The Rotax and TKM classes of the Motorsport UK Wera Tools British Kart Championship blasted back into action last weekend [28 -29 August] as the Whilton Mill circuit in Northamptonshire hosted an exhilarating double-header race meeting.
With the popular Rotax categories just two-rounds down so far in 2021, the championship would begin to gather pace for the eager contenders who had a bumper number of scoring opportunities up for grabs thanks to the two-round weekend and the action on-track was predictability intense.
The competitive TKM Juniors and Extreme classes would enjoy the third and penultimate round of their season at Whilton. With only Sunday’s heats and finals counting towards the championship, the battle for glory provided a thrilling encounter for the category as the race for the title hots up.
Joining the BKC at the circuit was a non-championship Rotax guest event where Micromax racers would be going head-to-head for the chance of winning a place at the Rotax Grand Finals in Bahrain in December. With a prize fund of around £5,000 up for grabs, the racing throughout the weekend was an intense affair with two worthy winners heading to the prestigious event later in the year.
The 1200 metre circuit offered the perfect opportunity to resume the all-important championship battles across each category thanks to its fast and flowing layout, with several prime over taking opportunities offering up some impressive last-gasp manoeuvres and overtakes throughout the two days of action.
Ethan Jeff-Hall (Strawberry Racing) has been the name at the top of the podium many times so far this season, but Saturday’s round saw all that change. After the two heats, it would be Blake Ticehurst (Coles Racing) who was on top in the intermediate classification. But team-mate Reg Heywood made it stick in the Final, securing his maiden win of the season in an intense battle across the line on Saturday’s final with Jeff-Hall and Andrew Douglass (Coles Racing) following on.
Sunday saw heat wins for Daniel Amor and Jeff-Hall who recovered from a lowly 23rd spot on the opening race. His form duly returned in the second Final of the weekend to take victory by over a second from Chase Fernandez (Vision Motorsport) and Harrison Crowther (Coles Racing).
Jeff Hall now enjoys a 30 point lead in the championship with Rookie Scott Marsh gaining a place to second, swapping with Crowther.
Harry Linden topped the time sheets in Qualifying before going on to win two Heats and subsequently Saturday’s final in a blistering performance from the DHR racer; taking his maiden victory this season. Sam Gornall (Coles Racing) took an impressive second spot over the line from championship leader Olly Stevens (DHR).
However, Sunday belonged to Daniel Guinchard (Argenti Motorsport). Fastest in Qualifying, winning two heats and the final goes some way to make up for Saturday’s disappointment and put’s him back in the title fight in equal third after the weekend.
Neo Clarke (Tooley Motorsport) took his best result of the season so far in second to close to just two points to Stevens in the title chase, whilst Leon Henderson made up four places in the final to take the final podium spot in third.
Just 70 points separate the top ten in the Junior Rotax class as the series heads into their second half of the season.
Rhys Hunter (DHR) maintained his hold of the Senior Rotax championship lead with a stunning double victory over the weekend. Fastest in qualifying, Hunter scooped two Heat wins on Saturday on his way to a clean sweep. Sunday was a tougher prospect, but still stood on the top step when it mattered to pull out a 33 point lead in the standings over younger brother Kai (DHR).
Sean Butcher grabbed second on the opening day in his KR-Sport machine, ahead of DHR’s Matthew Higgins who enjoyed a prosperous weekend. Higgins took third spot in both Finals to see him jump from eighth to fourth in the points tables.
A sensational weekend of racing from the Junior Rotax contenders sees a big swap in the standings with Butcher and Higgins having it all to do at Warden Law if they are to catch the Hunter brothers at their quite literally, their home track.
A small but mighty field assembled for battle at Whilton and a new name entered the ring for the top step honours in Henry Ayres (KR-Sport). Forced to miss round two, Ayres hit the ground running to win both Saturday’s and Sunday’s Finals with a Heat win to boot. Jack McConnell (KR-Sport) also had a Heat win, taking second in Saturday’s Final but fell away on the second day. Matthew Easton took the third step on both days for KR-Sport, with Louis Large splitting the team on Sunday in his Coles Racing machine.
Series leader Daniel Tate (Strawberry Racing) finished outside of the podiums on both days and now holds just a 14 point advantage over the chasing Large.
With just one final to concentrate on during the weekend, the TKM categories would need to make every outing on track count. Their penultimate round of 2021 would see points on offer for Heats, Pre-Finals and Finals and once again Alistair Cresswell scooped an impressive haul. Aside from the pre-final, Cresswell took a maximum score to head into the final round with a 25 point cushion.
Just like the championship, Alfie Garford would be his nearest challenger, taking second in the combined Heat classification before winning the Pre-final in fine style. Sadly retirement in the Final ended an impressive run. TWM’s James Morley secured second with Charlie King promoted to the podium for Klaassen Motorsport.
Like all classes in the British Kart Championships, you have to look through the entire field to pick a potential winner and it was Harvey Roffe (TWM) who took the win at Whilton. Despite being second to last in the standings coming into the round, Roffe overcame a slow start in the Heats to take a maiden win by over half a second from the chasing Zak Bowen.
Joe Fowler couldn’t quite match his Kimbolton win, rounding out the podium for Klaassen Motorsport and takes him into third in the championship as a result.
Championship leader James Pashley made up an impressive 12 places during the Final to secure fourth and extend his lead over Adam Sparrow to 35 points. With one round remaining, it’s all to play for.
With two qualifying places in the Rotax Grand Finals in Bahrain up for grabs it would be a tense final for the guesting Micromax contenders. A place for each of the two chassis types saw not only a battle for the lead, but throughout the field with Kenzo Craigie taking the Finals win and a placement. Taking fourth, Albert Friend was the recipient of the second prestigious place.
The Wera Tools British Kart Championships will now head to Sunderland on 18-19 September as Warden Law hosts the Rotax and Honda Cadet classes. They will be joined by the KZ2 contenders who will close out their season at the northeast circuit.