BNL Karting Series, Round 2 – Mariembourg again provides close racing

Columns: Races
The second round of the BNL Karting Series headed back to the iconic Karting Des Fagnes circuit in Mariembourg, as around 160 drivers from 20 different nations went into competition over the course of a weekend that was hit by very changeable weather.

A mixture of sunshine, significant rain and heavy winds would provide a challenge for all concerned, but it still kept the racing action as close as ever. 

Great Britain’s Jacob Ashcroft (#122 – DHR) again showed that he is the one to beat this season in the class, taking a near perfect score of wins at the 1,388-metre circuit in Belgium, only to narrowly miss out on the victory in the Day 2 Pre-Final, where he was pipped by team mate Cole Denholm (#162 – GBR) by a margin of just 0.056 seconds. 

Denholm would consistently run in the top three all weekend long, taking second in the event result behind Ashcroft. Estonia’s Nikita Ljubimov (#112 – Bouvin Power) would also be racing at the sharp end of the field and would eventually place third, with Albert Friend (#191 – GBR – Strawberry Racing) and Felipe Reijs (#107 – NED – RR Racing) rounding out the overall top five. 

Denmark’s Finn Albert Jorgensen (#165 – RS Competition) would just manage to edge out the UK’s Jack Freeman (#193 – DHR) for the top step in the Mini Rookie class, with the pair showing their speed to compete well. Jorgensen would win the event by just 1 point. 

Portugal’s Joao Maria Pereira (#129 – GKS Lemmens Power) would secure third, 15 points behind Jorgensen, even finishing ahead of the Dane in the Final on Day 1. Completing the top five were the Netherlands’ Cees Muys (#143) and the UK’s Maria Ruberto (#152 – DHR), who picked up her second trophy in a row in Europe this season. 

In Juniors, it went to countback to decide who would be the winner, but by winning the Final on Sunday, Kasper Schormans (#240 – NED – JJ Racing) would hit the top step ahead of DHR’s Timo Jungling (#265 – GBR), who would take the win in the Pre-Final that same day. Luka Scelles (#204) would not place outside of the top four, putting the French driver on the final step of the rostrum.

Daems Racing’s Belgian hotshot Beau Lowette (#224) would end up fourth, missing out on the podium by a single point, two ahead of France’s Oscar Goudchaux (#213) and Belgium’s Mateja Radenkovic (#296 – Bouvin Power)

The Senior Event Result would also be decided on countback, as it would be a Strawberry Racing 1-2. Mark Kimber (#300 – GBR) would power away in the Final on Sunday to level on points with last year’s Junior European Rotax Champion, Ethan Jeff-Hall (#397 – GBR), whose pace was very impressive against other experienced and seasoned drivers in the class. 

KR Sport’s Sean Butcher (#302 – GBR) would take two third place finishes in the finals to keep his aim of a third BNL title in four years alive to round out the podium. Both the UK’s Kai Hunter (#335 – DHR) and Germany’s Austin Lee (#372 – Strawberry Racing) would complete the top five, with Matthew Higgins (#364 – GBR – DHR) edged out by countback. 

With a win and three second place finishes, Denmark’s Victor Frost Bay would take his first weekend win on 211 points, narrowly edging out Enzo Bol (#404 – NED – SP Motorsport), who even took both the wins on Sunday. Bol’s Belgian team mate, Tom Braeken (#418) would win the Pre-Final on Saturday, but would have his fair share of trials and tribulations over the rest of the weekend. However, he would still do enough to take the third place trophy. 

It was a dog fight for those trying to secure valuable points, but emerging out of it when it came to the top five were Denmark’s Carl Gustav Borggaard (#437 – RS Competition) and the UK’s Edward Matthews (#458 – DHR), who scored 193 and 189 points respectively. 

In DD2 Masters, it was a near-perfect score for France’s Nicolas Picot (#537), who would win all races bar the Final on Day 1, along with competing at the sharp end of the overall grid, with DD2 and Masters running together, amassing a total of 217 points. Germany’s Denis Thum (#517) would not have the best weekend, having suffered dramas in qualifying on one day, but would still make an impression to take second, ten points off Picot. 

Denmark’s Nicolai Kristensen would take to the final step of the rostrum a further 10 points behind Thum, rounding off his weekend of consistency with finishing second in both of Sunday’s races. It would also see France’s Christophe Capitaine (#599) and Belgium’s Carl Cleirbaut (#599) complete the top five overall. 

The BNL Karting Series will now make a welcome return to Racing Kart JPR in Ostricourt, France for the first time since 2018, as it will see the title race continue in earnest, with the drivers looking to secure their place in Bahrain for the 2023 Rotax MAX Challenge Grand Finals this coming December. 

by Alex Goldschmidt - picture Kartphoto/Michael Melis


Created by: cggiuliano - 06/07/23

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