Racing thrills at Lydd circuit
Racing thrills at Lydd circuit

The Kent Kart Championship resumed at the fast Lydd circuit near Dungerness on Sunday, the event also marking the circuit’s first summer championship round of the year.

Now run under the guidance of the team at Bayford Meadows, helping the two clubs establish the two circuits not just as the top Kent kart venues but in the UK too. A healthy entry especially in the Senior classes, were keen to see who had the pace and set up to handle the tricky chicane kerbs and the circuit’s long straights.

Bambinos.

Only four drivers were entered for the Bambino class and Harry Freeman appeared to have a clear advantage in all three of the timed runs. His first run lap time of 53.43 stood as the fastest time of the day over the three runs. Archie Beard managed to get within a second ‘Head down Harry’ in the second run as he finished runner up in all three runs. Alfie Freeman ran third fastest over the runs and Kalian Russell fourth.

Honda Cadet.

A grid of 8 karts lined up for the 15 lap Honda Cadet final, the first final of the afternoon held on a bright but chilly April spring day. Circuit returnee Damian Baruss-Haggett held off the other class drivers to take the morning’s heat and pre final wins and he set off from pole position keen to make it a clean sweep.

SAIT Motorsport’s Joshua Graham and Clarke karts’ Harrison Crowther had come the closest to pipping Damian in the morning races and it was the latter Crowther who brought the biggest challenge during the final. Baruss-Haggett and Crowther pulled clear of Graham over the early laps. Graham too had pulled clear of a fighting bunch of karts featuring Tighe Wratten, William Murphy, Ian Marginean and Owen Neave.

Crowther pushed the leader Baruss-haggett hard and led at mid distance, however he could not find a way to stop a determined Damian in the end and had to settle for 2nd place. Graham was 4s behind in a safe 3rd and well clear of the fight for 4th, which eventually went to the TWR kart of Wratten. Murphy, Marginean and Neave crossed the line together on Wratten’s bumper in 5th-7th places, Jack Theobald was just off the pace of the battling bunch in 8th place. Crowther’s challenge for the win netted him the fastest lap of the final.

Mini & Junior Club Max.

The Mini and Junior Club Max classes ran together throughout the day, with the Mini Max karts starting on a separate grid behind the Juniors. Alfie Brooks topped the qualifying times in his Ferrari red RS kart, he was ahead of Clarke kart’s Katherine White and the GMS kart of Caitlin May, privateer Declan Russell was 4th, Oliver Bullion 5th and Chloe Clarke 6th. The top 11 drivers were covered by less than a second and with James Black and Lewie Weaver slightly out of position further down the order, the omens were good for a great days racing.

Brooks took the heat win by 2.25s looking very comfortable out in front from White 2nd and Black up to 3rd. May was 4th and Weaver moving up to 5th. The heat winner then dominated the pre final too, from a battling White and Black, with Weaver 4th from May in 5th.

The Roalf racing prepared kart of Brooks continued his impressive performance by leading away the opening laps of the final and soon capped a perfect day by taking a crushing win over his rivals, the RS kart and Brooks’s smooth style, handling the circuit’s characteristics perfectly. White held 2nd for the first half of the race holding off a challenging Black until a flying Weaver in his GMS Motorsport kart worked his way through into the runner up spot, holding the position to the finish

Black eventually found a chink in White’s Clarke kart’s armour to take 3rd in his JB Motorsports Comp Kart. White looked disappointed crossing the finish line with her 4th, which shows how competitive she is. May was pushing hard to take 5th from Bullion in 6th.

Jessica White had put her Clarke kart on pole for the heat after qualifying but could do nothing to stop Harry Chamberlin taking a comfortable Mini Club Max win in the final. Rylee Brown and Chloe Chong battled hard with White but couldn’t stop her taking 2nd in the class, with Brown 3rd and Chong 4th. Brooks and Chamberlin took their respective class fastest laps.

Honda Clubman.

The Honda Clubman class provided us with some of the best racing of the day, with all three races entertaining throughout the field. The final went the way of John Ward in his Project One – Caveman Racing kart. He managed to lead every lap after starting from grid 3, but it was close, with four drivers in with a shout of victory up until the moment the chequered flag was waved. Cameron Charman took 2nd from Kenzo Craige in 3rd and Sebastian Morgan in 4th.

Jack Minter-Young and Kyan Upton were a little way behind battling between themselves over 5th place, finishing in that order. Jack Pullen recovered well from pre final incident which put him out of that race to finish 7th, ahead of teammate James Bentley in 8th. Kristian Stefanov in his lovely Ferrari replica kart took 9th from Andrew Dixon in 10th. 2nd placed driver Charman set the fastest lap on the 7th tour.

Senior Club Max 177.

The Senior 177 class had 9 entries lined up for their 17 lap final. Pole man Karl Mepham had joked that he would enter the lower weight division for this event to take a few ‘scalps’, but decided to stay with the ‘heavies’ in the end. He had dominated the morning’s races only to slip up at the start of the final dropping to 4th as he did so.

Meanwhile at the front John Weatherly led James Pagden and Dennis Trzeciak over the early laps. Pagden looked the faster of the front two and had a few attempts to take the lead before attacking at the last corner on the 4th lap, his attack didn’t go to plan though, as he spun just before the exit of the corner whilst running side by side with Weatherly, which dropped him back into the pack. By lap 6 Mepham had recovered from his bad start and took the lead, which he would comfortably hold to the end of the race, I’m sure he would say that the win was never in doubt.

Weatherly was just 1.01s behind in 2nd, Trzeciak took 3rd from a battling Andy Locke (4th), a recovering Pagden (5th) and Andrew Parish in 6th. Mark Waters, Shaun Thear and Nick Floyd completed the finishers with Mepham securing the fastest lap.

Junior Subaru.

There was action aplenty in the Junior Subaru class on Sunday which left two of the favourites – Clarke kart’s Rory Burke and Jayden Neal-Holder, starting from the rear of the grid. Max Lee led the nine kart final away and set about establishing a lead in his Max Motorsport kart. SAIT Motorsport’s Kieran Janali ran 2nd with Callum Romaine in 3rd over the early laps.

Neal-Holder was flying up through the order, after a mishap over a kerb on the warm up lap of the pre final, left his kart’s undertray rubbing on the circuit, causing a very frustrating retirement. By mid race he was past Romaine and had Janali in his sights. Burke too was moving up through the field and gaining on the leaders.

Neal-Holder managed to slip past Janali on the 8th lap but then going into the last bend the SAIT driver retaliated, ducking out of Neal-Holder’s slipstream and diving to the inside, only for the two karts to make contact putting both out of contention for the race win. Lee was cruising out in front, being aided by his rivals taking themselves out, he took his immaculate Roalf racing prepared kart to 2.4s victory, over Burke who had turned his misfortune around with an excellent 2nd place.

Kipp Chorley kept his nose and KC Motorsport kart clean to take a fine 3rd after just losing out to Burke near the end, the BB Motorsport kart of Romaine finished 4th, Jack Cooper 5th. Janali recovered to 6th, Benjamin Whitham 7th, Harry Kidd 8th and a despondent Neal-Holder in 9th after two penalties capped his miserable day at the office. Burke set a stunning fastest lap 4 tenths quicker than the next driver during his fight up to 2nd place.

Senior Club Max.

The last race of the day was for the highly competitive Senior Club Max drivers. The younger drivers clearly had an extra Shredded Wheat for breakfast as the top 4 was made up from drivers that had recently progressed from the Junior class. Riley Stephenson headed the times in his GMS Motorsport machine, 0.160s ahead of round 1 winner and teammate Thomas Lawson, Clarke karts drivers took the next two spots, Joshua Pullen ahead of Oliver Appleby. Jason Chong put in a great lap to take 5th from SAIT Motorsport’s James Tomsett, who was in a back up kart after totalling his own during Friday practice. Elliot Rice, Jonathan Dalton, Declan Lee and Ben Harper completed the top 10 of the 25 kart entry.

Stephenson took the heat win from Appleby and Pullen and then also took victory in the pre final, ensuring that he was the favourite for the final.

The circuit was looking in excellent shape after the efforts of owner James Clarke and his staff for the 17 lap final and Stephenson was keen to get things underway. From the moment the Union flag was dropped he looked the one to beat, backing his kart into the first chicane and then gliding straight across it……….he was on his way.

Pullen knew he had to pass Appleby quickly and had the inside line into the first chicane taking the position, Appleby slotted into third with Lawson eager to increase his early championship lead behind. Rice was 5th from Tomsett until a charging Jack Bartholomew came onto the scene, he had qualified down in 11th after a bolt had sheard on his back bumper forcing him to stop before he had his tyres fully lit up. The Super Trofeo driver skillfully moved his way into 5th on lap 4 and set off after those ahead.

Stephenson was slowly pulling a gap over Pullen, the two of them having completed hundreds of laps around Lydd in their Junior karting days and it showed in their electric pace. Behind, Lawson became impatient of following Appleby and was pushing him down the straights, Bartholomew and Rice were using their huge karting experience to work together and close in on the battling young pairing.

Eventually something had to give and the young pair tangled down the far end of the circuit, allowing the Bartholomew/Rice train to move ahead. Lawson recovered now ahead of Appleby who had his nose fairing drop in the incident, picking up a 5s penalty post race. Tomsett was watching all this unfold in front of him, frustratling just unable to join in with the action while running 7th.

After 17 laps in just 10 minutes and 49 seconds, Stephenson crossed the finish 2.38s ahead of  Pullen, who was a further 5s ahead of the Bartholomew/Rice pairing in 3rd and 4th, Lawson still picked up good points with 5th, keeping his championship lead and Tomsett moved ahead of Appleby into 6th. The racing had been close throughout the field, Kasey Watson took 7th ahead of Jason Chong in 8th, Jonathan Dalton was 9th and Appleby slipped to 10th after his penalty was applied. Stephenson’s GMS chassis had glided over the kerbs to take the fastest lap of the race on lap 6.

So with round 2 complete, the championship is still very open and an entralling prospect for the rest of the year, with the youngsters, Stephenson, Lawson and Pullen showing incredible pace against the consistency of Bartholomew and Rice. Knocking on the door too are Appleby, Tomsett and Declan Lee………who’s your money on to win ?


 
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