Club 2000 | Round 3 | 4 March 2023
We didn't have a guest class this round so we had spare time to bring back the first practice sessions. Just as the karts were heading out on the slightly damp track for the first time, it started spitting rain. So much happened that this is quite easily the biggest race report to date!
Cadets & Micro Max
As previously, the track was shared by 160s, 200s and Micro Maxes. There were 21 in total, so it was a busy grid full of mixed abilities.
Heat 1 - Despite setting a time 2 tenths faster than the next-best 160, Theo Hamilton (30) started from the back as he was underweight in qualifying. So, it was Lewis Riley (90) who inherited pole position. Connor Winfield (27) and Albey Smith (99) lined up behind him and, after a clean start, they began putting him under pressure. Theo (30) had an aggressive start and, while he was overtaking kart after kart, he set the fastest lap of the heat; even quicker than any of the 200s. Throughout the heat, Lewis (90) had Connor (27) breathing down his neck; he was constantly within a tenth behind. In the final few laps, Beau Winslade (28) began defending from Ethan Okoro (34) for fourth overall. Despite making the kart as wide as possible, Beau's (28) 160 couldn't hold off Ethan's (34) 200. While they were fighting, Theo (30) was pulling tenths on them. By the time the chequered flag came out, he was too far back to make a move. At the front, it was almost a photo finish - just 7 thousandths split the leaders across the line. Unfortunately for Connor (27), his kart weighed light after the race so he was excluded from the result.
Heat 2 - It was a frantic first lap for the front runners. Beau (28) had a great exit out of 180 and cruised past Albey (99) up to the Warren. After running a little wide, Beau (28) was slow onto the back straight, allowing Albey (99) and Theo (30) to drive past with ease. Through Paddock, Theo (30) made the move past Albey (99) and set his sights on Lewis (90) who was now 1 second ahead. Meanwhile, Harlie Cooper (82) was now into 5th after a quick first 2 laps. It wasn't long before Ethan (34) caught up to him in his 200. Alfie Clark (48) was close behind, too. Harlie (82) cautiously let Ethan (34) go but he managed to keep Alfie (48) behind. However, a lap later, Alfie (48) had a great run out of Paddock and drove past Harlie (82) along the straight. At the front, Albey (99) was still keeping up the pressure on Beau (28). On the penultimate lap, Albey (99) tried a move around the Esses but lost grip and spun. Since he'd built a 6-second gap to the next 160, he didn't actually lose any positions once he got going again.
Heat 3 - Itching to get away, Beau (28) and Archie Buchanan (5) reacted a bit too early to the lights and they each picked up a 5s jump start penalty. Even with the advantage, Beau (28) couldn't stay ahead of Albey (99), who took third by the end of the first lap. Into the first corner, Harlie (82) had a spin and dropped down the order. A few laps later, Beau (28) lost another position to Connor (27) who took the inside into the Esses. Coming around the Esses a little later, Ricky Mackintosh (14) came across another kart that'd spun in the middle of the track. With little time to react, Ricky (14) clipped them and his kart catapulted across the track. Even with the kart landing on top of him, he'd walked away from the incident and was later deemed fit by the medic to continue in the final.
Final - After an eventful heat, we hoped for a more relaxed race but it wasn't what we got! In the first lap alone, both Connor (27) and Ethan (34) made up 5 positions while Albey (99) took 2nd from Theo (30). On the second lap, there was a pileup at Senna. Quite a few in the midfield got tangled while the rest took drastic avoiding action. Harlie (82) had lost the most positions of everyone. From 6th, he'd dropped to 18th. On the other hand, Ben Alison (46) in a 200, gained 5 positions by avoiding the mayhem. Combined with a good start, Ben (46) was up to 10th from 18th (2nd in class). At the front, Theo (30) was pressuring Albey (99) while Lewis (90) extended his lead. On lap 6, Theo (30) made the move which cemented 2nd place. On the penultimate lap, Beau (28) took a late apex out of the Esses and sped past Alfie (48) on the way to Paddock to retake 4th.
Benediktas Masiokas | Micro Max | Heat 3 | 47.946s
Ethan Okoro | Honda 200 | Final | 46.388s
Lewis Riley | Honda 160 | Heat 3 | 46.835s
1st – Lewis Riley (90)
2nd – Theo Hamilton (30)
3rd – Albey Smith (99)
1st – Ethan Okoro (34)
2nd – Ben Alison (46)
3rd – Alfie Irvine (7)
Inter Max & Mini Max
This month, there were 6 Minis and 2 Inters. The drivers had a bit more experience under their belts than last month which definitely showed out on the track.
Heat 1 - The formation was much cleaner than last month, and they accelerated off the grid quite uniformly. Jamie Faggin (23) had a great start; in the first lap, he passed both Oscar Waters (4) and George Phillips (62) to take second. A few laps later, George (62) caught up with Jamie (23) and made a move to reclaim 2nd. Riley Mason-Lewis (95) had a poor first lap as he dropped from 5th to 8th. After picking up the pace, he managed to pass both Herbie Wiggins (58) and Oscar (4) to take 6th. Louie Millington (52) held the lead comfortably until George (62) started pushing. Lap after lap, he was reeling him in. He'd decreased the gap to less than 0.1s but he wasn't able to pull off a move by the time the chequered flag came out.
Heat 2 - It was a disastrous start for the Minis. Coming out of Senna, George (62) had a spin. Then, out of 180, Oscar (4) had a spin. Being unable to avoid Oscar (4), both George (62) and Herbie (58) went into him and tangled up. Only George (62) managed to continue the heat albeit 14s behind the next driver. He did gain a position a couple of laps later though when Jamie (23) had an unfortunate spin. Again, George (62) pushed and pushed but he couldn't catch the kart ahead.
Heat 3 - As he was underweight in the previous heat, Louie (52) had to start from the back. Into Senna, Jamie (23) had a spin and both Oscar (4) and Herbie (58) spun too while trying to avoid him. Louie (52) went through unscathed and slotted into 4th behind George (62). After keeping up the pressure for a couple of laps, George (62) made the move past Riley (95) for the lead. Another couple of laps later, Louie (52) followed but George (62) kept extending the gap to secure his win. On the very last lap, he even managed to pass Teddie Cooper (79) in the Inter for 1st overall.
Final - After lining up in 2nd, Riley (95) made a mistake around Senna and spun. Thankfully, the rest of the grid had managed to avoid him. In the next couple of laps, Riley (95) made a couple of places up and passed both Oscar (4) and Herbie (58). Louie (52), the next kart, was still 11s ahead, though. At the front, Teddie (79) was under pressure from George (62). Onto the back straight, George (62) had a great run and cruised past him into the Esses. Max Wheatley (12) almost caught Teddie (79) at this point but the gap kept extending until the chequered flag came out.
George Phillips | Mini Max | Final | 42.679s
Max Wheatley | Inter Max | Final | 43.332s
Mini Max Results
1st – George Phillips (62)
2nd – Louie Millington (52)
3rd – Jamie Faggin (23)
4th – Riley Mason-lewis (95)
5th – Oscar Waters (4)
Inter Max Results
1st – Teddie Cooper (79)
2nd – Max Wheatley (12)
We expected another typical round of good racing and busy grids for the Juniors but we got much more. There was some superb driving in particular and some great determination from some of the drivers. The fight for the podium in the final was easily one of the highlights of the whole day.
Heat 1 - Starting from 6th, Adam White (13) got it wrong into the French Curve and ran wide. Once he'd finished sliding on the grass and rejoined, he was down in last. Cameron Pottle (17) was in 5th until contact with Francesco Borghese (21) sent him off the track and to the back of the grid, too. Adam (13) began making up places and, by the fourth lap, he was up to 10th. Cameron (17) was making his way to the front too; after passing Alissa Williams (96), he was setting personal bests every lap. A few laps from the end, he passed both Zav Chapman-Lewis (70) and Charlie Sutton (40) in quick succession to secure 11th.
Heat 2 - Cameron's (17) luck didn't change for the second heat. Before the race had begun, he'd gone off around the Esses and, sadly, bent a track rod. After suffering mechanical issues in heat 1, Alex Chlebiej (7) had some serious pace on the first lap. He made up 5 positions until disaster struck; his engine started spluttering yet again so he was forced to pit. Toward the front, Joel Dixon-Coen (67) began pressuring Liam Phillips (3) for 2nd place. The pair exchanged positions twice throughout laps 2 and 3 with Liam (3) ultimately staying ahead. Francesco (21) only went backwards this heat; after starting 4th, he'd dropped down to 8th by the time the chequered flag came out.
Heat 3 - Again, Liam (3) and Joel (67) almost immediately started battling; the pair swapped places twice in the first two laps. Ben Thompson (30) had a really unfortunate start. Into Senna, contact with another driver caused him to spin and lose 11 places. On the other hand, Alex C (7) had another great start and, this time, he didn't suffer from any mechanical issues. He'd gained 6 places in the first lap alone. Both Zav (70) and Cassius De Ath (47) did well in the opening laps too with Zav (70) leading the way through the field. 4 laps in, Alex Guirguis (15) made a mistake and clipped the inside tyres through the French Curve. He was okay but the battenberg flags came out since the majority of drivers didn't slow down for the yellow flag. Once the incident was clear, the racing resumed. With just two laps to go, Ben (30) was keen to get to the front. He made up three more places and, despite the setback, he finished just one position behind where he started.
Final - Having missed out on heat 3, I imagine Charlie (40) was looking forward to the final. Unluckily for him, in the formation lap, he spun to avoid a collision and he couldn't get his kart going again. Alex C (7) had another cracking start; from 14th, he made it to 8th. However, one of his overtakes was an OTY, resulting in a 5s penalty being applied. He wasn't the only one. Adam (13) picked one up, too for following Alex C (7) in the same overtake. Seamus (33) had a relatively comfy lead until lap 5. A backmarker had been a bit hesitant to let the leaders through and Joel (67) caught up quickly. As Seamus (33) attempted a move around the outside of the backmarker, Joel (67) took the inside and, as a result, the lead. For 4 laps, Seamus (33) stuck right behind him. Into Senna, he pulled off a big lunge to the inside and retook the lead. Joel (67) was then under pressure from Francesco (21). Even though Francesco (21) had the inside along the back straight, Joel (67) held on around the outside into the Esses and kept 2nd. On the final lap, with Liam (3) right behind him, Francesco (21) locked the rears into Senna. Although he didn't fully spin, it was enough of a disadvantage for Liam (3) to take 3rd with ease.
Liam Philips (3) | Final | 40.809s
1st – Seamus Cox (33)
2nd – Joel Dixon-Coen (67)
3rd – Liam Phillips (3)
4th – Francesco Borghese (21)
5th - Ben Thompson (30)
The seniors showed off some of the best racing of the day. The competition was tough and many of the usual front-runners struggled to even make it into the top 5.
Heat 1 - Despite 22 karts racing on a slightly sodden track, the start was clean. James Saville-Stones (51) had the best start out of everyone. From 15th, he was up to 7th by the end of the first lap! Toward the front, Jake Boydell (88) was in 2nd with Elliot Reed-Hughes (95) pressuring him. By lap 4, the leader, Alfie Campbell (40) built up a 2.5s lead. Further back, Scott Smith (60) had contact with another driver which caused his kart to flip and eject him. As the marshals put the red flag out and rushed to the scene, Josh Twitchen (25) pulled over to make sure he was okay and, thankfully, he was.
Once the race resumed, Jake (88) got straight back to defending 2nd from Elliot (95). In 7th place, Dan Beadle (32) seemed to have some bogging issues while James (51) was following close behind. Twice out of the 180, James (51) drove into the back of Dan (32) which gave him a drop-down. After losing 4 positions in one lap, the bogging went away and he continued albeit in 9th.
Heat 2 - Before the heat had even begun, 2nd placed Charlie Flux (86) suffered a mechanical issue and was forced to retire. When we did get going, the start was a mess. The lights went green and the leader, Jack Twilley (14), bogged down. Alongside him, Anthony Ward (72) seemed to bog down, too. As a result, the pack behind drove into the pair and we had a bit of a pileup. Everyone was okay and, surprisingly, everyone managed to stay in the heat, too. Alfie (40) had avoided the chaos and found himself leading the race. Sam Cooper (44) slotted into 2nd and Anthony (72) retained 3rd. Under pressure from Jeremy Lock (22), he started defending his podium spot. Anthony (72) did a great job of holding off Jeremy (22). So much so, that a big train of karts started forming behind them, all equally desperate to get to the front. On lap 7, the train derailed; it was the second pileup of the race but this time at Senna. Jeremy (22) and Anthony (72) were clear of the incident. On the other hand, Matt Davey (85) and Jake (88) were forced to retire.
The battenberg flags went out and with three laps left, we went racing again. Thanks to the chaos, Jenson Holloway (3) and Elliot (95) had cut through the field and found themselves battling for 5th. Into Senna, Jenson H (3) was defending hard while Elliot (95) tried to sneak through. The gap was a bit too tight, though, and he climbed up the back of Jenson H (3), who was forced to retire. On the last lap, Tonino Micciche (8) pinched Elliot's (95) hard-fought 5th place. Thanks to some penalties further up, he'd still inherited 4th, though.
Heat 3 - Jack Watson (52) led the pack this time and it was a much tighter start. At the end of the first lap, Matthew Copsey (97) took the lead with a move through Paddock. James (51) shot through the pack from 12th to 7th by that time, too. A bit further back, novice Greg Smith (11) started getting comfortable and made a brave move to the inside of Jack Twilley (14) into Paddock. A lap later, though, he bumped into the back of Scott (60) and spun, which ended his race early. To avoid colliding with them, both Lawrence Rothwell (7) and Kieran Twardowski (60) took to the grass. After being passed by Bryn Evans (77) and a couple of others, Jack W (52) dropped from 5th to 15th by going wide through the French Curve. Sam (44) was one of the bunch who benefited from this; combined with his good start, he'd now made it up to 5th place. Looking for his third win in a row, Alfie (40) was on his way through the field. The grid was packed with tough opponents but he still managed to cut through from 19th all the way up to 7th with the help of a couple of penalties further up the field.
Final - Before the race had even begun, there were some tyre-warming shenanigans at Senna. A few drivers had spun out of position, but with the daylight dwindling, the final started anyway. Alfie (40) led the pack ahead of Elliot (95) in 2nd. At the opposite end of the grid was Jenson H (3). He was intended to start last but, thanks to the formation lap, he'd started in 16th. Jeremy (22) was ahead of Jenson H (3), and he wasn't hanging about. A few laps in, Jeremy (22) put a kart between them by passing Josh (25) down the inside into the Esses. James (51) had some quick pace all day but, after being involved in the tyre-warming incident, he started from last instead of 8th. James (51) was making some good overtakes including a brave move to the inside of Greg (11) into the French Curve. He'd made his way to 13th when he made a crucial error - he'd unfortunately clipped the tyres at Senna, spun and lost 4 positions. Towards the front, Jake (88) was under pressure from Sam (44). From lap 2 until the end, he was never more than 3 tenths behind him. However, Sam (44) couldn't find an opportunity to overtake, and paired with a drop-down penalty, he'd finished 9th.
Alfie Campbell (40) | Final | 39.814s
1st – Alfie Campbell (40)
2nd – Elliot Reed-Hughes (95)
3rd – Bryn Evans (77)
4th – Jake Boydell (88)
5th - Matthew Copsey (97)
Senior Rotax 177
After the 24 grid slots sold out, the grid was opened up to 32. It wasn't long before that sold out either. As a result, we ran 4 heats and 2 finals, so everybody got an equal amount of track time. As I expected, it was hectic - a good hectic, though!
Heat 1 - After a bit of confusion with the grids, they headed out onto the track and got the 1st heat underway. Jake Baker (96) had a good getaway from the lights and inherited the lead from Jake Cobbett (72). It wasn't long before Jake C (72) suffered a mechanical issue; he was reduced to at least half his pace and pitted on the 2nd lap. After taking 2nd place, Steve Steward (155) ran wide and across the bumpy concrete out of Paddock, losing him a few positions. Nic Carlton-Smith (7) had a great first few laps. By lap 5, he was into 6th. Just behind him was Sol Patience (66), who'd had an even better start, and he began pressuring Nic (7). On lap 7, Sol (66) found a way past but was now 5.7s behind the next kart ahead. After tailing Jake (96) for many laps, Stuart (92) pinched the lead on lap 8 with a move to the inside into Senna.
Heat 2 - It was a great getaway for Andy Goodwin (85). He'd pinched the lead from Jason Baker (38) off the line. Coming out of the Esses, though, Jason (38) had a great exit and drove back past Andy (85) to retake first place. Stavros Athanasopoulos (55) started from 21st and by the end of lap 5, he was up to 10th, just behind Lloyd Bell (100). He'd pulled off a couple of great moves to get there, including a lunge onto Tom Thompson (32) around the Esses. Sam Yaxley (97) had started 7th and, after a few overtakes, he was in 4th behind Nic (7). On the very last lap, he made the overtake on Nic (7) for 3rd but he was promoted to 2nd after the leader, Jason Baker (38) was found underweight.
Heat 3 - Sol (66) led the pack this time and he was already 1.5s ahead by the end of the first lap. David German (3) had a strong first few laps; from 16th he'd pushed through the pack and slotted into 9th behind Jake B (96). Lloyd (100) didn't have the best of getaways from the lights but his pace picked up from the second lap onwards. He was coming through the field at an impressive rate, even after climbing up the rear of Andy Chenery (29). Phil Patience (46) occupied 3rd and was dealing well with the pressure from Tom (32), behind. On lap 8, Tom (32) made an overzealous lunge to the inside of Phil (46) into 180 and pushed him wide. Sam (97) was following closely behind and cruised past Phil (46) on the way to the Warren. On the following lap, Sam (97) made it up to 2nd place after passing both Gordon (28) and Tom (32).
Heat 4 - It was Hayden Cobbett's (10) turn to lead this time but he didn't hold it for very long. Coming into Senna, Lloyd (100) switched from the outside of Hayden (10) to the inside and took the lead. David (3) had a rather disastrous start; he'd gone into the back of (I assume) Phil (46) and then off into the tyres. Phil (46) pitted just a lap later. George Friday (52) made up 7 places in the first 2 laps and, after passing Jay Ford (99) he found himself behind Rob Reeve (15). He didn't have to do anything to get past him, though, as Rob (15) went straight on at the Warren as if his brakes had failed. Hayden (10) was doing quite well holding 3rd. That was until Josh Constable (12) and George (52) caught up to him. The pair passed him on lap 9 which resulted in Hayden (10) taking a well-earned 5th.
B Final - A place in the top 4 of this final guaranteed a spot in the A final and, therefore, a chance at the trophies. Having only finished 1 heat so far, Rob (15) started in 8th and after the start, he was already in 3rd. Christopher Whybrow (77) took 4th in the first lap with 2 overtakes on Aston Sharp (35) and Steve (155). The top three, Hayden (10), Phil (46) and Rob (15) were really close. In 4th, Christopher (77) had a pack forming behind him, all wanting to be in his position. On lap 7, Phil (46) took the lead with a move into the Esses and Rob (15) followed him through. Thanks to some good defence, Christopher (77) kept 4th until the end to secure his space in the A final.
A Final - Starting from 5th, Lloyd (100) shot down the inside of both Stavros (55) and George (52) to take 3rd around Senna. Around 180, George (52) ran wide, allowing Stavros (55) through. Out of the Warren, Sol (66) took a late apex and brought himself alongside George (52). Sol (66) had the inside into the Esses and took 5th. A little further back, David (3) was making his way through the field. He made his way from 14th up to 9th by lap 7; an impressive feat considering the tough competition. For the entire race, the top three were extremely close. On the very last lap, the desperation peaked and Lloyd (100) went for a late lunge on Stuart (92) into 180. With little time to react, Stuart (92) got whacked in his side-pod. Lloyd (100) then had a poor exit so Stavros (55) took advantage of this and cruised past him out of 180 and took 3rd place.
If you'd like to see Stavros' perspective of taking the podium in the A Final, check out his YouTube channel!
Lloyd Bell (100) | Heat 4 | 40.360s
1st – Sam Yaxley (97)
2nd – Stuart Smith (92)
3rd – Stavros Athanasopoulos (55)
4th – Lloyd Bell (100)
5th - Sol Patience (66)
All photos are courtesy of Sprocket Photography.
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