At the hottest race weekend of the year, the IAME classes endured a tough weekend of exciting battles as the IAME Cadet, Mini X30, Junior X30 and Senior X30 title fights are reaching a momentous conclusion thanks to two ferocious days of racing at Three Sisters Circuit in Wigan.

It would be a welcome return to the British Kart Championships for the North West venue, after its last appearance in 2013. With temperatures reaching 30 degrees and four immense battles played out over the course of two days of action, there were many pleasant surprises and some terrific breakthroughs in each of the categories.

 

IAME CADET

Ella Stevens made an incredible start to the weekend with pole position in Saturday’s timed qualifying, but it would be Harley Keeble that clinched the first heat after a solid race with birthday boy Ethan Jeff-Hall. Vinnie Phillips maintained the gap back to the Oliver Rowland Motorsport pair of Harry Jnr Burgoyne and Brandon Carr, whilst Maximus Hall secured his place in the top six. However in the second heat Ella Stevens wouldn’t be denied a second time and charged to the win ahead of Nathan Tye and Vinnie Phillips. A solid fourth position kick started Kean Nakamura-Berta’s challenge for the weekend – on a weekend that saw his main rival Aiden Neate leave the class to step up to Junior X30, something he needed to take advantage of – whilst Jeff-Hall and Carr raced to fifth and sixth respectively.

For Saturday’s final Harley Keeble would spend the majority of the race running out in front of the field with team-mate Harry Jnr Burgoyne after a first lap incident dropped many of the leading protagonists out of contention. Ethan Jeff-Hall grabbed a podium finish just ahead of Archie Clark, whilst Lewis Wherrell and Fionn McLaughlin grabbed the chance to clinch a top six finish.

Burgoyne launched into Sunday by clinching pole position for Sunday’s heats a mere fraction ahead of Kean Nakamura-Berta and Vinnie Phillips, the latter commencing a charge forward in the opening heat of the day to cross the line in first position ahead of Nakamura-Berta and Keeble, whilst Burgoyne maintained his incredible speed from the previous day to finish fourth ahead of Archie Clark and Ethan Jeff-Hall. Then Nakamura-Berta unleashed his raw pace and snatched a victory in the second heat of the day to keep his team-mate Phillips and new opponent for the title Keeble at bay. Maximus Hall pushed valiantly forward throughout the race to secure fourth whilst there would be strong finishes for Brandon Carr and Alex O’Grady in the top six.

But the second final went disastrously for the championship leader as Nakamura-Berta slipped to 16th after a tough race. His main competitors took full advantage of the situation as Burgoyne led home Keeble who would snatch the points lead, with a maiden podium in the British Kart Championships for Archie Clark. Behind them Maximus Hall, Vinnie Phillips and Ethan Jef-Hall would complete the top six finishers to tighten up the points table ahead of Whilton Mill’s season finale.

 

CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS

  1. Harley KEEBLE (Oliver Rowland Motorsport) 590 points
  2. Kean NAKAMURA-BERTA (Fusion Motorsport) 586 points
  3. Harry Jnr BURGOYNE (Oliver Rowland Motorsport) 574 points
  4. Ethan JEFF-HALL (Strawberry Racing) 567 points
  5. Maximus HALL (PMR Driver Program) 563 points
  6. Archie CLARK (Fusion Motorsport) 554 points

 

MINI X30

An unbelievably close timed qualifying session on Saturday morning saw Theo Micouris grab a slender advantage ahead of Aidan Lyne and Luke Watts, but Oliver Greenall continued his incredible early season form in the first heat with Watts managed to squeeze past Micouris in a fabulous race. Edward Pearson had originally clinched third position on the road but a front fairing penalty not only promoted Micouris, but Olivier Algieri and Jessica Edgar likewise as Pearson ended up demoted to sixth place. The second race would be even closer as the top six soared across the line separated by under a second. Edgar would emerge victorious as Watts again finished second in front of Algieri and Greenall, with Micouris only just securing fifth ahead of Bart Harrison.

It was always going to be a close fight but when Edgar sealed the win by a mere six hundredths of a second to Watts, with the final place on the podium secured by Micouris. The Fusion Motorsport pairing of Greenall and Harrison continued their strong start in the top five, fractionally ahead of Algieri and Pearson.

A fresh start on Sunday gave Bart Harrison a superior run in qualifying to seal pole position, but with Luke Watts starting in second place he proved to be a formidable force and once more grabbed the initiative. He stormed to the win in the third heat of the weekend ahead of the resurgent Olivier Algieri, as Greenall and Harrison remained in unison in the top four in front of Micouris and Edgar. Watts would set himself up for a strong final by completing the win in both heats that day, with Harrison moving up to second ahead of the Croc Promotion pairing of Algieri and Micouris as Jessica Edgar would sadly lose her fifth place finish due to a loose front fairing and so into the top six came Greenall and Edward Pearson.

Fired up from the disappointment, Jessica Edgar channelled all that frustration into an exemplary drive to the winners rostrum in sensational fashion as she battled her way to the front and clinched the double across the two finals in front of Luke Watts, so narrowly missing out on a victory. There would be relief and joy for Edward Pearson who after a difficult weekend returned to the podium jubilantly after some amazing race-craft, with Greenall emerging fourth ahead of Algieri and Harrison.

 

CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS

  1. Oliver GREENALL (Fusion Motorsport) 603 points
  2. Luke WATTS (Kato Motor Sport) 592 points
  3. Theo MICOURIS (Croc Promotion) 589 points
  4. Jessica EDGAR (Fusion Motorsport) 588 points
  5. Bart HARRISON (Fusion Motorsport) 575 points
  6. Olivier ALGIERI (Croc Promotion) 564 points

 

JUNIOR X30

18 drivers were covered by just half a second in timed qualifying, with Oliver Gray just able to dip below the 43 second mark for the lap. He couldn’t quite fend off Freddie Spindlow in the first heat and would have to finish second behind the KR Sport driver, with Alessandro Ceronetti finishing close behind in third narrowly in front of his Fusion Motorsport team-mate Georgi Dimitrov. Caden McQueen would finish fifth in front of Ivan Lomliev who was having a strong start to his weekend. The battle from the first heat would spill over into the second with Gray overturning the result ahead of Spindlow at the flag. Ceronetti would once more be best of the rest in third with Lomliev climbing again to fourth ahead of rookie junior driver Aiden Neate in a very impressive fifth place and Dimitrov in sixth.

With each driver claiming a heat win that morning, neither was going to back down from the fight so when the two men crossed the line it was a euphoric Oliver Gray who claimed victory 0.09 seconds in front of Spindlow, with Ceronetti able to claim third for the third consecutive race but only after Tom Lebbon was cruelly stripped of his podium position after receiving a front fairing penalty. Lomliev and Dimitrov were therefore joined in the top six by Japanese talent Douglas Bolger.

Having switched to the Mick Barrett Racing team Joshua Rowledge started his Sunday in style with pole position for the heats, but he couldn’t hold off the fast charging Freddie Spindlow who stormed past. Regrettably he would lose the race with a loose front fairing which meant that Caden McQueen clinched a brilliant victory ahead of Rowledge and Gray, with Lebbon returning back to the front end of the field in fourth pursued by Dimitrov and Joshua McLean. Gray would then restore order in his favour in the second heat of the day in front of McQueen and Rowledge, whilst the top six would be completed by Lebbon, Tyler Read who charged back to fifth and Dimitrov.

Sunday’s final came to a massive crescendo when the fight for the lead between Caden McQueen and Joshua Rowledge saw the two protagonists clash at Lunar and both races effectively over there and then, although McQueen would fight his way back up to 16th at the flag. Their collision handed the win to Freddie Spindlow who held off a tough attack from Lebbon, Read and Gray to the checkered flag with Archie Walker heading home an eight kart train that saw some astonishing scrap behind the leaders and a little over a second covering all 8 of the drivers at the line.

 

CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS

  1. Oliver GRAY (Dan Holland Racing) 588 points
  2. Georgi DIMITROV (Fusion Motorsport) 562 points
  3. Caden McQUEEN (Croc Promotion) 553 points
  4. Joshua McLEAN (Fusion Motorsport) 552 points
  5. Alessandro CERONETTI (Fusion Motorsport) 535 points
  6. Joseph TAYLOR (Strawberry Racing) 529 points

 

SENIOR X30

Danny Keirle continued his heroic mission to win the British title by clinching pole position on Saturday, and the day then became a stoic duel between him and championship leader Clayton Ravenscroft. In the heats they would be first and second for both races and completely inseparable throughout. In the first heat it would be Thomas Turner who claimed third behind them after Oliver Hodgson would be penalised for a loose front fairing. That also promoted Alex Pendlebury, Matt Armstrong and Rory Hudson into the top six. For the second heat, Hodgson would be allowed to keep his third place behind Keirle and Ravenscroft, whilst Mark Kimber charged his way to fourth position as Pendlebury and Turner emerged behind him.

Incredibly into the first corner of the final there was an incident between Keirle and Ravenscroft which would see the latter fall off the road. He would eventually finish ninth on the road only to suffer the frustrations of a penalty which would drop him out of the top ten. So Keirle went on to win ahead of Hodgson who also received a penalty and for the second time that day. So as he dropped down the order Turner and Kimber were promoted to the podium places with Sean Butcher charging through to finish fourth ahead of Rory Hudson and Morgan Porter.

It would be even closer in Senior X30 qualifying on Sunday as a second covered the whole field. Sean Butcher emerged in pole position, but in the opening heat he would be passed by Kimber, Keirle, Hodgson and Ravenscroft. Yet more bad luck befell the championship leader post race as Ravenscroft received a front fairing penalty so Butcher emerged at the flag in fourth ahead of Teddy Pritchard-Williams and Alex Pendlebury. The Australian dug deep and found the checkered flag ahead of his rivals in the second heat, with Keirle and Hodgson close behind. Mark Kimber claimed fourth in front of Ravenscroft with Pritchard-Williams in sixth.

Butcher would claim pole position for the final once more, but try as he might he just couldn’t keep the three men who would emerge on the podium behind him. Mark Kimber surged through for a fantastic victory in front of Danny Keirle and Oliver Hodgson with Butcher in fourth ahead of Turner and Ravenscroft, who was unable to retain his championship lead which is now held by Thomas Turner.

 

CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS

  1. Thomas TURNER (Mark Litchfield Racing) 578 points
  2. Clayton RAVENSCROFT (KR Sport) 572 points
  3. Rory HUDSON (Dan Holland Racing) 545 points
  4. Oliver HODGSON (PF International) 539 points
  5. Gus LAWRENCE (V Motorsport) 537 points
  6. Sean BUTCHER (KR Sport) 524 points
  7. Danny KEIRLE (Jade Racing Team) 511 points

 

The season will conclude for the IAME classes at Whilton Mill on the final weekend of September, as the British Kart Championships now head to Kimbolton for the season finale of the KZ2 British Championship and the penultimate weekend for the Honda and TKM categories.

 

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