BKC crowns first champion of 2021 at Warden Law
The Wera Tools British Kart Championships visited Karting North East – Warden Law last weekend [18-19 September], for the eighth event of the packed calendar. For all but one of the classes heading to the Sunderland track, this was the penultimate round of the series but for the KZ2 category, it would mark the final meeting of the year with the maiden 2021 BKC champion crowned as the weekend concluded.
The tight, technical track of Warden Law provided multiple frantic battles between competitors as the fight for the top places, and the all-important championship win, were in the drivers minds throughout. With the ultra-competitive Rotax classes enjoying their second outing in just three weeks, they were joined by the Honda Cadet and KZ2 categories to ensure an action-packed weekend of racing.
With the meeting taking place over two days, the drivers used every minute of both practice sessions on Saturday to hone their lines for the all-important qualifying runs. In a game of tactics, many drivers waited for the final two minutes to head out on to the circuit, knowing there could well be only one shot to put it on the front row.
The heats took place Saturday afternoon with championship connotations changing at every turn and all eyes were certainly on the final KZ2 heat which took place on Sunday morning followed by the pre-finals and all-important finals, with fans witnessing the first British Kart Champion being hailed in 2021.
Class Round Up
The final round of the season saw multiple drivers still within a mathematical chance of taking the title, but without any significant drama for the front runners, it was realistically a two-horse race between Ryan Cannon (Andy Fairless Motorsport) and Tom Longfield (Privateer).
Cannon was on superb form with an almost clean sweep across the weekend which sealed him the championship title as he crossed the line out front in the final. In a dominant weekend, Cannon was only ever headed in qualifying, where he took second spot, just 0.02sec behind the pole-man Miles Murphy (Moore Racing).
In the final it was the last year’s title winner Joe Charlton (Privateer) who finished second on the road with Murphy in third, gaining four positions through the final. Title protagonist Longfield finished 4th after a strong drive all weekend, falling just short of clinching the title himself.
This weekend’s Honda Cadet battle was yet again a hard-fought affair, with an amazing final in which the top 10 contenders were line astern by the final. As the chequered flag fell it was Timo Jungling (SFR Motorsport) who took the win followed by Ambition Motorsport’s Joshua Graham and Noah Wolfe from Synergy Race Team rounding out the three.
The result also means that the top three on the podium also find themselves the thick of the championship battle heading to the final round at PFi in October. With the closeness of the Cadet title race in 2021, the final round of the season is likely to be a blistering affair as the grid takes to the UK’s International grade circuit for its all-important finale`.
Ethan Jeff-Hall [Strawberry Racing] made it four final wins from five races as he was followed over the line by the Coles Racing duo of Reg Heywood and Harrison Crowther in second and third respectively. The entire final was tightly packed race throughout, with the lead changing multiple times. As the laps counted down, it was Jeff-Hall who found a comfortable rhythm to open out a two second gap to his closest rivals and bringing the race home in controlled style.
With another win Jeff-Hall takes a healthy 43-point lead to PFi for the final round with DHR’s Scott Marsh sitting in second after finishing 11th in the final after a trying weekend. Ewan Charman sits in third on 748 points after taking fourth in this weekend’s final, just missing out on a podium spot.
Strawberry Racing’s Leon Henderson was in fine form over the weekend, earning himself the win, the championship lead and a Wera Tools Driver of The Day victory. Jez Williams (Vision Motorsport) finished second with Archie Walker (KR-Sport) having a storming drive, rising 13 places to finish third spot on the podium.
The results from the weekend leave Henderson sitting in prime spot going to PFi on 742 points with Tooley Motorsports Neo Clarke sitting second on 720 points. Only one more point behind is Olly Stevens from DHR. The championship top three is also locked out currently by three series rookies, an indication of how competitive the series is for both new and established drivers.
With the Hunter family owning Warden Law, there was always going to be additional pressure on the two DHR brothers, Rhys and Kai, to bring it home on the top step. But it was Lewis Gilbert (Potenza Racing Engines), who added to his `O plate` victory here earlier this year, who took the win from KR-Sports Sean Butcher and Argenti Motorsports Louis Harvey after exceptional driving from the entire grid.
It’s still a Hunter one-two in the championship despite a drama filled weekend which saw a non-finish for Rhys in the prefinal. Kai Hunter now leads Rhys by nine points whilst Sean Butcher’s podium keeps him in contention for the championship. With dropped scores still to consider at PFi, its undoubtedly going to be an intense weekend for the Senior Rotax grid in October.
The Rotax 177 class was missing a vital component of the championship battle in the final, as series leader Daniel Tate (Strawberry Racing), elected to sit out the session to protect a rib injury he acquired the weekend before.
The final was a familiarly close battle, but it was joy for KR-Sport and their drivers Henry Ayres and Matthew Easton who took the top two spots on the podium with Ayres having a gap of over five seconds by the end of the race. Ultimate-R’s Callum Porter took third place on the podium with the top three positions changing throughout.
Tate still leads the championship on 794 points heading to PFi with Louis Large (Coles Racing) and Matthew Easton sitting in joint second on 781 points. Sam Winter (Privateer) sits in fourth a further 48 points behind, but the championship is most definitely wide-open heading into the final round.
PF International will now host each of the Rotax, IAME, TKM, Bambino and Honda Cadet final rounds, split across two action packed weekends in October.