2019 Champions Crowned
2019 Champions Crowned

The final round of the 10 race BMKR Summer championships was held at the friendly Sittingbourne circuit on Sunday 15th December.

Adding to last month’s club record November entry, over 100 drivers were ready to take on the technical circuit layout and tricky wintery weather conditions.

A hefty rain shower mid-morning left the track surface very greasy for the majority of the day and caused a few headaches amongst the drivers and mechanics as they tried to judge the best kart set ups and tyres for the conditions.

Honda Cadet.

A healthy 18 karts lined up for the Honda Cadet class with Kent and Lydd champion Joshua Graham topping the dry qualifying session. Gustav Usakovs took the Heat win and gridded on pole position for the Grand final after also winning the Pre final. Alongside the Project One pole sitter was the C.H.D.D Evolution kart of Reg Heywood, who thrived in the Pre final slippy conditions. Sonny Mortensen and Alfie Thompson filled the 2nd row, Kacee Lynch and Jack Theoblad the 3rd.

Graham was down on the 4th row next to Jarrett Clark, the 5th row had the rapid pairing of Oscar O’Sullivan and William Murphy, both hoping to go better in the now dry conditions.

Usakovs led Heywood away over the opening couple of laps before he started to lose pace on the dry surface, Heywood too began to slide back after leading for a lap. Lynch and Graham now took over the race at the front until Thompson’s Project One kart usurped them both. Hot on his heels though was Murphy as his SAIT Motorsport kart came alive on the slick tyres, indeed so fast was he that he took the lead on lap 9 setting fastest lap too.

Thompson hadn’t given up easily though and the two crossed the line after 12 laps separated by just 0.12s in what had been a very topsy turvey race. Ian Marginean had shot up to 3rd at the finish, only to suffer a dropped nose fairing penalty dropping him down to 8th overall. Graham took 3rd which handed him the championship title to go with his other two from this year, impressive stuff from the SAIT Motorsport star! Lynch took 4th from O’Sullivan in 5th, who had driven well up from 9th. Owen Neave made up 8 places to take 6th, Mortensen finished 7th from the penalised Marginean in 8th, 9th and 10th were Theobald and a disappointed Heywood.

Usakovs was dismayed to be back in 12th after starting from pole. Marginean and Murphy completed their championship efforts with 2nd and 3rd places behind Graham.

Senior Club Max + 177s.

Declan Lee headed the Senior Club Max times after qualifying, ending his busy year mixing racing cars and karts right on the pace. Another driver who has been doing the same – Jack Bartholomew was next up, followed by Riley Stephenson and the UK’s number 7 Junior Rotax driver for the year, Jack Steadman.

Stephenson’s GMS machine looked fast in the morning’s Heat as he took a comfortable 1.54s win over Bartholomew, with Steadman 3rd and Max Goodwin going well in 4th  as the rain started to fall. Stephenson then rocketed away in the Pre final to take a stunning 3.36s win this time over Steadman, while Bartholomew had a disastrous race finishing down in 8th. Josh Pullen hauled his Clarke kart up to 3rd with Mike Ashby’s GMS taking a superb 4th after both benefitted from Goodwin taking a 5s nose fairing penalty post-race.

The 14 lap Grand final was stopped before it started when Joe Wood, keen to build some heat into his tyres, lost control on the start line straight, hitting the outside tyre wall hard, which then catapulted him out of is kart, the ensuing chaos also taking out two other karts, thankfully Wood was able to stand up, dust himself down and walk away from what had been a very sizeable and frightening looking shunt.

Once Joe had been checked over by the medical team and the circuit had been cleared, the drivers set off on their further two warming up laps, forming up perfectly before the lights turned to green for the start of the 14 lap final. Stephenson launched away well from the head of the inside tram line, even managing to edge to his left clear of Steadman before turning into turn 1.

Lee had vaulted up to 3rd by the end of the first lap, dropping Pullen and Ashby back into the pack, the latter coming off worse through the twisty infield and being held out to dry. Goodwin had made a good start and was up to 4th as Pullen ran 5th. Bartholomew was on a charge early on and ran 6th.

At the front Stephenson was flying, gapping Steadman, enough to break his tow on the straights. Lee was comfortable in 3rd, up to 4th was Bartholomew who had scythed his way past Pullen and Goodwin with great aplomb, his kart working so much better now on slicks. As the laps clicked down the leader looked very comfortable as he held on to take a 1.44s win over the Project One karts of Steadman and Lee in 2nd and 3rd.

Bartholomew was a further 4s back in 4th as he sealed the 2019 crown with a championship winning drive. Goodwin could forget his recent run of bad luck with 5th, although he was still a little disappointed to have been beaten by his more experienced mentor one place ahead of him. Pullen and Joe Gethin ran with Goodwin in 6th and 7th, James Tomsett started his day off badly but recovered with a good 8th at the finish.

Kieran Ives finished 9th ahead of the new Masters champion Ashby, who has held his own well against the younger drivers all year in 10th, Andy Parish took the 177 class win. Stephenson topped his day with the fastest lap on the penultimate lap of the race, taking 2nd in the championship proving that he is now ready for an assault on the 2020 Motorsport UK title. Pullen ended 3rd in the championship proving that he cannot be miscounted for success in 2020.

Junior Subaru UK.

Charlie Hand only managed to qualify 7th of the 14 Junior Subaru drivers during the morning session, with his nemesis Kieran Janali taking the pole from Aaron Deacon and Rory Burke.

When the racing started however Hand was flying, beating Janali to take a close win in the Heat with Burke and Deacon finishing 3rd and 4th. Hand then had a great early battle with Janali in the Pre final, before the SAIT Mortorsport kart of Janali took a 3.2s victory over Hand with Burke hot on his tail. Joseph Knight taking 4th from Deacon and Ciaron Edgson in 5th.

The circuit was dry for the final with all but one driver starting on slicks, Joseph Knight chose to run on intermediates and as the field left the grid he flew off into the lead, as his tyres turned on much quicker than the slick shod drivers behind him.

This didn’t last long however as the tables were reversed when the slick shod drivers came flying past him a couple of laps later. Hand was flying and opened up a gap over Janali and Burke who were having a great fight behind. 

Burke eventually lost out when his Clarke kart hit the back of Janali around one of the tight infield hairpins, losing touch as he did so. Hand cruised to victory and the 2019 championship winning by a huge 11.2s over Janali and Burke, who ended up 2nd & 4th in the championship. The battle for 4th raged all race long and was fantastic to watch, Junior Subaru racing at its best! Vincent Osbourne held the position for most of the race, using the switch back at turn 1 to the best effect. Edgson,

Deacon and William Fallon fought hard with Osbourne, swapping places all around the circuit. This epic battle ended with Fallon just taking 4th from Edgson, with Deacon next up in 6th, Alexander Adams-Acton in 7th and Benjamin Witham in 8th. Post-race Fallon was handed a 5s penalty for a dropped nose fairing which left him 8th, promoting all those below him up one place. 9th and 10th went to Finlay Underwood and Ben Cooke.

Fastest lap went to the new champion Hand, Knight was happy that his tyre gamble hadn’t lost his 3rd place in the overall championship results.

Junior Club Max Final.

The Project One karts of Will Egby and Ryan Willis qualified 1st and 2nd in the Junior Club Max class and looked on fine form, heading Kent champion Lewie Weaver and last month’s victor James Black. Egby took the heat win from teammate Willis, with GMS teammates Weaver and Caitlin May in 3rd and 4th.

Egby and Willis then mirrored the Heat positions by taking 1st and 2nd; this time May was 3rd and Weaver 4th. Red Beswick taking 5th and James Black 6th.

For the 14 lap final Egby led Willis away, May however didn’t’ take long to find a way past into 2nd place with Willis dropping to 3rd and then to 4th, as the fast starting Black moved ahead. Weaver at this point had slipped back to 8th, as Beswick, Max Lee and Declan Russell (up from grid 13!) fought their way past.

At the front Egby was being caught by May without being seriously pressured, going onto win by a bare 0.40s from May who was crowned the 2019 champion as she crossed the finish line. Willis fought his way back up to 3rd as Black faltered towards the end finishing behind the flying Russell and a recovering Weaver, who were 4th and 5th.

Oliver Bullion and Red Beswick finished 7th & 8th and took 2nd and 3rd in the championship behind May. In 9th & 10th were Max Lee and Brendan Sathees. Both Russell and Weaver set identical fastest lap times during the race.

Mini Club Max.

The Mini Club Max class continues to increase in numbers, with 11 karts making it out for qualifying. Guesting for the C.H.D.D Evolution team was Oliver Greenall, a driver with good  Honda Cadet experience at Bayford Meadows in the past.

He put his recent successful Mini X30 season to good use by taking pole position for the morning Heat, going on to win by 7.6s over last month’s victor Jai Lawrence in his Project One run kart. In drying conditions Jamie Perilly came out on top in the Pre final, beating Greenall and Lawrence by 3.6s. Greenall was back in front for the Grand final, pulling clear of the battling Perilly and Lawrence, which the latter won. Perilly soon found himself in 4th as another Project One kart being driven by Ben Raeburn overtook him.

Chloe Chong was clear in 5th in her Clarke kart, she was ahead of some good dicing between Harrison Crowther, Matthew Copsey and Mikey Porter. Holly Miall and Harry Kidd completed the runners. Back at the front Lawrence was beginning to close in on the leader until disaster struck when his kart suddenly cut out without warning. He made it back into the pits where the kart restarted, but was then prevented from restarting due to a technicality. In an instant the outcome of the race was settled as Greenall stroked is brightly coloured #64 kart home to a comfortable 5.3s win.

Raeburn finished 2nd being kept honest by teammate Perilly who was less than a second behind him in 3rd. Chong was a little distance back in 4th, being hunted down by Copsey on his class debut. Crowther headed John Ward both making their class debuts in 6th & 7th after Porter got hit with a nose fairing penalty dropping him behind in 8th.

Kidd managed to find his way past Miall to take 9th. Greenall completed his successful return to the circuit by securing the fastest lap. An absentee from the race, Rylee Brown took the class championship win, from Chong and Porter in 2nd and 3rd.

Honda Clubman Standard.

The final race of the day was for the Honda Clubman Standard class. Kristian Stefanov has impressed over the latter half of the season and was again the man to beat on the day on Sunday.

He comfortably proved fastest in qualifying but then couldn’t match the Parfett brothers in their RHP karts in the wet Heat, with Antony Parfett finishing ahead of his sibling Simon. For the Pre final the Ferrari replica kart of Stefanov was back in front, finishing ahead of Emily Jackson and Sebastian Morgan, who were both in the hunt for the overall championship honours, the Parfett brothers were 4th and 5th.

Stefanov flew off the line at the start of the Grand final and immediately opened up a good gap over the rest of the field, headed by Morgan and Jackson. Behind these three Jack Pullen had shot up from 8th on the grid to 4th and was soon ahead of Jackson for 3rd.

Antony Parfett was 5th ahead of Luca Osman-Price who had managed to get between the two brothers in his Project One kart, although it wasn’t long before Simon moved back past. Stefanov looked invincible at the front, Morgan behind had one hand on the championship and was being careful not to make any mistakes with a hungry Pullen lurking dangerously behind.

At the end of the 12 laps the positions remained the same, Stefanov winning by 5s over the new class champion Morgan, who has been so consistently fast throughout the year. Pullen was delighted with 3rd and the fastest lap, later he told me, with some great detail, how his team had come up with the perfect tyre set up for the final!

Jackson took 4th and 2nd in the championship ahead of Stefanov 3rd overall. Simon managed to top the Parfett brother battle in 5th place, Antony 6th and Osman-Price in 7th. Liam Thomas headed the novice race in 8th, with Leon Knight in 9th. Josh Selvadorai came out on top of a great race with Ryan Gwenzi to finish 10th.

Full race results and final championship positions can be found here – https://results.alphatiming.co.uk/bmkr/

So the Kent karting season came to an end on a very positive note, with some great racing and growing entry lists. 2020 looks exciting with Lydd securing a round of the popular Motorsport UK national championship (August 22nd 23rd), which will help to bolster grids and raise the profile of the circuit.

The busy team at Bayford Meadows also have some exciting plans for the year, which will be announced soon.