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