Race Report – Forest Edge 2nd April 2017

on . Posted in FP4 Club News

After two very wet race days, blue skies and sunshine greeted the drivers as they arrived at the Forest Edge track for round two of the FP4 Summer championship. As usual it was a very busy day for the receiving club as there were over 200 drivers racing on the day, but FEKC organised the day with their customary efficiency. For the first time there were as many ProKarts as World Formulas in the entry, so two separate grids were provided.

In world Formula Heat 1, Keith Robertson was on pole position and remained in the lead during the race despite some spirited attacking from Angus Waddell. Eventually Waddell made it past to take the chequered flag, only to be given a 10 second penalty for what the stewards deemed was unfair contact, handing the victory to Robertson. Alex Whitely started the day in the way he was to continue, fighting it out for victory and coming in second. Tom Swadling rounded up the top three. In Heat 2, Waddell started in 8th place but worked his way cleanly through the field to take victory on the last lap from a charging Alex Whiteley in what was a thrilling contest between the two drivers. In third was Chris Kelly who has been threatening the top spot all season. In Heat 3, it was once again Whiteley who pushed Waddell for the victory although a series of very fast laps from Waddell put paid to his challenge. Behind there was a very close tussle for third between Rob Teague, Dominic Wright and Dave Jarvis with Teague just taking the third sport with Wright and Jarvis right behind. So the world formula final was going to be a duel between Whiteley and Waddell and for the first few laps the two traded positions in a close and even battle. Eventually, Waddell got away and Whitely found himself having to defend from a charging Dave Jarvis who had worked his way up from 5th. Time after time Jarvis threatened to come through until Whiteley thwarted his challenge  - this was close fair racing at its best. On the penultimate corner of the last lap Jarvis managed to squeeze through to take the second place, leaving Whiteley disappointed in third, but it had been very exciting to watch and Whiteley will surely finish on the top step of the podium soon.

In Prokarts, 2016 champion Shayne Cuthbert is going to have his work cut out this season if he is to retain his crown. Other 7kart drivers Matt Wileman and Matt Dorrington are going to keep him honest right down to the wire, whilst it looks close in the new Heavyweight category as well. In Heat 1, Wileman carved through the field from 7th on the grid and took the victory with Cuthbert and Dorrington very close behind, setting some stunning lap times. Newby Jeremy Balls set a marker for the day with an excellent drive coming in 5th having started in 10th. In Heat 2 Cuthbert put in a spirited drive to work his way up to 2nd from 8th at the start, although it just wasn’t enough to catch Wileman. Carl Kirwin finished third in this race with Dorrington less than three tenths behind. Finally in Heat three Cuthbert managed to get ahead of Wileman, and resisted his attempts to pass to finish less than a kart length ahead, despite Wileman setting the fastest lap of the day. Dorrington came in third one of the closest finishes we have seen so far this season. The final passed without incident with the tope three – Wileman, Cuthbert and Dorrington finishing in that order; the gaps were very small but their lap times showed them to be out on their own ahead of the field. Kirwin and Balls enjoyed a very close battle with Kirwin coming in just ahead of Balls. That will be a battle to watch this season. In the Heavyweight battle, Roy Grassie took the honours with Ross Brinkley coming in third.

It has been a hugely entertaining day at the Forest Edge track with some closely fought battles all day. Our thanks go to Forest Edge Kart Club for their warm welcome and well organised day and we look forward to visiting them again at the end of the summer.

The next round will be at Rissington on the 23rd April. Entries are open and need to be in soon.

Race Report – Clay Pigeon 12th March 2017

on . Posted in FP4 Club News

It wasn’t a promising start to the day….. Heavy dark clouds shrouded the Clay Pigeon raceway with bursts of heavy rain soaking the track as drivers arrived for the first round of their summer championship. The weather improved in the middle of the day allowing some dry running but then closed in again towards the end of the day. There was a healthy entry for both ProKarts and World Formulas and there were two separate grids. The racing was spectacular and exciting with thrills and spills throughout the day. Particular interest centred on the new Duro wet tyres adopted by the club for this season. Supply issues meant that these were only mandatory for the ProKart runners  - the Wfs were permitted to use their Vega W2s for the last time.

In Wf, it was immediately clear that Angus Waddell the 2016 champion was not going to have it all his own way this year. Some spirited driving by a number of experienced drivers made him work hard for his victories – In Heat 1 Tony Wynne put in an excellent drive to harass Waddell right down to the line and very nearly caught him on the last lap. Peter Coakes, who came in third, scored fastest lap and would have got into the mix had he started further up the grid. Dominic Wright and Alex Whiteley  also laid down  markers with  storming drives from the back of the grid. In Heat 2 Waddell was once again at the front of the order but was excluded for a technical issue with his kart, leaving the victory to Chris Kelly, who performed very well all day. Keith Robertson made a welcome return to the podium slots with that man Whiteley again working his way forward to come in 3rd. Rob Teague stormed through the order in that race, gaining 8 places from his original grid slot. In Heat 3, it was all about Waddell, showing he has improved hugely since joining the club. He made no fewer than 13 clean and fair passes to take the victory although his task wasn’t made easy by a determined drive from Dominic Wright. Whiteley was once again up to third place meaning that he has earned the right to start from Pole position for the final. Consistent and top quality drives were his reward and he led the field off under considerable pressure from Dom Wright and Waddell. In the driving rain one end of poor Keith Roberston’s rear axle parted company from his kart making for some interesting moments on the first corner. Young Archie Ayling, a newcomer to the club, made up four places as a result – this young man may well be one to watch for the future. In the end there was the customary sight of Waddell on the top spot of the podium but he had been made to work very hard for the victory and Wright in particular looks a good bet for some exciting duels for this year. Whiteley came in third ahead of Chris Kelly.

ProKarts enjoyed the largest grid for a long time with a number of new drivers joining the group. As a result Shayne Cuthbert, the 2016 champion, is not going to find it easy this season. On top of all this was the added complication of the new  Duro wet tyres which behave differently to the Vegas from last season. Of the top runners most were in 7Karts. There was initial confusion over the starting procedure and as a result Kev Mathers was first into the first corner , a lead he wasn’t to relinquish until lap 6 to Matt Wileman under braking into Hanns. Matt Dorrington also got past to come in second but for the moment Cuthbert seemed to be struggling with the tyres to come in behind Mathers in 4th. Heat 2 was a different matter although with a similar result  - Wileman first, Dorrington second and Cuthbert 3rd. After another confusing start there was a major melee at Billys with several karts ending up in the tyres. For the back markers such as the fast starting Carl Kirwin it was then a long slog to the finish. Heat 3 was run in persistent, wetting drizzle and several karts made off track excursions. There was a titanic battle between Wileman, Dorrington and Cuthbert with all three finishing in that order within three seconds of each other. So when the final came round the weather had taken a turn for the worse so the by this time cold and wet drivers lined up with  the three heat winners at the front. Despite some heroic passing attempts by both Dorrington and Cuthbert it was Wileman who took the top honours to round off a perfect day for him.  Worth a mention was newcomer Roy Grassie who put in a solid performance to come in fourth, having recorded some very fast laps.

The weather did not dampen the enthusiasm of the drivers and our thanks go to Clay Pigeon Kart club for their warm welcome and very well organised meeting. We will return to Clay in October for the last championship round of the year. The next round of the summer championship is in three weeks time at Forest Edge on the 2nd April. Entries are open now.

Race Report - Thruxton Febrary 2017

on . Posted in FP4 Club News

Thruxton 19th February 2017 – Race Report

A cloudy but very mild day greeted the members of FP4 as they arrived for the first race day of the 2017 season. Although there was a hint of rain in the air, the morning stayed dry and the new tarmac surface at the Thruxton track gave really good grip for the Duro tyres used by the club. There was a healthy grid of World Formulas but only a handful of ProKarts, so it was decided to combine the two grids to maximise track time during the event, although it is not expected to repeat that for the rest of the year. 

Many drivers tried out new equipment bought over the winter and their considerable investment shows confidence in the club and a very real desire to challenge for the podium places this year. Much was made of the new tyre regulations with a shipment from Germany made available for ProKart runners –these will be mandatory from the first championship round at Clay Pigeon in March . For world Formula drivers the new tyres will be mandatory from the Forest Edge round in April onwards. The new weight limit for Wfs was also a challenge for some – the need to find an extra 3kgs meant a hunt for extra lead for some.

Practice showed that reigning champion Angus Waddell  was intending to pick up where he left off in 2016 – with an advantage of 3 tenths over second placed man Christophe Mathers in a ProKart and a full half a second over the first Wf driver Keith Robertson, who is himself no slouch. Alex Whiteley, driving his new Tony Kart, showed great potential with an excellent performance. And so it was to be – in Heat 1 Waddell gained no less than 13 places to finish third behind returnee Dave Jarvis and winner ProKarter Carl Kirwin. Heat 2 produced a very close battle between Keith Robertson and Dave Jarvis with Robertson taking the victory by a tenth. In third was Mathers who gained 15 places over ten laps – a remarkable performance. Danger man Waddell slipped into fourth place. In Heat 3 Waddell streaked away from the opposition to a lead of over 6 seconds but it was good to see Chris Kelly coming in second having beaten off a determined challenge from Carl Kirwin.

So the final had Waddell on pole position, Jarvis in second and Kirwin in third – and there was a mighty fight for the lead in the first few laps. Eventually though, Waddell got away and took the victory over 7 seconds ahead. Kirwin and Jarvis fought it out until the last lap when Jarvis got ahead to come in second. Whiteley and Kelly had their own private battle for fourth place with Whiteley just getting ahead.

It had been a great start to the FP4 season and our thanks go to the team at Thruxton for making us so welcome and managing the morning so efficiently. Although we won’t be returning there until November the track remains open throughout the year for testing. It is important, however, to check the website for availability.

www.thruxtonkarting.co.uk/

The next round – round one of the summer championship – will be at Clay Pigeon on the 12th March: Entries are now open and need to be in soon. MSA Licences are needed from that round onwards.

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