It is finals day and we are in the final build up to the MSA Kartmasters Grand Prix later this after-noon. But before that, there has been over 50 races in order to decide the grids for the biggest race of the year. Lets take a look at the way each of the classes line up, and how they got there.
Alex Dunne would be the man to beat, winning 2 heats and finishing 2nd in the other 2. Josh Rowledge would line up 2nd for the Pre-final. Favourite on day 1, Taylor Barnard would come end up 3rd after finishing outside the top 15 in the last heat. Arvid Lindblad would finish Saturday in 4th. Honda driver Coskun Irfan would be looking to do the double from 5th on the grid.
The pre-final would be frantic, with the pack waiting until the last 90 seconds of the race to start shuffling each other around. The top 10 checked out from the rest of the pack, and began to fight between them. The lead would change multiple times in the last few laps, with Irfan, Dunne, Barnard and Shaw all fighting at the front. The last lap would see Dunne hold the advantage. Coming off the banking, Dunne was in front, but Lindblad was intent on moving forward, going 3 wide. In the melee, Barnard got back to the front, just before Lindblad made a mega move to take the lead and build a gap. Lindblad would win, from Barnard 2nd, Irfan would finish 3rd with Dunne just behind him. Sam Shaw and Freddie Slater would finish 5th & 6th.
The driver on top after the heats was Coskun Irfan, topping the sheets with another win and an 8th on Saturday. In hot pursuit was Theo Micouris, the top privateer who was able to pull a 5th & 2nd out of the bag to sit 2nd. They were on the front row for the pre-final. L&T’s favourite Oliver Bearman, sits just behind them in 3rd, Bearman had a tough run in the first heat, finishing outside of the top 10, but a trio of strong results means he was still in with a chance. He would have Archie Brown for company on the 2nd row. One driver starting out of position was Daniel Guinchard. After qualifying 2nd on Friday 2 tough heats, finishing 17th & 24th, see him start the pre-final down in 12th.
The Pre-final on Sunday morning went off with Bearman taking the lead in the early stages, chased by Archie Brown. Brown made a move for the lead, which shuffled Bearman off line, causing him to loose places to Sonny Smith and Aston Millar. Meanwhile Irfan had a poor start, getting shuffled down to 7th. Bearman didn’t settle for 4th though, quickly passing Millar to retake 3rd before chasing the lead pair. Theo Micouris was also on a come back drive, having dropped outside the top 5. Bearman tried a move for the lead, but ran wide off the bridge, which dropped him to 6th with a handful of laps to go. With just a couple of minutes to go, the lead was changing hand lap by lap.
It would be Archie Brown who would hold on, with Bearman getting back up to 2nd. Aston Millar will start 3rd with Sonny Smith for company on row 2. They will have Irfan and Micouris behind with Ellingham and Alfie Rigby on row 4.
The Pre-final was an extremely close fight. Bush, Dimitrov, Ley, Barrett and Heading. The 5 drivers would check out from the chasing pack, and once clear have a monumental battle. Barret and Heading would fight over 4th place behind but the big fight would be between Bush, Dimitrov and Ley. The trio would swap and change for the lead, but in the end, it would be Bush who crossed the line infront of Dimitrov and Ley. However, post race, Bush would pick up a 10 second penalty as his nosecone had been pushed back. That leaves him down in 9th, after crossing the line just 0.07s infront of Dimitrov. As a result, Dimitrov now holds pole from Alex Ley. Alicia Barrett starts 3rd from Sam Heading.
Tom Adams was the man to beat, after winning 3 of the 4 heats on Friday & Saturday. Jamie Day would have a string of top 3 finishes which would see him line up 2nd. He would have Alex Connor directly behind him, with Owen Johnson alongside. Lewis Gilbert and Ben Caisley secured the 3rd row of the grid.
The Mini Max pre-final had a few thrills and spills. Despite being the smallest grid, it was not short of action. The fight would be between Adams, Day, Hunter, Johnson and Gilbert. The 4 would be fighting hard, and it would be Hunter would make a move on Adams for the lead. Day tried to follow his team mate through, but ended up tagging and spinning him out. This would allow Adams and Gilbert to get to the front. Hunter wouldn’t be beaten though, and set about catching back up to the pack. Gilbert would try and hold 2nd, but he would fall back as Day, Johnson and Hunter would all get passed him. It would be Tom Adams who would take the win and pole in the final, he will have Jamie Day alongside. Hunter and Johnson will line up on the 2nd row. Gilbert will start 5th. Joshua Wilby will line up 6, after finishing over 6 seconds behind the leading 5.
Tyler Chesterton would have the best of his piers in the heats, a pair of wins would see him line up on pole. He would have Rhys Hunter alongside him. Hunter’s team mate Clayton Ravenscroft would finish Saturday 3rd, With Finlay Bunce on the 2nd row with him. The O Plate, Tommy Foster would line up 5th. When the lights went out for the pre-final, Chesterton would hold the lead. It wouldn’t be all his own way though, as the KR-Sport duo of Hunter and Ravenscroft would stick with him, Hunter taking the lead on lap 10. Chesterton would cruise back in front just 2 laps later. One surprise would be Bradley Barrett catching the leaders. Barrett started the race 6th and worked up to challenge the leading pair.
The chequred flag would fall on Chesterton, who secures pole for the Grand Prix. Ravenscroft will line up alongside him, with Barrett’s DHR kart in 3rd. Tommy Foster move up to 4th while its and all KR-Sport 3rd row, with Hunter and Bunce in 5th & 6th.
Saturday would serve to split the X30 into the Pre-final and B final groups, with the top 6 drivers in the B final, joining the back of the Pre-final. The big names here were Lewis Gilbert, Alex Lloyd and Caden McQueen, who all managed to qualify for the Pre-final, and the Grand Prix later.
The story of the Pre-final would be the 4 way fight at the front. Harry Thompson, Louie Westover, Morgan Porter and Sam White, it was a proper classic. The race would start with Westover, Thompson and Porter battling it out at the front, this would give Sam White the opportunity to close up to them in the closing stages of the race. With just a lap to go, White started to make his moves, first passing Porter, then shuffling Westover down as the came through the hairpins. The battle behind allowed Thompson to pull clear, taking a comfortable victory. This bodes well for the Grand final where Thompson will be joined by White on the front row with Westover and Porter directly behind.
Joeseph Taylor had the measure of the OK Junior field, taking pole for the pre-final. Shihab Al Habsi was his nearest rival with a string of solid results seeing him start on the front row. Top seed Morgan Porter started 3rd after a failing to start the first heat. Top Fusion driver Suleiman Zanfari started 4th with Rotax driver Jamie Day and Angus Moulsdale lining up 6th.
It would be another poor run for Chris Lulham, he managed to start the race, but failed to make the finish, so will start the Grand Prix in 13th. The front battle was between Joseph Taylor and Morgan Porter. Porter having made up for his poor heat 1 result by pushing Taylor hard. They broke away from Sean Butcher and Al Habsi, Butcher also had a tough run with mechanical problems in the heats. Jamie Day would try and push forward from his 5th place start, but couldn’t do so. So the Grand final will see Taylor and Porter on the front row. Butcher and Al Habsi on row 2 with Day and Moulsdale on row 3.
Danny Keirle would line up on pole for the pre-final after a dominant run in the heats. His major adversary Oliver Hodgson would start 2nd with Thomas Turner and Jordan Brown-Nutley alongside them. A driver to watch would be Ben Barnicoat who would start from 13th.
The race started with Keirle holding the lead from Hodgson. At the start he would hold Hodgson at arms length, with Turner and Brown-Nutley in pursuit. Hodgson and Keirle would have a huge battle, trading places left right and centre. Behind them, Gus Lawrence would get passed Brown-Nutley, who also lost a place to Callum Bradshaw. With just 2 laps to go, the fight between Keirle, Hodgson and Lawrence intensified. As Hodgson made his move on Keirle for the lead, a kart burst through the barrier. Keirle and Lawrence were slowed giving Hodgson a good lead.
When the flag fell it was Hodgson, Lawrence then Keirle with Brandshaw coming home 4th. Post race Lawrence would get a 10 second penalty which dropped him to 15th. He will have it all to do during the grand final. Barnicoat would get back up to 7th before getting a penalty, dropping him to 18th.
Another small grid, but a lot of action to be had in the OK Class. Mark Kimber started on pole, with Hodgson alongside. Luke Knott started 3rd with Rasmus Lindh on row 2, Archie Tillett and Callum Bradshaw filled the 3rd row.
It would be a relatively incident free race. Hodgson would get the lead during the early stages and start to drive away from the chasing pack. Kimber, Brandshaw, Lindh and Knott would be fighting it out for the last front row spot. Kimber absorbed the pressure from the chasing pack, Brandshaw and Knott would manage to pass Lindh on the final lap. That would see Hodgson in prime position to do the double in the Grand finals. Kimber will start 2nd with Rasmus Lindh and Luke Knott filling the 2nd row. Callum Bradhsaw would finish 5th with Ben Wooldridge lining up 6th, quite a way behind the lead 5.
So that is how they will start the Grand Prix races later today. Going off what we have seen so far, it could be a classic Grand Prix come sunday evening. Telemundi Media will be live streaming the whole event on Youtube, so stay tuned there to see some of the best kart racing around.
Words: Tom Gibson @WA10Tom
Image: Leon Carrington