Across the four classes in action at Fulbeck, the crowds were treated to four brilliant battles amongst the competitors in each category as the British Kart Championships continued for Honda Cadet, Junior TKM, TKM Extreme and KZ2 and after a terrific set of finals the championships are very evenly matched heading into the second half of the season.
As the TKM, Honda and KZ2 classes took on the technical and fast challenges of the prolific Fulbeck circuit, each of the four title fights now has an eagerly awaited second half of the year as each of the championship contenders found they had a tough fight on their hands. With lead changes aplenty and new faces making their way to the final podiums it was a weekend of firsts for many drivers across the paddock.
The weekend started dramatically after Sonny Smith had finally done enough on track to reignite his challenge for the season and win a thrilling heat, only to see him excluded after his sidepod parted company with the kart and he failed to comply with the mechanical flags shown to him. Jack Hobson and Jayden Gregg made their statements of intent as they led home the field behind him, with recently crowned O Plate champion Connor Duncan in a brilliant third position. Ewan Charman continued his development with fourth position ahead of championship leader Kean Nakamura-Berta and the ever impressive Macie Hitter, in her first weekend for Synergy.
Haydn Eldridge continued his fantastic first season in the British Championships with a win in the second heat ahead of Gregg and Hobson, with Sonny Smith finally getting some good luck ahead of Kean Nakamura-Berta and Oscar Teuten. Despite how close the field were matched, Eldridge would then take command again in the third and final heat, setting him up for pole position in the first final. Ewan Charman and Mitchell Gibbons were next in line behind him with the two Scottish Hines Racing team-mates Connor Duncan and Dylan Mackay bagging a top five finish just ahead of Ben Raeburn.
After some heroic racing in the first compelling final it was Mitchell Gibbons who stormed through the pack to take a convincing victory from 7th on the grid, slicing his championship deficit to just 5 points. Eldridge and Hobson would continue their brilliant weekends by sealing podium finishes whilst Connor Duncan would battle valiantly with Jayden Gregg, and a thrilling drive from Rylan Echberg would see him climb from 24th on the grid to a stunning 6th ahead of team-mate Kean Nakamura-Berta.
The second final saw an even closer battle as Rylan Echberg would storm through to the front and lead in the early stages, but eventually both Jayden Gregg and Jack Hobson would find a way past and an emotional podium was sealed. Gregg clinched his first victory in a British championship final ahead of an incredibly disciplined Hobson, whilst Echberg had stormed from 24th on the Final 1 grid to an exceptional podium in the second, very nearly a win. Mitchell Gibbons, Sonny Smith and Kean Nakamura-Berta ended frustrating but solid weekends in the top six with the title fight now much closer.
Ben Watson opened his weekend’s account with a brilliant first victory in the Saturday heat as Spencer Lane and Oliver Stewart chased him to the line, as Stewart and Harry Yardley-Rose both made up four places from their starting position. Scott Smith and Ben Higgins would begin their weekends in the top six as championship leader Zak Oates struggling throughout and remaining in 10th.
Lane would overturn the victory to Watson in the second heat with Louis Harvey charging his way to third position. Harvey Cole would run strong to finish 4th ahead of Jack Saunders and James Barty. Harvey would then continue a great weekend for the Klaassen Motorpsort squad with a heat win in the third encounter ahead of a resurgent Zak Oates and Harry Yardley-Rose. Morgan Kidd and Dominic Roberts would lose their top five finishes after front fairing penalties during a tough weekend, which promoted James Barty and Zak Taylor to their positions ahead of Jack Nicholson, who in turn grabbed sixth position at the expense of Oliver Richardson who suffered the same fate as Kidd and Roberts post race.
In the first final, Zak Oates completed his fightback to the front with an exceptional win after a terrific duel with Ben Watson and Louis Harvey as all three swapped positions for the lead and then eventually ended up on the podium in that order. Spencer Lane would charge again to fourth position with Oliver Stewart just in behind him and Scott Smith clinching sixth place. However in the second final, Harvey and Watson both took turns running at the front as Zak Oates stormed in behind, but Watson picked his moment perfectly and grabbed the lead as Oates managed to squeeze past Harvey too, and the podium was once again sealed with Lane in another brilliant fourth. The two men who made massive progress in the second final were Dominic Kilmister and Lewis Mackie, both of whom ran brilliantly to the top six having originally started the second final outside the top ten.
After his terrific form in qualifying, Michael Cornell would continue to the first heat as an early winner in front of Dan McKeown, as Chris Whitton stormed back from the lower end of the top ten to finish third. Kyle Sproat and Lee Whittingham continued in the top five whilst Sam Fowler struggled to stay in touch after a tough fight as he ended sixth.
On Sunday morning, Adam Sparrow began a stellar day of racing by narrowly defeating Whitton, James Pashley and a frustrated Cornell. Kyle Sproat remained in touch whilst James Ogden fought back from 10th to finish in the top six. In the third and final heat of the weekend, Sparrow was able to defend valiantly from Matthew Taylor who drove superbly to second ahead of Pashley and Whittingham, with Sam Fowler staying in the top six just a place ahead of Ogden.
Sparrow continued his impressive run of form into the first final as he clinched victory in front of Whittingham and Sproat. There would be some incredible drives in the first final as Taylor, McKeown and former champion Harry Moore all charged through to the top six in a very tense battle. The second final would turn out to be one of the races of the season as Sparrow, Sproat and McKeown spent the entire race contesting the victory. But in the closing stages a few choice manoeuvres would eventually see a clash between Sparrow and McKeown, which opened up the playing field around them. Max Goldsmith would position himself neatly into a winning position to grab his first British Championship win in a final after 9 years of struggle. Behind an emotional Goldsmith was Whittingham who stayed calm in the heat of the moment to clinch second, whilst Sam Fowler bounced back tremendously from 25th on the grid to the podium. McKeown would salvage 4th ahead of Matthew Allnutt and Kyle Sproat.
The first heat saw Dan Kelly overturning the pole position of Scott Allen to take victory, with Matteo Zanetti remaining in third from his grid slot thanks to post-race fortunes. Adam Glear would be demoted from third after a loose front fairing, and would drop behind Zanetti, Ryan Cannon and Miles Murphy. The second heat saw a chance for Adam Glear to redeem himself and he grabbed it with both hands with an impressive win just in front of Kelly with Shane Daly driving an exceptional race to claim third position. The top six would be completed by Murphy, Cannon and James Glenister, who would also fall victim to a loose front fairing having originally finished third.
A tough battle in the first final saw Dan Kelly and Adam Glear battle for supremacy throughout, but no matter how close it became between the two Kelly was just able to hang on for the victory with the two men poised to duel again in the second final. Glenister endured more hardship with a second front fairing penalty dropping him from third to fifth behind Daly and Allen whilst Murphy continued in strong style in the top six. The second final was looking like a four way scrap for the victory until Scott Allen’s engine seized whilst pursuing the leaders causing a major dent in his title aspirations. This time Adam Glear would seize the initiative and pull out enough of a gap to be comfortable in the win after James Glenister’s move on Kelly to grab second worked beautifully, with Daly, Cannon and Murphy completing the top six.
The KZ2, Honda Cadet and TKM classes will reconvene as the second half of the season begins in July at Shenington, whilst the British Kart Championships switch focus back to the Rotax classes which race this weekend at the Mansell Kart Club at Dunkeswell.