Close racing front and centre at Mariembourg

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Columns: Races
The halfway point of the 2024 BNL Karting Series season saw another welcome visit to the southern part of Belgium, as the 1,388-metre Karting des Fagnes circuit in Mariembourg saw a combination of variable weather and ultra-close racing over two days of on-track action.

With almost 100 drivers comprising six Rotax-powered classes, representing almost 20 nations, it would see some drivers stride forward on the road to the 25th anniversary of the Rotax MAX Challenge Grand Finals in Sarno this coming late October before a three-month summer break gives the drivers welcome respite during a hectic calendar year.
Michael Melis/Kartphoto

Mini MAX & Mini MAX Rookie: Jenson Chalk (#164 - GBR - Strawberry Racing) would break the dominance of Belgium’s Vince Vanderhallen (#130 - BEL) in a drag race to the chequered flag, with the former winning the Final by 0.005 seconds, with Chalk opting to move to the left to steal the win. Vanderhallen had been the class of the field all weekend long and has shown that he will be one of the main title contenders this year.
Hunter Motorsport would secure their second-ever podium, thanks to the efforts of the #114 of Max Jolly (GBR), who made an impression on his first time racing outside of the UK by taking third place, with Victor Ruyts (#176 - BEL - SP Motorsport) and Dan Holland Racing’s Jack Freeman (#193 - GBR) rounding out the top five. Belgium’s Yenthe Moonen (#110) did initially finish third on the road but was later excluded from the final for a technical non-conformity.
Yesse Moonen (#10 - BEL) would hit the top step of the podium in Mini MAX Rookie after chief rival Ryan Rampadarath (#32 - NED - SP Motorsport) would not finish the race after an accident on lap 6. Dan Holland Racing’s Albert Pharoah (#42 - GBR) would secure his best season finish so far in second, with Belgium’s Tristan Abeels (#9 - GKS) and Rampadarath completing the finishing order.

Mini MAX Standings Top 5:
1 – Jenson Chalk: 306 points
2 – Vince Vanderhallen: 304 points
3 – Victor Ruyts: 298 points
4 – Michal Zajac: 289 points
5 – Vic Van Campenhout: 271 points

Mini MAX Rookie Standings Top 5:
1 – Ryan Rampadarath: 223 points
2 – Yesse Moonen: 200 points
3 – Albert Pharoah: 165 points
4 – Tristan Abeels: 136 points
5 – Noah Steehouder: 57 points

Mini MAX & Mini MAX Rookie Results:

Junior MAX: Strawberry Racing’s Harry Bartle (#273 – GBR) would put his dominant stamp in what was a very competitive field of 22 drivers, winning four of the five races, most notably the Final on Sunday afternoon. Even though the Briton was challenged by several rivals over 13 exciting racing laps, he would take the chequered flag first ahead of Ties Van Wijk (#246 – NED – Bouvin Power) by 0.249 seconds.
With the top five covered by 1.071 seconds at the finish, Latvia’s Toms Strele (#238 – Dan Holland Racing) would try his hardest to go for the win but would end up rounding out the podium in third place.
Both Jacob Ashcroft (#222 – GBR – Dan Holland Racing) and Max Sadurski (#297 – NED – SLC Karting) were some of the other Junior drivers that would showcase that they have just as much of a chance to go for this year’s title and would end up rounding out the top five.

Junior MAX Standings Top 5:
1 – Harry Bartle: 321 points
2 – Jacob Ashcroft: 306 points
3 – Toms Strele: 295 points
4 – Ties Van Wijk: 292 points
5 – Boaz Maximov: 287 points

Junior MAX Results:

Senior MAX: It was too difficult to predict who would win in Seniors, but luck would fall into the lap of the UK’s Macauley Bishop (#367 – Dan Holland Racing), who turned what was a difficult weekend around to a well-earned victory by 1.390 seconds in the Final, which saw major drama on the opening lap.
Heading into turn two, the multi-kart incident eliminated pole sitter Beau Lowette (#324 – BEL – Daems Racing Team), Mateja Radenkovic (#333 – BEL – Bouvin Power), Freddie Ingram (#369 – GBR – KR-Sport) and Georgia’s Lado Kukhianidze (#380 – Dan Holland Racing), along with defending champion Kai Hunter (#385 – GBR – Hunter Motorsport) being another whose race was compromised.
Vic Stevens (#327 – BEL – Bouvin Power) was also in the hunt for the win, along with championship leader Jayden Thien (#359 – NED – Dan Holland Racing), who had their fair share of trials over the course of the weekend but could not challenge the resolve of Bishop in the Final, with the pair finishing second and third respectively. KR-Sport’s Thomas Bearman (#352 – GBR) and Sverre Ubben (#346 – BEL – GKS) would also heavily feature in the final, ending up completing the top five finishers.

Senior MAX Standings Top 5:
1 – Jayden Thien: 319 points
2 – Macauley Bishop: 300 points
3 – Vic Stevens: 289 points
4 – Sverre Ubben: 278 points
5 – Kai Hunter: 276 points

Senior MAX Results:

DD2 & DD2 Masters: It was a welcome relief for Belgium’s Dylan Lahaye (#428), who would finally take his first ever win in the BNL Karting Series as a DD2 driver, having made the decision to move up from Senior MAX after a year away from karting. The SP Motorsport driver would end up securing victory in the Final, which saw a great duel between the Belgian, whose run of consistency kept him in line for a chance to win.
Germany’s Nikita Gense (#407 – Dörr Motorsport) would put himself on pole position for the Final after winning both Heat 1 and Super Heat, but would have to settle for second place, having battled with Imke Arts (#405 – NED) and Nicolas Guillaume (#491 – BEL – SP Motorsport) for several laps. Arts would eventually make it count to keep up a consistent pace to round out the podium, ahead of Guillaume, with Denmark’s Frederik Zebis Christensen (#433) fifth, after having difficulties during qualifying and the Heats on Saturday. Belgium’s Carl Cleirbaut (#540 – BEL) would not only take class wins in four of the five races, but by winning the Final by a mere 0.233 seconds after 17 laps, he also becomes the new leader in DD2 Masters heading into the lengthy summer break. Even with a small handful of drivers, Cleirbaut would win, ahead of France’s Christophe Capitaine (#599 – FRA – RM Concept) and Germany’s Michael Becker (#504 – GER), who were all smiles collecting their trophies on the podium on the Sunday afternoon.

DD2 Standings Top 5:
1 – Frederik Zebis Christensen: 308 points
2 – Nikita Gense: 305 points
3 – Dylan Lahaye: 278 points
4 – Nicolas Guillaume: 276 points
5 – Imke Arts: 270 points

DD2 Masters Standings Top 5:
1 – Carl Cleirbaut: 232 points
2 – Christophe Capitaine: 223 points
3 – Michael Becker: 213 points
4 – Nicolai Kristensen: 147 points
5 – Kamil Kubera: 70 points

DD2 & DD2 Masters Results:

Full Championship standings:

In just under three months’ time, the BNL Karting Series will return to action on August 24th & 25th in western Germany, as Kerpen will see the only trip outside Belgium this year. With all titles being competed for by several competitors in each class, the title protagonists will be revealed at the circuit where drivers such as Michael Schumacher and Sebastian Vettel started their racing careers.

Press Release by: BNL karting series - 29/05/24

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