The Motorsport UK British Kart Championships move on to its second venue of the 2019 season at Shenington Kart Racing Club, the “Monza” of British karting. With fast long straights and tight sweeping bends, this circuit is all about a high-end top speed and the tow in qualifying can decide an entire weekend. Qualifying from the front to the rear of the grid is often seperated by hundredths of a second in the top 5, and the whole field can be covered by a second.
Each of the championships got off to a sensational start on the second weekend of April with tough weather conditions and ice cold temperatures to deal with. This weekend the Banbury weather is set to be mild and breezy and despite the predicted sunshine, with air temperatures being low the karts will most likely be at their fastest all season with tyres and engines operating likely to be at optimum performance. So who are the drivers likely to take advantage of it?
Kean Nakamura-Berta heads into the weekend as the championship leader in a tight battle with the trio of drivers at Oliver Rowland Motorsport – Brandon Carr, Harley Keeble and Sonny Smith. The solid consistency of Vinnie Phillips means that with two strong finishes at PF International, he is currently second in the standings. Maximus Hall is sure to be a contender for victory this weekend after finishing 3rd in both last year’s finals, whilst Harry Jnr Burgoyne put on quite a show in the finals last month.
Expect Macauley Bishop to continue his exceptional start to the season as the leading privateer and one of the highest rookies for the season so far. After some difficulties in the opening round, you can be certain that Aiden Neate will be after a double win to get his championship aspirations back on track for 2019 whilst his team-mate Leo Robinson is almost guaranteed to do another solid job after his performance last time out.
Just eighteen points cover the top twelve drivers in the standings with an almighty battle for the title set to continue at Shenington. Alfie Rigby looks strong at this early stage with a win and a third from the season opener but Jessica Edgar was a race winner at Shenington last year and almost won in April.
Oliver Greenall will be on the fight back trail after the chance to win both finals at PF International got away from him in the closing stages but he will definitely be in the hunt for the win at Shenington as will Theo Micouris after a podium run in the first round. Edward Pearson showed smooth consistency last month and will likely be in the hunt again, whilst Luke Watts demonstrated strength of character beyond his years to challenge for the overall victory with only a front fairing penalty preventing him from clinching the win in Round 2. That was handed to Daniel Bolton who should again be strong at Shenington.
Caden McQueen is an early favourite for the weekend after his incredible form last season after finishing on the podium in both finals last year, and being only 11 points behind Georgi Dimitrov he has a strong chance to take the win at Shenington. Tom Edgar, Oliver Bearman and Josh Rowledge were all in the hunt for victory last month, but with all of them very evenly matched. It’s hard to tell who will do the best in Oxfordshire.
Others to watch for are Alessandro Ceronetti who has been on a real hot streak in the early part of the year in Junior X30, as well as Oliver Gray and Reggie Duhy who are never far away from the front end of the field whilst Joshua McLean and Aaron Walker have both been improving dramatically over the last few weeks. Joseph Taylor and Freddie Spindlow will also be hoping that their incredible turn of speed is going to continue, with the hope that this time fortune will be favouring them.
Two men were in a class of their own in the opening round of the season with Clayton Ravenscroft and Gus Lawrence taking the top spots in both races at PF International. Mark Kimber and Morgan Porter were close to them in raw pace, and if qualifying goes their way at Shenington then either man has a genuine chance to crack the top spot on the podium.
Sean Butcher is bound to be competitive after winning the first final at Shenington last year, and PFI specialist Oliver Hodgson was second in both last year’s races so despite a slump in form on home soil last month he’ll be hard to beat if the setup goes well. Axel LaFlamme and Thomas Turner have got their seasons off to strong starts, but they could see a strong challenge from Teddy Pritchard-Williams who once more has been in the centre of some incredible battles and pulled off some exceptional moves last month, so expect him to colour himself in glory again.
There will be two full days of racing across the weekend, with live coverage of the repechages and finals of each round via Downforce Radio starting from 1455 on both days, with filmed highlights of the second round of the weekend being produced by Tunafish Media after the event.