Local karters failed to shine in a soggy Super One Series karting opening round, and not for the first time, it was left to a local team to get a podium at the Paul Fletcher international circuit.
Finishing an amazingly impressive 3rd in his debut season in the 2017 S1 Senior X30 Championship, Thomas Turner gave a good account of himself after changing team and kart chassis for the 2018 season.
Moving over to Mark Litchfield Racing (MLR) the factory team for the Compkart chassis was an offer too good to turn down for the Rotherham 16 year-old, according to his dad, Jason.
Turner really likes his Compkart kart, “the release from corners is so much better at getting the power down”, making him faster on to the straights, therefore better for chasing down the opposition.
He proved this in the Senior X30 Grand Final that started in challenging conditions of intermittent rain conditions.
Even though he was suffering from engine power issues over most of weekend, “but the rain helped a bit”, Turner showed his kart’s values as he came through the pack after qualifying in 9th-place to take the flag in 4th place giving, “a good result from a tough race”, especially as he 4th in the Championship.
Barnsley’s Cole Kilner, in his first full year competing in Super One, started the first final in 27th place and on a dry track got up to 19th putting in second fastest lap of the race.
Starting the Senior X30 Grand Final in 19th-place on a “greasy” track surface, the 15-year old worked his way up to 12th but in the poor conditions hit a kerb and in his recovery back to the track was “mugged” and fell back to take the flag in 19th. Again he put in the second fastest lap of the race.
Sheffield team S8’s driver Euan Wilson started the Senior X30 Grand Final in 10th-place, unfortunately he was hit with a 10-second penalty for an incorrectly positioned “dropped” front bumper and with the penalty imposed meant he ended up in 21st place on the results sheet.
Chesterfield’s Skye Siddall, run by Mexborough’s Mark Baines Motorsport made her S1 Senior X30 debut, and improved massively over the weekend but sadly had to retire with mechanical failure.
Josh Rattican’s 2017 Cadet season came to an early end last June with an accident causing his right leg to be broken in three places. Thankfully, his leg is now fully recovered and he is back to full speed on the track and has been honoured to be representing the UK in the CIK Academy karting Contest, “a pretty good interview clinched it”, where he will be taking on the world’s best under 15 year-olds.
Following a good qualifying the Junior X30 racer, taking 2nd and 7th in the heats, Rattican started Final one in 7th place and looked set for a 3rd-place finish.
Only then on the last lap he was side-swiped by another kart, which dropped him to 5th at the flag. But the collision – un-intended on Rattican’s part - dislodged his front bumper and he dropped him to 25th after the resultant dropped-bumper penalty.
Starting the Grand Final in 25th place Rattican struggled with the very wet track, “I had no grip at all”, this poor traction meant he only managed to get up to a very uncharacteristic, 21st at the flag.
As his mum, Gill, put it, “Head scratching time”.
Barnsley’s Matthew Hudson finished the Grand Final in 23rd but after a 10-second penalty imposition, this put him down to 30th on the timesheets.
Mark Baines Motorsport were running Reggie Duhy who in the mix of the action all weekend.
From 7th in the Grand Final, Duhy was shunted back in the early laps, climing back to 4th but with the top-4 karts well ahead of everyone else that is where he stayed, to begin the season 4th in the Championship.
Not for the first time, the only podium finish was down to one of Strawberry Racing’s young chargers.
In his second season competing with Handsworth-based Strawberry Racing, young Maxwell Dodds is a guaranteed front-runner and had a good opening weekend in the SuperOne Series British Junior Kart IAME Cadet championship.
The IAME Cadet Grand final had four false starts in a rain storm, before it finally got underway in an orderly manner, and what a contest it turned out to be. Qualifying 4th, Dodds was up to 3rd by lap 2 and set the fastest lap at that point off the race.
From lap 4 to the flag, 12 year-old Dodds was engaged in a 4-kart battle, constantly swapping places at every corner, as if each karter was taking their turn at leading the race, in what was a totally enthralling contest that almost made the rain tricking down the back of your neck bearable.
Of the quartet of 8-to-13 year-old karters, Dodds spent the majority of the race in the lead, and he was never fazed whenever he lost it.
By dint of spotting some superb overtaking opportunities and with some very brave moves, Dodds would soon be leading the race again or thereabouts.
As the rain got heavier, going into the last lap Dodds took the lead again, and it looked like victory was his, but into the final complex of corners, he ‘left the door open’ just a bit too wide and suddenly he was demoted one place.
Emerging from the final corner in 2nd-place onto the finishing straight, Dodds chased hard after the new race leader, to take the chequered flag only 0.19 seconds behind the winner of arguably the greatest-ever Cadet kart race!
Sheffield’s Brandon Carr was just a bit behind the lead battle, starting in 8th place he held his position to take the flag in 8th place, another’s penalty making it 7th, and new to SuperOne he was the highest-placed Rookie too.
Barnsley’s MBM Racing running Ben Doughty qualified in 25th for final two and took the flag in 22nd.
While Barnsley karter Jack Younger qualified in 26th, but unfortunately found the conditions too challenging and fell back to 29th by the flag.
By the time the Honda Cadet Grand final started the rain had been falling for a while and the wet track meant that field was drawn out by mid-race.
Rotherham’s Jack Hobson qualified in 20th, and worked his way up to 15th at the flag.
Aiden Lyne from Chesterfield qualified in 27th, working his way up to 20th at the flag.
Worksop’s Neo Phipps qualified in 34th, and by the flag was one place behind Lyne in 21st.