Newly crowned champion Liam Morley and outgoing champion Lee Harpham split the victories between them at the final rounds of the championship. Held in wet conditions there were also other drivers that ended the season on a high.
The weather had improved marginally from when the 250's went out for qualifying, but everyone was on wets. Unfortunately, Dan Edwards was not at Oulton as he was recovering from ankle injuries after an accident at Darley Moor two weeks previously. That meant that Lee Harpham had to finish in the top four to secure second place in the championship. Liam Morley set the early pace from the Redspeed pair of Harpham and Matt Robinson. After two laps Robinson leapt to the top of the times and was 1.5s quicker than anyone else. Amazing. Harpham then made it a Redspeed 1-2, but Morley improved to close the gap on Robinson. On his third lap Robinson went quicker and claimed pole with a time of 1m57.071s before pitting with 4 minutes of the session remaining. Morley's quickest was only 1m58.059s, nearly a second slower than the Redspeed driver. He followed Robinson into the pits but when told of his time went out again with two and a half minutes on the clock. On his final flying lap to try and rescue pole position he came up short so had to make do with his earlier time to claim a slot on the front row. Harpham was trying a new ram-air box and improved to a 1m58.940s for third quickest. "We are happy with the set-up, although it makes the motor run a bit richer. But we had the wrong gearing on so need to change for the race." Kirk Cattermole put in some consistent times with a 1m59.070s his best for fourth on the grid. Nathan Coss stunned everyone two years ago when he set a fastest lap at the circuit on his first visit. Despite having also having miscued with the gear ratios he set a time of 1m59.112s to head row 3. "I was hoping to get closer to the boys up front." Rounding out the top six was another driver from across the Irish Sea. Alan Crossen posted a respectable 2m00.367s
The grid was in a good formation as they approached the lights for race 1 and when they went out Harpham drew alongside Robinson and took the lead into Old Hall with the rest following in a ball of spray. Not everyone got through the first corner at the first attempt with Coss, Danny Butler and Conor McCormack ending up facing in the wrong direction while several others took avoiding action over the grass. At the end of the opening lap it was the two Redspeed karts of Harpham and Robinson that just held off Morley in third place. Cattermole was next ahead of Crossen while Chris Needham on a new Silverstone chassis was just in front of Sam Moss who had made up places from row 7. The wet track was proving tricky for a few drivers. Moss made a mistake at the Britten's chicane on lap 2 while Robinson and Needham took an excursion across the grass at the Knickerbrook chicane. At the end of lap 2, Morley and Harpham were side by side. Cattermole was up to third place ahead of Crossen and Robinson. Keen to get back on terms with the leaders, Robinson went round the outside of Crossen and Cattermole at Old Hall to snatch back third place. A very brave move. Needham had slipped back to 9th spot while Moss was way back in 20th. Harpham was ahead at the end of lap 3 but then Morley took over on the following lap and set the fastest lap of the race. He gradually increased his margin and at the flag was 3.841s ahead. That was Morley's 10th win of a very successful season. After Robinson had moved back into third place he started to close the gap to Harpham but on lap 6 he slowed and retired into the pits with a clutch problem. Crossen inherited third place and drove a great race to hold that position until the flag. Needham recovered from his earlier excursion and the new chassis was working well. He went past Cattermole on lap 6 and closed the gap on Crossen but was still 0.992s short of getting his first podium finish of the season. Cattermole had an unbalanced kart and had to settle for fifth place while McGaffin had his best result since Croft in April with sixth place. Coss and Butler recovered from their first corner spins and were lapping quicker than many karts ahead but were only 11th and 13th at the flag.Race One (8 laps)
The weather conditions had worsened from the earlier race but that didn't stop 31 karts lining up for the final race of the season. Morley was on pole position for race 2 with Robinson alongside. Harpham and Coss were on row 2 with Needham and Crossen behind them. Robinson got a great start from the outside of the front row and led into Old Hall for the first time followed by Morley and Harpham. Everyone got through safely except Luke Clemson who spun but did continue a long way behind. Robinson led his Redspeed team mate across the line at the end of lap 1 and they had opened up a gap over Morley in third place. He was busy fending off Coss who was glad to get through the first corner unscathed and Moss who had made another lightning start, this time from row 6. Harpham took the lead on lap 2 from Robinson and they still kept the new champion at bay. Coss now had Cattermole snapping at his heels as Moss had made a mistake and dropped back to 10th. Crossen was in 6th spot but then on lap 3 both he and Moss spun at the Knickerbrook chicane and dropped back to 13th and 14th. Up at the front Harpham made no mistakes and set the fastest lap on the fourth lap as his increased his lead over Robinson to 1.558s. Robinson was coming under attack from Morley and responded by setting his best lap time. That pulled him clear, but he couldn't close down Harpham. The outgoing champion reeled off the remaining two laps to cross the line 2.3s ahead for only his second win of the season. "I am happy with that. The engine developments that we have carried out recently have been well worth it." Robinson recorded his best result of the season with second place. "I kept up the pressure on Lee but didn't want to take any risks." Morley's third place rounded off an excellent season. "I wasn't going for the win and was happy to finish third. That means I have been on the podium in every race I have finished." Well done Liam. Cattermole got the better of Coss at half distance and pulled away to take fourth spot by 5.7s with Mark Bramhall having a good run to sixth place. Moss was making up ground from his earlier spin and was up to 9th spot before he went off again at Lodge Corner on the final lap within sight of the flag. Not his day.Race Two (8 laps)
Dan Clark finally secured the MSA British Superkart Championship after a calculated drive netted him sufficient points. Cousin Stephen added to the family celebrations by regaining the F450 four stroke championship.
The MSA Championship returned to Oulton Park after missing out last year. With storm Brian threatening the North-West area, weather conditions were not ideal with the possibility of cancelled races. Following the judicial hearing by the Motor Sports Council and the exclusion of Paul Platt from race 2 at Cadwell in July, the championships points were recalculated. This meant that three drivers were still in with a chance of lifting the number 1 plate. After a free practice session, there was a fifteen-minute timed qualifying session. James Hassall was due to have a run out for the first time this year but wrecked the DEA in testing the day before and Gareth James was also a non-starter. Matt Isherwood was having his first taste of racing a 250 National when he joined the Parker Motorsport team for the weekend, using Barry Weston's Anderson DEA. Dan Clark had a scare in testing on Friday when a misfire re-appeared on his Gas Gas but it was traced to a faulty ignition wire. In the wet qually session there were no such problems and after 2 laps he had pole position by 1.6s. But the Parker Motorsport team were working in tandem. Layton was towing round Isherwood and after 3 laps Isherwood claimed pole position with a time of 1m 52.669s. Fantastic. "It's easier to drive than the 125cc kart I am used to but great fun." Clark was on a quicker lap when he came across Layton and Isherwood touring back to the pits but couldn't improve on his earlier lap so occupied the other front row slot with a 1m 52.844s. Layton chipped away at his times but ended up over a second slower than his team mate, third quickest on 1m 53.674s. "The wet tyres didn't feel great and I am not sure what to do for the race." Andy Bird had gained 5 points as a result of the judicial hearing which meant he was in with a chance of taking the title. In Friday testing he had run in a new Gas Gas barrel and was confident of a good result. On used wet tyres he set a 1m 54.161s lap to close out the second row. James O'Reilly was slow off the mark in the qually session and with 75s left on the clock put in a time of 1m 54.188s to head up row 3. He was joined by the leading F450 kart of Stephen Clark who was looking to regain the four-stroke championship that he lost at Pembrey last year when the final round was cancelled. Aaron Sifleet had got his Gas Gas running well and headed up row 4 with a time of 1m 55.436s. He was joined by Paul Platt who was having to run reversed used wets and only managed a 1m 55.792s. "I have got two brand new sets for the races though." Gavin Bennett was also in with a chance of taking the MSA Championship. He struggled to get on the pace but did record a 1m 55.796s before pitting with a water pump issue. The team then set about swapping engines ahead of the opening race. Completing the top ten and second quickest in the F450 class was Charlie Johnson with 1m 55.916s.
The weather still required wets to be used for race 1 and when the lights went out Isherwood kept his cool and led into Old Hall Corner chased by Clark, Layton and Bird. Bennett made a great start from row 5 and was up the inside of Sifleet, O'Reilly to take fifth place as the field headed down the Avenue to Cascades for the first time. Layton dispensed with Clark and set about his Parker Motorsport team mate. But Isherwood was not prepared to give up the lead and they were side by side heading into the Knickerbrook Chicane for the first time. The ‘new boy' held his ground and at the end of the opening lap had a slight lead of 0.82s. Layton was fending off Clark with Bennett looming large in fourth spot. Bird, the other championship contender, was next ahead of Sifleet with Johnson leading the 450 class ahead of Platt. Bennett knew he had to win the race and passed Clark and then got ahead of Layton for second place at Knickerbrook on lap 2. Bird's title hopes deflated when he crawled into the pits with a mysterious left rear puncture. O'Reilly spun out of 9th place at Old Hall while Platt went off at Shell. Both drivers continued but they were down in 13th and 14th places after 2 laps. Bennett was in determined mood and took the lead at Knickerbrook on lap 3, but Isherwood clung on. They were only separated by a tenth of a second as they crossed the line to start lap 4. Could Isherwood fight back. Sadly no. The gap was up to a second at the end of the lap and had doubled next time around. On lap 6 he pulled off when the motor seized after the fuel pump failed. The end of a great drive. Layton took over second place and started to reduce the gap. On the last lap they encountered three back markers that were having their own private dice. Bennett came off worse but held on to get the crucial win by 0.785s from the current champion. "I knew what I had to do after battling with Matt and that was to get the win," explained Bennett. But he was the first to walk across to Dan Clark in parc ferme and congratulate him on finally winning the MSA British Superkart Championship. Clark had been happy to sit behind the group knowing that fourth place was all he needed. When Isherwood dropped out his job was made easier. But he gave the team a scare in the closing stages. "I backed off to worry my Dad and the team on the pit wall, but I had it all under control." He crossed the line just over 12s behind Bennett but was still 10.7s ahead of Sifleet who drove a great race to collect 4th place, his best result of the season. Stephen Clark made up for a slowish start to catch and pass Charlie Johnson on lap 3. He reeled off the remaining laps to secure the F450 Challenge and make it a double family celebration. Johnson kept him in sight to claim second place in the four-stroke class. Ross Allen was heading for 7th place but he had a gearbox failure on lap 7 which badly damaged the cases of his DEA motor. Platt inherited the spot but was passed by fellow spinner O'Reilly on the final lap as he set the fastest lap of the race.
With the championship wrapped up Clark decided to sit out race 2. Allen was also a non-starter with his DEA showing a big crack in the cases. O'Reilly had pole position with Layton alongside while Bennett and Isherwood lined up behind. When the lights changed O'Reilly led the field into Old Hall for the first time with Bennett tucked in behind. However, the Viper engine wasn't on full song. Bennett took the lead and at the end of the opening lap he was ahead of Isherwood and Platt. O'Reilly had slipped to fourth and was fending of Stephen Clark on the 450 KTM with Layton down in sixth place. Andy Bird had started at the back of the grid and was already up to 12th place. Platt took second place at Knickerbrook on lap 2 and was closing on Bennett at the end of the lap with Clark up to third. Layton had gone missing on lap 2, going off at Shell Oils Corner. Next time round at the same corner Andy Gulliford, who was holding 6th place, skated off on the wet, oily surface into the back of Layton's kart. The red flags were shown and the race was stopped. Jack was expertly lifted out of his kart and into an ambulance but thankfully after precautionary x-rays he was only badly bruised with a sore back while Andy escaped any injury. With the timetable having no room for delays and stoppages there was insufficient time to get a re-start. The race was declared void as only one full lap had been completed by everyone. A sad way to finish the championship but it was good to see later that all the drivers were ok.
Race One (8 laps) 1 Gavin Bennett (Anderson DEA) 15m08.923s (85.29mph); 2 Jack Layton (Anderson DEA) +0.785s; 3 Dan Clark (Anderson Gas Gas); 4 Aaron Sifleet (Anderson Gas Gas); 5 Stephen Clark (Anderson KTM 450); 6 Charlie Johnson (Anderson KTM). Fastest Lap James O'Reilly (Anderson Viper) 1m52.078s (86.46mph).Final MSA British Superkart Championship Positions after 12 rounds (Best 9 scores to count)
Liam Morley's weekend started with a retirement but he bounced back to collect two wins in wet conditions. They gained him sufficient points to be crowned this year's F125 Open Champion.
Following the sale of his Grand Prix winning chassis, Liam Morley had a brand-new Anderson chassis for this meeting. There were no differences to the old one and in the timed qualifying session he wasted no time by planting it on pole position with a time of 1m 06.922s, inside the existing lap record. James O'Keefe has been a rare visitor to the mainland this year but must have been studying Morley's progress. The man from County Limerick had devised his own ram air system and although it looked a bit crude compared to Morley's example it obviously worked as he posted a time of 1m 07.971s to line up on the front row of the grid. Matt Robinson headed row 2 with a lap of 1m07.976s. He was joined by reigning champion Lee Harpham who was using a new TM cylinder. "The motor is running the best it's been all season." Lee was looking to improve on his 1m 07.995s lap but was held up at the final corner and lost half a second, enough to have put him on the front row. Nathan Coss was looking forward to this meeting with him new TM and duly delivered a respectable time of 1m 08.036s to qualify fifth. Dan Edwards rounded out the top six with a lap of 1m 08.084s. After going well at Snetterton, Kirk Cattermole struggled with understeer through the slow corners and found himself in tenth place on 1m 08.672s. Danny Butler had fixed the TM after Snetterton but the new motor was down on power and he couldn't do better than 17th with 1m09.419s.
The grid was in a good formation as they approached the lights for race 1 and when they went out it was O'Keefe who got a flier and went around the outside of Morley as they headed up to the Banking for the first time. Harpham and Edwards slotted in behind while Sam Moss had also made up ground from the fifth row of the grid. He dispatched Edwards on the exit of the Banking and tagged on to the back of O'Keefe, Morley and Harpham who were three abreast along the back straight. They braked for Rocket and Moss shot up the inside to take the lead. As everyone funneled in to the tight left hander Coss got tagged and was spun round. Andy Connor damaged his rear winglet when contact was made and Matt McGaffin was forced wide to avoid the stranded kart. Coss's race was over while everyone else continued. Moss led the train at the end of the opening lap with Morley, Harpham, Edwards, Robinson and O'Keefe line astern. Morley slipped ahead of Moss on the next lap and on lap 3 set a new lap record as he extended his lead to nearly three seconds. But he didn't appear at the end of lap 4. A chain link had broken and he was out. That left a five-kart battle for the lead. O'Keefe took over at the front chased by Moss, Edwards, Harpham and Robinson. The positions changed on every lap. Edwards was quicker out of Church, O'Keefe was quick along the back straight and Moss was the last of the late brakers into Rocket, making it three and sometimes four abreast up the hill. Harpham's favourite spot was into the Banking. On lap 8 he picked off Edwards and a lap later passed O'Keefe to take the lead and managed to open a gap of just over half a second. O'Keefe pegged back some of the time as the pair pulled away from the others but at the flag the reigning champion took his first win of the season by 0.479s. Edwards was the quickest on the final lap but wasn't close enough to make a challenge and held off Robinson for third place. Moss lost a bit of ground on the last couple of laps when his Dunlop's went to jelly and he was losing the front end through the Corkscrew. A great race.
Race One (11 laps)
1 Lee Harpham (Anderson TM) 12m 38.073s (80.96mph)
2 James O'Keefe (Anderson TM) 12m 38.552s
3 Dan Edwards (Anderson TM) 12m 39.250s
4 Matt Robinson (Anderson Redspeed TM)
5 Sam Moss (Anderson DEA)
6 Andrew Connor (Anderson TM)
Record Lap Morley 1m 07.199s (83.03mph)
After the sunshine of Saturday, the next day was horrible. With the track extremely wet the field were given two warm up laps. Morley had pole position for race 2 with O'Keefe alongside. Harpham and Edwards shared row 2 with Robinson and Moss on row 3. Let battle commence. O'Keefe took the initiative in the tricky conditions but overshot the Banking and lost five places while Moss spun on the exit and dropped to the back of the field. Onto the back straight for the first time it was Kirk Cattermole, who had charged through from the fifth row of the grid amid all the confusion and led from Morley with the rest in a big ball of spray. Morley got past before the end of the lap and then put daylight between himself and the rest. He set the fastest lap of the race on the final lap to win by 4.685s. "I wasn't sure of the conditions on the first lap and took it steady after getting past O'Keefe." Cattermole held second place for the first couple of laps but he'd made an error on the gearing and was losing out on the back straight. Harpham got past on lap 3 and set off after Morley. He did manage to reduce the gap slightly until he got held up on the final lap and had to settle for second. "I am happy with second to gain more points but the gap has increased from 7 to 12." Cattermole held on to third place until lap 7 when Edwards got past with Robinson relegating the Raider driver a lap later. Edwards collected a lonely third spot 3.477s ahead of Robinson but was on the verge of retiring during the race. "The temperature gauge shot up but then steadied so I carried on." Connor had a harder fight to get past Cattermole but managed it on the final lap to secure fifth spot. After the spin dropped him down to 26th place, Moss drove a blinder to pick up 7th at the flag.
Race Two (10 laps)
1 Liam Morley (Anderson DEA) 12m 35.209s (73.88mph)
2 Lee Harpham (Anderson TM) 12m 39.894s
3 Dan Edwards (Anderson TM) 12m 45.693s
4 Matt Robinson (Anderson Redspeed TM)
5 Andrew Connor (Anderson TM)
6 Kirk Cattermole (Raider CAT IAME)
Fastest Lap Morley 1m 14.393s (75.00mph)
Once again Morley had pole position for race 3 with Harpham alongside. Moss and Edwards shared row 2 with Coss and Robinson on row 3. It had stopped raining but the track was still wet as the field approached the lights. When they went out Morley took the lead determined not to get mixed up with anyone else. At the end of the opening lap he led Harpham by 0.861s and increased that lap by lap. On lap 4 he set the fastest lap of the race but continued to pull clear. It was the drive of a champion and at the end of 10 laps he crossed the line to win by 8.109s. With another 40 points in the bag that was sufficient to lift the BSA F125 Open championship with two rounds to go. Nine wins from thirteen rounds was a remarkable performance. With Morley disappearing into the distance who was going to get second. Harpham staked a claim early on but Moss took over on lap 5 and eased away for a well-deserved result after earlier mishaps. Harpham wasn't enjoying the conditions and after holding off Edwards for 4 laps had to give up third place. "I bided my time and then got through on lap 9," explained Edwards. The fifth-place scrap kept the damp crowd on their toes with Irvine, O'Keefe and Robinson in the mix. O'Keefe spun off at the top of Rocket when the motor seized leaving Robinson to fend off Irvine at the flag.
Race Three (10 laps)
1 Liam Morley (Anderson DEA) 12m 32.336s (74.16mph)
2 Sam Moss (Anderson DEA) 12m 40.445s
3 Dan Edwards (Anderson TM) 12m 41.464s
4 Lee Harpham (Anderson TM)
5 Matt Robinson (Anderson Redspeed TM)
6 James Irvine (Anderson Vortex)
Fastest Lap Morley 1m 14.382s (75.01mph)
F125 Open Championship Points after 13 rounds (Best 12 results to count)
1 Liam Morley 427pts
2 Dan Edwards 384
3 Lee Harpham 379
4 Matt Robinson 288
5 Andrew Connor 284
6 Sam Moss 259
Words by Gary James, Images by Steve Addison
Dan Clark continued his advance to the MSA Championship with a win and two other podium finishes. In difficult conditions, he took overall honours in some very close racing. The MSA Championship returned to Anglesey for its annual visit on the Coastal Circuit and the infamous Corkscrew. After a free practice session, there was a twelve-minute timed qualifying session. It was interesting to see the main championship rivals Dan Clark, Jack Layton and Gavin Bennett start the session line astern. However, Bennett only got as far as the Banking on the opening lap before the battery went flat. Without a time to his name he would be starting at the back of the grid. Clark and Layton continued to run close together and it was the Redspeed driver who was the first to dip under the 1m5s bracket. His lap of 1m 04.630s was good enough to take pole position before pitting 5 laps later. "I am happy with the chassis and engine and didn't want to show my hand in the early laps as Jack was right behind me." Layton felt that his DEA was running a bit on the rich side as he chased the Gas Gas and put in a 1m 04.917s before he followed Clark into the pits. After a couple of adjustments, he went out again but left it too late to improve. In the meantime, Andy Bird put in three quick laps and pipped Layton to the other front row slot with a time of 1m04.891s. Paul Platt spent a bit of time in the pits but put in a quicker lap at the end of the session to record 1m04.987s and line up alongside Layton on row 2. James O'Reilly headed the next row on 1m 05.606s and he was joined by the quickest of the 450's, Andy Gulliford who recorded a 1m 06.079s.
The grid exited the Corkscrew and when the lights went out at the start of race 1 it was Clark who led them away and round to the Banking. While the leaders were through the first corner there was a scattering of karts in the midfield when Ross Allen, Gareth James and Andy Waite spun. They all managed to continue while Steve Burton went off trying to avoid them and was out. Clark crossed the line at the end of the opening lap with an advantage of 0.546s. O'Reilly had make a great start from the third row and held second place but then the Viper motor seized on the approach to the Banking and his race was over. That elevated Platt into second spot ahead of Bird, Layton, Gulliford, Stephen Clark and Sifleet. The pace of the Gas Gas motors was drawing Clark and Platt away from Layton who was struggling to keep Bird behind him. "I was losing out when they went from 4th to 5th gear out of Church and along the back straight," explained the reigning champion. Bird went past on lap 4 at Rocket but he was two seconds behind the lead pair. Platt had been biding his time and went ahead of Clark into Rocket on lap 8 followed by Bird who had closed the gap dramatically and set the fastest lap of the race. On the next lap Bird tried a pass on Platt into Rocket but didn't want to take his team mate off and hung back. On the final lap he was too far behind to make another attempt and Platt crossed the line to win by 0.445s. Clark thought he could get ahead of the pair but had to settle for third spot just over a second behind. There was joy in parc ferme afterwards as this was the first time there had been a 1-2-3 for the Redspeed team. John Riley was over the moon. Layton was suffering from a bit of understeer at the top of the hill and collected fourth place but was five seconds behind Clark. Stephen Clark took fifth place and maximum points in the 450cc after rival Gulliford understeered off at the exit of turn 1 on lap 4. "I was trying Hoosiers for the first time. The chassis needs a bit more set up so I pulled in as it wasn't worth continuing." Bennett did well to keep out of trouble on the opening lap and was up to 14th spot. He dispensed with the midfield runners by lap 4 and chased after Sifleet, finally grabbing sixth place on the last lap.
What a difference a day makes. After the bright sunshine on Saturday the circuit was shrouded in rain on Sunday. Sensibly, everyone was given two warm up laps to acclimatise to conditions. Bird was on pole position for race 2 with Platt alongside. But coming out of the last corner on the approach to the lights Platt's Gas Gas motor died. The ignition box had failed. Somehow everyone managed to avoid the stranded kart. Bennett took advantage of the gap that appeared in front of him and led away followed by Clark and Bird. Stephen Clark saw an opportunity along the back straight and charged up the inside on the approach to Rocket. But he had picked up a puncture and skated off at the top of the hill just missing the leaders. Layton was forced wide in avoidance. At the end of the opening lap Bennett led Dan Clark with Bird, Layton and Gulliford nose to tail. Stephen Clark pitted for a new tyre and lost three laps in the process. His cousin was making no mistakes and passed Bennett on lap 2 to take the lead. Layton also moved up a place but then ran wide at Rocket and dropped back behind Bird. Bennett set the fastest lap of the race on lap 4 but was only marginally quicker than Clark. The Redspeed driver controlled the race and thought he had pulled out a gap over the others. "But when I looked over my shoulder they were still there." The trio closed up on the final lap when they encountered traffic but Clark took an important win by 0.488s from Bennett with Bird only another 0.261s adrift. "I got the gearing wrong and it wouldn't pull along the back straight so I couldn't get past Gavin," explained Bird later. Layton had to settle for another fourth place with Gulliford take the 450cc class win in fifth place. Aaron Sifleet was heading for sixth place but dropped to the back of the field on lap 6 allowing Ross Allen to come through and hold that position to the flag. The weather had improved for race 3 but the track was still greasy. Bennett made no mistakes from pole position and led the field into turn 1. Clark's Gas Gas ‘popped and banged off the line' and he lost ground while Platt, starting from the back of the grid, again suffered with an ignition problem and pulled off soon after the start. Bennett led at the end of the opening lap with Gulliford up to second place from the third row of the grid. Bird had Layton on his tail then it was Allen and the two Clark's, Dan ahead of Stephen. Bennett set the fastest lap of the race as early as lap 2 and continued to extend his lead from then on. His final winning margin was nearly twelve seconds. "We tried a few changes and they worked," he said later. Gulliford looked comfortable in second place and was under no pressure from behind until Bird flew past on lap 7. Bird couldn't relax as the four stroke was still on his tail as they started the last lap with Layton and Dan Clark two and a half seconds behind and having their own dice. Up at Rocket for the final time Bird lost the back end of the Anderson on the exit, or was he distracted by a wayward seagull. Gulliford spun to avoid him and Layton and Clark nipped past the pair of them. Clark chose the inside line and found himself in second place with Layton going around the outside of the two karts to claim third spot. Clark held on to his second place and crossed the line 0.327s ahead of the reigning champ while Bird and Gulliford recovered to finish just behind them. James O'Reilly had been heading for sixth place but his miserable weekend continued when the fuel cut off valve stuck and flooded the motor with one lap to go. Allen inherited the place with Stephen Clark finishing seventh. "We got the gearing wrong but I knew that second place in class would be enough to keep me on track for the 450cc championship." However, it was cousin Dan that had the biggest grin knowing that he could wrap up the MSA Championship at Oulton in October having come close in the past.
Race One (11 laps) 1 Paul Platt (PVP Gas Gas) 12m01.892s (85.02mph); 2 Andy Bird (Anderson Gas Gas) +0.445s; 3 Dan Clark (Anderson Gas Gas); 4 Jack Layton (Anderson DEA); 5 Stephen Clark (Anderson KTM 450); 6 Gavin Bennett (Anderson DEA). Fastest Lap Andy Bird 1m04.543s (86.45mph).
Race Two (10 laps) 1 Dan Clark (Anderson Gas Gas) 12m08.008s (76.64mph); 2 Gavin Bennett (Anderson DEA) + 0.488s; 3 Andy Bird (Anderson Gas Gas); 4 Jack Layton (Anderson DEA); 5 Andrew Gulliford (Anderson KTM 450); 6 Ross Allen (Jade DEA). Fastest Lap Gavin Bennett 1m11.368s (78.18mph).
Race Three (10 laps) 1 Gavin Bennett (Anderson DEA) 12m07.139s (76.73mph); 2 Dan Clark (Anderson Gas Gas) + 11.979s; 3 Jack Layton (Anderson DEA); 4 Andy Bird (Anderson Gas Gas); 5 Andrew Gulliford (Anderson KTM 450); 6 Ross Allen (Jade DEA). Fastest Lap Gavin Bennett 1m11.627s (77.90mph).
MSA British Superkart Championship Positions after 11 rounds (Best 10 scores to count)
1 Dan Clark 343 pts
2 Jack Layton 296
3 Gavin Bennett 293
4 Andy Bird 282
5 Paul Platt 267
6 Ross Allen 214
Words by Gary James, Images by Steve Addison
Liam Morley collected more valuable points with a win and a third place at Snetterton and is within striking distance of securing the 125cc title.
After a free practice session that saw Kirk Cattermole top the time sheets from Liam Morley and Lee Harpham have the TM seize after one lap, we then had a 15-minute timed qualifier. Kirk Cattermole was last onto track during qualifying and nailed three laps before coming into the pit lane. The IAME engine was fast in a straight line and Cattermole's last lap netted pole position with a time of 1m 16.261s. Liam Morley was the only other driver to get below 1m 17s. After one setting in lap he also put in three quick laps but his best was only 1m 16.717s, 0.456s behind Cattermole. Sam Moss has been showing good speed of late and wound up third quickest on 1m 17.528s and was joined on the second row by Matt Robinson with a 1m 17.564s. Andrew Connor was concerned about handling on the front end and set his time early in the session. He was initially third quickest but when he couldn't improve, slipped to fifth on 1m 18.200s. Dan Edwards put in a couple of slow laps at the start of the session before recording a 1m 18.355s for sixth fastest but then the TM motor seized a lap later. Lee Harpham was also in trouble. On his first flying lap, he set a 1m 19.171s but his TM seized for the second time and left him in 11th place.
The grid was in good order as they approached the lights for race 1 and when they went out it was Moss who sneaked up the inside of Cattermole and Morley into Riches to take the lead. Cattermole responded down the Bentley Straight to take over at the front and they crossed the line at the end of the opening lap nose to tail. Behind them there had been a shuffling of places. Morley ‘got hung out to dry' and was two seconds behind the leading pair in third spot while Ian Larder had charged through from row 9 to hold 4th spot ahead Robinson and Harpham. Edwards had lost ground and was in a large midfield pack down in 12th spot behind McGaffin. Cattermole and Moss continued to run nose to tail and were easing away from the rest. Connor threw away 8th place on lap 3 when he went off at Nelson and lost eight places in the process. McGaffin also made a mistake on lap 2 dropping to the back of the field and then in an attempt to make up places, spun at Murray's on lap 4 and hit Paul von Gerard when he came back on track. Both karts were instant retirements, von Gerard with a badly bent rear axle. Up at the front Moss got a great exit from Murray's on lap 5 and briefly got ahead of Cattermole, but the DEA was lacking in straight line speed compared to the IAME and he tucked back into the slipstream of the Raider driver. Morley was a shade under 3s behind with Harpham now into 4th place ahead of Larder and Robinson. The latter's race ended on the next lap when the TM seized due to fuel starvation. That elevated Alan Crossen into sixth place ahead of three past champions. Needham heading Butler and Edwards for seventh spot. Cattermole set his personal best on lap 7 but Moss responded next time around and was still glued to the Raider's rear bumper. Edwards retired on lap 8 when the top hose came off, his first non-finish of the season. Morley started to close the gap on the leaders on lap 9 and dipped under 1m16s to reduce the deficit to 2.742s. Starting the last lap the gap was under two seconds. Moss was still stuck in Cattermole's slipstream and exiting Murray's for the final time, wasn't close enough to make a pass. They crossed the line separated by 0.222s. Morley set the fastest lap of the race on the final lap and closed the gap to 1.361s but it was too late and he had to settle for third place. Harpham collected fourth spot just holding off Larder but they were 17s down on the leaders. Crossen had a lonely run for an excellent sixth place while Needham just grabbed seventh from Butler and Bridge.
Race One (12 laps)
1 Kirk Cattermole (Raider CAT IAME) 15m 21.349s (93.02mph)
2 Sam Moss (Anderson DEA) 15m 21.571s
3 Liam Morley (Anderson DEA) 15m 22.710s
4 Lee Harpham (Anderson TM)
5 Ian Larder (Anderson TM)
6 Alan Crossen (Anderson Vortex)
Record Lap Morley 1m 15.825s (94.19mph)
Having set the fastest lap in the previous race, Morley was on pole position for race 2 with Cattermole alongside. Moss and Robinson shared row 2 with Harpham and Larder on row 3. Once again Moss made a demon start to lead into Riches while behind Morley and Cattermole wanted the same piece of tarmac and contact was made. Moss led down the Bentley Straight for the first time but then ran a bit wide on the exit of Nelson and Morley was through and into the lead. Cattermole held third place at the end of the opening lap just ahead of Harpham, Larder and Crossen. Robinson had mucked up his second-row slot and dropped back to 9th behind Butler and Needham. Cattermole went past Moss into the hairpin on the next lap and then Morley at Brundle to take the lead. But Morley dived up the inside into Murray's and as they crossed the line to complete two laps they were side by side with Moss tucked in behind. Further back, Needham lost it through Brundle on lap 3 and went backwards collecting Robinson at the Nelson right hander. This split the midfield as Connor, McGaffin, Edwards and Bridge had to take avoiding action. The leaders approached the scene on the next lap with Cattermole on the inside going through Brundle. Morley was on an outside line and going for a pass into Nelson when a yellow flag was shown at the post between Brundle and Nelson. With little time to react Morley was through and into the lead. An unfair move? Difficult to say. There was no let up from the leading trio with Morley and Cattermole trading the lead. All three drivers set their personal bests on lap 5 with Morley getting the fastest lap of the race. On lap 6 Morley was handed a gap of over two seconds when Cattermole made a mistake at Murray's. The rear brake caliper was leaking. Moss had to take avoiding action across the kerb on the outside but gathered it all together. That was the last that they saw of Morley as he shot off into the distance and won by 5.319s. Cattermole persevered with his brake issue and finished a very disappointed and aggrieved second. Moss tailed him until lap 8 before a water leak slowed him and with the temperature soaring to 85 degrees he pulled into the pits to retire. Larder dropped out on lap 4 so that left Crossen and Harpham to fight over third place. They had run side by side for most of the race but the Irishman drove a brilliant race to get the verdict by 0.074s. After two engine seizures earlier in the day Harpham was relieved to get another finish, albeit further back than he would have liked. Butler would have been next but his TM destroyed itself when the big end failed and left the con rod shaped like a banana. Connor went grass cutting at Nelson on lap 6 allowing Edwards through and then set about regaining the place. At the flag Edwards still had the advantage by 0.044s
Race Two (12 laps)
1 Liam Morley (Anderson DEA) 15m 25.085s (92.65mph)
2 Kirk Cattermole (Raider CAT IAME) 15m 30.404s
3 Alan Crossen (Anderson Vortex) 15m 42.670s
4 Lee Harpham (Anderson TM)
5 Dan Edwards (Anderson TM)
6 Andrew Connor (Anderson TM)
Fastest Lap Morley 1m 16.053s (93.91mph)
F125 Open Championship Points after 10 rounds
1 Liam Morley 347pts
2 Lee Harpham 300
3 Dan Edwards 285
4 Kirk Cattermole 208
5 Andrew Connor 208
6 Matt Robinson 198
Words by Gary James, Images by Nick Purdie
Dan Clark's luck finally changed at Snetterton when he collected two wins and went top of the championship table. In a close decider for the Division 1 championship, Dave Harvey benefited when rival Carl Hulme retired.
For the first time since the re-configuration of Snetterton, the Superkarts were racing on the '200' circuit as this meeting was organised around the 2CV 24-hour marathon. Everything was shoe-horned into three-quarters of a day and there wasn't much time to make changes or repairs between each track visit. There was a free practice session and a fifteen-minute timed qualifying session. Dan Clark was in a buoyant mood and happy with the pace of the Gas Gas with no sign of any misfires. He was the first to dip under 1m 13s but then Gavin Bennett went quicker. Clark responded on his last flying lap to claim pole position with a 1m 12.432s with Bennett second quickest on 1m 12.863s. Andy Bird was trying different gearboxes in his Gas Gas and wound up third quickest with his final lap netting 1m 12.958s. Jack layton had been fastest in the free practice session with a time quicker than Clark's pole time. But he struggled in qually and couldn't get near it when it mattered, ending up fourth quickest on 1m 13.095s. Ross Allen had sorted out the puncture problems from Cadwell Park and wound up fifth on 1m 13.124s. Sixth fastest was James O'Reilly who put in a lot of laps to record 1m 13.365s. Paul Platt went off at Riches on his second flying lap and then it took a couple of laps to get the tyres working properly. He managed to get in a 1m 13.664s lap and was hoping to go quicker but got baulked on his final run so ended up seventh. The Division 1 class were sharing the track with the 250 Nationals. As expected they were quicker with Dave Harvey taking pole position on 1m 11.113s. He was joined on the front row by Swedish visitor Invar Bjerge with a 1m 11.359s. Carl Hulme was third on 1m 12.401s.
The grid was in good order as it approached the line for race 1 and as expected the twins led away when the lights changed. At the end of the opening lap it was Hulme from Harvey and Bjerge. Bennett led the 250 Nationals and had opened up a useful gap over the pack. Layton led the train from Clark, Allen, Bird, Platt, O'Reilly, Gareth James and Tom Rushforth. Andy Waite had forsaken his 450 KTM and was having a run out on a 250 DEA. Unfortunately, he went off and dropped to the back of the field. Bjerge also made a mistake on lap 2 and lost a lot of ground. Hulme eased away at the front and Harvey had no reply. The contest was won early on and Hulme's winning margin was nearly thirteen seconds. The race for the 250 National class was a lot closer. Clark took over on lap 3 with a move into the hairpin but couldn't relax as Layton went ahead of Bennett, who had his hands full keeping Allen behind. Layton had dropped to the back of the group by lap 6 but next time around set a new class lap record and took over the lead from Bennett, Clark and Allen. O'Reilly dropped out of 8th place with a broken exhaust on lap 7 and the same fate befell James three laps later. Clark and Bennett went around the outside of Layton into Riches on lap nine to demote the reigning champion back to third. But on lap 10 he picked off Clark into the hairpin and Bennett down the Bentley Straight. The four-kart group caught a pair of backmarkers at the end of the lap, however, Layton weaved through them to lead the group across the line with Clark, Bennett and Allen getting past before Riches. More backmarkers were caught on the next lap and this split the four-kart train into two pairs. Clark and Layton continued to swap positions until Clark got ahead along the Bentley Straight for the final time and held off Layton to the flag to record his first win of the season. Bennett was heading for third place but Allen got a better run around Coram for the final time and took the position. Platt kept the group in sight but couldn't do anything about closing the gap and finished fifth in class. Bird struggled with the gearbox in his Gas Gas and dropped back cross the line sixth.
Hulme, Bjerge and Harvey occupied the first three positions on the grid for race 2 based upon lap times from the earlier race. The Division 1 title was up in the air with Hulme and Harvey tied on points. Layton was quickest of the 250 Nationals ahead of Clark, Bennett and Platt. Paul Hewitt was a non-starter in this race after securing the Division 1 English Championship in race 1. While the grid followed the pace car Platt dived into the pits with a problem. He managed to get it fixed but would have to start from the pit lane along with Paul Glenister. When the lights changed Hulme scorched away chased by Bjerge while behind it got a bit messy. Rushforth didn't make a great start and held up Bennett while further back Julian Davies had the THR motor fail and pulled off at the end of the pit lane just as Platt and Glenister were emerging. It was a bit close. Hulme led Bjerge at the end of lap 1 with Harvey just ahead of Clark. Allen was on his own then came James, O'Reilly, Layton, Bird, Bennett and Rushforth all nose to tail. Platt's chances of making up ground came to nothing when he pitted at the end of the lap with a loose top water hose. O'Reilly's good run also ended early when the Viper motor seized coming round Coram on lap 2. Bjerge took the lead on lap 3 and set the fastest lap next time around. But Hulme knew that if he was ahead of Harvey the Division 1 title was his. On lap 6 the championship was decided when Hulme retired with the top of a VM piston having detached itself. Bjerge drove a faultless race to collect an excellent win. Harvey kept him close until the closing stages when he got held up by backmarkers and eased his pace. The number 1 plate was his. The 250 National class was also a less fraught affair. Allen closed onto the back of Clark on lap 2 but then retired on the following lap leaving the Redspeed driver with a comfortable lead over his rivals. This he maintained for the remainder of the race to complete a 'class weekend' and 80 points that takes him to the top of the championship. Has the luck changed? After Allen stopped Layton took over in second place in the 250 National class and held off Bird and Bennett. Bird had changed engines for this race as the 2017 gearbox was better suited to the circuit layout. But on lap 7 he slowed and then coasted to a halt at the end of the following lap when the ignition battery failed. Layton also dropped out when the shut off valve in the carb failed so that left Bennett with an untroubled run to the flag and second place in class. James had kept the group in sight in the early stages but dropped back after half distance. However, he had a big enough gap over his pursuers to take third. Andy Waite was making a return to the 250cc class this weekend and surprised a few people including himself with an excellent run to fourth in class ahead of Aaron Sifleet, the last unlapped runner. Martin Goodliffe seized his DEA in free practice and had to switch to the slower Honda engine. Perseverance paid off and despite being lapped finished sixth in the 250 National class.
Race One (13 laps) 1 Carl Hulme (Anderson VM) 15m25.757s (100.29mph); 2 Dave Harvey (MS Kart VM) +12.818s; 3 Dan Clark (Anderson Gas Gas); 4 Jack Layton (Anderson DEA); 5 Ross Allen (Jade DEA); 6 Gavin Bennett (Anderson DEA). Record Lap Carl Hulme 1m10.316s (101.57mph). Race Two (13 laps) 1 Invar Bjerge (Anderson VM) 15m32.288s (99.59mph); 2 Dave Harvey (MS Kart VM) + 6.680s; 3 Dan Clark (Anderson Gas Gas); 4 Tom Rushforth (Spyda VM); 5 Gavin Bennett (Anderson DEA); 6 Gareth James (Anderson DEA). Fastest Lap Invar Bjerge 1m10.454s (101.37mph).
Words by Gary James, Images by Nick Purdie
Liam Morley put on a masterclass of driving to remain unbeaten during the day and also lifted the O plate – UK Cup.
Kirk Cattermole was first onto track during qualifying and set the early pace but Morley was soon in his stride. He posted a time of 1m 29.130s to take pole position and then sat out the remainder of the session in the pit lane watching the opposition. Cattermole came close, but his best lap was a 1m 29.469s to claim the other front row slot. Dan Edwards had run Morley close at the GP and was again on the pace with a 1m 29.503s on his final lap to take third place. Ian Larder was going well and he was towing round Nathan Coss. Larder had fourth place for a fraction of a second with 1m 29.892s but Coss went quicker with a 1m 29.772, the Irishman pleased with his new TM motor. Reigning champion Lee Harpham put in three consistent laps but his best was 1m 30.268s for sixth place. Danny Butler headed row 4 with 1m 30.420s just ahead of Cadwell first timer Matt Robinson on 1m 30.509s. Sam Moss only managed four laps and set a 1m 31.061s with Andrew Connor rounding out the top ten on 1m 31.467s.
There was a bit of bobbing and weaving out of Barn Corner approaching the lights and unfortunately Danny Butler wasn't in the group. A fuel pump had packed up on the rolling lap. When the lights went out at the start of race 1 Morley and Cattermole were side by side up through Coppice. The English Champion led at the end of the opening lap with Morley tucked in behind. Moss had made a demon start aided by the gap on the grid where Butler should have been and he was already into third place. Larder held off Edwards for fourth while Coss was the meat in a Redspeed sandwich of Robinson and Harpham. Morley squeezed past Cattermole along Park Straight on lap 2 and started to pull away. At the end of lap 5 he set the fastest lap of the race as he looked to extend his lead over Cattermole. But it wasn't Cattermole. Moss appeared out of Barn Corner in second place and then the English Champion appeared going slowly and coasted into the pits. An ignition wire had come off and it was game over. Morley eased his pace slightly over the remaining laps but he continued to pull away and crossed the line to win by nearly ten seconds. Moss looked to be secure in second place but with three laps to go he struck trouble. His gap was swallowed up and he eventually dropped back to seventh place at the flag. Dan Edwards took over in second spot and was well clear of the scrap for third place. Harpham, Larder and Coss had been tied together for most of the race and as they started the last lap there was only 0.494s between them. Larder got ahead of Harpham on the final lap to take third place with Coss in their slipstream and the gap down to 0.461s at the flag. Matt Robinson lost touch with this group at three-quarter distance but passed Moss on the last lap to claim sixth spot.Race One (11 laps)
Having set the fastest lap in the previous race, Morley was on pole position for race 2 with Moss alongside. Cattermole and Edwards shared row 2 with Coss and Larder on row 3. It was a Redspeed lockout on the fourth row with Harpham and Robinson. Butler's day went from bad to worse when his TM cut out on the warm up lap and once again he failed to start. Cattermole was determined to make up for earlier and made the best start to lead Moss and Morley through Coppice for the first time. That was still the order at the end of lap 1 with Edwards, Larder, Robinson and Coss in line astern as they crossed the line. Moss took the lead on lap 2 with Morley following him past Cattermole. They managed to open up a small gap as the English Champion was left to fight off Edwards, Larder and Robinson. Morley set the fastest lap as he took the lead on lap 3 but this wasn't going to be an easy win. Cattermole and Moss worked together to try and keep the gap static. But the Grand Prix winner was able to eke out a tenth or two on each lap so that by half distance his advantage was just over a second. He extended the lead during the second half of the race and despite having to deal with traffic in the closing stages notched up win number two by 3.49s. Moss dispensed with Cattermole just after half distance and put a sufficient gap between himself and the Raider driver to claim second place. Cattermole had to be content with third place. Coss drove another good race and closed the gap to Cattermole in the closing stages but was still 1.532s behind at the flag. Robinson had a lonely run to fifth place while Edwards and Harpham fought over sixth spot. The verdict going to the reigning champion.Race Two (10 laps)
Morley claimed his third pole position of the day as he attempted to retain his 0 plate in the UK Cup race. Cattermole was alongside while Moss and Coss occupied row 2. Edwards and Robinson were on row 3 with Larder and Harpham behind them. But Harpham was in trouble. Unable to clear the motor after exiting the paddock, he pulled into the pits. The TM was reluctant to run properly but after attempting to get the motor to rev he lined up the end of the pit lane waiting for the grid to come around. It was a drag race to the first corner when the lights went out and Cattermole inched ahead. Harpham exited the pit lane but that was the last we saw of him as the TM refused to clear. At the end of the first lap it was a typical 125cc spectacle. Cattermole had the lead from Morley, Edwards, Moss, Larder and Coss. Six karts covered by 1.583s. Sarah Budby didn't complete a lap after she had an unfortunate off at the bottom of the Mountain when the rear wheel came off.
Cattermole was driving a defensive race and determined to hang on to his lead but there was a train of karts snapping at his heels. Morley drew alongside down the Park Straight but it was Moss that was looking the strongest. At half distance he drove round the outside of Cattermole at Mansfield to take the lead. But Cattermole wasn't giving in easily. At the hairpin, there was a small gap and he threw the Raider up the inside to retake the lead. As they crossed the line the gap was 0.086s and they ran up through Coppice side by side with Cattermole just retaining the lead onto Park Straight. The pack were becoming restless and the first six karts were now separated by 1.352s. Cattermole fought to keep them at bay but a bit of understeer at the hairpin on lap 7 saw him run wide and onto the grass on the exit. Morley and Moss flashed by as Cattermole recovered and slotted into third place just ahead of Edwards, Coss and Larder.
Morley had the clear bit of track he wanted and on the next lap set the quickest lap of the race as he put a second between himself and the pursuers. Cattermole passed Moss into Park Corner to take second place with Edwards and Coss still holding 4th and 5th. Morley then banged in two quick laps and the win and 0 plate was his by 2.232s. The scrap for second place went right to the line. Edwards got past Moss on the last lap and closed on Cattermole. But the English Champion held him off by 0.041s. Moss was a further 0.248s back ahead of a delighted Coss. Larder dropped back from the group in the closing stages and just held off Robinson at the flag. Another great 125cc race.UK Cup (10 laps)
Words by Gary James, Images by Steve Addison
Four-time MSA British Superkart Champion Paul Platt was on top form to collect two wins and go top of the championship table and lift the UK Cup. For Jack Layton, it was a day to forget as he struggled with engine issues.
With this meeting being the first kart only event for a long time there was a hectic schedule. There wasn't a free practice session so it was straight into timed qualifying, although a lot of drivers had tested the previous day. After one lap of qualifying it was Francois Kishtoo who was quickest. However, on the second flying lap Andy Bird spun in front of him and the Raider driver had to take avoiding action, hitting the barrier hard. The session was red flagged for about 15 minutes and Francois was taken to the medical centre. He had suffered a nasty hand injury but the latest news is that an operation at hospital went well and we all wish him a speedy recovery.
The session resumed and Jack Layton was instantly on the pace lapping in the 1m 26's but it was James O'Reilly who was the first driver to dip into the 25's. Layton responded and set a pole lap of 1m 25.397s. O'Reilly had to settle for second quickest on 1m 25.855s and then had an issue with a rabbit that got a bit too close to the action. Tom Hatfield backed up his Parker Motorsport team mate with a lap of 1m 26.213s to end up third on the grid. Gavin Bennett was sporting the GP plates for the first time in the F250 National class, after his success at Donington, and put in a time of 1m 26.559s for 4th spot but the DEA motor was not performing at it's best. The Gas Gas drivers headed out on track in line astern and it was Dan Clark who put in a time of 1m 26.751s on his last lap to secure fifth place. He was joined on row three by Gareth James with a 1m 26.868s. Paul Platt and Andy Bird shared row 4 with a 1m 27.318s and a 1m 27.472s respectively.
The grid was in good order as it approached the line for race 1 and when the lights went out it was Layton who took the lead. Hatfield was slow away from row 2 while Platt benefited from row 4. Up at Park Corner, Bird spun and Allen also went off. They both continued but at the end of the opening lap they were 22nd and 23rd. Layton had put a second over his pursuers at the end of lap 1 but it was all change at the end of the next lap with O'Reilly holding a narrow advantage. Platt was in third spot with Bennett next coming under pressure from Clark. Hatfield was holding sixth place but was being caught by James. At the end of lap 3 Hatfield pitted with a flat right front tyre. The team replaced it but the balance of the kart had been upset and he retired after another lap.
Up at the front Layton had regained the lead and set the fastest lap of the race on lap 4. O'Reilly had been shuffled back to 4th place and it was now Platt and Clark who were after the reigning champion. On lap 6 it was all change. Platt crossed the line in the lead with Clark on his tail while Layton was in trouble and had dropped back to fifth place. The gear lever had broken and he was having to change gear using the rod attached to the engine. That left Platt and Clark to fight over the lead. Clark reduced a one second deficit to just 0.087s as they encountered traffic. But Platt held on to take his second win of the championship season by 0.224s. O'Reilly lost ground in the closing stages as he got held up back markers and settled for third place. Gareth James had been holding fourth spot since lap 6 but a reed petal was damaged and broke off with two laps to go. He dropped back to sixth while Bennett and Julian Davies fought over fourth. Bennett got the verdict, although his DEA was down on power, while Davies was lucky to finish when the big end started breaking up. Ross Allen recovered from his first lap incident with Bird to take seventh spot while Layton kept going despite his gearchange problem to collect a lowly 10th place.
As he had set the fastest lap from the earlier race, Layton was on pole for race 2 with Platt alongside him on the front row. Clark and Allen were on row 2 ahead of O'Reilly and James while Bennett was way back on row 5. When the lights went out Layton made a shocking start and was swamped by the pack and it was Platt that led away and up through Coppice for the first time. At the end of the opening lap he had a lead of just over a second from Clark. Allen was third ahead of O'Reilly while Layton had slipped back to 8th spot behind team mate Hatfield. Tom's race ended on the next lap when his exhaust broke and he was joined in retirement by Julian Davies with a similar problem. At the end of lap 3 Clark set his quickest lap of the race as he reduced the gap to the leader. But he was slightly distracted when Platt's chain guard flew off as they crossed the line. Next time around the black and orange flag was shown to the leader. Allen overtook Clark whose Gas Gas was starting to misfire and he started to drop back. O'Reilly's Viper also developed a misfire and he pulled out on lap 5, followed a lap later by Bennett. "We tried something to improve the engine after race 1 but it didn't work." Allen started closing the gap to Platt and looked capable of a win but on lap 7 Platt responded with the fastest lap of the race. Allen was now beginning to tire and Bird closed onto his rear bumper. Layton had benefited from a couple of retirements and had recovered from his bad start to hold 4th place but he was over 5s behind the Allen/Bird dice. The black and orange flag had been withdrawn and Platt was now shown the black flag, although he did continue racing. Layton's recovery ended on lap 9 when the engine started to misfire badly and he dropped back to 7th. Starting the last lap Platt got held up by traffic and Bird closed the gap with Allen now trying to stay with him. Platt encountered more back markers on the final lap but crossed the line for the win subject to judicial proceedings. Bird pulled clear of Allen for second place. James also slowed in the closing stages but took 4th place with Clark also struggling home in 5th spot with a misfiring Gas Gas. Layton was determined to get a finish and he crawled round the last two laps averaging 56mph to collect a lowly 12th spot and the last unlapped driver. Platt was summoned to see the officials after the race regarding the display of flags, however, the result was allowed to stand and he took another 40 points and a useful championship lead.
Race One (11 laps) 1 Paul Platt (PVP Gas Gas) 15m58.884s (90.31mph); 2 Dan Clark (Anderson Gas Gas) +0.224s; 3 James O'Reilly (Anderson Viper); 4 Gavin Bennett (Anderson DEA); 5 Julian Davies (HRK THR); 6 Gareth James (Anderson DEA). Fastest Lap Jack Layton 1m25.533s (92.04mph).
Race Two (11 laps) 1 Paul Platt (PVP Gas Gas) 15m57.347s (90.46mph); 2 Andy Bird (Anderson Gas Gas) + 2.724s; 3 Ross Allen (Jade DEA); 4 Gareth James (Anderson DEA); 5 Dan Clark (Anderson Gas Gas); 6 Don Kennedy (Anderson THR). Fastest Lap Paul Platt 1m25.957s (91.59mph).Championship Positions after 6 rounds
With all the championship races out of the way, the final race of the day was to decide the winner of the O plate – the UK Cup. Platt and Layton were on the front row, Bird and Allen on row 2, James and Clark row 3 with O'Reilly and Bennett on row 4. Anyone of those drivers could take the win. When the lights went out Layton made another terrible start, the DEA not picking up, and he was passed on all sides. Platt used pole position to his advantage and sped off up through Coppice. At the end of the opening lap he had Clark on his tail and looking determined. James held off Bird for third place, then came Allen, O'Reilly, Layton, Hatfield from row 9 and Bennett. Gareth James' challenge ended on the next lap when he spun off at Hall Bends and Bennett pulled into the pits with an over-revving motor. Platt increased his lead but Clark responded on lap three and set the fastest lap of the race. But then disaster. At the end of lap 4 Platt appeared out of Barn Corner on his own and Clark toured into pitlane. Dad Kevin thumped the pit wall in frustration as Dan stopped with a broken cylinder head bolt which was causing a water leak. That left Platt with a lead of 5.665s over Allen with Bird just holding off a recovering Layton. Allen's chances of putting in a challenge ended on lap 5 when the bubble bracket broke. Layton moved into second place on lap 5 and when Platt got held up by traffic the lead shrunk to 3.624s. Could Layton close further? Unfortunately not when the DEA started to misfire again. This allowed Platt to pull clear and he took the flag and celebrated in his customary style. "The engine has been great all day. We have fitted a new rear radiator and it has certainly helped with better cooling for the motor. It is nice to get the O plate that I last held in 2013." Bird capitalised on Layton's problem and collected second place but he was over 7s behind the winner. Layton's misfire wasn't as bad as earlier in the day but he had to settle for third spot, three seconds behind Bird. Hatfield had moved into fourth place when O'Reilly retired with an overheating Viper motor due to a loss of water. But then the Parker Motorsport driver had a gear selector fork failure on the last lap and he retired. That handed fourth place to Don Kennedy who just held off fellow THR driver Julian Davies, these two running nose to tail since half distance.
UK Cup Race (11 laps) 1 Paul Platt (PVP Gas Gas) 15m56.489s (90.54mph); 2 Andy Bird (Anderson Gas Gas) + 7.384s; 3 Jack Layton (Anderson DEA); 4 Don Kennedy (Anderson THR); 5 Julian Davies (HRK THR); 6 Adam Edgecombe (Anderson DEA). Fastest Lap Dan Clark 1m25.616s (91.95mph).
Words by Gary James, Images by Steve Addison
Due to a handful of drivers competing in the CIK-FIA European Mono Cylinder Cup, it was decided to have two qualifying races for those drivers not participating in the Euro series so that they could set a lap time for the GP. Unfortunately, it took some time to mesh together the various lap times across the CIK timed events and the TSL timed events. Eventually it was sorted and Jordie Ford was on pole after his record breaking run earlier in the day. James O'Reilly joined him on the front row after winning one of the 'qualifiers' and leading the other until a cylinder head insert cracked. Row 2 had Jack Layton and Gavin Bennett. Paul Platt headed row 3 and he was joined by Andy Bird who won the other 'qualifier' after O'Reilly's demise. Gareth James should have been next on the grid but there was no compression from his DEA engine and it wouldn't start in the pit garage. A piston ring had stuck.
When the lights changed it was Ford who made the best start to lead into Redgate with O'Reilly tucked in behind ahead of Layton and Bennett. Layton moved up to second by the end of the opening lap and was pressuring Ford. The skies were looking cloudy and on lap 2 there was light rain. Ford increased his lead as Layton eased off. O'Reilly regained second spot but he had Bennett in close company. Platt lost ground and tumbled from fourth spot down to seventh. On the next lap Bird took a trip across the gravel when the rain caught him out and ended up facing the wrong way. Fortunately, he kept the motor running and rejoined in ninth place. Ross Allen also had a spin and fell back to 19th.
Up at the front Ford made no mistakes and after a couple of laps the track dried out. He extended his lead and by half distance it was up to 5.451s. Bennett and O'Reilly were locked together for second place and Platt was back into 4th spot as Layton was having problems with his DEA. At the end of the following lap the Parker Motorsport driver toured into the pits with a misfiring motor caused by an electrical problem and retired.
Ford's pace was relentless and on lap 7 he broke the lap record and looked to be on the way to retaining his GP plate. But all was not right. As he entered Redgate for the final time there was a definite misfire coming from the DEA, however, his lead was still over seven seconds. Down through Craner Curves he lost 3.7s to his pursuers but then the earth wire broke after half a lap and Bennett and O'Reilly flashed by. They encountered back markers on the final lap and that just gave Bennett enough breathing space to take the win and his first GP title in the F250 National class after several years of trying. O'Reilly had to be content with second place 1.586s behind after a good effort. Paul Platt was way off the pace with his Gas Gas and was a disconsolate third. Sifleet had a solid race for fourth place ahead of a recovering Bird. Ford crawled round the remainder of the lap and just secured sixth spot 'absolutely gutted.'Results (10 laps)
Words by Gary James, Images by Nick Purdie
The grid was formed of drivers from the two CIK European Championship races plus the national drivers who had competed in their own qualifying races to record a lap time. Stuart Coey was having his first trip to the UK and won both of the national qualifying races but his fastest lap time was only good enough to line up on the fifth row of the grid. Pole position was taken by Peter Elkmann who had set a new lap record in the second CIK race. Stephen Clark had won both of the F450 championship races and he claimed pole position for the class, mixed in with some of the slower twin cylinder karts. Unfortunately, Liam Morley didn't appear on the grid so would not be defending his GP plate. The cush drive problem from earlier in the day couldn't be repaired in time.
When the lights went out Elkmann was away like a rocket and at the end of the opening lap had put clear space between himself and Yannick De Brabander. Dan Clark slotted into third place with Carl Hulme fourth. English Champion Andy Gulliford led the F450 class from Stephen Clark, Andy Waite and Carl Kinsey, the latter preferring to race his four stroke rather than the twin he had used in the CIK races.
Elkmann put in a series of quick laps and by half distance he was 8 seconds ahead. His pace only slackened when he came upon back markers. But his performance was controlled and he didn't take any risks. With two laps lap to go and under no pressure he set a new lap record and finally crossed the line to win the GP plate by a massive 18.635s. De Brabander set his quickest lap as early as lap two but managed the gap back to Clark. The British driver couldn't get close enough to make a challenge and although he lapped quicker than the Belgian in the closing stages the deficit was still 1.706s at the flag. Carl Hulme and Recardo van Dijk fought over 4th place for the entire race and at the flag they were only separated by 0.583s.
In the F450 class Gulliford led the early stages with Clark on his tail and both mixed in with a big group of twins. On lap 3 Gulliford had the benefit of a tow from Richard Dewart to set a new F450 lap record. But at half distance Clark passed Gulliford and Dewart to lead the class. Gulliford tried to respond but lap 7 he pulled off when a rear wheel came loose. That left Clark with a clear run to the flag and he was unlapped by the flying Elkmann. That class win gave Clark his fourth GP plate in a row. Andy Waite drove well for second place and pleased to be on the podium. Third place was in doubt until the closing stages. Kinsey had it under control until lap 3 when he spun and dropped to the back of the field. That elevated Ben Parkinson who was clear of a five-kart scrap. But he made a mistake on lap 6. Jason Thompson took over chased by Dave Morris. However, Kinsey was on a recovery drive and lapping 4s a lap quicker than the guts ahead. On the penultimate lap he regained third spot and held it to the flag.Results (11 laps)
Words by Gary James, Images by Nick Purdie
Liam Morley added his seventh Grand Prix title to his impressive list of success but he was pushed all the way by Dan Edwards, also a previous GP winner.
After the two exciting championship races, the grid for the Grand Prix would be determined by a drivers fastest lap across both those races. It was Sam Moss who took pole position for the GP having set a new lap record earlier in the day. Joining him on the front row was the current GP holder Liam Morley. The second row had Kirk Cattermole, a win under his belt already this weekend, and a rejuvenated Dan Edwards. On row 3 were Redspeed team mates Matt Robinson and Lee Harpham and behind them were Chris Needham and Ian Larder. Anyone of those eight could run out the winner.
When the lights went out Moss made a terrible start when the DEA engine flooded and he ended up last on the run down to Redgate. For the third time Cattermole got it all hooked up and took the lead. At the end of the opening lap, he led a train of karts with Larder, Needham, Morley, Edwards, Robinson, Connor and Brennan snapping at his heels. Moss had recovered some ground and was up to 18th place. Where was Lee Harpham? The team had discovered a water leak before leaving the dummy grid and had to make rapid repairs. He started the race at the back and was down in 27th spot at the end of lap 1.
Cattermole's bid for the GP plate ended on the second lap when the SGM seized. "It hadn't got up to the correct working temperature." This allowed Morley into the lead and by the end of 3 laps he was nearly a second ahead of Edwards, Needham and Larder who were fighting for second place. Brennan was up to 5th spot ahead of Robinson whose motor wasn't up to temperature and not running properly. Moss continued his recovery and was now in 8th spot but unfortunately Harpham only reached 20th place before the TM engine seized.
Morley looked as if he was going to run away with the race, but Edwards broke away from the others and pegged back the gap to 0.697s. Morley responded and doubled the distance, however, Edwards was chasing another GP plate. With one lap to go he set a new lap record and brought the gap down again. All round the final lap Edwards edged closer. Out of Goddards for the last time Morley kept it tight and flashed across the line to collect his seventh GP title but Edwards gave it a good try and was only 0.4s behind at the flag.
The battle for third place was equally as close. Robinson managed to get his TM performing better and closed onto the back of Larder and Needham. They ran in close company for several laps and Needham appeared to have the upper hand. Starting the last lap it all closed up. Needham, Larder and Robinson in that order covered by 0.317s. At the Fogarty Esses, Larder got a better run through and pounced to take third place which he held to the flag with Needham just holding off Robinson.
Moss persevered with his chase. Brennan dropped out at half distance with a seized engine which elevated Moss a place and then he passed Connor with two laps to go to claim sixth spot.Results (10 laps)
Words by Gary James, Images by Nick Purdie
English Champion Kirk Cattermole got his first win of the season when series leader Liam Morley went off in dramatic style. But Morley bounced back the next day to take his fourth win of the season.
The entry for the Grand Prix meeting was down slightly on last year's fantastic turn out, but all the main championship contenders were there and ready to do provide some cracking racing. Championship leader Morley was soon into his stride during qualifying. A lap of 1m 37.227s, inside the existing lap record, secured pole position. Matt Robinson was in the middle of sitting his final exams for a Marketing & Management degree, but he was focused enough to also dip under the record. He set a 1m 37.377s to complete the front row. Kirk Cattermole was feeling more at home with his lightweight Raider chassis on the smoother Donington surface, unlike at bumpy Croft in April. Satisfied with going 'round and round' he posted a 1m 37.820s for third quickest just ahead of Ian Larder on 1m 37.884s. Dan Edwards was pleased with the handling of his Anderson chassis and with new tyres set a 1m 38.217s to head row 3. He was joined by Chris Needham who felt that the IAME motor was down on power but ended up sixth quickest with 1m 38.282s. Reigning champion Lee Harpham was struggling with an ignition problem on his TM. With the motor only pulling 13,300 revs he only managed a 1m 39.101s lap for ninth quickest.
When the lights went out at the start of race 1 Cattermole got a flyer and ducked out from behind Morley to lead into Redgate followed by Edwards. Robinson wasn't away well from his front row position and found himself down in fifth place. Along the Exhibition Straight Morley and Edwards drew alongside Cattermole, but the English Champion maintained the lead and held it at the end of the lap. Amazingly, Robinson had improved on his slowish start and was glued to the rear bumper of the Raider with Edwards, Larder, Morley, Needham and Harpham in line astern as they crossed the line. Cattermole did well to hang onto the lead. On lap 3 Morley dived through at McLeans but Cattermole fought back at the Fogarty Esses. On the next lap Morley took the lead at Redgate and this time made it stick. Cattermole found himself down in fourth place when Edwards went through at the Esses and Harpham dived into third place at the Melbourne Hairpin. But Cattermole was in determined mood and was inside Harpham at Goddards as he turned in. Two karts aiming for the same bit of tarmac ended in contact but both continued. This had allowed Morley and Edwards to get away. Then drama on lap 5. Morley made a rare mistake at the Esses and went off into the barriers, handing the lead to Edwards. Morley was out of the kart and into a safe place but the chassis looked a bit bent. The race was anybody's. Starting lap 7 Edwards still held the top spot but Harpham got ahead at the Esses and then Cattermole outbraked them both at the Melbourne Hairpin to regain the lead. This compromised Edwards and he found himself at the back of the group in fifth place behind Robinson and Larder. Cattermole and Harpham fought over the lead but amazingly it was Edwards back in front as they started the last lap after Harpham had gone in too hot at Melbourne and Cattermole ran wide at Goddards. Edwards was looking for his second win of the season but at the Melbourne Hairpin Cattermole was a tad later on the brakes and took the lead. On the run up to Goddards he defended the inside line and exited the corner ahead, pumping the air with his arm as he crossed the line with Edwards alongside just 0.030s behind. Harpham, who had a seat bracket break on the first lap, crossed the line to take third place with Robinson alongside. The latter set a new lap record on the final lap in an effort to get on the podium and was just 0.028s behind. Phew!!Race One (10 laps)
With a new lap record in his pocket, Robinson was on pole position for race 2 with Edwards alongside. Harpham and Cattermole shared row 2 after exchanging paintwork and tyre rubber the day before with Morley on row 3 joined by Larder. Morley's team had rebuilt the Anderson chassis the previous evening after it sustained a broken seat post and other damage. Cattermole made another good start and went around the outside of Edwards to lead into Redgate. Morley wanted to repay his team for their hard work and was on Cattermole's tail at the end of the opening lap. Harpham held third place from Larder, Edwards, Robinson, Needham, Butler and Daly. Into Redgate for the second time Morley took the lead and from then on it was his race to lose. He gradually increased his lead and ran out the winner by 3.507s. A great team result that didn't look possible 12 hours earlier. While Morley disappeared up the road, there was a real scrap for second place. Edwards and Robinson passed Cattermole at the Fogarty Esses on lap 3. Harpham outbraked Cattermole into Melbourne, then Moss, who had started from row 13, nipped ahead of both Harpham and Cattermole at the same corner to take fourth place. Cattermole was having to fight hard and on the run up to Goddards it was three abreast, Cattermole, Harpham and Needham. Cattermole had the inside line and managed to claim fifth place. Edwards looked like he was going to escape from the group but Moss and Robinson pegged him back with the former setting a new lap record at half distance. Edwards managed to get clear again and put a second between himself and Cattermole on lap 8 while Robinson was holding off Moss. Harpham had lost ground in sixth place with his TM motor lacking a few revs. Cattermole closed on Edwards as they started the last lap but there was still a distance to make up. Exiting the Esses for the final time he got good drive and for the second time this weekend outbraked Edwards into the Melbourne Hairpin on the last lap. Edwards wasn't giving up easily and out of Goddards he pulled alongside but Cattermole took second place by 0.043s. Robinson lost a bit of ground on the pair ahead and collected another solid fourth place. Despite problems with the motor Harpham put in a quick lap at the end and overtook Moss whose DEA motor had started to overheat. Butler just held off Needham, Larder and Connor in a close finish for seventh place.Race Two (10 laps)
Words by Gary James, Images by Nick Purdie
Belgian star Yannick De Brabander took overall honours at the opening rounds of this year's championship when expected favourites Peter Elkmann and reigning European Superkart champion Adam Kout struck trouble.
In the opening qualifying session Elkmann dipped below the lap record to set the quickest time of 1m 26.493s on his final lap and take provisional pole position. Kout was lapping consistently but was 0.745s behind the flying German with a 1m 27.238s. Dan Clark was the quickest British driver on 1m 28.673s marginally ahead of Jason Dredge. De Brabander started the session cautiously before making a pit stop for adjustments. He improved to record a 1m 28.781s. Rounding out the top six was Andreas Jost with a 1m 29.150s set on his final lap. Liam Morley had a nightmare when an airbox pressure sensor was sucked into the engine and smashed a rotary valve. He only managed one flying lap of 1m 29.435s for eighth quickest. Jordie Ford found the perfect set-up on his Anderson DEA to take 11th overall and the quickest of the monos with a 1m 30.965s just inside the lap record.
The second session saw Elkmann again dip under the lap record but his time wasn't as fast as earlier in the day. Kout closed the gap when he went marginally quicker on 1m 27.123s. De Brabander lopped a second of his previous best to secure third place on the grid with 1m27.679s. Clark held on to the top Brit slot by improving his time to 1m 28.530s with Dredge unable to go quicker but taking a place on row three. Jost had a slight improvement with a 1m 28.962s to complete the top six. Morley sat out the session but retained his eighth spot on the grid ahead of Hulme and Kinsey. In the Mono Cylinder Cup Jordie Ford couldn't improve on his earlier time but was clear of Jack Layton who posted a 1m 31.648s after trying a different strategy. Paul Platt leapfrogged Gavin Bennett to take third in class, the latter struggling a bit with braking issues into the tight hairpins.
Elkmann made the most of pole position in race 1 but De Brabander was looking up the inside as they headed down to Redgate and got ahead of Kout. Clark made a shocking start from row 2 and lost ground. At the end of the opening lap Elkmann led by nearly a second with Brabander holding off Kout. Jost was up to fourth spot with Morley leading Dredge and Clark. Elkmann increased his lead on the next lap but then Kout closed in as they completed three laps. Morley and Clark got past Jost who then had the throttle stick open and went off at Coppice. Dredge lost a top six place when the PVP motor seized on lap 5. Elkmann's tyres started to work better and he put in a string of quick laps to increase his lead. At the end of lap seven Kout slowed as he crossed the line and then the gearbox locked up leaving two black line on the track and spinning him off onto the grass, fortunately without hitting anything. This gave Elkmann a lead of just under six seconds over De Brabander who was a similar distance ahead of Morley and Clark who were scrapping for third place. Elkmann set a new lap record on lap 9 but as he exited the Melbourne Hairpin on the next lap he dramatically slowed and stopped at the entrance to the pit lane, thumping the steering wheel in frustration. The coil had failed and his race was over. This put De Brabander in the lead by 6.8s with Clark now ahead of Morley in the scrap for second place. Over the closing laps, De Brabander eased his pace and was being caught by the battling Brits. At the flag, he squeezed home by 1.841s. Morley set his best lap of the race on the penultimate lap as he moved past Clark for second place and just failed to catch the Belgian driver with Clark third only 0.55s behind. Hulme finished an excellent fourth after a race long dice with Maasmann. In the Mono Cup, Ford was in a class of his own. He pulled clear of his rivals and set a new lap record at half distance. Bennett chased the flying Aussie but was nearly twenty seconds behind at the flag. Platt struggled with a down on power Gas Gas and had to settle for third in class.Race One (13 laps)
Because of his gearbox problem in the earlier race, Kout had to fit his spare engine for race 2. He wasn't expecting great things as it was older and potentially slower. But that didn't stop him taking the fight to Elkmann. With concerns over rebuilt engines and the lack of warming up time due to the noise curfew, the start was delayed by about 5 minutes. Kout led through Redgate for the first time but Elkmann was soon ahead. The German led at the end of the opening lap but he had Kout and De Brabander hot on his heels. Jost held fourth spot after outbraking Clark into Goddards with Morley sixth. Elkmann eked out a small lead over Kout but it stabilised at 0.8s. De Brabander couldn't maintain the pace of the pair ahead and he gradually lost ground so that by half distance he was six seconds behind. Jost continued to keep the Brits at bay with Morley now ahead of Clark. Dredge had been holding seventh place but a gearbox problem brought him into the pits at the end of lap 6. Kout broke the lap record on lap 8 and closed the gap, but Elkmann responded and two laps later he set a new benchmark fractionally quicker. Elkmann reeled off the remaining laps to take the win by 8.773s as Kout slowed on the final lap. De Brabander took it easy when the leaders disappeared up the road and came home in third spot. Jost couldn't hang on to fourth place when he started experiencing brake problems. He ran wide at the Melbourne Hairpin on lap 7 which let Morley through and then made a mess of the Fogarty Esses two laps later that allowed Clark past. Morley looked to be heading for fourth but a problem with the cush drive let Clark ahead with two laps to go. In the Mono Cup, Jordie Ford led the first two laps, but a popped reed valve in the DEA put him out. Bennett took over, however a broken exhaust brought him into the pits at the end of lap 10 and into retirement. This handed the win to Platt, the last unlapped runner. Layton just held of James at the flag by 0.269sRace Two (13 laps)
Words by Gary James, Images by Nick Purdie
Andy Bird took overall honours and collected his first ever MSA Championship win. However, it was Jack Layton who extended his lead in the series after his closest rivals struck trouble.
With the championship an infrequent visitor to Croft there were a lot of drivers who had never raced at the circuit before. Among them was reigning champion Jack Layton who described the track as 'a bit brutal'. The consensus was that the surface had got bumpier and the lap record may be unchallenged. There was a 12-minute qualifier to determine grid positions and local driver James O'Reilly, now on an Anderson chassis, set the early pace. He was briefly headed but responded with a time of 1m22.813s to secure pole position before pitting with just over two minutes to go when the nosecone came loose. Andy Bird is another driver that has switched to an Anderson chassis this season. He had a bit of an issue at Sunny but collected it all together to post a time of 1m23.430s for a place on the front row. Jack Layton was into the pits after three laps of the session to make adjustments and on his first flying lap set a 1m23.578s with just over a minute left on the clock. But he was beaten for third spot on the grid by Ross Allen who posted a 1m23.563s on the final lap. Despite losing oil pressure and blowing a KTM engine in free practice the day before, Stephen Clark was easily the quickest of the four strokes and inside the lap record to set a time of 1m23.706s and head the third row. He was joined by Paul Platt. Now back on his favourite PVP chassis, he did a 1m23.908s despite the kart being tail end happy due to an oil leak. Gavin Bennett was trying a few chassis tweeks and ended up seventh quickest on a 1m23.909s, with Dan Clark next on 1m 24.619s and struggling to get his Anderson to turn in despite moving the seat to give more bite on the front end.
The grid was in good order as it approached the line for race 1 and when the lights went out it was O'Reilly who took the lead. Dan Clark made a lightning start from row 4 and slotted in second place but behind him it all kicked off. Layton ran a bit wide on the exit of Clervaux, his new tyres not giving him the expected grip, and this allowed Bird and James through while Hatfield spun in the middle of the pack. Gulliford ran over his nosecone and was launched into the air but continued. Unlike Burton who also spun and was collected by Haywood. Burton was out with a puncture caused by a damaged rim while Haywood continued at the back of the field.
Layton's first lap went from bad to worse when he went off at Sunny and he completed the opening lap in 11th place. Up at the front O'Reilly had opened a lead of 1.584s over Bird with Clark and Bennett locked together. James was next with Stephen Clark the lead 450 just ahead of Allen. O'Reilly set his best race lap on lap 2 as he doubled his lead to over three seconds while Bennett pulled off at Hawthorn with an electrical problem.
Dan Clark got better drive out of the hairpin on lap 3 and he was alongside Bird as they started the next lap, taking second place at Clervaux. He now set about closing the gap to O'Reilly and put in the fastest lap of the race on lap 5. Over the next couple of laps Clark chipped away. Exiting the hairpin on lap 8 O'Reilly made contact with Andy Johnson while trying to lap him but kept going, however his lead was down to 1.988s as he started the last lap. Once past Johnson, O'Reilly had clear track and put in a quick lap to increase his lead and take the flag 2.530s ahead. An excellent result on his new Anderson chassis using the Ian Harrison designed Viper engine. Clark was fairly happy with second place, although the handling wasn't perfect. Bird lost ground in the closing laps as his tyres were well past their best but was far enough ahead to claim third place. Allen was heading for fourth but his DEA piston broke with three laps to go. When Gareth James passed Stephen Clark on the final lap he inherited the place. Layton worked his way through after his first lap excursions and despite handling issues finished sixth on the road. Championship rival Platt was next, but over 5s behind after a crankcase oil seal failed.
With fastest lap from the earlier race, Dan Clark was on pole for race 2 and made the most of that position at the start. He led through Clervaux for the first time chased by O'Reilly, Bird, Platt and Layton. However, Clark's time at the front was short-lived as O'Reilly took over the top spot during the opening lap with Bird slotting into second place. With newer tyres fitted, Bird wasn't going to let O'Reilly get away this time and Platt joined the battle for the lead on lap 3 when he set the fastest lap of the race. But his charge came to nothing when a chain tensioner broke on the following lap and he started to tumble down the order.
Gavin Bennett was making up places from his row 8 starting place and by lap 4 he was on Platt's tail in fourth spot after passing Layton at the hairpin. This became third on the next lap but he was over 4 1/2s behind the leaders.
Bird took the lead on lap 5 but couldn't shake off O'Reilly. However, starting the last lap the gap had grown. O'Reilly was in trouble and judging by the sound coming from the Viper engine it was easy to guess that the exhaust had broken. Bird reeled off the final lap and punched the air as he crossed the line to record his first ever MSA British Superkart Championship victory. "It's my first wedding anniversary today and my wife would only allow me to race this weekend provided I came home with a win. Job done."
O'Reilly struggled round the final lap with a gaping split in the exhaust and eventually crossed the line fifth behind Stephen Clark, the 450cc class winner. Bennett's drive from 16th on the grid was rewarded with the runner-up slot ahead of Layton whose Anderson was handling slightly better after the team had made some changes. Gareth James had another solid race and passed Dan Clark on the penultimate lap. The Redspeed driver couldn't get the kart to handle properly and was unable to match his earlier pace, only losing out to James at the flag by 0.1s. Platt soldiered on with the broken chain tensioner affecting acceleration out of the slow corners. He eventually finished 10th in class and more importantly handed Layton a 16-point advantage in the championship. There is still a long way to go.
Race One (9 laps) 1 James O'Reilly (Anderson Viper) 12m35.771s (91.10mph); 2 Dan Clark (Anderson Gas Gas) +2.530s; 3 Andy Bird (Anderson Gas Gas); 4 Gareth James (Anderson DEA); 5 Jack Layton (Anderson DEA); 6 Paul Platt (PVP Gas Gas). Fastest Lap Clark 1m22.806s (92.38mph).
Race Two (9 laps) 1 Andy Bird (Anderson Gas Gas) 12m31.514s (91.61mph); 2 Gavin Bennett (Anderson DEA) + 6.444s; 3 Jack Layton (Anderson DEA); 4 James O'Reilly (Anderson Viper); 5 Gareth James (Anderson DEA); 6 Dan Clark (Anderson Gas Gas). Fastest Lap Paul Platt 1m22.432s (92.80mph).Championship Positions after 4 rounds
Words by Gary James, Images by Nick Purdie and Ian Rushforth
Championship leader Liam Morley had two faultless drives at Croft winning both races by a sizeable margin. Reigning champion Lee Harpham did his best to stay in touch but had to settle for a pair of second places.
It was surprising to see that the current lap record for the 125cc class was over 15 years old. Some put this down to the bumpy nature of the track, but also the last time the series visited Croft was four years ago. Qualifying was held in cloudy but dry conditions and it was Nathan Coss who topped the time sheet before Lee Harpham took over. Liam Morley was second quickest before pitting but the team sent him out again after a brief stop. He then put in two rapid laps to take pole position with a time of 1m26.260s, inside the lap record. Harpham was also inside the record and despite the TM motor running a bit rich set a time of 1m26.348s for a slot on the front row. Coss was using a rebuilt Phantom chassis after he hit the barriers at Bishopscourt and was also trying a new Italian braking system. He improved his earlier time to set a 1m27.115s lap for third place on the grid and was joined on the second row by Danny Butler who went round in 1m27.613s. Sam Moss has switched to a DEA engine this season and was happy with its performance although he couldn't get his Anderson chassis through the final hairpin without scrubbing off too much speed. He wound up fifth quickest on 1m27.887s just ahead of Dan Edwards. Unusually further back on the grid was Chris Needham in 17th place. After going so well at Silverstone and Anglesey earlier in the season he was struggling to dial in the Silverstone chassis over the Croft bumps. On the back row of the grid was Matt Robinson who didn't manage a flying lap due to a clutch problem.
Morley led through Clervaux at the start of race 1 with Coss up to second place ahead of Harpham and Moss. Alan Crossen made a good start from the fourth row and slotted into fifth place ahead of Butler, Irvine, Edwards and Cattermole. There was the expected shuffling of places amongst the very competitive 125cc class on the opening lap but Morley appeared at the Complex in the lead and crossed the line to complete lap 1 with a gap of just over half a second from Harpham. Moss was in third just ahead of Coss and Butler. Then came the train of Cattermole, Irvine, Larder, Crossen, Connor, Edwards and McGaffin. Only 1.445s covering seven karts. Matt Robinson had made great progress on the opening lap and was already up to 17th place. Harpham did his best to hang on to Morley's bumper but the latter stretched his lead on lap 4 when he set the fastest lap of the race and a new record. From then on there was only going to be one winner and Morley continued to lap in the 26's, finally taking the win by 4.809s. Strangely, the race was only over 7 laps with the clock stopping at 10 minutes. Harpham had to be content with second place with the TM running better but unable to match the DEA.
There was a great scrap for third place between Moss, Coss and Butler with the positions changing on every lap, especially into Tower Corner. Moss was able to open out a slight gap over Butler to take third while Coss lost ground on the final lap and just held on to fifth. Cattermole headed the next group with Connor and Edwards in his slipstream. They gradually closed on the karts ahead but Cattermole couldn't make a challenge. "The chassis is not riding the bumps very well. One minute I have understeer then it snaps into oversteer." Edwards got the better of Connor at Clervaux on the last lap to take seventh spot end while Robinson's progress from the back brought him into 11th place at the flag.Race One (7 laps)
The front row was unchanged for race 2 with Robinson finding himself on the second row after his drive through the field earlier. The losers were Sam Moss who ended up on row 4 despite finishing third and Nathan Coss on row 6, all positions based on the drivers fastest lap from race 1. When the lights went out Morley was away and into Clervaux ahead of Harpham and Robinson. Moss made a great start and was up to 4th but behind there was trouble. Cattermole received a nudge and spun off and was joined in the gravel trap by Neil Robinson. This split the field a bit and Rayman from row 9 found himself just outside the top 6. Robinson was out of the race but Cattermole managed to extricate the kart from the gravel and re-start, receiving a huge cheer from the grandstand for his efforts. However, he was three-quarters of a lap behind with little chance of making up ground. At the end of the opening lap Morley and Harpham were nose to tail with Moss up to third having passed Robinson at Tower Bend. Butler was fifth from Irvine and then the train of Edwards, Connor, Crossen, Larder, Coss and McGaffin. Even closer than the earlier race with 1.217s covering 6 karts. In a repeat of race 1, Morley again set the fastest lap of the race on lap 4, but not as quick as before. Harpham did his best to stay in touch but his TM was missing out on mid-range power and he gradually dropped back. With the race running its correct distance of 12 minutes, Morley crossed the line to take his second win of the weekend by 9.101s. A faultless performance which has opened up a useful lead in the championship.
Moss looked safe in third place for the first few laps, but when he got out of shape at Sunny In and then missed a gearchange at the Complex it allowed Edwards to close in. Butler joined them on lap 5 when they caught a back marker at Sunny Out and the battle was on. The positions changed every lap and almost every corner with them running three abreast into Tower Bend on one occasion and somehow all squeezed through the Jim Clark Esses. Edwards managed to edge away starting the last lap leaving Butler and Moss to squabble over 4th place. The position changed hands three times during the final lap and at the hairpin Butler defended the inside line. Moss had no alternative but to look around the outside but spun handing fourth place to Butler. Moss kept the engine running but Robinson and McGaffin went through followed by Irvine, Coss and Connor relegating him to 10th place at the flag.Race Two (9 laps)
The Superkart championships returned to Bishopscourt for the opening championship rounds of 2017. After several free practice sessions, the drivers had a 20-minute qualifying session. The grey sky became blue and the sun came out during the afternoon.
Jack Layton walked the track to learn it as this was his first visit. After testing a couple of nosecones at Silverstone last month, he thanked the Parker Motorsport team for fitting a new one. The balance of the kart was good and it gave him confidence as he rode the bump at the final turn. He set pole with a time of 1m06.720s. The top three were close. Andy Bird was "quick out of the box" in a new Anderson chassis despite feeling the kart was unstable in the first turn He was second with 1m06.831s. Paul Platt was in a happier place with his PVP and a 2017 Gas Gas engine. He set a 1m06.944s lap and was on a better run after an ignition change but the chequered flag was waved. He also bedded in two sets of tyres. After his engine problems at Silverstone, Gavin Bennett was pleased with progress and was fourth albeit suffering from understeer in the slower corners. He ended up changing the rear wing to the older version for race one. Dan Clark was fifth and less handicapped by the power disadvantage of his Gas Gas as at Silverstone and Ross Allen was sixth. James O'Reilly was in a new Anderson chassis but was seventh as the kart was pulling to the right during the session. Gareth James was disappointed to be tenth after such a good showing at Silverstone as he was struggling with the settings.
At the start Bird found himself in a DEA sandwich as they sprinted for the first turn. Tony Long had a bolt shear on his brake and spun on the pit straight. Bennett was still struggling with understeer but felt the balance was improved for this race. He said he lost 2.5 seconds after being baulked by backmarkers. Layton's head jerked to the right as Clark made a move for the lead on the pit straight but held his line.After losing several places at the start Platt made his way up to second. After the last lap board went out Platt passed Layton but overcooked it at the bottom bend, letting Layton past. He thought he would be able to slipstream down the bottom straight: "I was going to pass him and I then suffered a misfire, aah!" Platt said. Layton crossed the line just 0.293 ahead. Bird was third after finding stability in the first corner compared to qualifying and Clark was relishing being quick in the corners. Allen was finding the Jade a "little frightening" and for the second race would increase the rear wing angle to get more rear downforce.
Platt and Layton shared the front for the second start. Platt was on the outside of Layton as they sprinted for the first turn but he would be on the inside for the next sequence of corners. Further round, Clark had to take to the gravel to avoid James O'Reilly and lost a lot of places, while Bird took avoiding action too and stalled while on the grass.
At the front, there was a quartet of Platt, Layton, Bennett and Allen. "It was close," Bennett said. "The engines are evenly matched. I think we're in for a good year."
Having walked the track for the second time before race one, Layton was attempting to find a different line out of the final turn. The bump was proving a problem, Layton having to lift off while Platt in the Gas Gas could deliver more power. Layton's seat felt weird too. On the final lap, Layton saw an opportunity on the back straight via a backmarker. "It was Andrew Johnson." Platt found a gap, Layton didn't. "That's motor racing." Platt crossed the line with both arms pumping, his first MSA victory since Brands Hatch 2015. "It feels so good to be at front again." Bennett was third and Allen nearly intercepted him on the pit straight. "It was good," Allen said. "I'll keep it the same settings for the third race." His square steering fairing was helping him aerodynamically at the end of the straight. Clark was fifth after fighting his way back through the field. Tom Hatfield was sixth. Driving an HRK for the first time in a MSA championship race, Julian Davies was pleased to be seventh. "During the first race, I was thinking 'Oh God, which way is it going to point?' I wanted to try something different. People were saying it wouldn't work without a rear wing, but the mechanical grip's great." Having struggled with the balance in race one, Gareth James was eighth again for race two, puzzled with setup problems.
Unfortunately, the third race didn't take place when there were two red flags in a preceding F125 Open race. With an ambulance needed to take a driver to hospital and the circuit requiring a minimum of two ambulances at all times, the race was cancelled on safety grounds.Karting Magazine Report
Words By Simon Stiel, Image By Niall Doherty
Liam Morley didn't change anything during the practice sessions and in the qualifying session set a time of 1m10.333s. But Noel Brennan was a smidgen ahead at 1m10.312s. He hadn't changed anything on his kart from last season. James O'Keefe was next at 1m10.405s and running an all white colour scheme after the Garda livery of last year. For the race, he would have a photo of his face in order to spook rivals. Dan Edwards was fourth having achieved what he could without a tow, and wanting to preserve the Anderson, came in. Fifth was Matt Robinson who believed there was more to come after having a misfire. Having used an F1 chassis last year, Andy Connor was in an Anderson chassis and was sixth. Conor McCormack was seventh and hoping to ambush competitors in his new urban camouflage livery and James Irvine was ninth using an ex-Liam Morley chassis with a new Vortex engine. Danny Butler was left "hung out to dry" after not finding anyone else to tow later in the session and was twelfth. Lee Harpham had an engine seize and ended up 28th on the grid. Trevor Roberts was behind him in a new Raider. He too had an engine seize and that was on his out lap.
During the start, Matt Robinson's engine didn't pick up and he dropped down the field. "It wouldn't clear out," he said. Brennan was also passed after getting the gear setting wrong and Irvine's screw on the accelerator came loose which also lost him places. Morley led the field. After finding the balance "so so" while qualifying tenth, Cattermole was making progress. He set fastest lap of the race at 1m09.701s and grabbed the lead, only for the piston ring to break. Morley regained the lead and was closely pursued by Edwards. He just made it across the line with 0.166s separating him from Edwards. "I nearly got him," Edwards said. O'Keefe was third, having struggled on the straights while finding the other sections easier. McGaffin was fourth despite his kart having problems with its tail-end. Bishopscourt is hard on tyres and Connor was finding his were graining. He persisted and was fifth. Harpham was struggling with power having salvaged a piston from his previous engine and was seventh. After a "rampage" through the field following his problems at the start, Robinson was eighth.
Thanks to his fastest lap, Cattermole started from pole position and led away from the start. It was looking good until the carburettor fell off and he coasted into the pits. Morley took the lead again and only 0.934s covered the first six. Morley had new tyres on, and he tucked himself behind his steering wheel trying to do what he could to break the tow. McGaffin challenged Edwards for second, but had to retire when a needle valve failed. O'Keefe inherited third and Edwards passed Morley. "He got me fair and square," Morley said. Despite finding the engine rich, Edwards set a lap record of 1m09.486s and crossed the line 0.284s ahead of Morley. It was Edwards' first victory since Snetterton in July 2013. A sweet, sweet victory.
After a nasty scare during Saturday practice when the bolts fell out of his steering wheel in the turn 4/5 complex resulting in a collision with the barrier, a sore Nathan Coss in the Phantom was "on the limit" and finished eighth in the second race after finishing thirteenth in the first.
Liam Morley secured pole by a considerable margin, 1m05.454s to Stuart Coey's 1m06.438s. Coey was in a 2015 PVP. Carl Hulme was third on 1m07.371s and trying new parts, including an airbox that he'd designed himself. Dave Harvey had too much nose during second practice and spun, but ended up fourth with 1m08.056s. He was hoping to find more pace; looking for reference points before pressing down on the gas. A new airbox was also being tested. Tom Rushforth had another promising session and pulled into the pits after setting a 1m08.090s and on the DFS compound. Despite having his previously reliable engine give him trouble, Liam Fox was seventh. Jason Dredge managed only eight laps during the practice and qualifying sessions because of engine seizures. Andy Waite was ninth and the quickest of the F450 Nationals.
Before the beginning of the race, Coey couldn't get his engine to fire up as his battery failed. After the start, Hulme lost one cylinder and coasted towards the pitlane ready to retire only for it to pick up again. He set off in pursuit of the pack. Rushforth needed to make steering corrections in the first sequence of corners and narrowly missed two karts who collided in front of him. On the final lap on the pit straight, he had another scare and narrowly missed James Clark. Rushforth was finding the kart more controllable compared to a 125. Dad Simon finished ninth on the older Spyda chassis which previously housed the twin 125cc engines. After progressing to eighth place, Dredge retired with a battery problem. Up ahead, Morley led to the flag despite suffering from a misfire. Richard Dewart, who had not had good luck at Bishopscourt in the past was pleased with fifth. Colin Menary had switched to an MSkart and was sixth. Andy Waite was eighth and the leading F450 National.
Morley put new tyres on and the kart felt "much better". However, Coey led for the first two laps before hitting a kerb and damaging the battery again, causing his retirement. On the first lap, Harvey had a trip across the grass which filled his air intakes. Hulme was again struggling with power and Dredge's battery failed for a second time. Feeling more comfortable in the kart, Morley set a new outright lap record for Bishopscourt, 1m03.322s. A speed of 103.699 mph. Phew! Dewart finished again and Buckley finished fifth; fine-tuning what he has with limited funds available for new developments.
Words By Simon Stiel, Image By Niall Doherty
The Superkart season started recently at Silverstone on the 1.64 mile circuit with the opening rounds of the British Superkart Racing Club Championships involving four classes on the track at the same time.Karting Magazine
Words By Gary James, Image By Steve Addison Photography