Superkarts 2014 – Round 5

British Superkart Championship, Round 5, Silverstone, 7th and 8th June

Dan Clark went to the top of the MSA British Superkart Championship with a win and a second place at Silverstone while cousin Stephen won both races on the road in his F450 KTM four stroke

RACE 1

The weather had improved for the race with the Motors TV cameras ready to watch every move. Platt took the lead when the lights went out and he was still at the head of the field at the end of lap 1 followed by Dan Clark with Bennett already up to third place on the rapid DEA. Hassall was in 4th place holding off Davis.

Moss lost his fourth row grid slot when he followed the pace car into the pits at the start to secure a loose airbox. He managed to rejoin the race but was over half a lap behind. Stephen Clark was leading the F450s in 17th place on the road with Charlie Johnson was second in class despite a spin entering Hangar Straight for the first time. On lap 2 Dan Clark set the fastest lap of the race for the 250cc Nationals and reduced Platt’s lead to 0.308s. He then sat on his tail until lap 6 when he took the lead along The Link just before Hangar Straight. Bennett dropped back from third place and then retired on lap 5 with a broken piston ring. This elevated Hassall into third place ahead of a scrap for 4th between James and Davis. Trevor Roberts retired into the pits at the end of lap 3 with a misfire after climbing up to 12th place on the opening lap.

Once ahead, Dan Clark pulled away from Platt, whose rear tyres had gone off. Stephen Clark on the F450 had charged through the field and on lap 11 took the lead on the road setting a new class lap record of 100.21 mph. He then powered away to “win” by just over 3 seconds. An impressive performance. Dan Clark headed the MSA Championship race and extended the gap to 5.106s to cross the line second on the road and collect maximum points. “The engine was running rich and I was only pulling 9,800 revs at the end of the Hangar Straight. It didn’t help having a slight head wind,” he explained. Platt struggled on to finish second and inspected his rear Hoosier tyres in parc fermé. The left rear was badly blistered with two lines around the whole circumference of the tyre where it had overheated. An early diagnosis pointed to heat from the exhaust tail pipe.

Louis Wall collected his first points of the season by finishing third. “I got a bit caught out at the start, but I am pleased with the result. Especially after the problems I had at Oulton. Louis inherited that position on lap 9 after James Hassall dropped back with fuel starvation caused by swarf in the fuel lines. He would eventually finish 11th after showing good pace in the early laps.

The battle for fourth place was between Gareth James and Toby Davis and lasted for most of the race. They were never separated by much and on occasions exchanged paintwork. Contact at The Link on the last lap dropped James back to seventh place behind Mark Vaughan and Ross Allen. Davis collected fourth place but complained of a down on power engine that had no pace. This was possibly as a result of backing off the ignition to combat a detonation problem. Sam Moss persevered after his early pit stop and eventually finished 10th with his lap times similar to the leaders. A great drive.

RACE 2

As they came round on the warming up lap there was a horrible black cloud that had parked itself above the circuit. It was still quite warm and so far we hadn’t had any rain. When the lights went out Stephen and Dan moved off together, but Platt had the Gas Gas fired up and drew alongside. It was three abreast on the  approach to Abbey with Platt getting the inside line and the lead. Dan slotted into second place ahead of Stephen while Moss went round the outside of Wall to take 4th place. The positions were unchanged at the end of the opening lap while Bennett had charged through from row 14 and was up to 11th place. Stephen moved past Dan along Hangar Straight on lap 2 and chased after Platt. Then starting lap 3 the reigning MSA champion slowed along the Pit Straight and the F450 moved into the lead. Platt had over revved the engine on a down shift for the chicane and it had broken a reed petal. “The engine was flying and I was just starting to open it up,” he said. Once in the lead Stephen Clark wasn’t troubled and gradually eased clear for his second “win” of the weekend and maximum points in the F450 Challenge. “My only problem was that the tyres had gone off,” he said, but that didn’t stop him setting his fastest lap on the final lap of the race.

With Platt out of the way, Dan Clark looked to be heading for a double win in the MSA Championship but Bennett was closing in. Eighth on lap 2, fourth on lap 4 he set the fastest lap of the race. On lap 6 along the Hangar Straight he powered past Moss and set off after Dan Clark. Within two laps he was on his tail and took the lead on lap 9. It looked as if that was the race settled but Clark fought back. After getting a good tow along the Hangar Straight he slipstreamed past into Stowe Corner to retake the lead on lap 12, setting his personal best lap time in the process. Starting the last lap they were nose to tail but through The Link they caught a backmarker. That compromised Clark’s entry speed onto the Hangar Straight and Bennett was able to power past and take the win. “I had bad traffic on the first lap but I had every confidence that I was going to catch Dan at the front. It just took a bit longer than I expected,” said Bennett. “I saw a few spots of rain but just drove a safe, sensible race,” he added.

Clark was philosophical in defeat. “The engine wouldn’t pull again and richened up towards the end,” said the new championship leader. Moss had a lonely drive to third place after he lost touch with the leaders after half distance but he was safely clear of the rest. Ross Allen has another good drive, passing Wall on the last lap to finish 4th. However, as he hasn’t registered for the championship he isn’t eligible for points. Wall struggled a bit with the engine and was battling with Toby Davis in the early stages before the latter dropped out with a seized engine. James had a steady drive to finish 6th and the series rookie now moves into third place in the championship.