The British Kart Championships concluded for the Rotax classes with the paddock’s first ever visit to the beautiful Forest Edge Kart Club near the Thruxton Race Circuit. With the appearance of the first ever MicroMax event in Great Britain alongside the regular classes, and with three title fights to decide over the season finale, the fans were rewarded with some brilliant racing throughout the weekend.
With a record breaking September swelter, the Hampshire countryside rang to the sounds of Rotax engines with some incredible competitors doing battle around the circuit, as the popular club held its first round of the national championships much to the delight of the teams and drivers in attendance. The racing proved to be fantastic to watch, particularly as the MicroMax era began in earnest with some amazing young stars displaying their incredible race-craft.
Ewan Charman grabbed the first ever MicroMax pole position, before racing to the finish line to cross the checkered flag first. Sadly he was deemed to have gained an unfair advantage along the way, and was handed a three second penalty which dropped him to third behind race winner Macauley Bishop and runner-up Leo Purches. Polish star Colin Wazny brought his Parolin home in fourth ahead of Taylor Orridge and Henry Joslyn. Purches would then take the initiative with a stellar drive to the victory in the second heat leading home Charman and Connor Duncan, with the top six completed by Ollie Wise in fourth, Joslyn in fifth and Hugh Moulton in sixth.
The pre-final saw Taylor Orridge fight back from sixth on the grid to a thrilling victory followed closely by Charman and Bishop, whilst behind them Maksymilian Solarski drove heroically from 14th on the grid to finish fourth in front of Wise and Duncan. Purches and Wise struggled and eventually fell back through the order so as the final began there would be some amazing battles played out. Both men stormed back through the field and joined the leading squabble, but after some titanic racing and multiple passes for the front of the pack it was Macauley Bishop who emerged only three tenths of a second ahead of a resurgent Leo Purches who charged through the grid to grab second position mere inches ahead of Ollie Wise and Taylor Orridge, with Duncan and Charman ahead of the valiant Colin Wazny who made up 9 places to challenge the established guard up front.
Macauley Bishop was rewarded for his performance by sealing a ticket to the Rotax Grand Finals at Sarno and became the first racer to win a MicroMax final in Great Britain.
The battle for the title between Archie Kitching and Harley Haughton began in earnest as Callum Voisin stole pole position from them both, with Haughton second and Kitching only ninth. Jez Williams won the opening heat on the road after a strong drive, but sadly a technical non-compliance would later exclude him from the meeting – an unfortunate outcome given the youngster’s exceptional display on track. Haughton would go on to take victory in the first heat ahead of Tristan Rennie and unbelievably Kitching who charged back from 6 places back on the starting grid. Jed Murphy would open his account with fourth position whilst Alfie Davies and Declan Russell completed the top six a few inches apart at the flag.
Sam Gornall was not about to be outdone as he made a spectacular recovery in the second heat to emerge victorious after starting down in seventh place. Voisin, Haughton and Kitching chased him home ahead of Harry Reynolds as the Coles Racing team swept the top five, whilst Declan Russel came through in sixth position after Rennie picked up a front fairing penalty. It was an emotional opening final as Kitching and Haughton duelled for the win and the title. After six lead changes and some amazing racing from both men, it would be Archie Kitching who emerged victorious ahead of Haughton and Gornall, with team-mates Voisin and Reynolds once more in the top five and Russell claiming sixth on the road this time.
Kitching’s win had done enough to seal the British Championship title and he elected to miss the final race of the year as his team-mates Haughton and Gornall would now fight for second in the standings. However they would collide on the circuit on the tenth lap, with Gornall out on the spot and Haughton later excluded for his part in the incident. So Callum Voisin grabbed the final win of the season in fine style ahead of Ryan Willis who scored his highest result of the year, and Logan Parker who grabbed his maiden podium finish in MiniMax. Reynolds came home in a solid fourth place as the final places in the top six for the season were secured by Juan Mwaniki and Jed Murphy after the latter had originally crossed the line in fourth only to be handed a front fairing penalty.
Tom Adams bagged pole position on a weekend that new champion Kai Hunter elected to sit out of, watching the whole event play out from the sidelines. However James Crossley opened his bid for supremacy with a brilliant run to victory in front of Ryan Taylor-Trueman and Harrison Collings, with Matthew Higgins crossing the line in fourth position. Sadly, he would also be excluded from the meeting for a technical non-compliance along with his team-mate Harry Newman-Oakley before the finals, so Taylan Babbs would be promoted to fourth ahead of Will Jenkins and William Elswood.
In the second heat, Adams would recover from a disappointing first heat to take victory after a sensational battle with Tiernan Rourke and Will Jenkins, whilst Crossley and Babbs would hold off Kieran Kay. Ryan Taylor-Trueman would then seal a well-deserved win in the final heat, and once Higgins and Newman-Oakley were sadly expunged from their 2nd and 4th place finishes respectfully Rourke and Elswood would be promoted to the top three, in front of Jack Steadman, Jordan Morris and the hard-charging Maciej Hamera.
With the impressive from he was in, nobody could challenge Ryan Taylor-Trueman in the first final as he cantered off into the distance along with Elswood and Adams, to seal a fabulous victory with the three men eight seconds clear of the rest of the field. Will Jenkins came home ahead of Babbs and Rourke, but the real drama would come in the second final and he would get his chance to shine. Taylor-Trueman led the entire race with pressure from Adams throughout, but on the final lap Adams went for the overtake at the Bus Stop and the two men collided allowing Adams to pass and sending Taylor-Trueman off the circuit. Adams would later be excluded after being judged to have gained an unfair advantage from the incident, whilst Taylor-Trueman dropped to 20th at the finish. All of this allowed Will Jenkins to seal his maiden victory in the British Championship with Elswood and Rourke joining him on the podium. Taylan Babbs would be deleted from the results after he was deemed underweight post-race, so Ben Caisley would be promoted to fourth position with Jack Steadman and Chris Simpson ending their seasons in the top six.
Guy Cunnington came into the weekend knowing that despite being fifth in the standings he was actually leading on dropped scores, so his task was simply to finish strong and seal the title. He began with pole position in timed qualifying with the leading 18 drivers covered by half a second. Cunnington then went into the first heat and won by nearly two seconds ahead of Oakley Pryer, with Tom Edmunds holding off Ben Burgess to the flag and the top six completed by Kieran Gifford and Lewis Halliday.
He would get the job done again on Sunday morning again narrowly defeating Edmunds and Pryer as Burgess couldn’t quite get close enough to challenge them, whilst Bradley Barrett finished ahead of Luke Wooder and Rhys Hunter. Heading into the finals, if Cunnington won both races he would snatch the title away from his rivals.
It would be Tom Edmunds who took the early advantage from the start, but Cunnington fought back valiantly taking the lead on lap 10 and holding it to the flag with Burgess also slipping through to finish second in front of Edmunds, who almost lost out to a determined Pryer. Lewis Halliday grabbed a fifth place finish a few tenths ahead of Luke Wooder who fought back valiantly to sixth from 18th on the grid.
The second race started dramatically as Edmunds came to a spluttering halt, unable to demonstrate his true skill as he retired instantly with mechanical failure. Guy Cunnington took over the lead and pulled away, with Oakley Pryer setting off after him gaining little by little every lap, but alas there was no time left to mount a serious challenge. Cunnington sealed the double and with it became British Senior Rotax champion ahead of Pryer. Ben Burgess once more emerged on the podium, with Luke Wooder in fourth ahead of Rhys Hunter and Bradley Barrett.
An incredible battle for pole position saw the top four covered by less than a tenth of a second. However it would be Michael Cheek who snatched the top spot by 0.06 to Matteo Zanetti and Ethan Haynes. When it came to the crunch of the first heat, Zanetti grabbed the chance to lead early on and was never matched. As he took the flag ahead of Haynes, with Cheek sustaining his chance to win the title in third. Chris Wright would lead the rest of the pack home in front of Alexander Luck and James Beacroft.
Ethan Haynes then fought back masterfully the next morning ahead of Zanetti and James Moorcroft, with Nathan Chafer within a second of the trio at the flag. Cheek was steady and careful throughout as he maintained his reasonable pace by finishing fifth at the flag just ahead of Jack McConnell. Haynes was able to maintain that pace into the first final as after a fraught battle with Zanetti who finally made the move with two laps to go and stole a victory away from the Italian. Chafer sealed third whilst behind him Cheek secured the points he needed in fourth position to clinch the Rotax 177 title and become British champion. As McConnell and Beacroft completed the top six, Cheek elected to skip the final race of the year and drink in the glory.
The intense battle between Haynes and Zanetti continued into the second final and after several swaps for position over the race, the pair duelled into the final lap. Haynes made the move in the penultimate turn only for Zanetti to dive back in the final corner, clinching the lead. The passing manoeuvre was later deemed to be a little forceful so despite crossing the line ahead Zanetti would later concede to Haynes as the winner due to a two second penalty. Moorcroft completed the podium with Chafer finishing as leading rookie and fourth overall, ahead of Luc Oliver and Alexander Luck.
The British Kart Championships conclude for the IAME classes at the season finale on the fourth week of September at Whilton Mill in Northamptonshire.