It was a frosty morning for the penultimate round of 2023’s final Inkart season at Tamworth, and the day would prove to be the toughest conditions many of the drivers have experienced yet. Theo Laverty coped brilliantly with the challenge, winning the first race of the day in the Junior category by 8.9 seconds, ahead of Tom Archer in second. Tom was quite impressive himself, actually lapping faster than that of the race winner. On his birthday, Logan Brettle had a difficult time dealing with cadet traffic, finishing a way’s back in the overall order but he still managed to score some very good points in third. Speaking of the cadets, Ethan Guest impressively won in third overall, 12 seconds ahead of Harry Fitch in second. Third was Joseph Smith, who actually drove quite well in finishing just a couple of seconds off the back of Harry.
The second group were next out, and it was an all-cadet field. Zachary Smith took a narrow victory (in these conditions) by 1.4 seconds ahead of Micah Hunt-Nelson, but was plagued by a one-place penalty due to a marginal advantage-by-contact into turn 12. This handed the victory to Micah, with Zachary in second. Bradley Sutton was the last kart on the lead lap in third, not necessarily being on the pace of the leaders but definitely driving at his consistent best.
Tom Archer made up for his second-placed finish in heat one next, winning by 40 seconds ahead of Cooper Campbell-Lees. Tom was really starting to experience the reward of the pace that he showed in that first heat. Cooper could be quite happy with his work as well, finishing comfortably ahead of the third and final Junior finisher in Theo Laverty. In Theo’s defence, he was plagued by some misfortunes in the difficult conditions. As for the cadets, it was smooth-sailing for Harry Fitch who managed to do one better than the race before and win, with Henry Gordon finishing in second. Noah Hobson, Ethan Guest and Henry Gordon battled it out for third, with Henry eventually occupying that third spot.
Into the fourth heat, Micah Hunt-Nelson won in dominant style ahead of Zachary Smith, who gave himself too much to do in the closing stages due to having to get through traffic from the rear of the grid. Zachary was still the second fastest kart in his run to second, finishing about 15 seconds ahead of Thomas Baxter, who was in third.
The B-Final was host to one of the most dominant drives you are likely to ever see in a Daytona race, with Joseph Smith winning by 84 seconds whilst lapping 6-10 seconds faster than his counterparts throughout the race. This sort of pace means that Clark Naylor perhaps should not be too disappointed with this second-placed finish, his own pace superior to that of third-placed Thomas Baxter.
Finally, the A-Final saw a surprise victor in Cooper Campbell-Lees, who put together a very calm drive to take advantage of an ‘overtake under yellow’ penalty against on-track victor Tom Archer. Tom’s demotion to second was the reason for Cooper’s victory, though Tom would have been encouraged with his pace in the round overall. Theo Laverty was not too far behind in third for the juniors, he would have been happy with a podium after a disappointing heat two. In terms of the cadets, Zachary Smith took a victory to put himself into the championship driving seat. Zachary was only three tents off Cooper, meaning he was agonisingly close to winning the overall race in the slightly slower class. Micah Hunt-Nelson put in a confident drive himself to second, comfortably ahead of Harry Fitch in third.
The action from Inkart in Round 5 has set up a fascinating championship finale heading into the final round of the season, where numerous drivers will compete for both of the championship crowns.
With all but one championship still wide-open, the penultimate round of Winter Superchamps was set to create a fascinating finale later in the month. When considering the very tricky, wintery weather, it was set to be a brilliant round.
The first race of the N-35 class was entertaining, but the battles were not to be found at the very top of the order because Oliver Pikula stormed to a victory of 18.4 seconds, on a charge to extend his championship lead. Jacob Holley was embroiled in a battle with Tom Duffy for second during much of the race, eventually finishing just under a second ahead of Tom. Already crowned heavyweight champion, Hamish Eassener did not have much competition in her own class during the race, but was able to put up a good fight in the first race, finishing in sixth overall.
It was still raining quite intensely into the second race, but it would not really make a difference to Oliver Pikula - making it two from two (this time by 17.7 seconds). Jacob Holley similarly repeated his success in the previous race, finishing in second position, but this time it was Neil Hampson who was behind him. Neil’s main battle was with Tom Duffy, who eventually finished just over a second back. As for Hamish, she finished in 7th position, the heavyweight driver setting up a chance for a good run in the final.
Heading into the final, the drivers were faced with awkward twilight conditions and a similarly drenched circuit as before. It was a disastrous start for Oliver Pikula, dropping immediately to eighth off of the line. Not even that could stop Oliver from completing the sweep though, eventually recovering to a victory margin of over 15 seconds. Benjamin Tomkinson-Gray was the next driver in the queue, putting in a drive that was reminiscent of his success at Round 2 for second, 3 seconds ahead of Jacob Holley in fourth. Hamish Eassener finished in fourth overall, her best overall result of the season as the heavyweight champion.
As mentioned above, both championships were open in the DMAX class heading into the round, and they would remain open at the end. This was made no more obvious than in the first race, where Abi Sanders took a narrow 1.8 second victory ahead of her brother Ben, who knew that another good score in this round would act very favourably in his championship when dropped rounds are applied to the scores. Jake Renshaw, another championship contender, was in third but was not able to get ahead of the heavyweight winner Justin Elliot. Justin’s main championship rivals in Greg Chapman and Stuart Corr finished second and third respectively, both finishing within the overall top ten.
Another member of the Sanders family was victorious in the second race, but this time it was Ben Sanders. Ben finished 1.5 seconds ahead of Ben Smiles, who took advantage of a good battle between Abi Sanders, Max Housley and Justin Elliot, to finish second. Abi Sanders was only 5 tenths of a second behind Ben in third, giving her a good grid position heading into the final. In terms of the heavyweights, Justin Elliot was victorious once again, this time only separated from his heavyweight counterparts by around a second. Steven Humpage was that second placed driver, both of them around ten seconds ahead of Richard Lavender in third.
Light was quickly fading and conditions were as tough as at any point in the day heading into the final race, with visibility coming at a premium. Max Housley would end up taking victory, by 17 seconds to Ben Smiles in second. Ben and Max made the most of a poor final for Jake Renshaw (finishing 17th), doing a lot for their championship scenarios heading into the final round. Abi Sanders will count herself as in with only an outside chance, but her third position was helpful to the cause all the same. Justin Elliot finished in fourth overall, storming to victory in the heavyweight race. Greg Chapman finished in second (and 7th overall), with Steven Humpage making up the rest of the podium.
As expected, all but one of the Superchamps championship trophies remain up for grabs heading into the final round of the season, setting up a showdown on the 17th of December.
Thursday Night League
Full season championship write up to come next week.