One final stop off took us South to the speed haven that is Clay Pigeon. Rounding off the October double header, we had 3 championships to award! A tricky place to master with its long sweeping bends, its tricky hairpin and its high exit curb at the chicane! Passing moves here are hard to muster but, for anybody that can, they tend to be spectacular!

TKM Extreme

The question on everyone’s lips was ‘when will it rain?’ Well happily for TKM qualifying, it held off and we were treated some blinding laps! Times tumbled and it looked as if Matt Harris had done enough to bag pole but, it was Lucas Sullivan in the dying seconds who came through to pinch it by just 0.057 of a second!

A sprinkling of rain probably had everyone’s eyes on stalks at the start but it was Lucas Sullivan who burst into an early advantage. Pulling a slight gap, he quickly had the attentions of Curtis Grainger who was flying! In tow was Mitch Ball who had gathered himself up from, by his standards, a lowly 5th position grid slot. A daring move by Curtis saw the lead change hands and 1st became 3rd for Lucas as Mitch fought by in hope to challenge for victory. The gap steadily fell and heading into turn 1 with 2 laps left, Mitch made his move and swept by into the lead taking the first chequered of the day with Curtis a strong 2nd and Matt Harris, 3rd. The pre-final presented the drivers with a very wet track but surging into the lead was Mitchell. Stretching out a gap, the battle for 2nd was fierce! I think there were more passing manoeuvres in 2 laps than there were laps in total! The scrap saw Lucas come out on top and by mid distance, gap the pursuers. Looking on for a podium, an untimely departure of a rear tyre complete with hub sent him off in the car park at the fast penultimate corner! Thankfully he was ok. Coming through from 10th was Matt Haughton who is usually pretty handy in inclement weather and just as the flag fell to see the heat out, he bagged a fine 3rd with Leo Crabtree 2nd and Mitchell Ball taking win number 2.

The Final

The weather had gone from bad, to worse. Clay being situated on top of a hill meant low cloud cover… at circuit level! Undeterred, the field set off into the gloom. A false start had tensions build back up again for a second go. They’re away! It was Leo Crabtree with the early advantage! Shadowing closely was Mitchell Ball and Matt Haughton. Wasting no time, Mitch slid his way by and retook the lead on lap 2. Unhappy with watching his team mate disappear off for a 3rd time, Matt followed suit with an identical pass a lap later moved up to 2nd. Appearing through the heavy cloud, the 2 luminous Flex Motorsport karts appeared. Except this time round it wasn’t the familiar Red and White helmet of Mitch, it was the White lid of Matt Haughton, with his visor up! An uncharacteristic mistake was enough to let Matt through for the lead! From here on, he continued to edge away and just had to keep going to claim his first win of the season. The troubles of Lucas Sullivan in the pre-final were a thing of the past as he was carving through the field! Starting 17th he was already up to 8th at the half way point and went on to finish 5th at the flag! An incredible display of determination and fantastic resilience overall to not give up. Back at the front with conditions still not improving, a jubilant Matt Haughton came home to claim his first win of the year and took fastest lap to boot too! A well earned victory indeed. Mitchell Ball came home 2nd and beat Matt Harris to 2nd overall in the championship. Cruel luck robbed Matt of a final finish when a rear wheel fell off on the last lap! Coming in 3rd was Leo Crabtree to claim his 2nd podium of the day. The absence of Louis Beaven meant he was crowned champion with Mitchell Ball 2nd and Matt Harris 3rd.

Senior Rotax

With 5 small points covering Si Keeble and Tom Storrar, every point mattered. The front row fell to the 2 local wildcard entries of Harrison Crook and Callum Davies but with them not accumulating points, It was Tom who bagged maximum points for his 3rd on the grid. Si found himself a lowly 12th. Nearly 7 tenths of the pace, he had a tall order ahead! 15 points the gap.

Tom just had to circulate and make sure he finished ahead or near to Si to eek his advantage out a bit more… He’s off! A melee at the restarted heat 1 caused the pack to take avoiding action. With Tom tumbling down the order to 17th at the close of lap 1 ,a fortuitous Si Keeble found himself 5th! The confusion had enabled the 2 wildcards to break and with the advantage of new tyres, they weren’t seen again. Ari Barker was having a great race and was holding 3rd quite comfortably from the titanic scrap for 4th! Si managed to best Harry Wainwright at the hairpin until Harry got him back with just a couple of laps to go. Unfortunately, it was under a Yellow flag so that promoted Si back to 4th and he gained valuable points! Tom climbed back to 7th with a determined effort to minimise the loss. 12 points was the gap. A wet pre-final added more spice to the battle as these 2 evenly matched racers have had run ins before! Home advantage for Harrison meant he waltzed to a 2nd win by some 7 seconds! Another 2nd for Callum Davies was hard fought with the attentions of Tom and Si breathing down his neck! Battling hard, they swapped back and forth for nearly half a lap until at the flag, Si came home 3rd with Tom on his heels! Fantastic fighting by the 2 top men in the championship, however… Controversy reigned post race. No less than 8 drivers were adjudged to have overtaken under a Yellow flag. Shock news when Si Keeble was found to be 1 of the 8! Championship… on its head! 17 points in Toms favour.

The Final

With the grid shaken up thanks to the pre-final result, we were setup to be in for a battle royale! The weather still not improving kept visibility low and tensions high! As they got underway for the last time, it was yet again Harrison Crook and Callum Davies at the front. This time though, Callum had the attentions of Tom Storrar all race! Knowing the 2 ahead aren’t scoring, Tom sat there shadowing closely, there were no need to take risks. Tom Richards tried for the podium until he took himself off at the first corner and the challenge was taken up by, guess who, Si Keeble! He’d negotiated his way through and chipped away at Toms lead. A little further back Gez Owen was enjoying his best run out this year. In typical Gez fashion with his famous head tilt and aggressive style, so reminiscent of Jean Alesi, he fought hard against Tom Radburn for a period, Matt Hildred and eventually Ari Barker. Across the line he held onto 6th to secure his best finish all season! Late on with the championship only to lose, Si Keeble closed… but it was too late. Tom kept himself just out of reach as Si followed him home for 3rd and 4th on the road. Harrison took his 3rd win of the day and Callum came in 2nd. Tom Storrar did what needed to be done and won by 21 points, Si Keeble 2nd overall who threw the kitchen sink at it on the day and 3rd, the young and impressive Harry Wainwright. A closely fought championship which has been exciting to watch from start to finish!

Rotax 177

There was only one thing Karl Bryant had to do this weekend, achieve maximum points everywhere! Heading into qualifying this wasn’t going to be an easy feat as it was Anwar Beroual-Smith with a blistering lap to bag the top spot and points. Karl was 4th with championship leader Adam Haines, 8th. Adam needed to keep his nose clean from now on!

Drama as it started to rain on the formation lap! Slip, sliding around, at least half the field fell of the circuit before the start. Quickly as it arrived it had gone again and a restart to get the pack back together was called. On the 2nd launch it was Karl Bryant who got the hole-shot into turn 1 and lead the field around. A conservative start, Adam Haines settled into 9th. Lap 3 confusion between 3 drivers lead to a phenomenal piece of driving and saw Adam sweeping passed all of them in one go! A fantastically opportunistic move meant he was 5th. A forever closing gap between Anwar Beroual-Smith and Karl at the front meant that with only 2 laps to go, a host of yellow flags and another sprinkle of rain, it was anybody’s! Over the line heading for the grass as the rain fell it was Karl home first. A resurgent Anwar 2nd and Daniel Miller, 3rd. Champion elect, Adam, 4th. A fully wet pre-final meant picking through the spray with 27 karts on the grid on the first lap would prove to be difficult as karts pointed in all directions! No such problems for Karl though, he utilised a clear track and opened up a 1.5 second lead by lap 1! Never one for giving up, Anwar climbed all over Daniel to claim 2nd back. They both closed on the leader and soon enough it was a 3 way scrap for the lead. Dogged defending by Karl fended them off as they crossed the line nose to tail. Anwar managed to swap 3rd for 2nd and demote Daniel down a spot. Adam rolled it home 9th.
The Final

The last action of NKC 2021 was about to get underway and the weather had slightly brightened. Whilst the rain wasn’t going anywhere, the visibility had improved immeasurably! Again, Karl catapulted into a commanding lead while the field sorted themselves out behind. Confusion at the chicane sent Adam way down the order and into danger. A coming together between Mike Edwards and Thomas Eldridge on the start line sent them both spinning into the tyres backwards! Further round a frightening accident for Bren Smith sent him head first into and under the tyre wall! Thankfully, Bren hopped straight out and was uninjured and even helped rebuild the tyre wall after! Karts strewn all over, enough was enough though and the Red flag was out. Once we had time to look in one direction and not 5, a welcome sight was that Tim Darlow had found a way into 2nd. At the restart we had a brilliant scrap for the win. Completing the first lap, it became evident that there was no Adam! Running in 19th at the halt, Adam elected to call it a day as it was getting a bit wild out there! Joining the lead trio in the remaining few laps was Rhys Llewellyn who had clawed through the field all day and got himself to 4th. Joining the lead train, was there enough time to climb higher! Karl defended with everything that he had to make sure he grabbed the final win he needed to have the slightest chance of the title. Then it happened, having lead every lap of every heat, every single metre so far, the smallest of mistakes were enough for Andy Gosling to dive up the inside on the final corner to snatch victory. Pushing him over the line, Karl couldn’t hide his disappointment as he bowed his head against the steering wheel to finish 2nd. A brilliant battle throughout lead to Tim grabbing his first podium this season and finishing in style by consolidating 6th in the championship. Overall, Adam took the title by just 5 points over Karl who did 99% of the day right. Alfie Williams tied up his season with 3rd.

 

Worthy mentions

Given the conditions and the calibre of some of the driving on show, it’s fair to say that the wet weather warriors deserve this one. Lucas Sullivan showed sublime confidence in appalling weather to rise from 17th to 5th in the TKM final. Matt Hildred came through from the back twice after mechanical issues and a spin or 2 to show that he will be a force in 2022. Rhys Llewellyn proved that when it works, it just works and took nearly a second per lap out of the leaders in the 177 final. The biggest achiever of the day though was Tyler Fossey. Clawing back from 23rd to 7th overall in the 177 final is no mean feat. He managed to avoid all the trouble and pick his way though tidily. Well done to you all!

So there you have it, the 2021 season is over but don’t despair! Registration is now open for 2022 and over winter, we aim to bring you more content so you don’t forget about us! Until then, thank you very much to everybody that’s help run the weekends, the CKC championship, 100UK but most importantly to you, the drivers, teams and mechanics who bring us all together for some truly memorable racing!

Registration for NKC 2022 here.

Thanks to Glynn Bury for the photos.