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The Championship Finale Part 1
The Championship Finale Part 1

On a cold, damp and rather chilly November night, the Club 73 Karting paddock descended on Whilton Mill Kart Circuit in the Northamptonshire countryside for the final round of the midweek race series.

Each of the four championship classes (Super Pro, Pro, Clubman + and Clubman) were still up for grabs going into the evening’s races with both the B and A final’s having all of the championship contenders battling it out against each other.

First out were the C final group and they really faced some tricky conditions being the first to hit the track. With poor visibility and a damp surface, the drivers all headed out of pit lane for their 5-lap practice to get acclimatized to the conditions.

Thankfully the rain seemed to hold off and as the evening progressed and the track conditions would improve slightly. After 5 laps, the track had already started to dry slightly, and the first practice session of the evening ended with Dean Hollingshead topping the timing sheets just ahead of Alex Cass in Second and Jake Belcher in Third.

Now the C Final drivers had finished their practice session, it was a quick grid up and onto the first race of the evening. Chris Bowers would lead off pole position heading into turn 1 but it wasn’t long before the whole field realised how sketchy the conditions really were and most of the drivers ended up running wide or even crashing into and through turn 2.

Once the carnage had settled it was Cass, along with Alex Brazier, Andy Hunt and Louis Caldwell who had managed to escape the incidents and get themselves into some sort of rhythm.

The front Four stayed the same for pretty much most of the race with Caldwell being replaced in the front 4 by Jake Belcher who had managed to battle his way through the field and into 4th. Belcher then managed to make a move with around 3 laps to go on Hunt to take 3rd Position, however by this point both Cass and Brazier had broken clear of the chasing pack and Belcher had to settled for 3rd.

Across the line at the end of the first race of the evening and it was Alex Cass who took the C final win by just 1 second over Alex Brazier in 2nd place, Belcher managed to hold of a late fight back by Andy hunt to take 3rd place, just 0.5 seconds ahead of Hunt. Vito Dacres finished in 5th, ahead of Dean Hollinshead and Steve Parkey who rounded out the top 7.

Next up in the Club 73 race night program was the B final class and the first of our championship battles. Both the Clubman + and Clubman titles would be decided in this final!

As normal, the group set off for the 5 lap, pre-race practice and it was a new driver to the championship who topped the time sheets. Zack Titterton was 1st in practice with Pro drivers Clinton Bell and Joe Crane in 2nd and 3rd. Despite the cold and damp air hovering around Whilton Mill, the track conditions had started to improve, and the lap times had dropped to within a few seconds of a decent dry weather time around the same circuit.

After a quick fuel stop, the B Final was underway. The race started in a very similar way to the previous race, however the drivers had managed to get to turn 3 before the carnage happened and at the end of the first lap it was Barry Weller, Tom Langford and the returning Paul Gasson who were your top 3. Due to the rapidly drying track, the racing was a lot closer, and the battles went on throughout the field.

Clubman Drivers, George Bacon and Tiago Banza were fighting it out for the top spot in their championship whilst also battling for on track position in the early stages of the race. Megan Quirk and Connor Ambrose were another pair who were also battling for a championship in B final with Clubman + honours up for grabs there!

The front two stayed the same pretty much the whole race with Langford taking the win by 5 seconds ahead of Gasson in 2nd. Series Director, Clinton Bell came home in 3rd and the final place on the podium, but it was the places further back that everyone was interested in. Early front runner, Barry Weller unfortunately dropped back to 9th with around 3 laps to go, Weller was beaten to the line by Ben Winter in 4th, Zack Titterton in 5th with Megan Quirk finishing 6th.

That meant Quirk had taken the Clubman + Championship after using her Double Points at the final round. Just behind Quirk and another title winner was Tiago Banza who finished 7th, claiming the Clubman title. If Weller hadn’t had made a mistake, could the championship standings been different??

Finally, it was the race everyone had been waiting for, the A final and who would win both Super Pro and Pro Class titles?

By now the track was nearly dry all the way around and it practice it was Clubman + driver, Phil Prior who was first, followed by Super Pro, Matthew Hill and Pro Driver, Charlie Monk. Both of those drivers were looking to try and get top 3 finishes in their respective championships, so this was a great start to the evening for both drivers, could they achieve the same result come the end of the race?

The A final seemed to start a little better then the previous two races but with difficult track conditions and drivers being out on slick tyres, it was inevitable that accidents would happen on an evening like this. Previous Club 73 Championship winner and this seasons champion elect, Jack Goldsmith started from the back of the grid and would be one of the drivers who would suffer due to the poor track conditions and those inevitable accidents that would happen, but as always, the talented Goldsmith would still find himself towards the front come the end of the race.

Early on, and it was Warren Miles who’d taken advantage of track conditions gained during the pre-race practice and by the end of lap two had built up a 3 second lead over the chasing pack. That chasing group was headed up by Pro Championship contender, Charlie Monk and Super Pro driver, Samuel Essery.

It wasn’t long before those two had closed down leader Miles, but the rest hadn’t seemed to follow and it was left to those three to battle it out for the top 3 spots throughout the race with Essery taking the win by 4 seconds from Miles who was another 2 seconds ahead of Pro Driver Monk in 3rd with another Pro driver, Dean Everest in a lonely 4th. Monk’s 3rd place, along with his double points score would see him just pip Everest to the Pro Championship, while Essery’s win meant he had managed to secure 2nd in the Super Pro Class.

Behind those guys was a big battle with 5 drivers all battling for 5th place. Goldsmith, along with Ben Johnson, Lewis Beaumont, Carl Hillis and Matthew Hill were all fighting for that top 5 spot, but it was Goldsmith who would cross the line to take that spot followed home very closely by Johnson, Beaumont, Hillis and Hills who were all within 2.5 seconds of the new Super Pro Champion. The top ten was rounded out by pro driver, Lee Chapman who came home a further 7 seconds from Hill.

And just like that the Club 73 Karting 2021 Weekday Series was over! The final round gave everyone some great racing to watch and there were some fantastic battles in all the finals.

The final championship top 3 for each class were as follows: (It was very close after dropped scores!!)

Finally, Clinton would like to thank all the driver for their support this year. Without you guys and girls, Club 73 wouldn’t happen, so thank you to all of you and hopefully we will see you all again in 2022!