The super fast Rissington circuit in Gloucestershire played host to the second weekend of the British Kart Championships for the Honda Cadet field and the Junior and Senior TKM categories, as well as kick-starting the season for the hotly anticipated KZ2 season.
155 drivers were entered for the event which saw some brilliant race craft across the four classes and two days of terrific racing, and gives us a strong idea now who will be fighting for the British Championship title across the TKM and Honda grids, although we’re still learning about the closely competitive form book in the shifter class.
It was quite simply a perfect weekend for Kean Nakamura-Berta who had entered the weekend tied in the points lead with Mitchell Gibbons, but after a clean sweep of victories in the heats and both finals after also being fastest in timed qualifying sees him in a firm lead of the championship moving forward. His close rival Mitchell Gibbons of Ambition Motorsport endured a tough weekend keeping pace with the Japanese star in both their heats to run second behind him, but come the finals he would find it hard to set the pace finishing fifth in both finals, which now places him second in the standings 14 points behind the Project One Racing driver in the lead.
Thomas Cucurullo-Yeomans had a brilliant run at Rissington with a heat win on Saturday ahead of the Hines Racing duo of Jack Plant and Haydn Eldridge before having to play defensive in his second heat on the Sunday salvaging 4th position. That race was won brilliantly by the comeback kid Sonny Smith who shook off the disappointment of dropping to the back in the earlier day’s heat by romping to the victory on Sunday morning ahead of Ethian Symonds and Ewan Charman.
Behind Nakamura-Berta, Ethian Symonds continued his solid weekend with a second place in the first final in front of newly crowned open champion Connor Duncan. Jack Hobson would cross the line 4th ahead of Mitchell Gibbons whilst a front fairing penalty post-race would deny Oscar Teuten a strong finish, thereby handing the top 6 spot to Sonny Smith.
Symonds ran Nakamura-Berta much closer in the second final and now looks likely to challenge for victory again at Fulbeck next month, whilst incredibly the rest of the top 6 would remain identical to the previous final. So Connor Duncan would grab another podium finish a whisker ahead of Jack Hobson, whilst Mitchell Gibbons and Sonny Smith would finish a second apart to round out the top six.
Harry Yardley-Rose stated his intent for the weekend in qualifying and continued his early pace into the first heat with a victory ahead of Zak Oates and Oliver Stewart, with yet more frustration for the exceptionally fast Morgan Kidd who suffered a front fairing penalty dropping from 4th position to 8th. It would be Dominic Kilmister who would benefit finishing ahead of Ben Watson and Spencer Lane, but with leading seed Connor Kearney out on the first lap we knew we were in for a strong fightback.
Yardley-Rose continued into the second day still on top form and grabbed another win ahead of Oliver Richardson and Morgan Kidd who just squeezed ahead of Louis Harvey at the finish line. Zak Oates asserted his authority on the final heat with a brilliant victory in front of Oliver Stewart with Dominic Kilmister and Oliver Richardson close behind.
The finals would play out as a straight duel between Harry Yardley-Rose and Zak Oates with some great opposition from the drivers with them in the top six. Despite six lead changes and a strong attack from Oliver Stewart, it would be Yardley-Rose who clinched his first final win of the season just ahead of Oates and Stewart. Oliver Richardson would finish just ahead of Harvey Roffe with Kilmister and Kidd close behind.
The roles would be reversed in the second final up front, but not until Oliver Stewart had made an even stronger assault on the victory. Eight lead changes between three drivers eventually saw Zak Oates emerge in front of Yardley-Rose and Louis Harvey as Morgan Kidd was handed another post-race penalty despite brilliantly finishing fourth on the road just a shave ahead of Oliver Stewart.
After Chris Whitton’s dominance at PF International, the rest of the field were eager to settle the score so when Adam Sparrow bagged pole position with Whitton down in a lowly 34th we knew we were in for a treat especially with the whole field covered by just over a second. Sparrow converted his pole position into a heat one victory ahead of Matthew Allnutt and Lee Whittingham, with James Pashley, Alex Page and Matthew Taylor rounding out the top six.
The next day Sparrow made it two out of two with Lewis Wadley inches from beating him. Whittingham grabbed another third place chased home by Kyle Sproat and Joseph Reeves-Smith with Allnutt again in the top six. Wadley then clinched a win of his own in the final heat ahead of Sproat and former champion Harry Moore, as Spencer Stevenson, Ryan Cole and reigning champion Joe Fowler re-emerged at the front of the field to complete the leading six over the line.
Despite his early form Adam Sparrow was jumped at the start by Lee Whittingham and despite a brief return to the top spot couldn’t match his early weekend pace, but once Lewis Wadley hit the front on lap 9 it would become a lead he would never lose. Kyle Sproat then passed Whittingham too to claim another podium finish, whilst behind Whittingham at the flag there were some valuable high scores for Matthew Allnutt, Ryan Cole and the heroic comeback from Chris Whitton with Sparrow falling to a lowly 9th.
In the second final Wadley’s initial challenge from Whittingham sadly declined and as the Precision Racing driver edged into an unbreakable lead it would be Adam Sparrow and Chris Whitton who delivered big recovery drives to accompany Wadley on the final podium of the weekend. Cole, Taylor and Whittingham would emerge in the top six behind them, but with Wadley proving his point from a pair of victories, Whitton holds a crucial 12 point advantage over Ryan Cole heading to Fulbeck.
All eyes were on Italy’s Fabian Federer as he became an immediate challenger for the top spot on his first visit to the British Kart Championships. The former European champion become a contender straight out of the blocks and emerged from qualifying on pole position a fraction in front of Scott Allen and Adam Glear, and he would continue to hold that advantage into the first heat winning a thriller ahead of Glear. James Glenister and Tom Longfield would start the seasons on a positive note beating reigning champion Dan Kelly to the flag, just in front of Ryan Cannon and Hannah Lang.
Federer continued his epic display this time keeping Scott Allen behind him, but Adam Glear was still within touch. Glenister, Cannon and Longfield all remained within the top six to stay in contention after an almighty battle, whilst Miles Murphy and Shane Daly continued their solid efforts finishing in the top half of the grid.
The only man who could match Federer for raw pace from that moment on was Adam Glear, and try as he might he just couldn’t quite eclipse the Italian in the first race. On the third spot of the podium, Scott Allen was able to hold off tough opposition from Dan Kelly who was itching to nail a podium finish. James Glenister was unfortunate to be docked from fifth position for a front fairing out of position, and so Tom Longfield and Ryan Cannon would finish in the top six instead.
Adam Glear tried every trick he knew to gain on and then pass Fabian Federer, but the Maranello chassis in the hands of Federer was just invincible at Rissington and he hung on for a complete clean sweep of the weekend ahead of Glear. This time Longfield raised his game and planted the kart firmly on the podium after an epic scrap with Scott Allen, whilst Shane Daly reminded everyone of his quality by vanquishing Dan Kelly after a race-long duel.
As the British Kart Championships head for Rowrah for more Rotax action this weekend, the TKM, Honda and KZ2 classes will regroup next month as the championship returns to Lincolnshire at the ultra-fast Fulbeck circuit.