Club 2000 | Round 1 | 7 January 2023
After a big shake-up to the classes, we were surprised to see 77 entries. The weather was less than ideal; damp, drizzly and overcast but we still enjoyed seeing the new classes in action and seeing many drivers in bigger karts.
We also welcomed the Tillotson T4 Series as our first guest class this year. Their driving standards were top-notch even though they all had to adjust to a track that was new to them.
Joining the usual Honda 160s were a couple of Honda 200s and a lone Micro Max. Despite the extra power, the 200s and the Micro Max started at the back of the grid since they were still adjusting to their new machinery.
Heat 1 - After missing out on qualifying, John Richardson (32) made an impressive charge through the field from 12th to 3rd in heat 1 within just three laps. Finishing ahead of him were Connor J Winfield (27) and Lewis Riley (90). Connor (27) had started behind Theo Hamilton (30), who'd had a slow reaction to the light0 and lost three places.
Heat 2 - Within the first lap of heat 2, John (32) and Harlie Cooper (82) had passed Connor (27) for 2nd. On the following lap, Connor (27) found a way back past Harlie (82) to cement 3rd place until the end. Thanks to some good defence, Harlie (82) then managed to hold off Albey Smith (99) until the end for 4th place. Now he'd got used to his bigger engine, Freddie Houseago (69) was making a polite charge through the field nad had made it up to 7th by the end.
Heat 3 - By heat 3, most of the drivers had settled into positions. John (32) made a bold move up the inside of Lewis (90) into Senna and took the lead. Lewis (90) didn't give up the position though. Coming out of 180, he'd had a good exit and got ahead of John (32) once they'd got to the Warren. On lap 5, Theo Hamilton (30) cracked Harlie's (82) defence and gained a couple of places to promote himself from 7th to 5th. Harlie (82) then suffered a spin and had let the pack through before he'd got going again.
Final - In the final, we suffered issues in the timing tower so, unfortunately, I have little reference for what happened! Just a couple of laps from the end, John (32) made an all-or-nothing move past Lewis (90) for the lead. It paid off, and he took the chequered flag in 1st.
John Richardson | Heat 3 | 51.142s
1st – John Richardson (32)
2nd – Lewis Riley (90)
3rd – Connor J Winfield (27)
4th – Albey Smith (99)
5th – Harlie Cooper (82)
We welcomed a few new drivers to Junior Rotax including Harry Clogger (72) who'd moved up from Mini Max. In his first start as a Junior, he started P2 thanks to a strong qualifying lap. It was Adam White (13) who'd started pole, though, with a lap time that was 4 tenths quicker than Harry's (72).
Heat 1 - Before the heat had even started, Seamus Cox (33) suffered a major mechanical issue on the formation lap; a sheared axle. Finley Jones (23) had a mega start after missing out on qualifying. He'd passed over half the grid within the first lap! After losing out on 4 places on the start, Ben Thompson (30) worked hard to come back. By the end of lap 5, his hard work paid off, as he regained 4th from Isaac Reynolds (61).
Heat 2 - It wasn't a great start for Harry Clogger (72). Within the first three laps, he'd dropped three places and settled in behind Isaac (61) in 6th. Seamus (33) got his kart up and running for heat 2 and started from the back of the grid. By the end of lap 1, he was already up to 6th but his pace didn't stop there. As he kept pushing and making bold passes, he gained on the leaders and set the fastest lap in the process. After passing Ben (30), Liam (3) and Adam (13) in the last three laps, he'd won the heat. What a comeback!
Heat 3 - Not too much happened in this heat even though the track conditions were at the driest point they'd been all day. Ben (30) had got ahead of Adam (13) in the first lap and remained there until the end thanks to some great defence. After piling on the pressure for a fair few laps, Harry (72) got past Isaac (61) with just a couple of laps to go.
Final - I'm afraid we suffered technical issues in the tower for the final so it's difficult to piece together what happened. Both Ben (30) and Adam (13) had rough starts - the pair lost three places each within the first lap. It didn't put them off though, and they worked hard to regain their positions. Adam (13) wanted more, though. It was a strong effort for him, and he got past Seamus (33) to secure 2nd.
Seamus Cox (33) | Heat 3 | 45.525s
1st – Liam Phillips (3)
2nd – Adam White (13)
3rd – Seamus Cox (33)
4th – Ben Thompson (30)
5th – Harry Clogger (72)
Heat 1 - 5 Juniors made the move to Senior this year and they brought a healthy challenge to the ongoing Seniors. The first lap was chaotic. Into Senna, Charlie Flux (86) suffered a spin in 3rd and became a sitting duck. It was as if Moses parted the red sea as everybody managed to avoid him. On the second lap, around 180, Kieran Twardowski (61) and Anthony Ward (72) clashed, causing a bit of a pileup. Out of the bunch, it was Kieran (61) and Matt Davey (85) who tangled. Thankfully, nobody was injured and the race continued. Jenson Weston's (34) first race in seniors got off to a great start. From 16th, he'd worked his way up to 2nd by the end of lap 2! It was Sam Cooper (44) ahead of him, who'd already extended the gap to 2s. Although Jenson (34) was on a push and set the quickest lap in the heat, he couldn't quite close the gap.
Heat 2 - The issues in the tower started happening from Heat 2 for the seniors, so, again, it's hard to piece together what happened. It was Max Silvain (26) who started pole this time with Jeremy Lock (22) lined up behind him. Despite setting the quickest lap of the session, Jeremy (22) couldn't quite catch him and remained in 2nd. Bryn Evans (77) and Josh Twitchen (25) gambled on a set of slicks but the track wasn't quite there yet. The pair struggled with grip so Bryn (77) finished 14th and Josh (25) finished 18th.
Heat 3 - It was a less-than-ideal start for Alfie Campbell (40) as he dropped from 8th to 13th by the end of the first lap. Scott Smith (60) also had an unfortunate start from 2nd. By lap 3, he was 12th. James Saville-stones (51) inherited the lead from Jay Endean (55) not long after the heat began. Matthew Copsey (97), who'd started 5th, had found a way past James (51) on the third lap and took the lead. Matt (85) started reeling in James (51) by around 4-tenths per lap. By the time the chequered flag came out, he was still a few tenths shy of James (51).
Final - Since he'd had a drop-down penalty in every heat so far, Jenson (34) started from 10th place. Thanks to his signature first-lap aggression, he'd made his way to second before lap 2 had begun. Matthew (97) remained in the lead but Jenson (34) was piling on the pressure. On the second to last lap, Matthew (97) cracked and Jenson (34) took the lead. However, his glory was short-lived as, when he came into the weighbridge, he had yet another drop-down penalty.
Matthew Copsey (97) | Heat 3 | 45.839s
1st – Matthew Copsey (97)
2nd – Jenson Weston (34)
3rd – Matt Davey (85)
4th – Bryn Evans (77)
5th - Max Silvain (26)
Senior Rotax 177
In the first practice, some of the 177s had optimistically worn slicks. Whether they were having a jolly or just hoping it'd be dry enough, I'm not too sure!
Heat 1 - Everybody was sensible enough to opt for the wet tyres by heat 1. Before the heat had even begun, Dan Jones (11) limped out of the pits with his kart struggling to get fired up. After he parked on the grass, the rest of the field started the heat. Into the French Curve, Jake Cobbett (72) ran wide and into the tyres. Meanwhile, Stuart Smith (92) and Aston Sharp (3) had a tangle but they quickly sorted themselves out and went back to business. George Friday (52) took the lead from Justin Clarke (48) out of 180 on the following lap. Just a few laps later, Justin (48) lost another place to Oliver Moss (44). In just one more lap, Oliver (44) took the lead from George (52) and started driving off into the distance to secure the win.
Heat 2 - Andy Goodwin (85) started from the back this time and for the second time in a row, he'd had a mega start. He'd made overtakes every lap until lap 4, where he found Phil Patience (46) who wasn't giving his position up easily. Andy (85) couldn't find a way past Phil's (46) valiant defence for three laps and, by that point, the gap was too big to Stavros Athanasopoulos (55). All the while, Josh Constable (12) was sat in the lead with Sam Yaxley (97) breathing down his neck. Josh (12) was doing a great job of holding him off but 2 laps from the end, Sam (97) found a way past and pinched the lead.
Heat 3 - From 8th on the grid, Sam (97) flew through the pack and into the lead before the second lap had even begun. George (52) had a similar pace in the first lap and made it from 13th to 5th but he struggled to achieve much more as Hayden Cobbett (10) had some strong defence. Oliver (44) made his way past Andy (85) on lap 5 but, despite some rapid laps, he couldn't quite catch Sam (97) for the win.
Final - The top three, Oliver (44), Sam (97) and Stuart (92) remained in order for the entire final but there was still some squabbling behind them. Andy (85) had a slow first lap; Josh (12) and Stavros (55) passed him for 4th and 5th respectively. On the following lap, George (52) got past Andy (85) too, and he set his sights on Stavros (55) up ahead. After a few laps of chasing, he'd found a way past him but he was still a bit too far away from the top 4.
Oliver Moss (44) | Heat 3 | 47.747s
1st – Oliver Moss (44)
2nd – Sam Yaxley (97)
3rd – Stuart Smith (92)
4th – Josh Constable (12)
5th - George Friday (52)
All photos are courtesy of Sprocket Photography.
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