Six titles were decided at Event 11 as the 2022 Wera Tools British Kart Championships season drew to a thrilling close for the IAME, TKM and Bambino classes.
A double-header weekend at PF International gave the drivers an extensive final opportunity to score as many points as possible and improve their placing in the overall standings.
And the six talented karters who emerged as this year’s champions are as follows:
- Bambino: Riley Murro
- IAME Cadet: Jesse Phillips [Fusion Motorsport]
- Junior X30: Gabriel Stilp [Croc Promotion]
- Senior X30: Gus Lawrence [PF International Karting]
- Junior TKM: Leon Frost [TWM]
- TKM Extreme: Chris Whitton [Privateer]
The Honda Academy ‘O’ Plate was also contested throughout the weekend by an impressive group of 11 drivers.
Popular circuit PFi was the perfect final outing of the season and provided close racing throughout, with the ‘up and over’ segment a particular highlight for karters and spectators alike, and you can watch back all of Sunday’s racing on Motorsport UK’s YouTube channel [HERE].
With no double-header in the Bambino class, every moment of the weekend counted towards Sunday’s finale.
Riley Murro led the way heading to PFi with a near-perfect scorecard from the previous three events, but he had to work hard for victory and was pushed all the way by closest title contenders, Chester Forkes and Austin Oman.
Forkes went fastest in timed qualifying before Murro won both heats to edge closer to the championship, but he was narrowly beaten in the final by Oman who recorded a well-deserved first victory of the season.
Nevertheless, Murro’s dominance over the course of the season earned him the title and number 1 plate, ahead of Oman and Forkes in second and third respectively.
Fusion Motorsport were more or less guaranteed to win this season’s IAME Cadet championship, but which of their drivers would take the crown?
Favourite Jesse Phillips took a 30-point advantage into the final round, ahead of team-mates Jenson Graham, Jorge Edgar and Kit Belofsky.
And he strengthened his case further with a sparkling Saturday performance; taking pole in TQ, winning one heat and finishing second in the other, and claiming victory in the final after Belofsky, who crossed the line first, received a penalty.
His team-mates fought back hard on Sunday as Edgar and Belofsky claimed a win each in the heats, but third in the final sealed Phillips’ title victory. Belofsky’s final win moved him up to second overall, while Graham did enough to stay ahead of Edgar for third.
Heading into PFi, Gabriel Stilp was the driver to beat, but the championship was by no means wrapped up just yet as Fionn McLaughlin [Fusion Motorsport] and Harry Burgoyne Jnr [Mick Barrett Racing] followed closely behind him.
All three were involved at the top throughout Saturday, with McLaughlin and Stilp taking a heat win each and Burgoyne finishing second in a heat as well as the final, which was won by privateer Rylan Echberg.
With Stilp sitting on a healthy 33-point advantage into the weekend, consistency was key for him, and third place in Sunday’s final was enough to name him champion of 2022.
McLaughlin claimed second overall, just nine points ahead of Burgoyne, whose two second-place finishes at PFi meant he broke the record of most podiums in the modern era of BKC with 15.
Elsewhere, Sunday’s final was won by Macauley Bishop of DHR, a fitting reward for his recent good form which earned him fourth in the championship. This also means that Bishop has won finals in five classes – IAME, Micromax, Mini X30, Junior X30 and Junior Max – more than any other driver.
With just seven points separating first and second, the Senior X30 title went down to the wire at PFi – and the locals were surely overjoyed to see who triumphed.
Bart Harrison [Mick Barrett Racing] led Gus Lawrence as the double-header threw up ample opportunities for them to claim points.
But just one top-three finish for Harrison throughout the weekend’s racing was to cost him dearly.
Lawrence and Aaron Walker [Strawberry Racing] took a heat win each on Saturday, as Lawrence then finished third in the final behind Harry Platten [BMR] and Tom Fleming [DHR].
It put him in a strong position for Sunday where he continued his good form with a third place in the second heat.
Harrison kept the pressure on as he went fastest in TQ and won the first heat to take pole for the final, but it was Lawrence who crossed the line ahead of his rival and got promoted from second to first due to penalties.
It meant an emotional Lawrence wrapped up championship victory on home turf, as he celebrated with his PFi team-mates post-race.
Harrison finished second overall, with a strong weekend for Platten allowing him to pip Walker to third by just one point.
PFi saw a close-run Junior TKM championship well and truly shaken up, with just over 70 points separating first and 10th in the end, but the title winner was far from a surprise.
Leon Frost has shone all season long, leading by 46 points with more top scores than anyone else ahead of the double-header finale.
His team-mates Olivia Jakins and Ollie Rands sat in second and third, but did not finish there after an eventful weekend.
Luke Bate [RSR] was the star of the show on Saturday, claiming the fastest TQ time, a second-placed heat finish, and his first final victory of the season – albeit at the expense of an unlucky Alfie Garford [Privateer], who crossed the line first but was disqualified after his rear bumper broke half a lap before the chequered flag.
Rands scooped a place on the podium in third, but unfortunately for him and Jakins, that was the closest they got to the top three all weekend.
Sunday saw Garford and Tyla Harris [Privateer] take a heat victory each before Garford made up for Saturday’s events with a well-deserved P1, a fitting end to his time with the no1 plate.
Knowing he had a hefty points advantage, Frost stayed out of trouble and finished fifth in both finals to take the championship win.
Harris’ stand-out performances in the final few rounds of the season earned him second place in the championship, while the quietly-consistent Dara McInerney [Privateer], though not his best weekend, moved into third overall. A special mention must go to Yehan Kallychurn [Klaassen Motorsport] who came away from PFi with two podium finishes and ended up just four points from a top-three championship finish.
Chris Whitton has been on top form all season, and with a 50-point buffer in the standings after Round 4, he was widely expected to take the crown at PFi.
Whitton did, in fact, suffer his worst round of the season on Sunday, finishing outside of the top 10 in both heats and the final. But fortunately for him, a near-flawless rest of the campaign meant he was able to drop those scores and still cruise to the title by almost 40 points – you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone more deserving of the no1 plate.
Sam Johns [TWM] and Aaron Lask [RSR] were left to battle it out for second and third overall, with Harvey Roffe [TWM] waiting in the wings to pounce after victory last time out at Whilton Mill.
Though Johns bagged the fastest time in TQ and a heat win to line up ahead of his nearest rival, Lask finished second in Saturday’s final, behind the impeccable Whitton, to turn up the pressure.
P3 and P1 in Sunday’s heats gave Lask even more motivation, but both drivers finished outside of the top 10 in the final, with Johns ahead of Lask.
With the top three in the standings staying the same as before PFi, it was the Welshman who claimed overall second just 14 points ahead of Lask, while Roffe’s P1 on Sunday secured fourth in the championship, level on points with fifth-placed Jack Saunders [Privateer]
Honda Academy ‘O’ Plate
A faultless weekend for Kenzo Craigie [Zip Factory Team] gave him the ‘O’ Plate bragging rights, ahead of Charlie Kiteley [Privateer] and team-mate Charlie King.
Craigie topped all but one practice session, was fastest in TQ – five tenths ahead of King – and won both heats before it up with victory in the final.
Next up is Event 12 at Whilton Mill on 14-16 October, the final BKC round of 2022 where the Rotax and Honda titles will be decided.