MSA Super 1
Round 1 - Three Sisters - 6th March 2005
Former champion Gary Catt (Andover, Hampshire) has a seven point lead in the Formula A class of the Renault UK-sponsored British Karting Championships following a highly entertaining opening round of the season at Three Sisters Circuit near Wigan.
The 2003 title winner took victory in the first points-scoring Final of the weekend on Sunday and backed it up with a solid second position in Final Two behind young charger Riki Christodoulou (Sutton Coldfield, West Midlands). In the early stages of Final One, Catt looked to have the race under control but by mid-distance reigning champion Mark Litchfield (Rocester, Staffordshire) began to pressurise from second place. Several laps later though, a train of karts headed by David Gregory (Sheffield) had caught Litchfield giving Catt the opportunity to edge away at the front. As Gregory assumed second position, Litchfield began to fall down the order and another former champion, Chris Rogers (Waltham Cross, Hertfordshire), also staked his claim for a podium finish. As the race neared its conclusion, Rogers made a move on Gregory for second place with the Sheffield driver pushed down to third and Catt taking an impressive win.
Final Two was a different story with youth getting the better of experience. Christodoulou took a hard fought maiden race win in the premier class of the British Championships, placing himself firmly in title contention early on in the season alongside his seventh position from Final One. He was made to work hard by eventual runner-up Catt, but the victory was even more rewarding for Christodoulou who had to claw his way through to the front from seventh on the grid. Michael Slein, meanwhile, enjoyed a highly impressive showing from 13th on the grid to finish on the podium in third place. During the opening laps of the race, the lead changed hands several times with Rogers, Jason Parrott (Crowland, Peterborough) and Freddie Martin-Dye (Shamley Green, Surrey) all heading the pack, but by mid-distance Christodoulou had made his way through to the front and held on to his lead at the finish line by just 0.10 seconds from Catt.
For reigning champion Litchfield, Three Sisters proved to be a disappointing weekend having originally gained a convincing edge in official timed qualifying. He did look set for a strong start to his season but 11th position in Final One and 15th place in Final Two see Litchfield a full 28 points behind Catt in the Championship standings.
Formula A Provisional Driver Standings: 1st Gary Catt, 98pts; 2nd Riki Christodoulou, 91pts; =3rd David Gregory, 86pts; =3rd Jason Parrott, 86pts; 5th Freddie Martin-Dye, 84pts; 6th Jason Edgar, 82pts.
Formula JICA graduate Matthew Bell (Morpeth, Northumberland) stole the show in the Formula ICA class of the Renault-backed British Karting Championships at Three Sisters over the weekend, producing an utterly dominant display to take maximum points in the title race.
Bell, younger brother of former Formula Renault UK and Formula Renault V6 front-runner Robert, lapped almost half a second quicker than his chief rivals in official timed qualifying and after similar success in the heats he went on to a stunning double triumph in the two points-scoring Finals. The Wigan venue, which always offers great race action, provided the stage for a masterclass display by Bell in which he completely trounced the opposition – but his weekend wasn’t totally void of incident.
In Final One, he led from pole position and built an incredible lead over the chasing pack which included the likes of Tom Brown (Irchester, Northamptonshire) Benjy Russell (Wisbech, Cambridgeshire) and Henry Arundel (Arundel, West Sussex) – the latter eventually finishing fourth after a great drive from 20th on the grid. During the closing stages of the race, however, Bell was almost eliminated from proceedings when overtaking a backmarker and although sustaining damage to his kart, he still managed to take the victory by over five seconds from Brown in second position and Russell in third place.
Pole position was again the domain of Bell on the grid for Final Two and after one aborted getaway, he got away well again from the second rolling start to take the lead ahead of Russell and Arundel.
Bell looked in control, albeit with less of an advantage than in the first Final but his cause was helped in the closing stages when Russell and Arundel, battling over second position, took each other out of the race. An ecstatic Bell took another superb win with Richard Singleton (Conwy) in second place and Jonathan Walker (Blackburn, Lancashire) finishing in third.
Formula ICA Provisional Driver Standings: 1st Matthew Bell, 100pts; 2nd Tom Brown, 92pts; 3rd Richard Singleton, 90pts; 4th Jonathan Walker, 87pts; 5th Garry Findlay, 83pts; 6th Daniel Rowbottom, 81pts.
Maximum points during the opening weekend of the British Karting Championships at Three Sisters, near Wigan, have given Will Stevens (Hadleigh) a four-point lead over Lee Bell (High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire) in the Renault UK–sponsored Formula JICA class. With an incredible 32 karts taking part in official timed qualifying on Saturday, it was Scott Jenkins (Winterbourne Dow) who gained the early initiative while the heats were all about Bell and class newcomer Oliver Rowland (Penistone, South Yorkshire).
The first of Sunday’s points-scoring Finals saw Bell on pole position and he certainly made it count into the first corner, taking the lead of the race. But it wasn’t as rosy for poor Rowland, who had qualified alongside Bell on the front row, as he spun out of the race at the same corner and eventually finished a lowly 20th. Jenkins, who began in third position, made a good start and pursued Bell hard in second place but the Buckinghamshire driver looked calm and in control as he maintained the lead of the race and appeared to have the measure of his rival. Stevens, meanwhile, was making good progress from his initial sixth place on the grid and in third position was visibly catching the first two as the Final approached mid-distance. After passing Jenkins for second position, Stevens started to pressurise Bell and on the penultimate lap he produced a great move to seize the lead with Bell finishing second and Jenkins third.
Final Two saw Stevens convert pole position into the race lead at the start with Jenkins leapfrogging Bell for second position. On lap five, Bell had moved up to second place and Jenkins then fell back into the clutches of Ollie Millroy (Claygate). By lap 10 the first five karts were all in close company and a lap later, Millroy moved into second position past Bell although the latter returned the favour the next time around. Stevens continued to lead from Bell and Millroy with Adam Christodoulou (Shenstone, Lichfield) in fourth position ahead of Jenkins. As the exciting race neared its finish, Christodoulou snatched third place before moving up to second position in quick succession but he lost the places almost as rapidly as he gained them with the order at the finish seeing Stevens take the victory, Bell take his second runners-up spot and Millroy finish a deserved third. Oliver Rowland, meanwhile, made amends for a disappointing outing in the first Final by driving a scintillating race in Final Two to finish in fourth position, having started 20th on the grid. Jenkins ended the race in fifth position, with less than a second covering the top five drivers, with Christodoulou taking sixth place.
Formula JICA Provisional Driver Standings: 1st Will Stevens, 100pts; 2nd Lee Bell, 96pts; Ollie Millroy, 90pts;4th Scott Jenkins, 89pts; 5th Adam Christodoulou, 84pts; 6th Ben Cooper, 79pts.
Full Race Results from Round 1...
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