Weather doesn’t stop thrilling racing
Weather doesn’t stop thrilling racing

Sunday 23rd September began with the predicted heavy rain causing flooding in various areas of the Sittingbourne circuit.

The organising club decided to bravely press on and close the area most affected by the standing water, which was the latter half of the Bayford Meadows lap.

Practice and qualifying began with the rain still beating down, causing a few karts to suffer gremlins when driving through the standing water, gradually though the water was dispersed and each class was given a Heat/Pre final and then a Grand final, with the MSA Bambinos allowed three timed runs in-between.

MSA Bambinos – O’Sullivan takes double.

Fletcher Jamieson was the fastest of the 7 Bambino runners who splashed around in the first timed run, Frazer Anderson avoided the biggest puddles to finish 2nd and Oscar O’Sullivan set the third fastest time. O’Sullivan then set the fastest time in the second run, with Anderson again 2nd from Jamieson in 3rd. In the final timed run O’Sullivan was the only driver to dip into the 45 second bracket with a time of 45.88, Anderson wasn’t far behind with a 46.06 and Jamieson a little further back in 3rd with a 47.20. Jack Pullen was 4th on a 47.34,  Ewan Thompson 5th – 47.79, Freddie La Rosa 6th  with a  fastest time of  47.95 and Kristian Stefanov 7th set a time of 48.17 seconds.

Honda Clubman Standard – Khan takes victory as Copsey stars.

Timo Jungling qualified on pole position for the Clubman Standard Pre Final ahead of Rylan Echberg and Zain Khan. Jungling led the Pre Final away from Echberg and Khan, looking comfortable out in front as he did so, his race unfortunately came to an end on lap 9 leaving Echberg to lead over the last  3 laps to take the win and pole position for the Final. Khan looked comfortable in 2nd place although Jessica White wasn’t far behind in 3rd. Matthew Copsey took 4th, Harry Chamberlin 5th and Henry Ng-zeederberg 6th.

Echberg led the field on the single file rolling start, passing through the two cones especially laid out on the grid to control the starting formation, in the still horrendous conditions.  The controlled start had a positive effect though as the first corner was incident free, thus leaving the young drivers free to race around the rest of the shortened circuit.

Khan looked menacing at the end of the first lap as he chose the inside line into turn 1, finding more grip and taking the lead from Echberg. Last month the DG kart of Echberg spun when trying to retaliate after losing the lead, this time he kept his cool and patiently sat behind the Revolution kart of Khan. Jessica White had initially held 3rd until Matthew Copsey found a way past, White eventually slipping away to a disappointing 11th place at the end. Back at the head of the field Khan’s #47 kart was controlling the pace in the difficult conditions, Copsey found a way past Echberg at mid-distance and set off after the leader.

On the last lap of 17 Khan led but Copsey and Echberg hadn’t given up the chase, the former pressuring the leader and having a stab for the lead at the temporary hairpin, just metres from the finish line, his attempt didn’t come off and he almost lost his well-earned second place to Echberg, who drew alongside over the finish line. Khan was just ahead of the two celebrating a cool win, as he read the conditions and race perfectly.

Behind the battling Copsey and Echberg was Gustavs Usakovs who had moved up from 7th on the grid, he was unfortunately handed a dropped bumper penalty post-race, leaving him 9th in the results . CHDD – Evolution teammates Ng-zeederberg and last month’s winner Reg Heywood took 4th and 5th, Harrison Crowther 6th, Sonny Mortensen 7th,  Joshua Graham 8th and Harry Chamberlin 10th behind the penalised Usakovs, who did have the consolation of taking the fastest lap.

Junior Subaru UK – Weaver’s faultless win.

The Pre Final grid for the Junior Subaru UK class had a familiar look about it, with the championship contenders filling the top positions. Top of the 22 karts that packed the shortened circuit was Leon Clark, his Clark Motorsport kart finished a tenth of a second up on the GMS kart of Lewie Weaver, Charlie Hand was on good form in 3rd with his orange CHR kart. The SAIT kart of last month’s winner James Tomsett lined up 4th ahead of the Sonic Motorsport kart of Louis Barker in 5th,next up were GMS drivers Red Beswick and Caitlin May 6th & 7th on the grid.

Clark led the colourful Pre Final field away under a rolling start threading through the makeshift cones, he led Weaver up until lap 8 when the positions were reversed, Weaver going on to seal a comfortable win. Clark held 2nd to the finish with the next five remaining in grid order to the finish – Hand, Tomsett, Barker, Beswick and May.Harvey Roffe, Joe Wood and Joseph Gethen completed the top 10.

Weaver led the final away from pole and never looked troubled over the 17 lap race on his way to a comfortable, faultless 1.96 second win. Clark, Hand Tomsett , Barker and Beswick remained in grid order over the race distance, the appalling conditions appearing to have an effect on the usual hustle and bustle racing that the class provides. Caitlin May retired on lap 8, taking her anger out on first her kart and then the nearest tyre post!

Her feelings were understandable as she had been in a competitive 7th place driving beautifully. Roffe took the 7th place, Oliver Martynski 8th, Ben Harper 9th and Kieran Ives finally having some decent luck in 10th. Charlie Hand impressed with the fastest lap of the race on his way to 3rd place.

Junior Club Max – JB takes it to the Max.

Thirteen karts qualified for the Junior Club Max class this month, at the top of the times was James Black in his JB Motorsport Compkart, continuing his form from last month. Last month’s winner Jack Davis lined up alongside for the Heat. Riley Stephenson in 3rd was hoping that his luck would change for this month; now driving for the GMS team having moved over from the Lydd Clarke Karts squad. Joshua Pullen was keen to make up for last month’s disaster whilst leading and had his Clarke kart in 4th.Project One’s Declan Lee and Will Egby lined up in the following two positions.

Black led the single file Heat grid away, soon settling down into a smooth and controlled pace; Davis did look threatening in 2nd, with Stephenson 3rd over the early laps. Davis then slipped back to 6th on the 6th lap with Lee moving up into 2nd at the same time. Pullen too managed to move ahead of Stephenson to take 3rd at the finish behind a comfortable Black and Lee. Stephenson held onto 4th, Egby was 5th from Davis in 6th, novice Jack Aldis drove well to take 7th.

Black once again led away at the start of the final, continuing to drive his Bristol Street Motors backed kart smoothly in the treacherous conditions. Lee’s Project One kart couldn’t live with Black’s Compkart and was passed by a charging Pullen, who soon closed up onto Black’s tail. Stephenson couldn’t hold off Egby at the start and looked to be visibly struggling in places over the lap. Aldis ran in 6th early on until both Brendan Sathees and Zac Spence dropped him down two places. Next up had been the LICA kart of Ross Hastings, who was struggling with pain from a recent injury, the wet conditions not helping him at all. Oliver Bullion usurped Hastings on lap 2 to move into 9th.

Behind the off form Hastings was Poppi Stephenson making her class debut at the circuit, also driving for the GMS team. Over the last few laps it became clear that Pullen could not quite get close enough to Black to mount a challenge leaving Black delighted to take the win. Pullen’s fine 2nd place did go some way towards making up for last month’s disappointment. Lee was on his own in 3rd, with Egby further back in 4th.

Stephenson picked up some much needed points with 5th, Sathees had a trouble free run to finish 6th after a good dice with Spence who finished 7th. Novice Aldis was 8th, Bullion 9th, Hastings 10th and Poppi Stephenson completed the finishers.Pullen’s charge netted him the fastest lap on the 13th tour of 18.

Honda Clubman Elite – Perilly dominates final.

The Heat for the Elite class contained quite a few bumps and moments off into the puddles for the 12 entries. Kean Berta kept his nose clean by coming out on top 1.47 seconds ahead of Project One teammate Jamie Perilly, who had started from the back after not completing a lap in qualifying.

Nathan Marques had finished second on the road but was penalised 10 seconds for a dropped bumper post-race. Vinny Lloyd was 3rd, Jack Williamson was 4th after a spin following some contact, which delayed him early on. Joshua Rudd was next up in 5th from Tighe Wratten 6th. Ethan Bentley ended up soaked by a huge puddle in 7th, after an off just past the start/finish line , Leon Frost who had been running third, also hit the same puddle after running wide when Perilly moved past him at the tight hairpin, he managed to extricate himself and ended up 8th behind Bentley.

Berta led the Final away from the start with Perilly following him closely Williamson was up to third ahead of Lloyd in 4th. After 4 laps it was clear to see that Perilly’s kart had more pace than the leader’s Berta and he moved ahead, soon pulling away and cruising to victory once again at the circuit. Berta was overtaken by Williamson who had driven well after his spin in the heat, only to have his deserved 2nd place taken away by a nose drop penalty, possibly caused by hitting a kerb.

So Berta took the runner up spot, Nathan Marques salvaged a good 3rd place in his CHDD Evolution kart, after his penalty in the heat. Declan Russell finished 4th, Williamson 5th after his penalty, Frost was 6th, Lloyd 7th, Wratten 8th, Ian Marginean 9th and Bentley 10th. Joshua Rudd dramatically lost a wheel in the closing stages and Jack Theobald ended up stuck in the ‘Elite’ driver’s puddle just after finish line! Fastest lap went to who else but the dominant Jamie Perilly.

Senior Club Max – Rotherham’s maiden class win.

The final race of the day was for the Senior Club Max drivers and for this month several new faces were adorning the 14 kart grid. One of those was Thomas Rotherham, who topped the qualifying times, impressing after a five month break and a move up from the Junior class. Jack Wall’s GMS kart was 2nd, another Thomas and class newcomer Thomas Lawson (GMS) was 3rd , ahead of rapid novice Jason Chong in his Clarke karts run machine in 4th.

Previous dominant winner Joe Hunt was next up in 5th, from another star newcomer Benjamin Boros in 6th.Rotherham took an easy win in the Heat with Hunt moving his way through into 2nd place, with fastest lap, setting us up for an exciting final. Jack Wall took 3rd, Lawson retired and Chong received a bumper drop penalty, leaving Boros 4th, Lewis Deacon 5th, and Mark Figes 6th.

The final proved to a tense affair with Hunt shadowing the flying Rotherham for the whole race, in the end he had to settle for 2nd 1.34 seconds behind. It had been a fine drive by young Rotherham in the #15 kart especially in the harsh conditions on the shortened course; we will look forward to the two meeting in the dry on the full circuit. Jack Wall had a trouble free run in third, unable to match the pace of the two ahead but well clear of the pack behind.

Boros in his LICA kart finished 4th on the road until he was hit with a post-race dropped bumper penalty, which meant he slipped back to 6th, a shame after a stellar drive. Lawson lit the touch paper and fought his way through from the back to take 4th in the results, 5th went to Mark Figes, after Boros in 6th was top novice Chong, who on his own admission, will be looking forward to a mistake free run on his next visit. Deacon 8th, nearly pipped Chong as he fought his way back from an early spin whilst running near the front early on. Mike Ashby took 9th from Stephen Bouffe in 10th. The fastest lap went to Hunt on lap 5.

It was a fine achievement by all at the club and the competitors, to make it through the day without a single red flag incident, in what were horrendous conditions, which ironically cleared away as soon as the racing was over !