The title fight in Honda Cadet and TKM Extreme have taken a major twist after a dramatic weekend at Shenington, in which the weather played a crucial part in the race action. Even in Junior TKM and the KZ2 gearbox category, the racing kept the crowds on the edge of their seats as the second half of the season has definitely thrown a curveball or two into the mix. With some great racing ahead to conclude the season, we take a chance to look back over the weekend at the Monza of British karting – Shenington.
With qualifying plagued by rain it would be the trio of Ambition Motorsport drivers that claimed the top spots on the grid. Henry Joslyn would claim a surprise pole position ahead of Mitchell Gibbons and Ewan Charman, but the weather still causing issues for some of the big names it would be Thomas Cucurullo-Yeomans who would come of age with an enthralling heat victory, just 0.01 ahead of Mitchell Gibbons and 0.08 in front of Oscar Teuten, in a titanic grudge match to the finish line. Josh Agambar would edge out Josh Rudd for fourth whilst the top six would be completed by Alfie Thompson.
Nakamura-Berta bounced back on Sunday morning with two convincing heat wins. In the second, he claimed the win from Teuten and Cucurullo-Yeomans with Joslyn hanging on to fourth place ahead of Sonny Smith and Ethian Symonds. In the third, Nakamura-Berta held off stiff opposition from Charman and O Plate holder Connor Duncan, with amazing progress from Zac Drummond and Freddie Hull to join Gibbons in the top six, whilst in the repechage Cruz Speakman was able to book his place in the finals with a win ahead of Callie Clifford and Reg Heywood.
Across the two finals Mitchell Gibbons would save his best for last as he stormed to the win only crossing the line 0.03 in front of Nakamura-Berta to set up an incredible showdown for the second final. They would be joined on the rostrum by Connor Duncan who was less than a second back, whilst in the fight for the remaining top six places Ethian Symonds just finished in front of Ben Raeburn with Jack Hobson grabbing sixth millimetres ahead of Sonny Smith.
The battle raged again between Gibbons and Nakamura-Berta and unbelievably the gap between them at the flag would once more be less than a tenth of a second as the E Plate emerged 0.05 in front of the Japanese star – but with two crucial victories over Nakamura-Berta it’s Gibbons who now takes the lead in the driver’s championship. Symonds would find some brilliant pace in the final to overhaul Connor Duncan, whilst Sonny Smith held off Jack Hobson for fifth.
1. Mitchell GIBBONS (Ambition Motorsport) 497 pts
2. Kean NAKAMURA-BERTA (Project One Racing) 494 pts
3. Jack HOBSON (Synergy Race Team) 473 pts
4. Connor DUNCAN (Hines Racing) 464 pts
5. Sonny SMITH (Oliver Rowland Motorsport) 440 pts
6. Ethan SYMONDS (Cutting Edge Racing) 423 pts
Incredibly Harvey Cole found nearly a quarter of a second advantage over his rivals in timed qualifying to claim pole position, a very hard feat at Shenington. But after a tricky qualifying session, Zak Oates stated his intent immediately with an opening heat win from P5 on the grid. Cole would at least hang on to second place in front of Louis Harvey and Jenson Davis whilst Spencer Lane and Will Howells would struggle to hang on to their original grid positions, but remained in the top six.
Come Sunday morning and the rain had disappeared, but it changed nothing for Zak Oates as he cantered on to another heat win with Charlie Webb and Harry Yardley-Rose opening their account for the weekend in the top three. Oliver Stewart remained where he started in 4th whilst Oliver Richardson bounced back from a tough qualifying to grab fifth position from Ben Watson. Stewart then came through for a crucial win in the final heat ahead of Yardley-Rose, with Louis Harvey emerging third and victorious over an intense scrap for the remaining positions in the top six as James Barty, Zak Taylor and Jenson Davis were all able to sneak in.
Over the course of the two finals, two men would wage a fierce contest for supremacy. In the first Zak Oates would continue his epic run with a terrific victory over Harry Yardley-Rose as Charlie Webb clinched his first podium finish of the season in third. Jenson Davis emerged fourth after Louis Harvey would sadly be docked from the position with a loose front fairing whilst Scott Smith had to dig deep to fend off James Barty for fifth. The tables were turned in the second final as Harry Yardley-Rose clinched his first win of the season in a final in front of Oates whilst Webb made it two podiums out of two in third. A heroic battle for the remaining top six positions played out handsomely as Scott Smith held a crucial advantage at the right moment to claim fourth over James Barty and Jack Saunders.
1. Zak OATES (Precision Racing) 505 pts
2= Harry YARDLEY-ROSE (Tim Wilson Motorsport) 453 pts
2= Louis HARVEY (Klaassen Motorsport) 453 pts
4. Oliver STEWART (Jade Racing Team) 432 pts
5. Scott SMITH (Privateer) 421 pts
6. James BARTY (Flex Motorsport) 418 pts
An intense qualifying session that saw all 34 drivers covered by 1.25 seconds produced an amazing lap for James Pashley as he started what would become a crucial weekend for the privateer. The BirelART pilot would be eclipsed in the first heat by Jade driver Dan McKeown on the factory chassis, but Pashley was less than a second back. Matthew Taylor finished ahead of the strong Max Goldsmith – still on a high after his breakthrough win at Fulbeck – whilst Ryan Cole and Chris Whitton claimed finishes in the top six.
Pashley would then bounce back the following morning with a win over Goldsmith and Kyle Sproat, as Alexander Page grabbed a strong fourth place finish ahead of Michael Cornell and Matthew Taylor. Sam Fowler then returned to the front as he defeated McKeown for the victory with Matthew Allnutt in third. The remaining places in the top six were claimed by Kyle Sproat, Chris Whitton and Ryan Cole.
The first heat saw an unbelievably intense squabble from front to back but it would ultimately end in frustration and heartache for Adam Sparrow as his charge through the field to victory was wiped away as his front fairing came loose as he stormed through to the front and would be handed a post-race penalty that dropped him all the way to 18th. So James Pashley inherited the win – his first in a final in 2019 – with Matthew Taylor and Max Goldsmith joining him on the podium in front of Ryan Cole, Dan McKeown and Kyle Sproat with less than a second covering them all.
Proving the win wasn’t a fluke would be tough, but Pashley delivered heroically in the second heat to not only win back-to-back finals but crucially steal the lead of the championship in the process. Lewis Wadley drove brilliantly to clinch second in front of Dan McKeown, whilst Alexander Page would finish up in fourth position heading home Goldsmith and Taylor.
1. James Pashley (Privateer) 465 pts
2. Kyle Sproat (Litchfield Motorsport) 458 pts
3. Ryan Cole (Flex Motorsport) 451 pts
4. Lee Whittingham (Tal-Ko Racing) 450 pts
5. Adam Sparrow (Tal-Ko Racing) 415 pts
6. Sam Fowler (Jade Racing Team) 400 pts
Scott Allen opened the weekend with a convincing pole position in timed qualifying, with incredible speed that he could carry into the first heat as he cantered away to a five second lead pulling well clear of James Glenister and Miles Murphy. Tom Longfield finished fourth but the epic battle for fifth between Shane Daly and Dan Kelly was washed away after they both received front fairing penalties which promoted both Adam Glear and Adam Rusling into the top six.
The second heat saw James Glenister in determination mode and he maintained a slim lead over Glear, Daly and Allen. Dan Kelly was able to maintain his top six finish on this occasion in front of Tom Longfield. In the first final however, Scott Allen returned to winning ways as he narrowly held off the attentions of Glear and Glenister to finally bag his first win in a final in 2019 after a frustrating season. Dan Kelly and Miles Murphy were not far away at the flag whilst it would be a positive sixth place finish for the privateer Matt Sherwen.
The pressure is now seemingly off Adam Glear heading into the final round of the championship at Kimbolton after he took his second win in a final of 2019 but having never finished lower than second, a solid run in the season finale should see him emerge as British champion. Dan Kelly and Scott Allen joined him on the podium, whilst to round out the top six after a difficult weekend for all Glenister continued his fine run of form ahead of Murphy and Longfield.
1. Adam Glear (Privateer) 378 pts
2. Dan Kelly (Andy Fairless Racing) 362 pts
3. James Glenister (Rush Performance) 348 pts
4. Scott Allen (Jade Racing Team) 343 pts
5. Shane Daly (DMS) 332 pts
6. Hannah Lang (MK Racing) 321 pts
The season finale for KZ2 as well as the next round for TKM and Honda classes takes place on the second weekend of September at Kimbolton in Cambridgeshire, but after a couple of weeks away from the action the British Kart Championships return for the Rotax classes at Clay Pigeon in Dorset on the third weekend of August.