Karters race against the weather
Karters race against the weather

Spring 2021 has seen changeable weather as the jet stream remains locked below the British Isles, on Sunday nearly 130 of the south east’s top kart drivers raced against each other and the threat of a flooded track at Bayford Meadows.

Hopefully this was to be the last time that the racing was held without any spectators, as the next stage of the roadmap easing followed a day later. A total of 26 races were due throughout the day following on from the mornings practice and qualifying sessions and the organising team were keen to get things swiftly underway.

Bambinos

The Bambino class had 8 entries for this month’s event as they raced in various conditions through their Heat, Pre Final and Final. Austin Newstead continued his great form from last month with wins in all three races. Closest to him in the Final held under threatening skies was Stanley Kearly, although he wasn’t quite as close as he managed in the Pre Final.

Ella Dixon was next up in 3rd ahead of Sophie Morris, who had been 2nd in the Pre Final on her debut in 4th. Jack Cope had a day of troubles in 5th, with his engine causing his parents a headache throughout the day. Mason Brooks, Matthew Lilley and Jack Blackman finished the final in 6th, 7th and 8th places after the rain had arrived midrace.

Honda Cadets.

Owen Neave made a return to Bayford Meadows in the Honda Cadet class for this month, driving his C.H.D.D/Evolution kart. He was in fine form taking pole in qualifying, the Heat and then also the Pre Final. Kristian Stefanov qualified 3rd but took 2nd place in both the heat and Pre Final. Callum Sims took 3rd in the Pre Final from Fletcher Jamieson.

There was no stopping Neave over the 12 laps of the Final although Stefanov tried his best, the winning margin was 10.84s, an impressive amount for a Cadet final. While Stefanov was comfortable in 2nd, the race for 3rd was in doubt right until the finish, in the end going the way of Jonas Klimas.

Rio Licata crossed the line in 4th but then had a post-race 5s nose drop penalty drop him down to 7th. Jamieson drove well after dropping back over the opening lap to take 4th. Andrew Dixon took 5th, Oliver Majewski 6th, Licata 7th, Sims 8th, Logan McAllister 9th and Antony Parfett 10th. Neave also completed his domination with the fastest lap of the race.

Honda Rookies.

Hayden Butcher was the fastest in qualifying for the 22 kart Honda Rookie class. Archie Beard then went on to take the morning’s Heat, running on a wet track after qualifying 3rd. Last month’s class winner Harry Freeman who had qualified 6th in the morning, took 3rd in the Heat and then took victory in the Pre final from Harry Taylor in 2nd and Alfie Mew in 3rd, Heat winner Beard was 4th.

Freeman was on form in the Final as he quickly pulled a good lead over Taylor and Mew. Beard looked fast in 4th and by lap 3 was up to 2nd place as Mew moved up to 3rd, Taylor slipped to 5th as the morning’s pole sitter Butcher overtook him for 4th place.

Going into the closing laps Beard was closing in on Freeman ahead, setting the fastest lap as he did so. He ran out of time in the end though as a hefty crash at turn 1 brought out the Red Flag and a premature end to the race after the 7th lap.

Mew was classified 3rd behind Beard, Taylor 4th after Butcher had a nose fairing penalty dropping him down the finishing order. Harry Russell was 5th, Riley Till 6th, Rylan Blake 7th, Isaac Doble 8th, Albie Lapper 9th and Leon Knight, who was thankfully okay after having a visit from the medical team after the crash in 10th.

Senior Club Max 177s.

The Senior 177 class had their own grid for this month’s meeting and they provided some great racing at the front racing all day. Their final was held when the rain was at its worst, with water flowing across the circuit in places.

This didn’t deter the drivers at all as they threaded their way around and sometimes through the standing water, making for quite a spectacular sight! Michael Gibbons had given Barry Powley a good run for his money during the Heat and Pre Final , setting up a close final, as Billy Watts had also looked quick in the Pre final too, he was due to start in third on the grid.

As they set off in near monsoon conditions Powley led away managing to keep Gibbons behind him, he then used the conditions to his advantage and pulled clear to take a very soggy win. Gibbons never did receive a threat from Watts as he took 2nd.

Watts was alone in 3rd place enjoying aquaplaning through the puddles, in 4th was Andy Parish who had slipped back initially before recovering well, taking the fastest lap near the end of the race. Lewis Holt-Brown finished 5th and Dennis Trzeciak 6th.

Mini Club Max.

The 9 Mini Club Max drivers were granted their own Final after mixing grids with the Junior Subaru class earlier in the day. Josh Selvadorai showed much improvement over his last month’s efforts by topping qualifying, the Heat and Pre Final. 2nd on the grid was James Sherrington, Tighe Wratten started 3rd, last month’s victor Lloyd Hare 4th.

Selvadorai led Sherrington away over the 12 lap final held in still very wet conditions. His advantage wasn’t as great in the early laps, as it had been in the Pre Final, with both Sherrington and Hare following closely in his spray.

Wratten held 4th, ahead of a close race between Project One teammates Tom Ingram-Hill and Luca Osman-Price. Jack Pullen jumped up from 9th to run 7th in front of George Barker and Ryan Welsh. The race settled down into a stalemate with no further position changes, the drivers being hampered by the poor conditions.

Selvadorai’s margin of victory was 1.2s, runner up Sherrington had Hare on his bumper over the closing laps, the two separated by just a couple of tenths of a second, as the latter set the fastest lap in his efforts to pass the former. Wratten took 4th from the P1 pair of Ingram-Hill and Osman-Price in 5th and 6th. Pullen was just 0.5s back in 7th, Barker 8th and Welsh 9th.

Junior Subaru.

William Fallon and Liam Thomas had proven to be the class of the Junior Subaru grid over the course of the day and the Final looked to continue that way as they gridded up next to each other on the front row. Jenson Taylor and Chris Budd filled the 2nd row, Jace Goslett and Bentley Lovegrove-Fowler the third row. Ciaron Edgson had George Oxford alongside him on the 4th row and Ryan Dell sat alone on the 5th row of the grid.

Fallon and Thomas led the field for 10 tricky laps of the wet Sittingbourne and from the outset it was clear that Thomas’s blue GMS kart had the edge over Fallon’s machine as he made a pass into the first infield hairpin. From there on the #27 kart of “The Stick” drove away to take a comfortable win, nearly 11s ahead of Fallon as he crossed the finishing line.

Lovegrove-Fowler drove a good charging race up from 6th to 3rd and not too far behind the 2nd place man Fallon by the finish. Edgson went from 7th up to 4th at the finish, ahead of Goslett 5th, Taylor 6th, Oxford, Budd and Dell in 7th, 8th and 9th.

Senior Club Max.

The Senior Club Max class had another bumper entry for this month, with 32 karts listed. For those that were unlucky enough not to make the top 20 qualifiers after their two Heats, there was a “B” Final, which was held just after the heavens opened for the senior 177 class. Just four of the 12 drivers would make it through to the main Final and they had 8 laps to sort themselves out. Oliver Bullion had tangled with Jack Bartholomew during one of the Heats and suffered a nose fairing penalty in the other, which left him in the “B” Final and some work to do.

He started alongside the charismatic Ben Slipper and the two of them fought hard over the opening lap through the spray. The Roalf racing kart of Bullion came out on top of that particular battle but picked up another nose penalty as he did so. He crossed the line in first from Slipper, only to forfeit the win post-race, although he still qualified for the main final with 2nd place.

Will Tidman finished 3rd but agonisingly also picked up a nose drop penalty leaving him outside of the top 4. Will Barnes pulled off an audacious move on Toby Wright towards the end of the last lap to take what he thought was 4th, which then morphed into 3rd with Tidman’s penalty, Wright taking the last qualifying slot.

The GMS kart of Riley Stephenson and Alfie Brooks’s Roalf racing machine completed the front row after the Heats, circuit visitor Jamie Rogers, being run by SAIT Motorsport and James Tomsett’s GMS kart – filled the 2nd row. Row 3 had Elliot Rice who was on a charge after qualifying down in 31st position!

Sitting proudly next to Rice was Mike Ashby, who had shown an impressive turn of speed in the Heats against his younger counterparts. Joe Gethin and Poppi Stephenson made up an all GMS row 4, Josh Pullen (GMS) and Zac Dear (G-Tech) completed row 5.

Stephenson led Brooks and the snarling pack away for the first of 12 laps, the rain having eased by now with the circuit drying. Rice was flying and up to third having usurped Rogers and Tomsett. Ashby’s good fortune deserted him as engine maladies dropped him down from the first lap, jumping up to 6th after nailing his start was Dear in the G-Tech kart, ahead of Poppi Stephenson who was having a solid day in 7th.

At the front Brooks didn’t take long to show that he meant business as he steamed past Stephenson to take the lead, only for his chain to break near the end of the 4th lap, just when he was looking comfortable out in front, terrible luck after having led. This handed the lead back to the #87 kart of Stephenson who was handling the pressure of Rice behind him.

Tomsett was running well in 3rd, showing that he has now gotten to grips with the GMS run kart. Rogers was 4th, in 5th now was Gethin who had moved ahead of P.Stephenson and Dear. As the laps counted down Stephenson controlled the pace to take the win by 0.47s over Rice, Tomsett was 8s behind in 3rd, Rogers held 4th to the finish, with Gethin not far behind in 5th.

Dear crossed the line in 6th but was penalised 5s (nose fairing) dropping him to an unfortunate 11th. Max Goodwin finally had a decent final with 6th place, showing the type of form that he did in his Junior racing days by moving up 10 places. Kieran Ives recovered well from a scary moment in his first Heat when he smote the tyre barrier after losing a rear wheel, climbing 12 places to take 7th.

Poppi Stephenson was 8th, Charlie Hand 9th and rounding off the top 10 was Arjun Mehta who ran as high as 8th at one stage. Rogers will have come away from the race pleased knowing that he had recorded the fastest lap.

Junior Club Max.

Project One locked out qualifying for the Junior Club Max class, by filling the first four positions, with the impressive class newcomer Gustavs Usakovs taking the pole. The Heats were won by P1 drivers Jamie Perilly (2) and another impressive performance from a class newcomer, this time Sebastian Morgan.

The 28 kart entry also necessitated a “B” final to make up the remaining four places on the 24 kart Final grid. This was an eventful race as the conditions were appalling, catching out several drivers, including early leader Ben Cooke.

Sam Light took full advantage of this to snatch the lead briefly, before Oliver Hutchings managed to take it away on the 3rd lap. His lead was short lived though as he spun giving the lead back to Light. Meanwhile Cooke was recovering and eventually took the number 1 spot back to take the win from Light. Novice Hutchings recovered from his moment to take 3rd from a very happy Ella Haines in 4th, as she had driven well to take the last qualifying position for the main Final.

The grid for the main Final had the front row locked out by P1 drivers Perilly and Morgan, Roalf racing’s Max Lee and Usakovs took the 2ndrow, Ryan Willis and Josh Pattrick the 3rd, Finlay Watson and Ethan Bentley the 4th. On the 5th row were John Ward and Alexander Adams-Acton.

The circuit was still damp for the start of the 13 lap Final which Perilly nailed to perfection from his inside grid slot, Morgan followed him through turn 1 but then lost out at the bottom tight right hand hairpin, with Usakovs usurping him. Lee lost a position in the melee and soon set about recovering them. Willis ran 5th heading Pattrick, Watson and Ward.

As the race progressed Perilly looked very comfortable leading the field , Usakovs came under pressure from Lee who had moved ahead of Morgan and on the 9th lap – Lee then moved into 2nd place, splitting the two P1 karts. Morgan began to suffer with his tyres and found himself unable to defend from teammate Willis and the SAIT kart of Watson.

As we came to the end of the final race of the day the imperious Perilly took the chequer, almost 6 seconds in front of Lee’s well driven Roalf racing kart. Usakovs was 3rd, from Watson in 4th, (he had nipped ahead of both Willis and Morgan on lap 8). Willis was next up in 5th, Brentley Sims (JAXX racing) managed to pass Morgan to finish 6th, behind Morgan (7th) in 8th came Caveman’s Ward turning in a solid performance.

“B” Final winner Cooke did well making up 12 places to 9th and Pattrick was 10th in his GMS kart. Watson impressed by taking the fastest lap of the race on lap 12.

The next event owner/driver meeting will be on the 20th June.

Full results from the event can be found here on the Alpha timing website – https://results.alphatiming.co.uk/bmkr/2021/2/s/1590/

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