Event 1: Rotax Championship, PFi
30 - 31 March 2019
First-up to entertain the crowds at a sun-kissed PFI was the MiniMax series for drivers aged 11 to 15. The Coles Racing duo of Archie Kitching and Sam Gornall diced for the lead with the advantage being exchanged several times in the early stages. The pair soon decided to work together to pull a gap over third place and in the closing stages, battle resumed with Gornall clinching the first win of the season by just 0.17 seconds. TWM driver Alexander Hughes fended off Ryan Willis for third.
Kitching was to have his own celebrations as the Shipley driver lifted the trophy in the second contest of the weekend – a race where eight drivers created a slipstreaming freight train in the fight for victory. Teammate Gornall had a race to forget as he ran wide – dropping him down the order – eventually finishing eighth. Hughes followed Kitching home in second to bag another haul of points while Jez Hughes in his first season in the BKC took a fine podium – making up eight places after a spirited drive.
Kai Hunter did the double in the Junior Rotax category for drivers aged 13-17. The DHR star hardly put a foot wrong all weekend as he took a lights to flag victory in both contests – but he didn’t have it his own way as he was pushed hard by Tom Adams and Taylan Babbs in the first contest before Babbs and Harry Newman-Oakley slugged it out for the spoils in the second. The enthralling head-to-tail racing was in evidence throughout the field as the top-ten were separate by a matter of seconds on both rounds.
In the first final in the Senior Rotax class for drivers aged 16 and over, James Johnson climbed onto the top step for DHR after a nail-biting race which saw the top-three blanketed by less than one second. Kieran Gifford was the runner-up in race one, but he had his own moment in the spotlight in race two as he secured his first win of the season and with it the championship lead leaving PFI. James Lowther notched up a podium in the first race before a small mistake sent him down the order in the second. Lewis Malin had quite possibly the drive of the weekend. In the first final, the Solihull-star produced a monumental drive to lift himself from the back of the grid to finish seventh, before the MLR driver went on another mission to put his kart onto the final rostrum position in the final race of the weekend.
Last, but by no means least, the Rotax 177 classes were the final category of the weekend. Topping qualifying was Nathan Chafer maintained his excellent form to secure the first win of the season in front of James Beacroft and Chris Wright. Such was the competitiveness of the class Levi King who had a disappointing final one by his high standards had the bit between his teeth to pull out all the stops to lift the race two trophy from 12th on the grid. James Beacroft was mister consistent as he recorded back-to-back second places as 2018 Open Champion Michael Cheek rounded out the top three in the final race of the PFI meeting.
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