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Thrilling end to the karting season at Bayford Meadows
Thrilling end to the karting season at Bayford Meadows

The Bayford Meadows championships reached their climax last Sunday on a breezy and mostly overcast autumn day at the Sittingbourne circuit.

Overnight rain had left the circuit damp for the morning qualifying sessions which caused a few drivers headaches, as they struggled to find right set ups for the conditions. The paddock was full with a bumper entry for the final round giving us healthy grids across the majority of the competing classes.

Senior Club Max.

The afternoon’s finals began with the Senior Club Max class, which had seen drama from the outset with championship combatants Joe Gethen and Ciaron Edgson hitting problems in the two qualifying races, Gethen out before the start of the morning Heat and then Edgson suffering engine problems after  a mere handful of laps.

All of this left fellow championship rival – Josh Pullen sitting pretty after finishing 6th, up 8 places from his poor qualifying grid position. In the pre Final Pullen finished 2nd, Gethen jumped up 13 places to 9th, while Edgson’s recovery was dented with a nose drop penalty leaving him a lowly 16th on the grid for the all-important Final.

The comfortable winner in both the Heat and Pre Final was former circuit champion Riley Stephenson, who was making a rare appearance at the circuit. He led away the 22 kart grid from pole as his GMS teammate Pullen lost out to Oliver Hutchings at turn 1 and over the opening lap.

James Tomsett starting 4th also lost out from his outside grid slot to fall behind Oliver Owen and a fast starting Poppi Stephenson, although Tomsett soon found his way ahead of the erstwhile leader’s sibling into 5th.

After 4 laps Stephenson led Pullen, who had gapped Hutchings and Owen in 3rd & 4th, behind Tomsett  sat Josh Pattrick in 6th fending off a charging Gethen who was keen to haul back some points over Pullen ahead. Edgson was up to 11th from 16th but from then on struggled after contact and damage during a turn 1 crash hindered his progress. Several drivers were affected by the crash, although benefitting were Mollie Griffiths and Ella Haines as they were up to 12th & 13th after starting 19th & 21st.

As the laps counted down to the finish Stephenson controlled the pace setting fastest lap on his fresher tyres to take the win, over Pullen in 2nd who must have been wondering how title rivals Gethen and Edgson were fairing, he needn’t have worried as Gethen’s valiant effort took him only as far as 4th, behind Hutchings in 3rd.

Tomsett was sat on Gethen’s bumper in 5th, Pattrick took 6th in front of Frederic Lecomte 7th. Owen was 8th on the road but a dropped nose penalty saw him fall to 12th overall. Oliver Sutton inherited 8th ahead of Poppi Stephenson in 9th, she held off Haines in 10th although the latter suffered a dropped nose penalty post- race dropping her to 15th. Sam Chappell had a fraught day’s racing in which he salvaged a 10th from top privateer in the championship Edgson in 11th.

The championship ended with a top 10 headed by Pullen, being rewarded for his season long consistent pace to take the title and also a deserved driver of the year award from, Edgson 2nd , Gethen 3rd, Hutchings 4th, Chappell 5th, Sutton 6th, Griffiths 7th, Jack Badger 8th, Haines 9th and Lewis Deacon 10th.


The 6 kart Bambino class was next up and it featured a wonderful race long duel between Albi-Jay Stubbs and Benjamin Sljivar, with the diminutive pair swapping places lap after lap and indeed spending most of the time running side by side! Benjamin took his debut win last month and was keen to repeat that result this month too; however this time it was Albi-Jay who took a very close victory, in front of BTTC drivers Josh Cook and Jade Edwards who were cheering him on.

Benjamin no doubt will be back next year hoping to rule the roost in his Sana backed kart, as Albi-Jay moves up a class after taking the championship in style with a win. Equally dramatic to the race for the win was the battle for 3rd, which went the way of Arthue Bowers, just from Albert Pharaoh the pair separated by just 0.02s as they crossed the finish line. 5th & 6th went to George Lilley and Jenson Drummond.

In the championship, Albi-Jay took 1st from an absent Freddie Williams in 2nd, Benjamin Sljivar 3rd, George Lilley 4th, Albert Pharaoh 5th, Nico Wesolowski 6th, Beau Blundell 7th, Darcie Durnford 8th, Arthue Bowers 9th and Jenson Drummond 10th.

Honda Cadet 200/160.

The split grid Honda Cadets classes were on next with the 200s running ahead of the 160s. In the former class a three way battle between Freddie Wall, Ronnie Smart and Ralphie Branscombe entertained throughout. Wall held the lead for the majority of the race distance until lap 6 when the pair behind usurped him, as Smart then took the lead from Brascombe in 2nd, the positions changed again over the final lap as Branscombe headed the battling trio over the line. Wall briefly recovered to 2nd until he was pipped by Smart over the final tour. Jack Cope took 4th, from Riley Taylor in 5th and Noah Clare in 6th.

In the 160 class Daniel Butcher held off an early challenge from Ricky Junior Mackintosh to take victory, wrapping up an awesome season for young the CHDD driver. Mackintosh slipped to 3rd by the finish beaten to 2nd by Jack Wykes , Alfie Clark was next up in 4th.

The final championship positons for the 200s were led by Project one’ Smart, Wall 2nd, Cope 3rd, Ethan Okoro 4th, Taylor 5th, Arthur Way 6th.

For the 160s – Butcher took overall 1st, Mackintosh 2nd, Clark 3rd, Wykes  4th, John Reynolds 5th, Fletcher Growns 6th.

Senior Club Max 177.

If the Heat and Pre Final was anything to go by, the outcome of the Final would be difficult to predict, with various incidents and penalties mixing up the results in both races.

Adam Clark would start from pole position with welcome visitor Billy Watts sharing the front row of the grid. Last month’s winner Ben Avery had another guest with Oliver Appleby lining up alongside him. On the 3rd row were regulars Daniel Wright and Michael Ashby, the 4th was Ben Pawsey & Billy Clarke.

At the start Clark & Watts managed to trip over each other which Appleby and Avery were keen to take full advantage of as they ran 1st & 2nd over the opening 3 laps. Wright and Ashby initially were 5th & 6th that was until Tyler Cox came scything up through the pack from the back after retiring from 2nd in the Pre Final.

Avery soon hit the front as Appleby couldn’t maintain the leading pace; losing out to Watts at first and then slipping back further later. Watts was soon pressuring Avery and eventually led after 6 laps before going onto take the win in his JAXX run kart, Avery’s ASM machine kept him honest finishing 1.1s behind at the finish.

Clark and Wright took 3rd and 4th, the championship rivals taking solid points and 1st and 2nd in the final standings. Cox’s charge led him up to 5th ahead of Appleby and Ashby in 6th & 7th. Pawsey was next up in 8th, Jason Page 9th and Louie Aspel 10th.

The final championship positions looked like this – 1st Clark, 2nd Wright, 3rd Ashby, 4th T.Cox , 5th Avery, 6th Pawsey, 7th Dennis Trzeciak, 8th Thomas Lawson, 9th Lee Hawley , 10th Gerry Poore.

Rotax/Honda Inter .

The Inter classes were up next, with eight Rotax and just the one Honda out for this month. Ayda Sexton had been flying all day, taking wins in both the Heat and Pre Final, her domination ended however as Alfie Mew found a way past her on the penultimate lap of the Final. This showed just how well Sexton has come along this year as Mew has been away gaining valuable experience elsewhere, bringing with him a good benchmark for the rest of the Bayford Meadows grid.

Another visitor Nathan Edwards came out on top of a dice with Lucas Knibbs to finish 3rd. Knibbs took 4th on the road, however a dropped nose penalty saw him slip to 5th, behind Sophia Caldwell who has shown some solid pace and improvement as the year has progressed. John Reynolds having made the switch from Hondas finished 6th, Harrison McNealy took 7th, the solo Honda of Zac Jennings finished 8th and William Kidd-Glass 9th.

Ayda Sexton finished as 2023 champion from Lucas Knibbs in 2nd, Sophia Caldwell 3rd, Harrison McNealy 4th, Harry Freeman 5th and Alfie Mew 6th.

Junior Club/Libre Max.

With the 2023 Junior Club Max championship already won, Fletcher Jamieson was keen to go out on a high with a win in the final race of the year. JAXX driver Mitchell Mulvey was making a welcome return to the circuit after racing nationwide this year, gaining valuable experience which he put to great use by qualifying fastest in the morning session and then also by taking the Heat win.

He led the Pre Final too until Jamieson took control midrace (settling back into his groove after a kart damaging first corner shunt in the earlier red flagged Heat), securing him pole position for the Final. Behind these two on the 2nd row were circuit regulars Jacob Hobbs and Felix Stolkin, on the 3rd row sat Dejaun Bennett and Luke Broadbent. 

Ryan Welsh and Jack Pullen were keen to impress from the 4th row and rounding out the top 10 of 19 karts was class debutant Teddie Cooper and a bruised Alfy Hemingway, who had had a big crash during Saturday practice.

As the lights turned to green Jamieson’s Jenner kart got away well leading Mulvey over the opening lap, Bennett made it a JAXX 2 – 3 as he beat Hobbs away from the start. Another driver launching well was Welsh who was up to 5th from grid 7, Stolkin ran 6th from Broadbent and Pullen in 7th. Back at the front Jamieson had Mulvey shadowing him, looking menacing and ready to pounce.

The expected move eventually came on the penultimate lap as he surged ahead of Jamieson. The battered looking #99 kart of Jamieson wasn’t giving up a win so easily though and as they turned into the left going onto the back straight, Jamieson lunged down the inside of Mulvey, who thankfully anticipated the move and gave Fletcher some room, unfortunately for Mitchell he was now running out of road and had to lift or spin on the grass which gave Jamieson the position and the win.

It was certainly a no holds barred move by Jamieson which gave him the victory, Mulvey will have come away with his head held high though, as he proved he could run with Bayford’s best Junior of 2023.

In the battle for 3rd Hobbs overcome Bennett on the 4th lap to take a comfortable last podium slot, ending his year well. Bennett impressed with 4th having come along in leaps and bounds this season, Welsh took 5th having been repassed by Stolkin, he moved back ahead and had some great pace towards the end of the race.

Pullen too managed to pass Stolkin to end his year with a mature and solid drive, which he will look forward and take into 2024. Dziugas Pravilonis finished next on the road a couple of penalties dropped him back to 13th overall, so Broadbent finished 7th ahead of Stolkin in 8th, Jack Robinson 9th and class debutant Leon Knight in 10th. Dexter Collins cruised to another win in the Mini Max class ahead of the improving Tabitha Mellor.

The final championship positions detailed Jamieson’s points advantage as he finished clear of Stolkin in 2nd, Callum Sims in 3rd, Hobbs in 4th, Pullen 5th, Broadbent 6th, Jack Theobald 7th, Alfy Hemingway 8th, Welsh 9th and Kartheek Kummeta 10th.

Collins comfortably topped the Mini Max class after winning every event, Riley Mason-Lewis who was absent from the last 3 race weekends, finished 2nd, Mellor who only competed in two events took 3rd, likewise George Cole finished 4th after just two events, Louie Millington & Tyler Mason-Gray finished 5th & 6th after just one solitary appearance between them.

Rotax Cadets.

In the Rotax Cadet class Harrison Page continued his domination with a 2.55s win in the Final, although his domination was briefly broken when his CHDD teammate Daniel Butcher beat him the to the Heat win. Butcher took 2nd in the Final after a good dice with Matthew Lilley who finished just 0.5s behind in 3rd place. Arthur Pharaoh finished 4th just ahead of Rory Pizzey in 5th. Dimitar Uzinov had been in the mix for the fight for 3rd until a spin dropped him back to 6th.

Page, Lilley and Butcher finished 1st, 2nd and 3rd in the overall championship, with Uzinov taking 4th, from Pizzey in 5th and an absent Ted Deeprose in 6th. In 7th – 10th finished Ellis Honey, Joseph Cox, Henry King and Arthur Pharaoh.

Junior Club Max Rookies.

Under ever darkening skies the final race of the day for the Rookie Juniors was held. Former Roalf and now JAXX driver Joel Bullen has been dominant in the class all year; he faced a threat on Sunday though as Blueberry Motorsport’s Aiden Large topped the qualifying session and then took the Heat win too. 

Bullen reversed the positions in the Pre Final however and then went onto take a comfortable win in the last Final of the day, with a lights to flag (lights?) win.

Large lost out to Kajus Zygmanta in the Final, the JAXX driver finishing 1.2s behind his winning teammate. Large had slipped to 4th briefly at one point until he fought back to finish on Zygmanta’s bumper at the finish in 3rd. JJ Hind finished 4th on the road until a dreaded nose drop penalty saw him slip to 7th in the placings.

Harry Russell’s GMS kart headed Ollie Orteu over the line for 4th and 5th, Byron Scott-Simmons climbed 9 places to finish 6th, in 8th behind Hind finished Connor Tubby who fought his way up 13 positions from 21st and last on the grid. Enjoying the weather after his recent trip to Thailand in 9th finished Archie Beard and George Cole took 10th place.

Bullen finished top of the 2023 championship, ahead of Orteu in 2nd, Zygmanta in 3rd, Tubby 4th, Ethan Page 5th, Freddie Leppenwell 6th, Russell 7th, Dextor Gregory 8th, Max Osbourne 9th and Beard in 10th.

And so ends another years enthralling racing at Bayford Meadows, the circuit’s team have some exciting plans for next year featuring a one off event in January where the class winners will carry the ‘BM’ plate for the year and also a standalone Kent championship round in August, these events running alongside the regular February to November 2024 championship series.

Full results and 2023 championship positions can be found here -https://results.alphatiming.co.uk/bmkr