The overcast weather we were promised didn’t materialise so race day was held in blazing sunshine and high temperatures. Was this a factor in so many having engine problems? We will probably never know but we certainly experienced an unusual rate of attrition off the dummy grid.
This was our biggest meeting yet with 15 drivers making the trip. For most it was their first ever visit to Lydd Kart Circuit and what a treat it was. High speed, challenging and that brow that almost lifts you from your seat is great fun. We now know why Lydd has such a great reputation as one of the best circuits around. Their IKR series is very well run too, focusing on fun racing at low cost with limitations on tyre usage, much like our own.
It’s impressive to see how close the pace has become amongst the top half of the field. There are now 7 or 8 drivers all lapping within a few tenths and in each race the fastest lap was set by a different driver.
Heat 1 was taken by Oli Nitch-Smith, following a very close battle with Andy Wagstaff. Darren Smith followed up in third with one of his strongest performances we’ve seen so far. An impressive fastest lap went to Megan Williams, which was also the fastest lap of the day.
Jake Horan took full advantage of his 3rd place grid slot in Heat 2, moving to the front early in the race and commanding from there. Pre-race favourite, Luke Gee attempted to chase him down but was unable to make any impression on Jake’s lead. Rob Cox finished strongly in 3rd from 5th on the grid and Jim King had one of his best results to date, coming home in 4th and showing great pace. Luke marginally set the fastest lap in this one.
Luke leaped to the front early in heat 3 from 3rd on the grid. After finally getting his kart to run, Chris Cox advanced from 8th to 2nd and pushed Luke hard over the line, setting the fasted lap along the way. Another strong finish from Rob Cox saw him finish 3rd. The gap from 1st to 9th at the finish was just 3.04 seconds!
The final was a mixture of great racing and a not so impressive incident amongst the early front runners. Luke and Oli tangled early, taking Oli out of the race. Andy Wagstaff was an innocent victim, dropping to the back of the field as a result. This all left Jake to scamper off in the lead, which was a bit of a shame as it was shaping up to be an epic battle for the win.
Behind Jake a train of 4 karts now had their eye on the podium. Darren Smith leading the pack, closely followed by Rob Cox, Craig Manning and Chris Cox. By the end of the race those positions were virtually reversed, with Chris crossing the line in 2nd, Rob 3rd, Craig 4th, Darren 5th. This was a very strong performance from Darren, who is running significantly over the weight limit. Jake cruised home in 1st, which was well deserved after showing the best pace and consistency all day.
This was also a weekend of good progress for some of our less experienced drivers. Caroline Jennings and Steve King both had strong finishes and are clearly getting closer to those in front of them. This is all the more impressive when you consider that the mid-field are also advancing towards the front.
The National Kart Cup
So now we look towards Clay Pigeon and the culmination of our 2 championships. This result dealt a big blow to Oli’s challenge, though he’s still very much in with a chance. Chris’s strong finish to the day limited the damage caused by his earlier engine problems and he now occupies the top of the table thanks to dropped scores. Mr Consistent, Jake Horan is just 2 points behind in 2nd place, with the luxury of having drop scores in his pocket.
There is a gap to 4th place, which is a tight race between Rob and Andy, though Megan still has a chance, particularly if she can convert her raw pace into the results she deserves. Darren Smith is only slightly further back. Then we have another mini battle over 8th, which could be taken by any one of five drivers.
The Southern Cup
With no scores dropped in the Southern Cup, Jake Horan has taken a commanding lead and only a disastrous final round could take it away from him. The gaps are tight throughout the rest of the field, with lots of chances for everyone to move up a few spots with good results at Clay.
We now have a long break until the final round. Once again we will be giving away a purpose made engine box, courtesy of Sam Jenkins Motorsport. In addition, we will be giving away a fully customised race suit. Special thanks go to Max Tyler at racewear.co.uk for this.
We hope to see you all there!