End of an era at Buckmore Park
End of an era at Buckmore Park

The final round of the BPKC summer championship took place on Sunday 17th December, an event which could be the last at the circuit for the long standing club, this is due to a change in circuit management direction, which is now favouring a more profitable hire kart option on monthly race weekends.

Buckmore Park Kart Club summer championship round 8.

It was great to see a busy paddock and some familiar faces attend for the send-off, many of whom were taking the chance to race one last time at one of the best driver circuits in the country. With an icy start to the morning and afternoon rain predicted, it was to turn out to be a true test of ability and skill to end the season.


Nine Bambino drivers took the chance to race on the Buckmore Park asphalt for the last time and the winner in the final, by a scant 0.06 seconds was Oscar O’Sullivan, from impressive novice Riley Cranham, who had taken the fastest time in the first timed run.

Frazer Anderson only managed 3 laps but completed the podium in 3rd from new Bambino summer champion Freddie Duncan in 4th. Skye Parker finished 5th, Michael Walker 6th, Sebastian Minns 7th and Joshua Humpherston 8th, he was one of the unfortunate drivers that hit problems during the final, Kristian Stefanov fared worse by failing to start altogether. The overall result differed slightly as Duncan finished above Anderson to take 3rd and Walker above Parker in 5th and 6th.

Honda Clubman and IAME Cadet.

Leon Frost was in blistering form all day and continued to dominate with a 3.8 second win in the final; he was rewarded for his efforts with the prestigious summer championship title, which I’m sure he will cherish along with his Dad for a long time to come.

His Clarke kart finished ahead of Macie Hitter, who put on a dazzling performance by taking the fastest lap as she chased after the new circuit champion. These two finished well clear of the rest who were headed by Joseph Knight, a driver who is usually much closer to his season long sparring partner Frost at the front of the field. Knight headed home Jack Theobald in 4th, Jamie Perilly in 5th and ‘Mad Max’ Maksymilian  Solarski in 6th.

Macauly Bishop took the IAME win from circuit returnee Luke Garlic, Jakub Jakoniuk took 3rd and the 2017 summer championship for the 303 Squadron team.

Junior Max / OKJ.

KPi’s Oliver Appleby has had a tremendous season this year and he capped it off with a fine win in increasingly poor conditions in the Junior Max class, adding the BPKC summer championship to his impressive year’s haul as he did so.

The Project One team put up a good fight as Declan Lee kept the #34 kart’s rear bumper just in sight through the spray to finish in 2nd place, ahead of teammate Jack Steadman. Max Goodwin had his best result this year in the class, bringing his GMS kart home in 4th   even with an nose fairing penalty, ahead of fellow penalty holder – novice Kamil Garifullin, who starred on the wet and slippery surface in 5th.

Last month’s winner Jack Davis brought his Blue KPi kart home in 6th, Ambition racing’s Zac Spence was 7th, and Josh Wellard 8th. Nicky Taylor was out in the rapid OKJ class racing alone, but suffered from a very temperamental kart all day, as it retired from the final.

Honda Cadet.

The twelve entry Cadet final was a strange affair right from the moment that the lights went out. Oscar Teuten started from pole and led away initially only to find that his kart was handling erratically (later traced to a slow puncture), as he lost the lead and slipped back into the pack. Last month’s ‘H’ trophy winner Sonny Smith took over at the front for two laps, until astonishingly Oliver Greenall who had started at the back of the grid, surged ahead, the British number 4 driving beautifully to build up a comfortable lead over the remaining laps. Sadly his end of season celebration was cut short in parc ferme as his kart suffered had suffered a dropped nose during his stunning drive, giving him a 10 second penalty, which dropped him back to 4th in the results.

Project One’s Ryan Willis put new wet tyres to good effect by mirroring Greenall’s drive up from the back, ultimately inheriting the win with the #4s demise. The result was a great confidence booster for Willis, finishing ahead of many of his peers at the final race of the year. Archie Walker made awelcome return to Buckmore Park and came out ahead of a good battle with Ronnie Mansfield to finish 2nd , Mansfield recovered from a late spin to take a good 3rd. Behind the 4th placed Greenall were Smith in 5th, 2017 summer champion Zach Ripley in 6th, Edward Pearson was 7th and Louis Horsley 8th. Willis secured the fastest lap of race on the 12th and final tour.

Junior and Mini X30.

2017 summer class champion Freddie Simpson-Stacey (Evolution), looked in control of the JX30 class in the build up to the final after beating Luke Whitehead in both the heat and Pre-Final. Come the 13 lap final though, a gamble on new tyres paid off for Whitehead as he successfully lunged down the inside of Simpson-Stacey at hairpin 1, then managing to hold his line into the 2nd hairpin and control the rest of the race.

Initially the yellow Evolution kart of Simpson-Stacey was snapping at the Mad Croc kart ahead until his tyres lost performance, which in turn lost him the tow in the spray to Whitehead. 2.8 seconds separated the two at the finish as Whitehead celebrated with his customary victory salute crossing the line. The two had been the class of the field on the day and it was a fitting way to end the season. Daniel Gale was a comfortable 3rd after suffering exclusion in the Pre-Final which left him starting from the back of the grid and fighting his way through.

Aston Millar showed well in 4th as he managed to stay ahead of Owen Tolley in 5th. In 6th overall and first in the MX30 class was Alex Ley, he had a great race with Sam Heading which entertained for much of the race, the two of them separated by a Gnat’s whisker as they crossed the finish line. Class champion Kristian Brookes had looked very quick in the Pre Final beating both Ley and Heading but lost out in the final finishing 3rd . Novice Milo Pilfold was 4th in class and Bradley Hardy failed to finish.

Alex Moody finished 9th overall and 6th in the JX30 class after picking up a nose fairing penalty, Dylan Cooper was the last of the runners having suffered problems from the weather that also affected several others who didn’t manage to finish. Fastest lap went to Whitehead proving his worth on a circuit that has always been so kind to him.



The penultimate final was for the TKM class, with thirteen drivers taking up their last chance to race on the circuit for the foreseen future. Only twelve made it out for their final as Thomas Walton did not start. Joe Stockford led away from pole having taken the Pre final win in his Tal-Ko kart, his lead only lasted a lap though as the Jade kart of Sam Fowler hit the front, he then sailed away on an increasingly wet track to take a comfortable 8.2 second win.

Stockford finished 2nd with Joe Fowler close behind. Louis Beaven looked comfortable in 4th until Lucas Sullivan passed him on the final lap. Behind Beaven in 6th was Matthew Harris, novice Jack Buckingham took 7th Alexander Leamon 9th and the final finisher Jordan Montgomery 10th. The fastest lap fell to victor Sam Fowler.

Senior Rotax/177 and X30.

Under a now floodlit Buckmore Park, the final race of the year and possibly of the club’s 20 year history, took place around the undulating Chatham circuit. A good grid of Rotax powered karts took the rolling start along Sisley straight in a ball of spray and headed past post 1 into the tricky right handed turn 1(Conways/Henry’s Bend) – snaking through the two tight right and left infield hairpins and then on to the fast left / right Esses, flying down the hill and out from under the trees, into the flowing right (Symes sweep) and left (Pullmans), taking plenty of kerb on the latter’s apex, before the tight right handed Paddock bend. From there accelerating up the short straight ( Damon Hill) and into Garda, a corner which has seen so much last lap action over the years.

Once out of Garda and down through the Senna chicane, it is back up to the left at Café curve, always tricky in the wet, then drifting out from the apex and up onto the kerbs that take you back over the start/finish line for the end of the lap – the pack at this point was headed by Charlie Turner, he had Myles Apps in his spray, as Liam Carter had slipped back a spot from his front row grid slot.

Bobby Grove was next on the road, he soon had a combative fight with novice Joshua Bacon and Carter, the latter Carter, didn’t want to give the place up as he and Grove ran side by side several times in now appalling conditions. Back at the front Turner appeared in control although Apps was keeping him honest, waiting for any tiny mistake. 177 class leader Mark Figes was driving well up from 16th to 7th, he too managed to pass Carter as did fellow 177 competitor – Karl Mepham until he disappeared from the lap-chart on the last lap.

At the finish Turner took the honours after 12 very wet laps, arm held aloft signalling his number one status, perhaps also acknowledging the significance of his win? Apps was close behind in 2nd and far enough in front of third to retain his position after a nose fairing penalty. Impressive novice Joshua Bacon splashed his way to 3rd, Grove was 4th on the road but 3rd on the podium, as Bacon was awarded for his top novice status.

With Figes taking the 177 class, Carter was 4th, Kartik Sawhney next up in 5th and Tom Richards 6th. The class champion for 2017, was Granddad Mike Ashby, who was elated to have won the title but possibly not so keen to see his immaculate ‘Happy Headlights Racing’ kart looking so grubby!

The X30 class ran just ahead of the Rotax field and was won by the Evolution run kart of Jenson Harvey, another popular face from the past enjoying one last blast around a circuit he knows so well. Henry Ayres was 6 seconds behind in his Project One outfit after 12 laps. The last entrant of the small grid was Michael Hafford, who had endured problems all day and even ran the final with virtually no brakes! His consistency and keenness to support the class throughout the year rewarded him with the X30 championship title.

There was a feeling of sadness as circuit commentator Allan Smallman hosted the final post event trophy presentation, no doubt he like others, was reflecting back on all the young drivers who have passed through Buckmore Park and launched their racing careers, we can only hope that one day the racing will return.