Matt Teager dominated Sunday’s race at the Grand Prix track in Crawley. He was easily fastest and lapped around six tenths faster than anyone else. His driving though was controversial, he was the best out there but seemed to feel that as everyone else was slower he had no qualms bumping them out of his way. It was this and a couple of yellow flag infractions that gave him three black flags over the event but he was still able to come away with the win.
Qualifying was a straight shoot-out between Jonathan Little and Matt, they were over a second clear of the rest of the pack and Matt managed to pull out a further four tenths on top of Jonathan’s time. Helen Little managed another strong run to third three tenths ahead of Flick in fourth place. In the midfield things got tight 5th to 9th were covered by just under a second with Beth Little doing a brilliant job to finish in the top half of the field. Patrick Hill returning for the first time this year was half a second behind her in 6th and was fortunate not to fall onto the third row of the grid with Steve Franklin finished just four hundredths behind. The two rookies Thomas McCorkell and Fred Maltby were next with just four hundredths separating their times. Catherine Leopold was next with a slightly disappointing qualifying effort to round out the top 10. Behind were two more drivers who haven’t yet raced this year. Beverley Little could have expected to be a couple of places higher but Trefor Little had a disastrous session to come last. He was five seconds off the back of the pack, spinning four times in qualifying. The track was greasier than it had been back at christmas but everyone else acclimatised quicker to the conditions. The kart may also have been part of the issue but it was a very disappointing performance from someone usually so high in the midfield.
The grid was as follows:
|pos||driver||best lap||off first|
The grid lined up in position, Matt on pole was psyched, Jonathan his kart angled towards Matt was slightly worried that he may get swamped off the line with his sister Helen alongside and Flick behind both capable of better starts. Both were caught napping at the lights, unsure of the starting procedure they lagged for a second. Matt was able to pull into turn 1 first with Jonathan following him closely. Behind though its thought that Flick got a better start than Helen who lingered a moment longer, it got tight into turn 1 and the pair may have touched up the hill. The downside to this was that after a contact (which is believed to have come from Flick but it is not certain) Helen’s kart stalled at the top of the hill and in a position where the marshalls could not see her stricken kart. It was over a lap before they were able to get her going and she fell two laps down on the leader with any hopes of a decent result right out the window. At the front, Jonathan was doing all he could to keep up with Matt but the pole man was able to edge away corner by corner. The yellow flags seemed to affect Jonathan more than Matt as the two went at different speeds during these periods. Jonathan was also unable to shake off Flick who had inherited third place from Helen at the start. On lap 8 Helen recovering and struggling to get up speed again spun at the first corner collecting another kart at the same time. Jonathan took a wide line into the turn not seeing the karts until too late and joining the accident. This allowed Flick past him and up into second place.
Further back Beth lost three places on lap 2 having initially made up a place due to Helen’s accident as Patrick and Steve found their ways through. From the back Trefor Little had the start of his life. By the end of lap 2 he had converted his 12th place start into 6th place. He was having a masterful race now. Three cars were held up in Helen’s accident which means that he still managed to pass another three drivers. A fantastic achievement so early in the race. Steve got an almighty run on Patrick for fourth place catching Paddy by surprise on lap 4, Patrick managed to find his way back past Steve a couple of laps later and was able to maintain the position. On lap 8 Matt Teager was pulled into the pits from the lead with a black flag for disobeying the yellows. This also being the lap that Jonathan crashed and there still being yellows across the circuit Matt only lost about 10 seconds through his black flag on second placed Flick and maintained his lead. As the race entered the 12th lap Jonathan caught Flick who was being held up by a driver who was defending his line brilliantly. Jonathan managed to find a way around the pair of them on the outside going into the chicane after the back straight and regained second place. The same lap Trefor managed to get up into 5th place with a move on Steve. On lap 14 Flick fought her way back past Jonathan again following a mistake and the next lap the pair caught a gaggle of three karts. Flick found a gap on the inside into the penultimate corner and scythed her way through, Jonathan eager to keep the battle alive and not get stuck behind slower karts followed closely through. As they exited the corner he got the power on slightly earlier than Flick and just touched the back of her kart, it got loose due to the strain put on the karts in at the corner and round she went into the wall. A couple of those following were unable to stop and joined her accident. It was an unfortunate end to a brilliant battle for second position.
Things began to stabilise and gaps were forming, Cathy had moved up from her 10th place on the grid to 7th by passing Beth on lap 6 and was able to hold that right the way to the finish for a couple of points. Helen Little still recovering took Beverley on lap 7 to take 9th but there was no real possibility of anything higher up. It was a shame for her to miss out on points this weekend as she was so strong in May and qualified on the front row today just for mechanical issue and a delay by the stewards to ruin her race day. Thomas started badly, then got caught up in the first lap incident and dropped to last place, he drove steadily though and on lap 12 he managed to pass Fred to get out of last place. A great result for him. Fred meanwhile will show better when he gains more experience considering it was only his second time karting he did well to be on the pace in qualifying.
Although the battle for second may have been over there was still action to come up front. Jonathan caught Steve on lap 19 of the race and struggled to pass the improving rookie. He tried to pass on the outside into the chicane after the back straight and eventually did pass coming down the hill on the next lap. This allowed Matt Teager onto the back of Jonathan to lap him. Jonathan caught his father into the next lap and tried to pass as a yellow flag came out meaning he had to give back the position. On the resumption his father refused to yield and Jonathan tried again around the outside of the chicane again failing. Matt took the inside after Trefor and got past Jonathan. He bumped Trefor into the next corner causing a spin for Trefor into the wall. It was the same place that Jonathan had tagged Flick but with more ability to get out of the move and the marshalls saw fit to serve another black flag to Matt. When he came in though, he was given just five seconds as a penalty and the race was once again under yellows. This meant that again he was able to comfortably hold onto his lead.
In the end three black flags led to a hollow victory for a driver who was quite simply the class of the field all day. Most drivers had little but complaints for the victor for one incident or another. It is fair to say that he drove hard but not particularly fair in both qualifying and the race. Behind him though the battle between Jonathan and Flick which lasted 16 laps can be seen as a highlight. Further behind Patrick Hill put in his best performance so far for fourth but the driver of the day has to be Trefor Little who made up for his poor qualifying performance perfectly with a superb 5th place. Steve did a good job for 6th on his first attempt and he could develop into a future front runner next time. Cathy did the best her grid slot would allow her with Beth dropping places to pick up the last point. Helen Little missed out on a top four finish by no fault of her own with the early stall hurting her points score. Behind them Beverley was solid if not spectacular and the two new boys duked it out well for the final two place. They both showed well and they will continue to improve from here. Both did really well in qualifying but the first race was a new experience for them.
The classification and lap chart follow:
Sunday’s race left the championship standings as follows:
|1||Jonathan Little (2 races)||20|
|2||Craig King (1 race)||14|
|3||Matt Teager (1 race)||14|
|4||Catherine Leopold (2 races)||7|
|5||Helen Little (2 races)||6|
|6||Felicity Kensett (1 race)||6|
|7||Beth Little (2 races)||5|
|8||Patrick Hill (1 race)||5|
|9||Trefor Little (1 race)||4|
|10||Thomas McCorkell (2 races)||3|
|11||Steve (1 race)||3|
|12||Rachel Ross (1 race)||2|
|13||Beverley Little (1 race)||0|
|14||Fred Maltby (1 race)||0|
There were some good drives out there on Sunday and we can look forward to more in the first ever outdoor race for the series in November. The weather may be chilly but the action will be hot! (I needed to get some cheese in somewhere)
If you are interested in joining us in November or at Christmas then let me know.