Ultimate Karting Championship Heads North for Round 2 of the 2023 season Larkhall

Columns: Races
Larkhall provided a wet & challenging weekend for Round 2 of the 2023 Ultimate Karting Championship. (Elliot Cunnington)

After a year away from the Larkhall Circuit in Scotland the Ultimate Karting Championship returned with 177 drivers all with hopes of moving up in the championship standings just 3 weeks after round 1 at Whilton Mill.

Ryan White (LM Motorsport) started from pole position for the Honda GX200 Super Final, with teammate Ollie Thompson (LM Motorsport) alongside on the front row. Ralphie Branscome (Privateer). With 14 minutes plus 1 lap ahead for the Honda drivers the grid formed for a standing start. White retained his lead with Thompson slotting in behind. As the race timer continued to countdown, the top three remained unchanged while Jacob Jack (Privateer), Bella Fairclough & Thomas Jackson had their eyes fixed on the podium & started to work on closing the gap down. However, the top three would remain unchallenged until lap 8 when Jack overtook Branscome at the hairpin whilst setting to fastest lap. But the final podium spot was not decided yet. As Jackson made his bid by overtaking Branscome around the outside of the new complex to move up into 4th place. Now the order was White in 1st, Thompson in 2nd, Jack 3rd, Jackson 4th & Branscome in 5th & Ashley Haase (Zip Factory Team) in 6th. As the rain continued to pour down on the Larkhall Circuit the top were 6 separated by just over 3 seconds. Hasse started to make his bid for 5th place & Jack started to close in on Thompson in 2nd place but a slight misjudgment with just 15 seconds remaining on the race clock forced him wide again extending the gap between second and third. But this did not stop Jack. He dived down the inside of Thompson on the final lap to take second place. The two continued to battle for the remainder of the lap but Thompson's efforts did not quite pay off. Ryan White (LM Motorsport) took the race win from Thompson (LM Motorsport) & Jackson (Privateer).

Lucas Blantford (Sodi Vitesse) started the Super Final from pole position with Daniel Hartley (Ultimate-R) alongside in 2nd. Daniel Kilpatrick (DHR) started 3rd and Euan House (Saltire Motorsport) in 4th. Immediately Hartley took the lead followed by Blandford and Kilpatrick. Hartley began to pull out a bit of a lead and after the first lap was leading by half a second while Kilpatrick started to think about a move on second place Blantford.
For the first two laps, Kilpatrick looked down the inside of the first hairpin and on lap three he made his move exactly there. Whilst making the overtake on Blantford, Kilpatrick also set the fastest lap of the race & began hunting down the 6-tenth gap to 1st place. In just one lap Kilpatrick caught Hartley and in the final corner overtook him down the inside to take the lead of the race from Hartley. Into sector two Hartley’s race was about to get even more tricky as he drifted wide into the new complex allowing Blantford through into second and demoting him to 3rd. All of this gave Kilpatrick over a seconds lead on 2nd place while Blantford & Hartley remained very close to each other. After 6 laps the field looked set to the end and despite Blantford pushing hard he could not quite close the 1-second gap. Kilpatrick continued to control the lead of the race while Blantford & Hartley remained behind. With just two laps to go Kilpatrick still pushing hard set another fastest lap to extend his lead over the rest of the field.
Daniel Kilpatrick (DHR) took the chequered flag with Blantford in 2nd 1.62 seconds behind & Hartley in 3rd.

Mini Inter
Cole Denholm (DHR) took pole position & started alongside teammate Jacob Ashcroft (DHR) with Blair Smith (Strawberry Racing) lining up in 3rd. Denholm retained the lead off the line with Smith now behind and Charlie Woolfitt (Synergy Race Team) & Oliver Majewski (KR-Sport) with Ashcroft being shuffled down to 5th place off the start. Coming out of the new complex, Ashcroft keen to get back into his starting position went down the inside of Majewski and running him wide onto the grass but getting through also and allowing his teammate Noah Barham (DHR) to get past. The 95-kart of Woolfitt also did not want to waste any time and he made his move on Smith to take 2nd place. Then just one corner later Ashcroft also got past Smith moving himself back up into 3rd and demoting Smith to 4th place. As always the Mini Inter class proving some great action and after the first lap the running order was now Denholm, Woolfitt who started the race in 7th position was now in 2nd, Ashcroft in 3rd, Smith in 4th & Barham in 5th. Ashcroft was closing up to the back of Woolfitt and halfway around lap two made his move down the inside to get back into his original grid position of 2nd place.
The two DHR drivers now back in first and second and at this point the only two drivers to set lap times in the 1-minute and 3-second range. But for Ashcroft, there was still a lot of work to do to close down on his teammate. The gap was now just under 1 second and Denholm was marginally faster. On lap 5, Ashcroft set the fastest lap of the race and started to close up to his teammate. Then an issue for Denholm allowed Ashcroft to get past and take the lead of the race. This allowed Woolfitt into 2nd and pushed Denholm back into 3rd place. Ashcroft now leading by over 2 seconds to Woolfitt and then a further second back to the former race leader Denholm. Despite all three drivers in the podium spots setting personal best lap times non were enough to change the running order. On the penultimate lap, Denholm set the fastest lap time of the race a 1:02.662.Ashcroft won the race by 6.35 seconds from Woolfitt in second and Denholm in 3rd. Congratulations to Luca Holmes-Balac (Synergy Race Team) who made up 11 places in the Super Final to come home in 7th place.

Edward Haynes (RCE) started from pole position with Oliver Spencer (Synergy Race Team) and Kian Burnard (Infinity X Racing). Haynes retained the lead off the line followed by Burnard and Spencer in 3rd. Haynes went defensive at the end of the straight into the new complex but this left him venerable on the exit and Burnard took the opportunity to take the lead of this MicroMAX Super Final. A fantastic opening lap for Riley Murro (Sam Pollitt Racing) saw him move up into 3rd place making up 6 places from his starting position. Meanwhile, Jenson Chalk (MLC Motorsport) who started down in 12th position was also making up ground and by the 3rd lap, he was up to 6th position.
With just over 7 minutes of race time remaining Spencer moved back up onto the podium with a move on Murro but if Spencer wanted to move any further up he was going to have to push so hard as the leader (Burnard) was now 4.4 seconds away and still setting fastest laps. Murro started to work with Spencer to catch second place Haynes and not let 5th place Chalk and the pack behind catch up. With just a few seconds of race time remaining Burnard lead by 3.94 seconds from Haynes in 2nd and then the gap to Spencer in 3rd and Murro in 4th was now 4 seconds. It was looking like the top 4 was decided but then an issue for Haynes left him tumbling down the order to 5th. This promoted Spencer to 2nd, Murro to 3rd, and Chalk to 4th almost guaranteeing Spencer and Murro a podium finish with just 2 laps remaining. A dominant race from Kian Burnard saw him set the fastest lap of the race and take the win 10.17 seconds in front of second place Oliver Spencer & Riley Murro joining him on the podium.

Kai Hunter (DHR) lined up in pole position with Sean Butcher (KR-Sport) alongside in 2nd and Philip Rawson (Guy Cunnington Racing) in 3rd. Hunter shot off the line to retain his lead with Butcher dropping back into 6th allowing Rawson and Rennie into 2nd and 3rd. For the next few laps, the podium order remained unchanged as Hunter extended his lead setting serval fastest laps. The battle for 4th behind was starting to heat up as the two KR-Sport drivers who took 1st and 2nd at Whilton Mill continued to push forward they had got back up into 4th and 5th now with James Lowther (Coles Racing) falling back into 6th. As the race was starting to settle down on Lap 8 drama for Letts as an issue for him left him falling down the field to 16th position moving Lucas Ellingham (JDR) up into 4th, Butcher into 5th, Lowther into 6th and Jack Lilley (Sam Pollitt Racing) into 7th With just over 5 minutes of race time remaining Rennie made his move on 2nd place Rawson to move another step further up the podium but moving any further was looking like too much to ask as Hunter was now leading by nearly 4 seconds and still setting fastest laps. With just two laps of the race remaining the rain returned with serval drivers falling off the road. All of the driver's skill was required to keep the karts pointing in the right direction. But nothing could stop Kai Hunter who took his first Super Final win whilst setting the fastest lap of the race with Tristan Rennie in second and Philip Rawson in 3rd. Congratulations to Oliver Duffell (Guy Cunnington Racing) who moved up 14 places in the Super Final to finish 13th position.

Archie Clark (KR-Sport) and Finn Leslie (Kato Motor Sport) locked out the front row of the Junior Rotax Super Final with Freddie Ingram (KR-Sport) and Gracie Mitchell (Sam Pollitt Racing) on row 2. The rain started to fall once again as the JuniorMAX drivers headed out onto the track for their Super Final. Clark lead the field over the line followed by Ingram and Leslie. Immediately Leslie & Ingram went wheel to wheel in the battle for 2nd place as they raced up the back straight but Ingram managed to hold on to his position. On lap two an almost identical move from Leslie on Ingram but this time he managed to make the move work as Ingram goes wide on the grass and loses 3rd place as well to Leon Hastie (Tooley Motorsport).
Just two corners later, Ingram was back on a charge as he went down the inside of the first hairpin on Hastie and for the second race in a row the two drivers collide spinning Hastie around and leaving him down in 32nd place. Meanwhile, Jack Hobson (Ultimate R) had stormed through the field to take the lead of the race. At this point, the top 2 of Hobson & Clark had started to break away from Ingram, Leslie and Alex Cull (Guy Cunnington Racing) in 3rd, 4th & 5th positions who were all pushing hard for the final space on the podium. At the end of the straight Leslie made his move on Ingram and immediately Cull saw this as an opportunity to get past Leslie at the next corner. Off the 2nd hairpin the two banged wheels as Leslie’s did not want to lose 4th place. But Cull was having none of it. He sent another move down the inside of Leslie’s at the final corner to retake fourth place again but the battle continued as the two drivers went wheel to wheel down the main straight, but Cull held on to the position. Hobson continued to set fastest laps and increase his advantage over second-place Clark. Leslie & Cull started to catch Clark but the top 5 would remain unchanged for the rest of the race. Hobson crossed the line over 11 seconds in the lead & despite a penalty of 5 seconds, Hobson held on to his win & set the fastest lap for Ultimate-R with Clark in second and Leslie in third.

Created by: fmarangon2 - 04/05/23

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