Race Report Dunkeswell 26th June 2016
Wets or Slicks? That was the question that most drivers asked during the first visit of the club to Dunkeswell Kart club over the weekend of the 25th and 26th June. A good number of drivers made the trip to sunny Devon, eager to try a new track with a good reputation for fast close racing. They weren’t disappointed and were delighted to be welcomed so warmly by the host club. Many spent the warm and dry Saturday setting their karts up for this long, smooth surfaced track with it’s very fast straights and tight corners that favoured overtaking. The Saturday evening was spent in good company at a barbecue prepared by Carl Kirwin with many a story told and plenty of racing tips exchanged. By Sunday, however, it was clear that the weather was on the change with low clouds and a drop in temperature compromising some of the work completed the day before. The smaller number of entries for the ProKarts meant that there was a mixed grid, with the World Formula drivers starting half a lap ahead of their twin engined colleagues.
In Heat 1 of the world formulas, Chris Kelly continued his good run this year, starting from pole and coming in second, but he wasn’t able to halt the advance of Angus Waddell, one of this year’s main championship contenders and who made it to the front by battling from 8th place, setting the fastest lap in the process. In 3rd was Mark Davies, the other contender and the battle between Davies and Waddell was to be the story of the day. In Heat 2 Waddell once again took the honours, speeding up in the process and setting a blistering pace at least half a second faster than any other WFs on the track. An excellent showing from Keith Robertson brought him home to second place with once again Davies in third, who put in a stirring performance by working his way forward from 11th on the grid. In Heat 3 Davies finally managed to beat Waddell into second place with Rob Teague coming in 3rd. Once again that man Kelly was in the mix along with Robertson a hair’s breadth behind him. The battle between these two was one of the highlights of the day. So once again we went into a final with Davies and Waddell on the front row. There was an added complication as well with the arrival of the rain that had been forecast. The paddock looked dry but the track was clearly ready for wet tyres and after some discussion the entire grid opted for the wets. Davies and Waddell slugged it out for each one of the 11 lap final with Waddell putting in his fastest time on the last lap but it wasn’t quite enough – Davies took the top step of the podium by about half a second. Behind them Rob Teague came in third, with Dominic Wright, who had battled hard all day, coming in fourth and Chris Kelly fifth.
ProKarts were once again all about Shayne Cuthbert – is anyone going to be able to stop this man? With a clean sweep of all the Heats and the final he is once again in pole position for the championship this year. Behind there was some very close racing between Carl Kirwin, Ian Fisher and Kev Mathers. Carl is turning out to be the one driver able to challenge Cuthbert, although a layoff for an operation has compromised his chances this year. It doesn’t stop him trying in every race and his perseverance in the races through a considerable amount of pain earned him the Driver of the Day award for this meeting. It won’t be long before he is able to keep Cuthbert honest. For the record, the order behind Cuthbert in Heat 1 was Fisher and then Mathers, in Heats 2 and 3 it was Kirwin and Fisher, and in the final Fisher and Mathers.
The Sunday therefore had a sodden end but it didn’t dampen the sprits of the FP4 drivers - there was a unanimous agreement that the weekend had been a success and the club is hoping to return to Dunkeswell for some meetings next year. Our thanks go to Dunkeswell Kart Club for their very well organised meeting and warm welcome and we hope to see you again next year.
For the July round, we return to Camberley on the 23rd. Entries are now open.