After the tricky conditions of Saturday’s action, the sun returned to Larkhall for the sixth round of the Motorsport UK British Kart Championships as the IAME contenders duelled for supremacy at the West of Scotland Kart Club’s new circuit layout.
The fantastic spectacle gave the spectators plenty of drama and fantastic race craft on Sunday and despite a few spills along the way, the racing has now given us four gripping battles across the IAME Cadet and Mini, Junior and Senior X30 categories.
Harry Jnr Burgoyne continued his scintillating form from Round 5 to grab pole position in timed qualifying ahead of team-mate Harley Keeble and championship leader Kean Nakamura-Berta, with the astonishing privateer Macauley Bishop in a brilliant fourth place.
The heats saw Kean Nakamura-Berta reestablish his authority at the front of the pack, with two flawless drives under bucketloads of pressure. His first encounter saw him fend off the onslaught of Keeble and Saturday’s final winner Aiden Neate with Maximus Hall going well again ahead of Burgoyne and Sonny Smith. The second would be harder for Nakamura-Berta to hold on to, but his determination won out ahead of Burgoyne once again, with the Scotsman’s team-mates Keeble and Lewis Wherrell close at hand at the finish, with the top six rounded out by Neate and Smith.
The final would be an unbelievable squabble all the way to the finish line as the likes of Neate, Nakamura-Berta, Keeble, Burgoyne and Nathan Tye all had a shot at the win heading into the final lap, but as five drivers went into the final corner all banging wheels and duelling for position, the inside line was left open for the outstanding privateer Macauley Bishop who brilliantly found himself in the right place at the right time to sweep to an emotional and highly charged victory. Kean Nakamura-Berta would salvage second from the final corner as Lewis Wherrell came of age to grab his first podium finish in third, with Tye, Keeble and Neate ending up with the spoils behind.
Alfie Rigby was resolute after his disappointment on the previous day, and so delivered an outstanding lap in qualifying to grab the top spot ahead of Jessica Edgar and Edward Pearson, both looking much stronger than 24 hours beforehand. Oliver Greenall would have to settle for sixth position behind Luke Watts and Olivier Algieri.
Despite incredible pressure from Edward Pearson in the closing stages, Alfie Rigby would stamp his authority on the first heat and took a brilliant win, with Pearson chased home by Algieri who was enjoying a terrific upturn in fortunes. Edgar, Watts and Greenall would be next home all hoping to make improvements for the next race. Algieri would then find inner strength to push himself forward and bag a sensational victory in the second heat with Greenall fighting back to second and Watts ending up in third ahead of Pearson, Rigby and Daniel Bolton.
After a crazy weekend, enough hardship was enough for Oliver Greenall as he knuckled down and picked off his opponents one-by-one in a confident display of guts and determination to clinch victory after an impressive fight with Edward Pearson and Theo Micouris throughout the race. Alfie Rigby showed his strength after dropping back earlier in the race and then proving his iron will by bouncing back to P4 whilst Luke Watts and Jessica Edgar grabbed top six places, after the luckless Olivier Algieri and Daniel Bolton ran out of luck and ended up off the track together at the final sector after both men were in contention for the win.
With Saturday being close, Sunday started even closer. Aaron Walker snatched pole position in timed qualifying by just 0.02 ahead of Tom Edgar, with Tom Lebbon and Cian Shields also within a tenth of a second from the top spot.
From fifth on the grid, Daniel Guinchard opened his account for Sunday with a brilliant drive ahead of Aaron Walker and Cian Shields, after third on the road Tom Edgar would receive a front fairing penalty. Tyler Read, Oliver Gray and Joseph Taylor reaped the benefits as they were promoted to top six positions. Tom Lebbon would bounce back in the second heat to head home both Shields and Guinchard after a close fight, with Josh Rowledge grabbing fourth position ahead of Reggie Duhy and Freddie Spindlow. After his earlier front fairing woes, Tom Edgar answered back with a thrilling win in the third and final heat as he edged out Gray and Taylor to the victory, with Rowledge and Read hanging on to the top five ahead of the resurgent Alessandro Ceronetti who finally returned to the top six after a very tough weekend.
It would be an epic final encounter as Oliver Gray soaked up the pressure from Tom Lebbon in the closing stages with front row men Daniel Guinchard and Cian Shields hot on their heels as they all contested the victory, with the four men finishing in that order after a brilliant final duel. Joseph Taylor would end up best of the rest following his sensational dice with Tom Edgar and Alessandro Ceronetti, whilst championship leader Caden McQueen fell to the back of the field on the first lap only to then masterfully slice his way through the field to end up a very impressive 14th under the circumstances.
Danny Keirle was a man on a mission from timed qualifying as the 2017 FIA World Champion stormed to pole position, faster than either Thomas Turner or Clayton Ravenscoft could manage as unbelievably the two men set identical times down to the hundredth of a second. Jack Gordon drove brilliantly in qualifying on home turf with Gus Lawrence another hundredth behind.
Keirle continued his hot streak with wins across both his two heats, finishing the first ahead of Thomas Turner and Oliver Hodgson. Gordon and Lawrence both reached the top five with Eduardo Coseteng getting a worth P6 after a mammoth effort all weekend. The second race would be even more dominant by Keirle as Gordon worked relentlessly hard to keep Ravenscroft at bay. Hodgson would have his work cut out further back hanging on to fourth from Nelson King and Rory Hudson. Ravenscroft would work hard in his efforts to return to the top spot after a commanding drive to the lead and keeping Turner and Lawrence in his wake throughout. King would once more finish in the top 6 ahead of Matt Armstrong and Archie Tillett.
Despite what everybody else could throw at him, nobody could stop the rise of Danny Keirle as he cruised to a dominant win in the final and despite missing the season opener, continuing this strong form could even see him win the championship at the end of the year thanks to dropped scores. Clayton Ravenscroft retook the lead of the championship in second ahead of his main opponent Thomas Turner, whilst Jack Gordon grabbed a strong finish in 4th as Rory Hudson moved up to 3rd in the points standings in 5th ahead of Louie Westover, as Gus Lawrence would fall down the order and lose the championship lead after an incident mid-race with Nelson King.
At the halfway stage in the championship, not one driver has a dominant edge in the IAME classes and it all looks very even and open across all four grids. They’ll return to action at Rowrah in July for the fourth weekend of the year, whilst the Motorsport UK British Kart Championships are heading to Fulbeck in a fortnight for the next encounter of the TKM, Honda and KZ2 classes.