The Motorsport UK British Kart Championships continue on as the TKM and Honda categories arrive at Rissington in Gloucestershire, joined for the first time this season by the highly anticipated KZ2 shifter category as their 2019 campaign begins. With overtaking opportunities aplenty and a tricky circuit to cope with in the wet which may become a factor, there’s plenty to get excited about.
After an exciting season opener at PF International, changeable weather conditions are set to make this weekend challenging in terms of both setup and race craft, and the drivers from Honda Cadet to Junior TKM and TKM Extreme will have to be at their absolute best to cope with the trying nature of the weather forecast, with rain expected to hit the circuit just in time for the repechages on Sunday and a chance it could even affect timed qualifying on Saturday. Along with the KZ2 kickoff, the fans will be treated to some phenomenal motorsport.
Kean Nakamura-Berta and Mitchell Gibbons are in a dead heat for the championship, after each of them took a win and a second last time out in the finals. It was particularly impressive from the Japanese star having won the first final from the back of the grid after a mechanical failure in his previous heat. Jack Hobson will be out to ensure that he can get closer to them both after winning in his heat earlier in the weekend, with the likes of Oscar Teuten and Cruz Speakman demonstrating that they will be part of the title fight in 2019 and we should see some more string efforts from them at Rissington.
Ethian Symonds, Jack Plant and Sonny Smith are needing to play catch up after all three men struggled to make an impression due to an unfortunate run of bad luck through the weekend in Lincolnshire. Connor Duncan will most likely renew his squabble with Ewan Charman over the meeting, whilst we are likely to see even more improvements from Thomas Yeomans who turned a true corner in his development with a strong run last month.
Riding the crest of the wave after a brilliant start to the year is Oliver Stewart who brought his BirelART home to a victory and a second at PF International. Zak Oates did a fine job too, whilst both Morgan Kidd and Connor Kearney proved that they will be fighting for the championship too even if their results in the season opener were unable to reflect that. Louis Harvey and Jack Nicholson can be content that their season has started in a solid and consistent fashion, but there is likely to be a ruthless offensive from James Barty and Harry Yardley-Rose who had to fight through adversity last time and will be wanting to state their intent to shake off their troubles from qualifying on Saturday.
Scott Smith has shown an intensive turn of speed already, so expect him to go for the victory. Zak Taylor never really found his feet in the first round, with heads scratching around the Litchfield Motorsport awning as to where his pace had gone, but he won’t be struggling for long. Oliver Richardson had atrocious luck in the finals but proved he can win going away in the heats, whilst Bradley Beavers is quietly sneaking behind his opponents and making steady progression. It is unlikely to take him too long to start making moves on the frontrunners.
Chris Whitton opened his account in 2019 with a dominant performance in the season opener in Lincolnshire, and based on his status a month ago it may be tough for his opponents to stay with him if he gets a clean break. There is however a strong queue of rivals lining up to steal his crown. James Pashley and Michael Cornell began their seasons with some impressive podium runs, whilst Ryan Cole and Kye Springfield showed excellence and determination which knows no bounds and will come in handy over the season.
The established guard of the class found themselves in dire straits many times over in April. Kyle Sproat and Lee Whittingham were fortunate to salvage some reasonable points after a difficult weekend, whilst Sam and Joe Fowler are already finding it tough to keep up with the front end of the field. Harry Moore and Adam Sparrow struggled too as the close quarters nature of the field demonstrated how tough it can be to run at the front. It was a fair debut as a senior for Abbi Pulling with fast times in warm-up and qualifying backed up by a tough pair of finals, and now that she knows how tricky it will be we can expect to see some serious ground made up.
There has been much speculation and anticipation for the new KZ2 shifter season in Great Britain, and with a top quality field ready to begin their journey to the top of the podium there will surely be plenty of thrills and spills to be fired up about. Dan Kelly is of course the man to beat, but once again his task will not be easy as Adam Glear will once again be fighting fit out of the blocks. Former European champion Fabian Federer has elected to compete in the British championship with the Italian clearly seeing the nature of competition in Britain being of a high standard sufficient enough for his attention.
Scott Allen will captain the efforts for Jade Racing on the BirelART chassis, whilst Rush Performance are set for a brilliant season with the driving talents of Daniel Gould and Lee Hasler steering the ship forward. Hannah Lang has found the challenge of the European season opener at Wackersdorf invaluable for her British campaign so it won’t be a surprise to see her fighting for podiums, whilst Dan Arlott could be a good shout for a victory as he represents the UK arm of the Sodi Racing outfit.
Live coverage of the event will once again be provided by Downforce Radio with Alex Goldschmidt in the commentary box for timed qualifying on Saturday, and from the repechages and finals on Sunday. Tunafish Media will be in attendance once again to film highlights of the second round final in each of the four classes, with the programmes uploaded to our Facebook and YouTube social media channels in the days following the races.