So with the Super One Series concluding just a month ago this round saw a lot of drivers coming to practise their trade over the winter months with a lot of drivers moving classes and teams.
26th October - We also welcomed back some club drivers with their new seeded numbers to show off and all in all we had 177 drivers spread across just 7 classes, that’s an average of 25 per class! This was certainly one of the largest number of entries we have had at Stars so could this turn out to be one of the most exciting rounds we’ve ever had? Read more to find out.
Iame Cadet B Final - With a total of 39 drivers entered into the Iame class we had 9 drivers that would have to dispute the B final to decide the final four places on the Iame grid. There was a surprise driver on pole position for this one in Ben Wooldridge who is in the race for the Championship title and he unsurprisingly made quick work of his competitors eventually wining by over 7 seconds. The race behind Wooldridge was really decided by an incident at turn 1, half the field were wiped out with 4 drivers managing to get through unscathed and they were rewarded with a healthy lead. Those drivers were Simmons, Skinner and Neate, with Speechley, Clements, Pears and Wada’s weekends all coming to an end. Neate who finished 4th was the only novice to make it to the A final so won the trophy in this race and put on a good battle with 3rd place finisher Skinner. The top 4 now all went on to the A final.
X30 Junior - So the first A final of the day was the X30 Junior and we had one of the largest number of entries we’ve had all year in the class with 17 drivers on the grid. It was the championship leader Philip Hanson who would start from pole position after finishing in the top 4 all day taking a win along the way, alongside him was Saul Robinson who had also taken a victory in his heats. The new ‘YADR’ driver Byrony King started on the inside of row two with Jac Maybin starting alongside and on row three it was Tom Douglas and Sean Rudge. As the race got underway things were pretty straight forward for Hanson at the front who got a clean getaway and had built himself a 1.2 second lead by the end of the opening lap. However behind him things weren’t so simple, a turn 1 incident saw both Bryony King and Jac Maybin drop back with King being able to rejoin all be it half a lap down. This meant positions gained for Douglas who now lay 2nd and Rudge, Hopcraft and Bradshaw who were now 4th, 5th and 6th respectively. Despite all the chaos around him Robinson had kept himself out of trouble by losing just one position to run 3rd. So with Hanson now out in front the question was could anyone catch him? That didn’t look like it was going to be Douglas who was dropping back by a couple of tenths every lap, eventually this dropped him into the clutches of Robinson who passed him on lap 6. The man who had made the best start out of anyone was O’Regan who from the last row was quickly up to 7th place and was now engaged in a three way battle with Goodyear and Fender with the trio swapping places on every lap. So at half race distance it was fair to say Hanson looked uncatchable so the main focus on track was the battle for 2nd and it was a big battle indeed. With Robinson moved to 2nd there was now a big queue of karts behind him stretching all the way back to 9th place. Laying in 3rd was obviously Douglas in 4th was Bradshaw who had been making steady progress all race, Rudge lay 5th, Fender was in 6th and was the fastest man on track but behind him was Goodyear, O’Regan and Hopcraft who had a topsy turvy race so far. The battle for 2nd was fierce and it was hard to keep up with every move, however the next big moment in the race came on lap 9 when Bradhsaw passed Douglas for 3rd, behind him Fender who had been extremely impressive so far was making up more places passing Rudge and Douglas to now run in 4th after 10 laps gone. Further back there were nightmares for both Goodyear and O’Regan, with the latter ending his race 3 laps before the end. After 10 laps things had finally settled down at the front, Hanson looked almost home and dry at the front with Robinson also comfortable in 2nd, Bradshaw, Fender and Douglas also all looked untroubled behind with the only possible change looking like it could come from Hopcraft in 6th who had Rudge for close company. However there were to be no late drama’s in this one and Hanson went on to take a well deserved lights to flag victory and extend his championship lead. Robinson and Bradshaw rounded off the podium positions with the biggest mover of the race Fender finishing 4th, gaining 6 places, Douglas and Hopcraft rounded out the top 6.
Rotax Max & X30 Senior - Next up was the Rotax Max and Senior X30 class and it was a welcome back to Sam Ward after being away from the circuit for some time and what a great return it had been for him so far, he took pole by a comfortable margin with two wins and a 3rd in his heats. Alongside him was a man who can be hard to beat round here in Kieran Gifford on row two was David Wright, who had been in tremendous form all day with Daniel Wood starting on p4. Row three was formed by Sam Smelt and Oliver Whelan. In the X30 class unfortunately only 3 drivers took to the track with Brett Wkyes and Max Clarke on row one with Todd Hatton starting just behind, Bartholomew was due to start p4 but pulled out from the final to rest himself after suffering rib problems. So as the race got underway there was a very poor start made by Wright from the second row which caused a chain reaction behind with Smelt and Kolasky tripping over each other, although both still running it had allowed the top 5 to break away, that lead group contained Gifford, Ward, Wood, Wright and Whelan who ran in that order. Further back there were good starts for Gibbs, Courtenay and Anjum who had all made the most of some mid pack tangles on the opening lap. Back at the front and the two leaders of Gifford and Ward started to go through the gears and it was becoming hard for Wood to keep up who had Wright for close company, behind them Whelan was also struggling to keep up with the increasing pace and was in danger of going backwards. On the fifth lap Smelt passed Whelan but would need things to go his way ahead of him if he was going to improve on that 5th place as he had 2 seconds of empty track now ahead of him. Now in 6th place Whelan looked in danger of going further backwards as he now found himself battling with Kolasky, Gibbs, Neil, Sturt and Rudd in what was a very entertaining battle. Gibbs was certainly the quickest of the drivers in that battle but just couldn’t find anyway past Whelan and his chance of going further forward than 6th place was becoming slimmer as Smelt had now pulled himself away from Whelan. So at two thirds race distance we had two groups of two at the front with Gifford leading Ward for the lead and Wood leading Wright for 3rd and it was fair to say Ward looked comfortable in 2nd and you just felt he was biding his time and waiting for the perfect opportunity to pass Gifford. That moment came on lap 8 as he took the lead and everyone now expected him to open up a lead as he was clearly the fastest man on the track. A lap later and Gibbs had finally managed to pass Whelan for 6th with Neil following him through for 7th leaving Whelan back in 8th place. Despite being the fastest man on the track Ward was struggling to pull away from Gifford at the front and with the gap less than half a second as they started the penultimate lap Gifford was pushing harder than ever to try and re-gain his lead, but he lost the chance at challenging Ward a few corners later, as the pair came through turn 5 Gifford made a rare mistake running wide and this gave Ward the cushion he needed to seal the victory. Gifford would have been disappointed with his 2nd place but could admit he perhaps lost to the better man on the day. Rounding off the podium was Wood with Wright just six tenths behind, Smelt finished a lonely 5th place with Gibbs driving well to round out the top 6. In the X30 class it was Clarke who took a comfortable victory from Wykes with Hatton failing to finish.
Junior Max - Next we were on to Junior Max where we had 26 drivers due to take to the track for the final, amongst them the recently crowned British Champion Sandy Mitchell who unsurprisingly would start from pole position. However for a reason not known to myself Mitchell did not turn up to the grid for the final neither did Hoggard who was injured in a previous race and due to start from the back of the grid so this of course meant there was some re-arranging to do on the dummy grid before we would get away. Aaron Bass would now start from pole who had recovered excellently after his horrendous round last time out, however he had some stiff competition next to him in Inem Coker who was recently crowned the London Cup Champion. On row two it was Griffin and Fretwell and row three was formed by Malin and Faragher. Pole-man Bass had no troubles at the start and settled into the lead with Griffin slotting in half a second behind, then Malin had come forward a few places to run 3rd with Coker dropping back a couple to run in 4th. From 5th place back things got a little more complicated, there was a few big tangles on the first lap which had really mixed things up a bit, Parodi and McKenzie were now in 5th and 6th place after their grid starts of 13th and 16th, Faragher and Bird had gone from being in the top 10 to now being outside the top 20. Burford-Fuller and Brown had now also made themselves present in the top 10 by both making good starts. Although all getting through the first lap unscathed the top four were all spread out and were all matching each others’ pace with no driver dropping back or gaining, so it would be a matter of who could resist the pressure for the longest. Behind them McKenzie was making the most of his good start by passing Parodi for 5th on lap 4 and looked in no mood to stop there he started putting in the fastest laps of the race and was now closing in on Coker. However he would not have to pass Coker as unfortunately Coker pulled off the track on lap six with a mechanical issue in which looked to be a flicked chain after exiting Chapman’s. So with half race distance now gone the order looked like this Bass lead from Griffin, Malin was 3rd with McKenzie now 4th, Parodi was 5th with Brown 6th and Burford-Fuller was 7th with Brookes an impressive 8th after his 19th place start. A couple of laps later both Fretwell and Bird’s races went from bad to worse when they both joined what was now becoming a long queue of non finishers. At the front things were still very stale mate, which is rare to see in a Junior Final however thankfully there was something to get excited about further back as Alex Grant had came from dead last to run 11th and the leading novice driver Ben Fisher was putting in a stellar performance to run 13th after his 24th place start. With the race now into its final couple of laps things were still looking unlikely to change however there was a glimmer of hope as Malin started to close in on Griffin who had really dropped off the pace with McKenzie closing in on the pair of them. However it was too little too late from the pair of them as Griffin held onto 2nd with Malin finishing 3rd and McKenzie was 4th with a total gain of 12 positions. Aaron Bass out front was unstoppable on the day and took a lights to flag victory and could be a man to watch going into next season. Finishing further back in 5th was Parodi with Brown 6th in what was a pretty processional final. Ben Fisher held on to take 13th place and the novice victory.
Honda & Comer Cadet - We were now into the second half of proceedings and next up it was the first of two cadet A finals this being for the Honda and Comer drivers. There were 19 Honda drivers on the grid for this one with some of our regular drivers coming back with their new seeded numbers from the end of the British Championship last month. On pole position was the new number 5 Harry Thompson who is one of my picks for the British title for next season, alongside him was the new number 9 seed Alex Lloyd who despite having all his equipment stolen earlier in the year still managed a top 10 in the British Championship overall, now that’s a great story! On row two a man who has really sprung into life in the second half of the year in Dragan Pinsent running the number 8 and alongside him it was Georgi Dimitrov. On row three it was Axel La Flamme and to his outside was Guy Cunnington, further back on the fifth row was another seeded driver in Samra who would certainly be one to watch in this final. Unfortunately only six in the Comer class with McCallum on pole after being unbeaten all day, Wills started p2, on row two it was Stoneham and Isaac and rounding off the grid was Hage and McLeod. It was a busy first lap by the Honda drivers and we quickly had a 5 kart breakaway, leading them and the race was Pinsent with pole-man Thompson dropping to 3rd. Lloyd had split the pair to run 2nd, Dimitrov had held onto his starting position of 4th with Short gaining two places to run 5th, leading chasing pack was Newsham. The man who had lost out at the start was LA Flamme who from starting 5th now found himself all the way back with the Comer drivers. The second lap found us having a new leader in Lloyd with Thompson following him through to take 2nd, in fact Pinsent was now 4th as Short had also managed to get passed with Dimitrov losing places to tail off the lead pack. Behind things were just as busy with Samra now at the fore of the chasing pack with Newsham dropping to 7th, Burgess and Sutton lay just behind in 8th and 9th place. The next lap saw more change in the lead group with Pinsent starting his small recovery to re-take the lead by passing Short for 3rd place. However things didn’t stay like this for long, a couple of laps later Short found something from somewhere and passed the three drivers ahead of him in the space of two laps to lead for the first time in race at just passed half distance. Further back Samra could not make any in roads on the lead pack and the group of four drivers behind started to get frustrated with Burgess making the first move to pass him, but Samra hit straight back with Cunnington eventually following him through for 7th. Back to the leaders at just moments after taking the lead Short’s race turned on it’s head and he found himself at the back of the lead group just a couple of laps later with Thompson hitting the front once again, we also had new driver at the lead of the chasing pack in Cunnington with Samra now back in 8th. So with just two laps to go the situation was this, we had a lead group of five a sole 6th place driver and then a group of four behind him. The lead group were split by just over a second and contained Thompson, Pinsent, Lloyd, Dimitrov and Short who ran in that order, Cunnington had some good fortune fall his way to now be in a lonely 6th however behind the next group of four were split by just three tenths with Newsham leading, Samra, Burgess and Sutton were tucked in behind with the novice driver Mitchell catching the lot of them. As we started the last lap Thompson would have a hard job of defending but his experience shone through as he held on to take the victory, neither driver behind took any real risks so all finished in the order they started the lap with Pinsent finishing 2nd, Lloyd was 3rd, Dimitrov was 4th with Short 5th, the top 5 split by just four tenths of a second. Cunnington finished a lonely 6th place, Samra eventually took the honours in his group to finish 7th with Newsham, Sutton and Burgess all following him home. Mitchell finished an impressive 11th taking the novice victory. The Comer victory went to McCallum with Isaac and Wills completing the podium.
Junior TKM - Unfortunately only 8 Junior TKM’s took to the grid but as I said before the race in commentary take nothing away from this one as there were three drivers that looked set to run each other close. Those drivers were the first three on the grid, Ayres was the first of them and would start on pole with Newman starting alongside. It had been those two sharing the spoils in the heats all day. The last of them was Sparrow who would start on the inside of row two, Davidson would start to his outside and forming row three was Strong and Smith. The top three completed the first lap as they started it and quickly started to pull a gap from the rest of the field lead by Strong who had got the better of Davidson on the opening lap. The top three although close had clearly settled themselves down with all three drivers looking in no mood to pass just yet so this threw our attention back to the chasing pack where things were a little more exciting with Davidson regaining his 4th place on lap 3. There was more change the next lap where Smith had made his first move of the race passing Strong for 5th place and the passing didn’t stop there as he passed Davidson for 4th just a lap later. The race had now sprung into life as we also had passing going on for the lead Newman took the lead with Sparrow being unable to follow him through. Smith’s rapid rise to 4th unfortunately didn’t last for long as a couple of laps later Davidson passed Smith and put a bit of ground between the pair. About 30 seconds later we lost our first driver of the race, Strong who was still well in contention to get 4th place unfortunately was forced to retire so this meant now only 7 drivers remained. Right at the back of the field there was an interesting story developing, Ceronetti who finished the first lap 16 seconds behind the novice driver Wright was catching him hand over fist and with just five laps to go had brought the gap down to 7 seconds. So with two laps to go there was still no change at the front it remained Ayres from Newman and Sparrow but they were closer than ever with just two tenths separating them and we looked set for a grandstand finish, Davidson was now a comfortable 4th after Smith behind made a big mistake which had dropped him five seconds back, the gap between Wright and Ceronetti was now just over three seconds. So as the last lap board went out the top three were almost glued together and it was a question of who was going to take which step on the podium, however as the top 3 came through turn 2 Newman in 2nd ran wide holding up Sparrow in the process, this gave Ayres the cushion he needed and left it a straight fight for 2nd between Newman and Sparrow. Ayres made no mistakes on the last lap and went on to take what was in the end a surprisingly comfortable victory , Newman despite his error held onto 2nd with Sparrow never going higher than 3rd throughout the whole race. Davidson 4th Smith 5th, and despite Ceronetti’s best efforts Wright just held onto 6th by 0.3 seconds.
Mini Max - The penultimate final of the day was Mini Max and this certainly looked in my eyes to be the most competitive grid of the day and it was a big one with 33 drivers ready to go out onto the track, picking a winner here was going to be almost impossible. On the front row two men who hadn’t been out of the top 10 all day Championship contenders, Bearman and Wragg, behind them on row two was Chesterton and the recently crowned London Cup Champion Bellini. On row three was a man who has just moved up from cadets in Wood and he was joined by Bailey, two more men to watch out for would be the number 6 seed of Turner and also another top cadet graduate in the shape of Keneally, they started in 8th and 9th position. As the lights went out the 33 karts hurtled their way to turn 1 and it was not long before we saw the first incident and it involved one of our front runners, Bellini shot out from the huge group of karts in a spin and dropped to the tail of the field. In the midst of it all appeared Chesterton who now lead from Bearman in 2nd, Wood had climbed to 3rd with Wragg dropping to 4th, Keneally had made an excellent start and was now 5th with Byrne keeping out of trouble to run in 6th place. There were good and bad starts being made up and down the order and it was hard to keep up with everything that was happening but one thing was for sure and that was that the lead group contained 20 drivers being split by around 4 or 5 seconds! The second lap things got pretty busy at the sharp end, Bearman and Wood both had bad laps dropping to 7th and 4th places respectively with Wragg and Keneally filling up the spaces they once filled. Keneally certainly looked the quickest during the early stages and passed Wragg for 2nd before taking the lead from Chesterton just a couple of laps later with now 6 laps remaining. Whilst that was all going on Wragg had dropped back to 5th with Wood and Turner both getting the better of him and despite all this we had a break away group of six drivers with Bearman tailing the group off. The mid pack was an extremely busy place to be and there was a lot of passing going on but there were four drivers that were really standing out all working together to make their way through the pack, they were Phillips, Childs, Gooding and Newman who after 7 laps had made up 10, 7 and 4 places respectively. At the same stage of the race the lead group looked like this it was Keneally who was doing a tremendous job to lead, Chesterton and Wood were 2nd and 3rd, Turner and Wragg were 4th and 5th with Bearman in 6th. However the next lap things changed Chesterton had a torrid lap dropping to the back of the lead group, this promoted Wood and Turner into the podium positions and behind Bearman had made his first impact of the race by passing Wragg for 4th place. So with the top six still split by just over a second and the last lap just around the corner things looked set for a grandstand finish, behind Byrne and Deakin had been keeping themselves out of trouble in 7th and 8th but were starting to look a little less comfortable with the afore mentioned four hard chargers catching every lap. So the last lap board came out and the large number of spectators watched on anxiously to see which one of the top six would take this one, Keneally defended brilliantly in both turns 3, 6 and 8 with Wragg passing Bearman for 4th in turn 8. But the boot still remained and it was here where the race was decided there was contact between the top 3 going into the first part of the boot, which left Keneally and Wood side by side going into the second part, Wood now on the inside hit the kerb which forced him into the side of Keneally and the pair were both delayed with Keneally coming out much worse, this left Turner in 3rd to pick up the pieces and take the victory. Wragg in the midst of it all managed to bag himself 2nd with Wood recovering to take 3rd, Bearman held onto his 4th place with Chesterton finishing 5th and Byrne and Deakin got their just rewards for being patient to round out the top 7. Keneally lost 7 places in the incident at the boot and would have been gutted with 8th place after leading the race, but he showed some fantastic pace throughout and is certainly going to be one to watch for next year. Things were just as close in the fight for novice victory with Brandon Abraham just snatching it from Kandola by just two tenths of a second.
Iame Cadet A Final - So the final race of the day was the eagerly anticipated Iame cadet A final, which despite the rapidly fading light turned out plenty of spectators all waiting to see how this one would play out. The man on pole position was the newly seeded number 10 driver Joe Turney who was in sparkling form in the heats with a lowest finish of 2nd, starting alongside him was the number 7 Dexter Patterson. Starting on row two was Harry Platten, who took a win in his heats, he was alongside Chris Draper with Joe Taylor and Klaas Kooiker rounding out the top six. With the B final top 4 finishers completing the last 4 spaces on the grid some people would be keeping an eye out to see how winner of that Wooldridge would come through the field. So as the lights went out it was an extremely close start but Turney just managed to hold on to the lead, Platten was a close 2nd with Martland making an excellent start to run 3rd, all of this dropping Patterson to 4th , Draper rounded off what was a lead group of 5 after the opening lap. The next things changed quite dramatically for some drivers, Platten swapped places with Turney to take the lead however Martland after his brilliant start was dumped from the lead group and now found himself battling with the likes of Ravenscroft and Kooiker in what was a big gaggle of karts. To the surprise of most people further back Wooldridge was failing to make any kind of ground on the mid pack and still lay out of the top 20 which was frustrating to watch as he was certainly lapping quick enough to be with the leaders. On the leaders and now all settled down they started to push further away from the likes of Martland behind so it looked like we were going to have to wait untill much later in the race before anymore changes would happen. So looking further back and there was another group of four just in behind the leaders and that included Martland, Ravenscroft, Kooiker and McQueen who ran in that order. Behind them good progress was being made by Smith who momentarily found himself up in 9th after his 14th place start but a bad lap half way through the race saw him drop back into the pack. Back to the second group of karts and on lap 5 we saw a change of position with McQueen passing Kooiker for 7th as we started the penultimate lap. So with just two laps to go you felt there was finally going to be another change in the lead group and there was, Turney hit the front with everyone else still holding their positions and perhaps waiting for the last lap to make their move. It was a fantastic race to watch throughout and as the last lap board went out (slightly earlier than expected due to fading light) Turney defended for all his worth but Platten made a fantastic move and even got away leaving now 3 in the battle for 2nd. The karts went almost three a breast coming into the boot with Draper going for broke around the outside but he came unstuck as Patterson fended him off and he quickly found himself back in 4th again. So it was Platten who took the victory and deservedly so after his last lap performance, Patterson’s experience shone through to gain him 2nd Turney would of probably been slightly disappointed with 3rd with Draper finishing 4th after coming so close to taking 2nd. Martland eventually finished a lonely 5th place with Ravenscroft taking 6th, after being able to hold off the challenges of McQueen and Kooiker behind. The Novice victory of course had already gone to Neate just for making the A final where he finished 32nd.
With all of the excellent racing we should see again next month we will also be having to concentrate on Championship battles and if we see the same turnout if not higher than we saw this month then we will certainly be ending the year in style. To find out who takes the last victories for 2014 as well as the titles join us at Whilton Mill on the 23rd of November. See you then.
Final club standing after round 10
Snr Max – Robert Gilford 504 points, Daniel Wood 485, Bobby Neil 456
Jnr Max – Matt Fretwell 523, Ronan McKenzie 484, Max Stilp 475
Mini Max – Lochlan Bearman 534, Kieran Wraag 463, Timothy Amadi 431
JTKM – Peter Newman 535, Adam Sparrow 490, Matthew Ayres 485
Jnr X30 – Philip Hanson 512, Patrycja Zabawska 483
Snr X30 – Todd Hatton 379, Jack Bartholomew 354
Iame Cadet – Reggie Duhy 527, Caden McQueen 501, Harry Platten 499,
Honda Cadet – Henry Laws 516, Louie Short 503, Ethan Newsham 463
Comer Cadet has already been won by Toby McDonald