Spencer, allowing Chris Hackworth to further his lead. But he then dropped back ton 6th as Dom Whiting, Jonny Spencer, Josh King and Ben Leslie got past Jonny Spencer was back in to 2nd and chasing down Chris Hackworth, setting a fastest time of 1:09.1 as he did so. Richard Lacey was successful in passing Ben Leslie under the bridge at the top of the circuit, and Marco Coltelli followed suit shortly after. Marco Coltelli ran wide out of turn 13 and on to the grass. Chris Hackworth looked sure to win 7 minutes in to the 9 minute + 1 lap final, as he was only getting quicker with the clear air ahead of him, and gained a comfortable 3 second lead over Jonny Spencer. Further back, Kamran Moussa-Zadeh and Ben James were in a race of their own, just 4 tenths of a second apart while Dom Whiting up in 4th ran wide losing himself a considerable amount of time. Chris Hackworth secured his deserved win, with Jonny Spencer, who had a good day of racing, in 2nd. Josh King finished 3rd after also having a successful day.

Inter Heats – Final

James Brunton dropped back slightly from 2nd at the race start while Joe Holmes got away as the back of the pack grouped up. James Pratt and Alec Tucker both got past James Brunton while Kai Watson got past Andrew Knapp and into 5th to chase down the front group. The entire group we within 5 seconds of the leader Joe Holmes, who himself was over a second ahead 2nd, so the racing was close across the whole field throughout. Xander Mahony got overtook Dan Sibbons while a black flag was called on Dave Clarke for repeated late lunges resulting in advantage gained by side to side contact. Joe Holmes was then leading by over 2 seconds over James Pratt, who in turn had almost a second over Alec Tucker. Dave Clarke set the fastest lap of the race, 1:09.0 whilst failing to realise he was being called in for his penalty. He pitted for his penalty on the final lap as Joe Holmes crossed the finish line. James Pratt finished 2nd, with Alec Tucker coming 3rd and Kai Watson just taking 4th from James Brunton by 5 thousands of a second.

Heavy Heats – Final

Robert Bennett kept his position at the front despite the entire group close behind him. Tomasz Zaustowicz was overtaken by Jack Dutfield for 2nd. David Vincent, who’s raced consistently all day then took 2nd with a good overtake up the inside of Jack Dutfield, and Tomasz Zaustowicz was opportune and followed back through. Jack Dutfield lost out and out-breaked himself in an attempt to fight back for position but he came off worse for it, while the rest of the group raced fairly, leaving enough space for each other. Until Iain Brooks made a late lunge which Jack Dutfield attempted to mimic, causing contact with Jamie Pender and Rob Bennett who were both visibly unimpressed. Jack Dutfield received a black flag for the incident. Ross Woodhouse and Vinod Hirani were racing cleanly at the back, keeping within a tenth of a second of each other but giving each other necessary room. Jamie Pender retired due to time lost by the incident with Jack Dutfield, who also retired upon entering the pits for his black flag penalty. Tomasz Zaustowicz led from David Vincent and Michael Mckeegan as the chequered flag went out. Rob Bennett also retired after an unlucky race.

The next round is at Clay Pigeon Raceway on 17th August 2014.

Kartmasters GP

The chaos and excitement of the annual GP again took place at PF International

Another fine weekend of racing took place at Kartmasters with Kiern Jewiss shining and the first GP Plate for X30 Junior and Senior was competed for

IAME Cadet

Kiern Jewiss was the Driver of the Day for his recovery drive after he was left on the dummy grid with a broken starter cord, forcing him to start from the pit lane. He came through the field and on the last lap nine karts came round the hairpins together and Jewiss was pushed slightly wide. But on the last few corners, he somehow made it through to win. Harry Thompson, in one of his first IAME races, took 2nd at the flag followed by Zac Robertson.

Honda Cadet

Mark Kimber won in Hondas against Tom Canning and Harry Thompson although Canning and Thompson were penalised for jumping the start, giving 2nd to Kiern Jewiss. Oliver Bearman had been 2nd (4th on the road) at the head of the chasing pack but lost places, giving the position to Jewiss. Myles Apps took the final podium position, going over the line together with Jewiss.

MiniMax

Luke Wooder led off from pole, but there was a battle between Wooder, Alex Quinn and Jonathan Hoggard for the lead. The top six were running together before the front three – Sam Pooley, Hoggard and Quinn, broke away in the closing laps. Pooley was slightly quicker towards the end and came out of the new section a second ahead on the last lap to win from Quinn and Sam Kirkpatrick. Kirkpatrick was demoted to 8th for gaining an unfair advantage, promoting Hoggard to the podium.

Junior Rotax

Several drivers hit the bridge after the start and the race was red-flagged before being reformed for a complete restart. Dave Wooder was on pole next to Vaus and immediately pulled out a gap at the restart. He was helped to a 7s lead by fierce fighting behind him with Harrison Thomas and Jack McCarthy taking the remaining podium positions on the final lap.

Senior Rotax

Jack Bartholomew, also competing in X30, won Senior Rotax comfortably by several seconds after seeing off John Stewart and Josh White. Luke Knott, Charlie Turner and Stewart battled behind him but none of them were able to break away. Knott was later excluded from the race for unsafe driving which promoted Stewart to 2nd and Turner to 3rd.

X30 Junior

Josh Smith took the lead at the start and began to pull away while Daniel McAuley overtook Oliver York then Euan Wilson. The four karts fighting for 2nd were very close but about 4s behind Smith. Towards the end McAuley began to pull away from his scrapping rivals. On the last lap Smith and McAuley were safe but the rest were taking the hairpins like Cadets with Brown just securing 3rd on the Mike Wilson complex.

X30 Senior

Mark Litchfield had been unbeatable all weekend, taking a clean sweep of qualifying and heats, and the final wasn’t to be any different. He won by 1.8s, comfortably faster than the rest. Oliver Hodgson stayed 2nd and Chad Little was 3rd until he was passed by Thomas Issa, then with three minutes to go Danny Keirle got up the inside of Issa at the first hairpin to take 3rd. Jack Bartholomew dropped out of 7th with four laps to go.

 

MSA under fire

By Dave Bewley

“I’m not prepared to defend what I now consider to be the indefensible.” says Paul Fletcher, owner of PF International

In 1994 he fulfilled a long held ambition to own his own kart track. Since then, the PF International circuit has gained an enviable reputation as one of Europe’s finest karting venues. He is hugely respected both at home and abroad so that his views carry a certain gravitas.

“During my time there have been numerous attempts to launch an alternative controlling body for karting, but I’ve always strongly defended the MSA and its predecessor the RAC from such attacks,” Paul insists. “Sadly, that is no longer the case and I’m not prepared to defend what I now consider to be the indefensible. There needs to be a change of attitude down at Motor Sports House otherwise I’m concerned for the future of a sport I’ve loved for more than half a century. There’s already some talk about setting up a breakaway organisation and I might even consider doing the unthinkable by supporting it.”

One ruling in particular that has upset Paul is the change in age limits that will allow 15 year old drivers to race Formula 4 cars in 2015. “I know that drivers as young as 14 have been able to race in Ginetta and Formula BMW for a number of years,” Paul acknowledges. “I certainly didn’t agree with that, but it was justified on the grounds that they were junior classes. Formula 4 is a senior category. The MSA has repeatedly refused to drop the age limits for senior kart classes so that they are in line with the rest of Europe. What sort of muddled thinking is it that allows someone to race cars before they are old enough to compete in senior karting events?”

He is also worried about the costs now associated with MSA karting. “Some of them would be hard to control but others are totally unnecessary,” Paul maintained. “A case in point is the requirement for annual medicals that all seniors have to undergo. Along with the cost of your licence it means that you’ve coughed up around £400 before a wheel has even been turned and that certainly needs to be looked at.”

Paul’s views are shared by other senior figures who feel that the MSA no longer represents karting’s best interests. In 2015 Formula Kart Stars is being run as a non- MSA Series and the same applies to Easykart. Even a traditional circuit like Fulbeck has started to run events outside MSA control with favourable results on the Balance Sheet. That could well establish a trend elsewhere in the country. Several years ago the idea of setting up a rival body was, indeed, unthinkable. Today it looks a possibility. Who knows, tomorrow, the idea could become a reality.

IS HISTORY ABOUT TO REPEAT ITSELF?

It was back in November 2003 when the MSA last faced a serious challenge to its authority. At the ABkC Annual General Meeting, Whilton Mill Kart Club put forward a motion of no confidence in the MSA’s ability to conduct affairs on behalf of British karting. The outgoing ABkC chairman Steve Chapman claimed that karting was often overlooked by our governing body. What had particularly annoyed him was a decision to dispense with the Battenberg Flag without any prior consultation. Steve Clayton added that karting was being run by car people rather than karters.

Chapman’s replacement as ABkC chairman, Russell Anderson successfully proposed that a case should be prepared and presented to the MSA Development Director Bruce Goddard. If this failed, then detailed plans for a breakaway body could then be considered. Within a couple of months the MSA had agreed to reinstate the Battenberg Flag. We understand that the ABkC has adopted similar tactics this time around by presenting a lengthy dossier to Motor Sports House. Paul Fletcher’s statement appears to have been made at an opportune moment.

Marussia Virgin F1 to sponsor KGP

Marussia Virgin Racing Kart Grand Prix

The Marussia Virgin Racing Formula One team is to support new karting category Formula KGP with effect from this season.
Virgin F1 driver Jerome D’Ambrosio took part in a launch test at PF International on 26th February and was delighted with the kart. Special Projects director Marc Hynes said “We’ll have trouble getting him out of the kart and to the Barcelona test next week!”
Formula KGP is a new seven-round National Karting Championship, which joins the Super 1 Series. Marussia Virgin Racing will use the collaboration as the foundation of its young driver programme, the first stepping stone for exceptional young karters to progress all the way through to Formula One.
Karting is the first step to gauging the potential of a future World Champion and Marussia Virgin Racing will be keeping a close eye on the stars of the future. At the end of the season, the top three drivers and one ‘wild card’ – a driver who has demonstrated outstanding ability in the new Formula KGP Championship irrespective of points placings – will win a Formula Renault test.
Hynes, who was deeply involved in British karting during his own racing career said “We think that karting needs to have a pinnacle again. We’d like nothing more than to find the next D’Ambrosio in KGP. Because we’ve been so successful in Formula Renault with Manor with the last three BRDC Young Driver of the Year winners we would like to put something back and give someone the opportunity in Formula Renault. When there were lots of drivers in the top class there would always be seven or eight looking to move into cars and now there isn’t that many then there’s only eight or so on the grid in Renault. We were concerned about backing something that would put people out of business but the tuners can still tune and people can

use whatever chassis they like. If they want to do KF2 in Europe they can just take the front brakes off and bolt the engine on.”
To underline its support for the category, the Marussia Virgin Racing logo will also appear on the karts, drivers’ suits and helmets as well as being integral to the Championship identity.
John Booth, Team Principal, Marussia Virgin Racing, said “Karting is the beginning of a long but ultimately very rewarding
journey. I believe very strongly in nurturing the talent of tomorrow and providing opportunities for drivers to move through
the ranks. It’s not an easy progression, so if  the talent is there, it should be supported. As a team, we have to think today about the drivers of tomorrow and that means ensuring there is a rich pool of talent to draw from further down the line.”
Andy Cox, Managing Director, Formula KGP said “Formula KGP is delighted to form this collaboration with Marussia Virgin Racing. Karting is a crucial step in the development of a driver; perhaps in many ways it could be the very discipline that defines a driver for the future. With this collaboration, karting connects directly with a Formula One team and an
entire grid can race under the gentle eye of Marussia Virgin Racing, with such an innovative approach a future talent could be discovered. With a test drive in Formula Renault at the end of the season, I can’t think of a better situation for a driver to
showcase their talent to a Formula One team.”