This year a solid entry of 233 drivers, the advent of the OK Senior class, some great racing, brilliant weather and a great atmosphere in the Podium Village along with several hundred spectators and ‘live’ IPTV courtesy of our good friends at ‘Telemundi’ made this one of the best events in its 21-year history.
The well liked KMGP format of two separate days racing accumulating points from the four heats and then the Sunday Finals day provided the usual ‘ups & downs’ but made for some brilliant racing come the actual GP races.
A who’s who of Cadet drivers was always going to ensure this class was super competitive. In general, we had some excellent racing but on a couple of occasions the old chestnut ‘loading’ raised its head and spoilt several Heats. (It is expected that the CIK type ‘push back’ nose cone system will be in place in 2017 to prevent these issues!)
A ‘B’ Final was required which went pretty much to plan – Van Knapton taking the win along with 5 others who qualified at the back of the Pre Final.
Pre-Final: Things hadn’t gone his way in the Heats and Bray Kenneally had to work hard to take an excellent win, Joshua Rattican helped him on his way and slipstreamed him over the line in second. Harry Thompson had the lead in the early stages but had to be content with third. One to watch was Zak O’Sullivan who was on fire as he made up 11 places on the grid and ended up an excellent 8th.
KMGP Final – As expected the Final was a stunner. 14 laps of intense battling and all the names you would expect in the lead pack. As always, Harry Thompson looked a potential winner, but despite leading the first three laps he became engulfed in the pack. Another potential winner, Bray Kenneally, hit the front and it did look like for many laps he had control but Maxwell Dodds and Joseph Taylor had other ideas. The four-way scrap got intense with two laps to go and more so on the last lap. Defensive driving and position grabbing slowed this bunch down and, from almost nowhere, on the last few corner, Zak O’Sullivan breezed by them all to grab a sensational victory!
A strong grid of experienced drivers made for some excellent racing and the usual PF experts were in the lead pack all weekend.
The Pre Final belonged to an on form Wesley Mason, he had his work cut out though as Harry Thompson and Oliver Bearman chased him all race and made it a very exciting 12 laps.
KMGP Final – Should have been a cracker but an unfortunate incident leading onto the bridge section on lap one all but ended Wesley Masons & Lucas Ellingham’s chances. Oliver Bearman took charge for most of the race but was under constant pressure from Harry Thompson and had to let him go with two laps left. Thompson held on for the win, Bearman in his wheel tracks second and Oliver Marsh just holding off a strong charge from Sam Heading to take third.
A solid entry of 24 drivers and some excellent racing all weekend. It was good to see these young drivers enjoying their racing in a fair and respectful manner – well done to all.
Pre Final: Jenson Butterfield - not a lot you could say about the winner’s performance, Pole position and lights to flag victory – stunning. Jonny Edgar gave chase after making up places but had to settle for second. Tom Canning looked a strong contender for top three honours but a yellow flag infringement saw his chances slip, Dexter Patterson inheriting third.
KMGP Final – The Jenson Butterfield dominance continued for 12 laps of the Final – but several drivers had plans on spoiling his dominance. Dexter Patterson was an impressive leader on Lap 13 but Finlay Bunce was also in the mix taking the lead at Lap 14. Patterson however re-took the lead when it mattered and was first to the flag – as said, impressive. Butterfield was a disappointed second while Bunce was a solid third. Great credit to Tom Canning who worked his way up from the last man on the start grid to a brilliant fourth.
With support from JAG supplying free tyres to these drivers, numbers were still a little disappointing but non the less , 18 drivers battled hard for ‘GP’ honours.
Pre Final was a four driver battle with Mark Kimber initially looking good, but strong battles and numerous lead changes saw him eventually finish fourth. William Pettitt was looking classy and was in the right place when it mattered – at the flag – winner. Joe Turney had a strong run into second while Myles Apps looked menacing in third.
KMGP Final – The writing was on the wall right from the off – Pole man Pettitt was ‘jumped’ at the start by Joe Turney who received a 10 second penalty demoting him from second to tenth at the flag, and William Pettitt, having issues on the opening lap, slipping out of contention. So who was making the most of these misfortunes – Myles Apps. Always in the lead group and picking his moment, he claimed a great win after 16 intense laps of competition. Tyler Chesterton had a strong race to finish a solid second while Mark Kimber completed the podium places in third.
For the first time at KMGP, the latest offering from the CIK saw the OK (Vortex) class in operation. While the grid numbers were disappointing, those taking part and support from Strawberry Racing made it a very exciting debut at the event.
Pre Final – Fast or what!! A new circuit ‘lap record’ for Dean Macdonald – 54.99, and for sure it was the speed of the karts which impressed. We were also privileged to have CIK European winner at Genk the previous week with us – Clement Novalak to add spice. The race was a three way affair with PF expert Oliver Hodgson showing the way to Novalak and Macdonald
but there wasn’t a lot in it.
KMGP Final – A bit of an anti-climax as Hodgson was in total command - Lights to flag in style gave him the first OK GP title. As with the Pre-Final, Novalak and Macdonald followed home in second and third, while Luke Knott had a strong drive to finish fourth.
Entries enough to warrant a ‘B’ Final and some intense racing as always form these Juniors. Surprise runners in the ‘B’ Final, Elliot Harvey and Oliver Clarke had no issues qualifying for the GP but had a massive task in front of themselves to gain a satisfactory result.
Pre Final – A Black & Orange threesome dominated in the form of Team BKC, but only after a messy first lap incident at the hairpin which demoted a racey looking Ed Hack. Jac Maybin looked cool at the front but Oliver York was making things difficult at half distance and looked a strong contender. The last few laps were hectic and experienced racer Callum Bradshaw showed why he is one of the best in this class with a measured performance to take the win. Maybin was a strong second with Team mate Sam McDonnel third. Matthew Graham had a great run gaining 11 places and finishing fourth just in front of York and Mario Mills.
KMGP Final - The BKC party was nearly spoilt by Oliver York in the GP, he raced sensationally and battled hard and with skill to manoeuvre his way to the front on the Final lap. Despite crossing the line first, great disappointment as a nose cone infringement demoted him 10 seconds. So as per rehearsals, Callum Bradshaw added another title to his repertoire after holding out Jac Maybin who was runner up. Sam McDonnell was as always in the mix and completed the podium places.
If you want to see committed, hard, kart racing then look no further – brilliant battles all over the place, strong drives, committed performances, it was all here.
A packed ‘B’ Final saw Luca Hirst put some unlucky Heat performances behind him as he claimed the win, Matthew Hirst took a very workman like second (up 10 places) while Fraser Rose completed the Top 3.
Pre Final – Wherever you looked, there were battles, and the race win in doubt to the flag. However if the pack contains a certain Mr Litchfield you know there is
‘class’ – he may not have been the fastest out there but his race craft is sublime – on this occasion he crafted out another win. Brett Ward was his shadow for the race and at times looked as though he had something in reserve – perhaps he didn’t want to show his hand in the Pre Final – a fine second at the flag and in Litchfield’s slipstream. Another ‘class’ act, Danny Keirle had some heart aches in the Heats but blew us all away with his breath-taking progress – a 15 place jump up the grid to finish a very strong third gave us a glimpse of what could be. Connor Hall and Derek Morgan were also in the mix and could spring a surprise in the GP.
KMGP Final – 36 karts on track made this the ‘blue ribbon’ race of the day, a big crowd appreciating the skills of these kart heroes.
From the off, Litchfield took control, but Keirle was probing for a way past which came after 5 laps but Litchfield responded, hitting the front again. The pack was also close at hand with Derek Morgan and Connor Hall bidding for glory. The ‘Big 2’ (Litchfield/Keirle) battle was relentless but on Lap11 it was all change as Brett Ward hit the front and looked to have timed his run to perfection – oh that is until Danny Keirle takes things up a notch. A stunning drive to overhaul Ward and Litchfield and carry him to a well-deserved GP victory. Mark Litchfield, although finishing runner up, gave everything as did Brett Ward in third – both contributing to a great Final. Mention of a couple of drivers who made dazzling drives in the Final, Matthew Hirst up 18 places and in this company that is stunning, a great 4th place at the flag, and Tom Sharpe-Reynold up 28 places to finish 6th.