Published March 25, 2017 17:09
BUKC Rookies Championship Round 3, and our Premier and Intermediate Championship Rounds 5 and 6 of 2017 were contested at Glan y Gors circuit in North Wales this month, and for the first time this year, we held our Rookies round the day before the main championship. This, coupled with the abnormally decent weather, caused no end of confusion, so Jacob Harris is here to clear things up for those still wondering what actually happened…
Rookies Round 3
Wednesday started with a bright sky but, as ever in these dewy winter mornings, a moist track. A half hour test session followed by our first practice/qualifying began to dry it out, and UWE B took pole for Race 1. Cardiff B’s Tom Jones was 2nd fastest but a black flag stripped him of his fastest lap. However, Jones stormed into the lead of the race early on, challenged closely by King's College B, and later Manchester A’s Kevin Tanswell. With 5 minutes left King's College B regained 2nd, and when Tom Jones took the flag for Cardiff, King's College B earned themselves all 60 points due to Jones’ ineligibility. Bath C’s Matthew Allington inherited 2nd from Manchester after penalties.
In session 2, Jamie Nuttall of Durham took Race 2 pole, with Tom Wantock and Scott Thornton of Surrey and Cardiff behind. Wantock and Thornton fought for the lead early on, with a dicey start seeing both Nuttall drop out of the reckoning, and later Thornton off track as well. Edinburgh A’s Hersch Reddy and Leeds B’s Jack Fisher move into podium contention, but a comeback from Scott Thornton in the Cardiff kart saw Reddy demoted to 4th. Tom Wantock ended up a clear winner of Race 2, with Jack Fisher picking up 2nd.
Times began to approach the 50s dry lap marker in session 3, where UWTSD C were fastest but excluded for being underweight. Cardiff A’s Tom Jones therefore started on pole, ahead of Will Hemsley of Surrey A, who snatched 3rd from Durham's Jake Welsby with his last lap. Welsby and York's Yousuf Bin-Suhayl challenged Jones in the opening laps of the race, and each took a turn leading when Jones crashed out of contention. Jake eventually claimed Race 3 victory for Durham, with Yousuf following him home.
UWTSD C, Surrey A, and Cardiff B lined up at the front for Race 4. Both UWTSD B and C teams were strong in the race, with Surrey, Manchester and Cardiff forming a top 5 train early doors. Gerwyn James in the UWTSD B kart came off worst in the battle of the Welsh unis, which left UWTSD C and Cardiff battling for the lead, and a last lap manoeuvre saw UWTSD C to victory over Cardiff B. Surrey A rounding out the top 3, but a penalty promoted York’s Enzo Daghini to the podium.
For qualifying session 5, the Welsh dominance continued. UWTSD C claimed pole for our last race, with Manchester A and Leeds B 2nd and 3rd. Manchester A's Martin Rump was on fire during the race however, posting our fastest lap of the day on his way to taking victory. It wasn’t plain sailing for him though, as a 10s penalty for jumping the start meant he needed a huge gap to 2nd place to win. Plymouth A in 2nd were in contention to take full points, but a stunning drive led Martin to triumph by a mere 0.781s.
On to Thursday, and there was a disastrous start for Oliver Wheddon in championship-contending Loughborough A kart, which needed replacing during Race 1. Out on track, Stephen Letts of Huddersfield A and Sheffield's Rob Newman were a class above the rest. Posting faster times than any of our rookie drivers, the pair blazed through the pack from 26th and 31st respectively, and soon found themselves out in front. Three cones penalties for Letts were his downfall though, and 15s added to his race time meant Rob Newman claimed the Race 1 win for Sheffield. Alistair Senior (Cambridge) was 2nd and pole sitter Scott Jeffs 3rd (Nottingham Trent).
A good morning for Cambridge continued in Race 2, as Richard Morris took an early lead for them, but keeping hold of it proved to be a difficult task. Throughout the race, Oliver Basey-Fisher (Reading) applied pressure to Morris, threatening to capitalise on any mistake, slip up or imperfection. Leeds Beckett's Toti James Misso joined the fray part way into the race, and overtook Basey-Fisher for 2nd when the latter failed to make a move for the lead. Kayleigh Vincent (Loughborough C) became the 4th kart in the train in the last 10 minutes as well, setting the fastest lap of the race in catching up. Drama hit late on as Toti’s race ended with a spin in the twisty back end of the track, leaving Morris (Cambridge) to take the win after a great show of defence. Basey-Fisher took 2nd for Reading, and right at the last, Dan Barber (Nottingham) capped a fine drive from 23rd on the grid to pip Vincent for 3rd.
In Race 3, pole sitter Danny Dwyer of King's College received a jump start penalty having taken an early lead. UWS' Sam Moffat, starting 7th on the grid, stole the lead through Carousel just a few laps in, and proceeded to steal the show, driving away from the pack to win comfortably. Callum Hughes of Oxford and Gareth Haynes of Oxford Brookes were perhaps capable of challenging him, but having started 17th and 24th, a place on the podium apiece was all they could muster. Tom Thickpenny of Loughborough may feel aggrieved not to have been up there himself. On the final lap of the race, he took 2nd from Hughes, but Hughes recovered the place immediately, and then Haynes managed to pass him for 3rd at the last, crossing the line 0.003s ahead, in what could have been a monumental moment for our overall championship.
Race 4 saw another show stopping performance, this time from Exeter’s Sam Cassidy. His drive from 13th to 1st bypassed a number of drivers who also had solid races. In the mix were Piers Pryor (Loughborough), Rhianna Purcocks (Birmingham) and in particular Alex Gunn of Huddersfield B, who lead for the early part of the race. Pryor seized the lead in the last 10 minutes, but carried a cone penalty which was always going to factor in a race so close. Cassidy took the lead with 5 minutes remaining, and proceeded to take the chequered flag, with Pryor 2nd on track, but due to that penalty, Gunn and Purcocks were placed above him in the final result.
Penalties also played a part in our penultimate sprint race results. Zack Nickson (Southampton) was strong throughout, but found himself on the receiving end of a 10s contact penalty. Strathclyde and Brookes B (Matthew Lewis) also battled for the lead and were penalised, and neither seemed to have had luck on their side, as in addition to the penalties, both were in need of a pusher kart help during the race and ended up 22nd and 23rd. This brought Murray Knott (Brookes C) and Andreas Gutzold (Birmingham A) into contention, and although Nickson ended up winning on the road, the pair ended up leapfrogging him in the standings.
In our final sprint race at Glan y Gors, Ben Topliss (Sheffield) and Kyle Morby (Brookes A) were out to impress, and battled each other for the lead for the duration. Southampton B's Kyle Paulus held 2nd mid-way through, although a number of penalties accumulated over the course of the race left his hopes of a win looking slim. They became even slimmer when he spun out of contention, and to add insult to injury, he was also excluded for being underweight. Coventry B looked to be in with a shout of making the top 3, but Heriot Watt's Scott Beattie eventually claimed 3rd following winner Kyle Morby and 2nd placed Ben Topliss over the line.
Round 6 got underway following a stern telling off from JV for all the drivers. The Scots were quickest out of the blocks, with UWS' Sam Moffat leading the way early in Race 1 having had a quick nap after winning his sprint race. Championship hopefuls Loughborough A, buoyed by a return to form in the morning, were soon in the lead with duo Oliver Wheddon and Tom Thickpenny. Huddersfield A’s Stephen Letts and Jack Lynas were quickest over a single lap in 2nd, and tried an undercut to leapfrog Loughborough for the lead at the second pit stops. However, a late stop form the Loughborough team saw them emerge in front, allowing them to take the win. Matt Arnold and Simon Wallace (Leeds Beckett A) came home 3rd.
In our middle enduro, Josh Gollin (Liverpool) and Aaron Walsh (Huddersfield B) steamed clear of the pack at the start, and stayed out for long stints whilst others pit behind them. At half way, this looked to be paying off for them as Jack Lund (Liverpool) and Michael Page (Huddersfield) maintained their 1-2 status, until the Huddersfield B duo suffered in the latter stages of the race. Callum Hughes and Louis Nicholson (Oxford), and Rory Gills and Zack Nickson (Southampton) fought their way into contention, but could only manage 2nd and 3rd, as Liverpool A took the Race 2 win. Southampton A follow in 2nd, 3rd for Oxford A
After two false starts, the last race of the day began. Exeter’s Alistair Mallard garnered an early lead, with Brookes and Southampton B teams behind. At the pit stops, Mallard jumped out of the Exeter kart to make way for Sam Cassidy, who lead Brookes B and C, with Loughborough coming through the changes in 4th, where they were in a round winning position. Once each of them had stopped for the second time, Piers Pakenham-Walsh and Tim Knox (Brookes B) were carrying a penalty but led fromExeter and Loughborough A. Rob Newman and Ben Topliss of Sheffield then passed Loughborough, but were also carrying a penalty. The four finished in that order, and once penalties were applied, Exeter took the Race 3 win, Brookes B were place 2nd, and Loughborough A jumped from 4th place to 3rd.
So Loughborough keep their championship hopes alive going into next weekend. Look out for Championship Chit Chat in the week where I'll talk about how likely they are to overhaul Brookes A, and whether or not anyone else is in with a shout! Also, expect a podcast from Andrew and Howard out soon, and if you're planning on being any good at Whilton, make sure you do your make up for the cameras! See you there...