2023 British Rotax Calendar kicks off at Whilton Mill

Columns: Races
The Whilton Mill Circuit (Northamptonshire) hosted the first major event of the 2023 British Rotax Calendar across the weekend with 211 drivers entered all hoping to be crowned the 2023 British Open Champion. (E.C.)

MicroMAX
The first final to take place was MicroMAX and it was the Number 42 Oliver Spencer (Synergy Factory Team) who started from pole position with number 88 Zac Starbuck (Privateer) starting alongside. Spencer retained the lead at the end of the first lap with teammate Luca Balac moving up into 2nd and Starbuck in 3rd. On lap three the top two lead by 1.3 seconds as number 23 Oliver Warner (Argenti Motorsport) made a move for 3rd place on Starbuck as he planned to close the gap to the two Synergy
machines out in front whilst lighting up the timing screens purple on his way. With 5 minutes 30 seconds remaining on the clock, Balac made a move for the lead into Christmas Corner on teammate Spencer allowing Warner to close the gap on the top two as he set another fastest lap. On lap 7, Warner had closed the gap down to 0.1 seconds to Balac in 1st and Spencer in 2nd and was now in a position to make his move on the two Synergy Karts. But then Balac went slightly wide in Sector 3 allowing Spencer to make a move up the inside. As the two karts went side by side drifting slightly wide on the exit of the corner and the very opportunistic Warner took his chance and overtook both of them to take the lead of the race. Luca Balac almost immediately made a move on to re-take 2nd place from Spencer and set up reclaiming his lead from Warner. With just 5 laps to go, Balac retook the lead and would hold on to it for the next three laps before Warner now in 2nd made a move on Balac with just one lap to go hoping that would be enough for the race win. However, on the last lap Oliver Spencer fort to take back the lead from a defending Oliver Warner and with ½ a lap remaining made the move stick whilst also allowing Luca Balac into 2nd. Oliver Spencer took the win from pole position to be crowned the MicroMAX British Open Champion for 2023 with the Synergy Factory Team. He was joined by teammate Luca Balac & Oliver Warner from Argenti Motorsport on the Podium with the top three being separated by just 0.53 seconds at the chequered flag. Congratulations to the ‘Micro On The Move’ Emerson Macandrew-Uren who made up 22 places in the final to finish 8th whilst also setting the fastest lap of the race (51.97).
JuniorMAX
A full grid of 34 drivers started the Junior Rotax O Plate final with the 2022 JuniorMAX British Open Champion, Ethan Jeff-Hall (Strawberry Racing) leading the way in pole position alongside Macauley Bishop (DHR) starting in 2nd.
A great start from the inside row saw the top two of Jeff-Hall & Ewan Charman (Argenti Motorsport) break away with Bishop moving into 3rd. On lap three Charman took the lead away from Jeff-Hall as Bishop was still in 3rd set about closing
in on the top two drivers. Just 1 lap later Bishop made his move on Jeff-Hall to move into 2nd now with the race lead in sight and again 1 lap later he change the podium order once again with a move on Charman in Christmas Corner to take the lead of the race. Still, with 8 minutes to go and with the top three battling hard every lap this was allowing Olly Stevens (DHR) behind to start setting fastest laps and begin to close in on the podium bringing Freddie Lloyd (Evolution Racing) along with him. As Stevens and Lloyd got closer to the podium, Jeff-Hall tried to pass Charman by the two collided forcing Charman off the road and resulting in him falling from 2nd to 10th. This promoted Stevens into 3rd place and Lloyd into 4th. With 5 minutes to go, Jeff-Hall now getting closer and closer to the race lead lost the rear of his kart at turn 2 forcing him wide and allowing the DHR kart of Stevens to take 2nd place, however, the next lap Ethan Jeff-Hall did not waste any time in taking back his 2nd place from Stevens who at the next corner also lost 3rd & 4th places to Lloyd and Archie Clark (Sam Pollitt Racing). Macauley Bishop now leading by 0.66 seconds had Jeff-Hall back in 2nd place on a mission to retain his British Open Title while the final step on the podium continued to change as Clark made his move on Lloyd. With just 40 seconds on the clock Jeff-Hall made his move on Bishop to re-take the lead of the race and allowing 3rd place now of Freddie Lloyd to close up behind who was also very closely followed by Stevens, Freddie Ingram (KR-Sport) & Archie Clark. On the final lap, Jeff-Hall had over a second’s lead to, Bishop as the 5 drivers fort hard for 2nd place. Jeff-Hall took the chequered flag but devastatingly was given a 5-second penalty handing the title to Macauley Bishop from DHR also promoting Freddie Lloyd from Evolution Racing to 2nd and Freddie Ingram from KR-Sport to 3rd place. The biggest mover in JuniorMAX was Thomas Ingram Hill who made up 16 places to bring his DHR machine home in 13th place.
SeniorMAX
Kai Hunter (DHR) and Gus Lawrence (Project One Racing) lined up on the front row for the SeniorMAX O Plate. The inside row again got the best start with Hunter leading the way from pole position, Matthew Higgins (Strawberry Racing) and Guy Cunnington (Guy Cunnington Racing) moving up into the podium positions. On lap 3 Cunnington made a move on Higgins to promote himself to 2nd & then on the following lap made a similar move on Hunter to take the lead of the race. Hunter moved into 2nd whilst Lawrence moved himself up to 3rd. Morgan Porter (Hunter Motorsport) then took 3rd before banging wheels with Hunter to take 2nd.
With 5 minutes 30 left of the clock chaos would strike through the top 7 as Higgins in 5th, Pierson Bullock-Carter (JAXX Motorsport) & Neo Clarke (Tooley Motorsport) would all come together in sector 2 forcing Higgins to retire from the race and allowing Lewis Gilbert (Kraft Motorsport) & Lucas Ellingham (JDR) to catch up to the front pack. Then just a few corners later the top 4 drivers would also come together. Porter hit the rear of Cunnington damaging the steering and allowing Lawrence and Hunter to attack for the race lead. Porter, Cunnington & Lawrence all went off the track allowing Hunter to take the lead with Porter still in 2nd and now Lawrence in 3rd. Cunnington was forced to retire promoting Gilbert to 4th & Ellingham to 5th. All of this gave Hunter a 2.6-second lead whilst the battle for 2nd continued. Lawrence, Porter, Ellingham & Gilbert continued to battle hard for 2nd place for the remaining 4 minutes. Ellingham managed to get into 2nd and break away from Gilbert in 3rd, Bullock-Carter in 4th & Porter in 5th. Hunter crossed the line 6.1 seconds in front of 2nd place Lucas Ellingham allowing him to retain his British Open Championship title & winning this event for a record breaking third time, despite picking up a 5-second nose cone penalty during the incident with Porter & Cunnington. Gilbert finished in 3rd for Kraft Motorsport giving them their first podium in the UK. Congratulations to David Aulejtner from Strawberry Racing who made up 23 places in the final to finish 5th & Spencer Brougham (Privateer) who made up 26 places to finish 8th.
MINI950
The final race of the event was MiniMAX 950. Cole Denholm (DHR) started from pole position with Oliver Majewski (KR-Sport) Denholm led the first lap followed by Jacob Ashcroft (DHR) & Majewski. The top three initially broke away from the pack behind and remained in that order until lap 12 pulling out a lead of 1.4 seconds between 3rd & 4th however during that time Albert Friend (Strawberry Racing) who started the race down in 16th position was on a charge & by 12 had worked his way up to 4th place now with the gap to 3rd place Majewski to 0.6 seconds. On Lap 13, with 2 minutes to go Denholm started to defend the race lead allowing Friend in fourth to catch up with the top three. On the exit of Ashby corner Friend made his move on Ashcroft to take 3rd place. Then with just 50 seconds left on the race clock, Majewski made his move on Denholm to take the race lead also allowing Friend into 2nd and forcing Denholm into 3rd. But then into Sector 3 Friend went for a move on Majewski to take the lead sending both drivers wide and allowing Denholm straight back into the lead of the race now followed by Hugh Roche (KR-Sport) in 2nd, Friend in 3rd, Max Endacott (Argenti Motorsport) in 4th and Majewski in 5th. With one lap to go Denholm lead by 0.3 seconds with Roche behind in 2nd while the battle for the final step on the podium continued. Denholm took the chequered flag followed by Roche in 2nd and Majewski in 3rd however this race was not finished yet as Denholm was given a 5-second penalty pushing him down to 8th place and the driver who finished 2nd, Roche was disqualified post-race for coming in underweight promoting the 3rd place finisher, Oliver Majewski to the championship win for KR-Sport. 
 MiniMAX 950 saw a lot of movement up and down the grid with Albert Friend gaining 14 places, Charlie Woolfitt (Synergy Factory Team) moving up 21 places to finish 10th, Archie Lovatt (Sam Pollitt Racing) gaining 22 places to finish 11th, Ethan Griffin (KR-Sport) making 16 places to finish 16th and both Daniel Minto (Hunter Motorsport) & Tom Read (Strawberry Racing) making up 13 places. 

Photocredits: Chris Walker

Created by: fmarangon2 - 21/03/23

Browse by Columns

RACES

INTERVIEWS

ON THE TECHNICAL SIDE

FROM KART TO F1

SIM - Racing Simulator

OPINION

NEXT RACES

Newsletter

Stay tuned!
Sign up for our mailing list