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Dunkeswell KRC 2016 Championship Race Report - Round 6

by Theo Fedrick (Intro by Jim Bee)

Another brilliant weekends racing at the South West's premier track! Whilst everyone was out having fun, a young man was busy scribbling down notes and taking pictures and updating social media to make sure everyone knew what was going on. Following the race meeting, Theo has spent numerous hours putting the day's events down in his first race report. It is a cracking read and he has put in much more detail than I used to! So, make yourself a cup of tea, grab a seat and relive all the action from the race weekend! JB

177 HEAT 1:  In the first heat of the day a close battle saw Edgecumbe win over Adey and Lane after Bacchetta lost his second place due to a ten second penalty for his front fairing putting him down in sixth. Darren Lane got fastest lap by just under two tenths of a second with a 48:29.

MINI MAX HEAT 1: The E plate of Oakley Pryer won the race from ninth on the grid but not without trouble because Adams was closely following Pryer but Pryers pace was too quick for Adams to attempt an overtake which meant Adams finished in second by just under three seconds over Watts who rounded out the top three. Merrifield started from tenth and was charging through the field and was on target for a top three finish, those hopes quickly disappeared as he had contact with Sebastian Marlow at turn one which ended both of their races.

SENIOR ROTAX HEAT 1:  What looked to be a two man battle for the win between Hardy and Reeves became a five man battle after Adams, Shanks and Gould caught up. after Swapping positions lap after lap the race finished with Adams winning, Reeves finishing second and Shanks in third. Dan Gould who drove a brilliant race from fourteenth on the grid did a great job to be only one and a half seconds off the race win, Gould was unlucky not be in the top three with anyone in the top five having a chance of winning. David Spiller set the best lap with a 47.17.

LIBRE CADETS HEAT 1: Early on in the race a leading pack formed of five drivers including Knight, Simpson, Ross, Makepeace and Tyler. These drivers were trying hard to get away from the midfield runners but also trying to get in front of each other at the same time which meant they were showing their full pace, Knights and Tylers pace was the quickest in the field at that moment of the action packed race. Knight and Tyler worked together to get away from the pack behind them who were battling a bit too hard after Makepeaces chances of a top three finish were gone because of a ten second penalty for gaining an unfair advantage. Knight and Tyler got enough of a gap to battle for the win with little time to go in the race but Tyler edged the win by just over two tenths ahead of Knight, Simpson was gifted third after Makepeaces penalty put him from third to seventh, Rich managed eleventh to be the highest finishing novice in the race. Knight got fastest lap with a 55:48.

JUNIOR ROTAX HEAT 1: Tommy Foster started from ninth after choosing to start from the back in every heat ,Foster made it obvious that he was up for a challenge but he made it look easy after getting the lead early on and showing great pace after gaining the lead as well but it wasn’t all easy for him with second place runner Hepworth staying just behind Foster. Foster and Hepworth were getting away from the rest of the field. Despite starting at the back and be pressured from behind, Foster won the race by just under half a second over Hepworth who finished second and knight finishing third after a close battle with Horsnell. Michael Goodburn finished eighth to be the highest finishing novice in the race which was a step in the right direction for the novice trophy in the final. The fastest lap was set by Tommy Foster with a 48.09.

GEARBOX HEAT 1: Two slow starts from Clements and Salmon demolishes there chance of winning the race. Ashley Lewis dominated the race finishing eighteen seconds ahead of Ashforth in second place with Clements finishing third. Best lap went to Lewis with a 42.06

177 HEAT 2: Adey with good pace started to pull away after starting on pole but Bacchetta wasn’t letting Adey get away so Bacchetta reacted by setting even better lap times. Lane and Edgecumbe swapping positions lap after lap minimized there chance of catching Bacchetta and Adey. Adey maintained the lead till the flag despite Bacchettas blistering pace which finished him in second place ahead of Lane who just edged out Edgecumbe by 3 tenths of a second. Best lap was set by Michael Bacchetta with a 48.38

MINI MAX HEAT 2: Pryer attained an early lead from fifth on the grid and started pulling away from the rest of the drivers. Merrifield and Keough were just behind Pryer but they were losing time to him. Merrifield and keough were battling for second place which would’ve been losing them time to the karts behind but Adams, Watts and Uphill were battling for fourth place which meant Pryer was dominating the race without any problems. Pryer came across the line in first three seconds ahead of Merrifield who finished second who was one and a half seconds ahead of Keough, the battle for fourth ended with Adams in fourth followed by Watts then Uphill. Fastest lap was a 49:69 by Oakley Pryer.

SENIOR ROTAX HEAT 2: Adams and Gould gained the advantage of track position and a lot of pace they both worked with each other to get away from the pack which they did and virtually confirmed  that one of Adams or Gould Would take victory. Further back there was a lot of overtaking  but not all of the overtaking was successful, Josh Grays race ended four laps early after being disqualified for an ambitious move into turn 2. A dominating race from Adams and Gould gave no chance to the karts behind. Taylor Adams won the race in front of Dan Gould by just over four tenths of a second with Spiller in third. Ian Hardy got best lap with a 47:09.

LIBRE CADETS HEAT 2: A first corner red flag resulted in a full restart but the two drivers of Edgecombe and Lambert couldn’t restart due to major damage. After the restart Knight, Makepeace and Simpson pulled away from the pack behind, Puleio was in a solid fourth place until the welsh champion Ollie Tyler came past on lap seven, just a lap later Whittington-couch came through which left Puleio in a respectable sixth. Despite being pressured from behind Knight kept the lead from lap three to win the race followed by Simpson, Makepeace crossed the line in third but he was excluded for a non-compliance which meant Tyler finished in third from twelfth on the grid. Crockett finished thirteenth. The fastest lap from this action packed race was by Ollie Tyler with a 55:38.  

JUNIOR ROTAX HEAT 2: Foster started from the back once again and once again was charging through the field, after Foster got into the lead he was showing great pace, he continued to pull away from the rest of the pack, while Foster was pulling away from the pack Hepworth passed Radford for second place on lap three, Hepworth started catching Foster with blistering pace. After Radford got overtaken by Hepworth, Radford was left to battle Knight for third place, Knight only had four laps to overtake Radford, he succeeded on lap five to pass Radford for third but Foster and Hepworth were too far ahead for Knight too challenge so all Knight could do was defend from Radford. Unfortunately for Hepworth her blinding pace wasn’t enough to pass Foster who finished in first but only three tenths ahead of Hepworth in second, Knight managed to keep his third place over Radford in fourth. Yates finished in ninth to be the best finishing novice in the race. Fastest lap was set by Hepworth with a 47:94.

GEARBOX HEAT 2: All drivers got off the line and through the first lap without any troubles. It was Lewis who had the early lead, Lewis’s pace was unbelievable and it looked like it was going to be another dominating victory for Lewis. Clements made an overtake on Salmon just 2 laps into the race which put Clements just behind Parkman and Ashforth. Lewis kept his lead till the end and finished first, seventeen seconds ahead of Ashforth, Parkman came across the line in third closely followed by Clements. Lewis set the fastest lap with a 42:32.

177 HEAT 3: Lane got the early advantage of track position just ahead of Bacchetta, Lane and Bacchetta were pulling away from Plunkett in third place despite battling for the lead. Carl Adey started sixth and had to work his way through the field, Adey got into third on lap six and had a clear run on Lane and Bacchetta, Lane kept his lead until lap eight when Bacchetta made his move into the lead of the race. Adey had better pace than Lane and Bacchetta but he ran out of time to move even further up the order. Michael Bacchetta came across the line in first followed by Lane in second and Adey in third. Fastest lap was a 48:21 set by Adey.

MINI MAX HEAT 3: A good start from Pryer and Merrifield gave them the opportunity to break away from the pack which they weren’t going to waist. Pryers and Merrifields pace was the best in the field breaking away from Uphill in third, Adams passed Uphill for third and he started breaking away from Uphill who was defending from Keough, Keough got passed Uphill just a lap later and Keough started catching Adams who was getting away when Keough was behind Uphill. Pryer was getting away from Merrifield which meant Pryer won over Merrifield who finished second. Before Keough could catch Adams the chequered flag came which meant Adams finished in third place. The fastest lap was set by Pryer with a 49:52.

SENIOR ROTAX HEAT 3: Josh Gray got past Bee to take the early lead; Gray kept the lead and pulled away with brilliant pace. Taylor Adams was working his way through the field after starting fourteenth; Gray continued to be dominant at the front. Adams passed Roberts for third on lap eight and started closing on Hardy. Gray crossed the line in first with a dominating performance; two and a half seconds ahead of Hardy in second, Taylor Adams starting from fourteenth finished in third with an incredible drive. The fastest lap was set by Adams with a 47:07.

LIBRE CADETS HEAT 3: A pole position start for Tyler put him in the lead after turn one, Tyler started to pull away from the pack in clear air; Knight and Simpson were working their way through the pack from eleventh and twelfth on the grid. By lap three Simpson and Knight were second and third and catching Tyler, On lap eight Simpson and Knight passed Tyler for the lead, Simpson was leading coming into the final lap followed by Knight then Tyler, Knight made the move on the last lap and won the race from twelfth on the grid, Simpson finished second followed by welsh champion Tyler in third. Crockett finished in thirteenth to be the best finishing novice again. The fastest lap was set by Simpson with a 55:03.

JUNIOR ROTAX HEAT 3: Hepworth started second resulting in the early lead after a clean start but only four laps in Foster caught Hepworth and passed her for the lead, from then on Foster was finished the race lap three. Horsnells race ended a lap early pushing everyone ninth downwards up a spot, Wilson-brown dropped four places on the last lap pushing everyone seventh downwards up another place, this helped Radfords recovery drive as he gained three places on the last lap. Foster finished the race in first place with another astonishing comeback, Hepworth finished in second and Knight finished third, Radford finished in sixth on his recovery drive and Goodburn finished seventh ahead of Yates and Jagger to be on the front foot for the novice trophy in the final. Foster grabbed fastest lap with a 48:03

GEARBOX HEAT 3: Lewis had the track position into turn one after a perfect start from fourth on the grid. On lap two Ashforth passed Parkman for second place, Lewis was yet again showing very good pace but on lap seven he peeled into the pits handing the lead to Ashforth who maintained the lead till the flag. Parkman finished in second six and a half seconds behind Ashforth in first, Clements got third after starting pole. Despite not finishing Lewis set the fastest lap with a 42:29.

177 FINAL: Adey maintained the lead from pole but Michael Bacchetta was piling the pressure on Adey, Lane started down in fourth which meant he had to work his way through the pack to stand any chance of winning the race. On lap six Lane passed Edgecumbe for third place and Lane started to catch Adey and Bacchetta. On lap nine Adeys race came to an end gifting Bacchetta the lead of the race and Lane second place. Bacchetta came across the line in first place but a ten second penalty sent him back to fourth; this meant Lane won the race from fourth on the grid, Edgecumbe finished in second and Plunkett finished third. The best lap was a 48:00 set by Darren Lane.

MINI MAX FINAL: Pryer maintained the lead from pole position and was on track to win all four races, Watts had a mechanical issue on lap three forcing him to retire from the race. Pryer stretched his lead to continue his dominance. Merrifield and Keough were battling for second but Engine troubles for Keough cost him the chance of a good finish and left Merrifield in clear air but on lap twelve Adams caught and passed Merrifield for second. Pryer finished the race in first just over five seconds ahead of Adams in second, Merrifield crossed the line in third to round out the top three. The fastest lap was set by Pryer with a 49:47.

SENIOR ROTAX FINAL: Adams had a good start and kept his lead after the first lap, Adams and Gould were breaking away from the pack, a few laps later the pack gained pace which demolished Adams and Goulds lead to the pack, this made it any ones race. Nardone was charging through the pack from fifteenth on the grid, Reeves was down in last place after the first lap which ruined his race. The lead battle continued till the flag which saw Adams take victory followed by Gould in second and Ellis took third. The fastest lap was set by Josh Gray with a 46:95.

LIBRE CADETS FINAL: Another first corner red flag meant the drivers of Styler, Rich, Crockett and Aaron Walker couldn’t attend the restart due to major damage, the restart saw Knight keep his lead, Simpson and Tyler were right behind Knight. Knight, Simpson and Tyler were breaking away from fourth place Whittington-couch, the drivers from fourth to eighth of Whittington-couch, Makepeace, Ross, James and Vaughan were providing brilliant action. On lap eight Tyler passed Simpson for second place but Knight held on to the lead and finished in first place. Tyler finished in second and Simpson finished third. Holland won best novice by finishing nearly twelve seconds ahead of Smith. The fastest lap was set by Simpson with a 55:08.

JUNIOR ROTAX FINAL: Foster maintained the lead from pole position followed by Knight who gained second at turn one from Hepworth in third. Foster was pulling away from the rest of the field with yet again very good pace. Hepworth and Knight were pulling away from Wilson-brown and Fry but they were losing time to Foster who was dominating the race, Wilson-brown and Fry were trading places lap after lap in the battle for fourth place, On lap four Yates retired from the race ruining his chance of winning best novice, Goodburn was hunting the best novice which he was very close to by being in sixth place, on lap fourteen Goodburn got past Wilson-brown to take fifth place. Foster took the victory with another dominating performance; Foster was followed by Hepworth in second by three and a half seconds, Knight came across the line in third to round out the top three, Michael Goodburn finished in fifth  to win the best novice award. The fastest lap was set by Foster with a 47:94. 

GEARBOX FINAL: A good start from Lewis meant he maintained the lead after lap one but just a lap later Lewis race came to an end after going straight on at pit bend causing him to retire, this sent Parkman into the lead followed by Ashforth who later gained the lead from Parkman, Ashforth came across the line in first place ahead of Parkman who managed to keep second ahead of Clements in third. The fastest lap was set by Ashforth with a 43:10.


Dunkeswell Kart Club 2016 Championship Race Report. Round 4

Round 4 and the mid way point of the Dunkeswell  Kart Racing Club's 2016 season was held under brilliant blue skies at the superb Mansell Raceway. Not only was the weather hot but the action on track was blistering as the drivers went about consolidating their championship positions going into the second half of the season. Charlie Knight was on the pace from the off racking up 3 heat wins with Ollie Tyler keeping him honest but just unable to force a mistake out of the championship leader. Oakley Pryer took 2 heat wins in the Rotax Minimax class with Tom Adams winning heat 3. It was all going on in the Junior Rotax class as Harry Wilson- Brown took the flag in heats 1 and 3 whilst Paige Holden took heat 2. However, keeping a watching brief was Jem Hepworth who recorded 3 second place finishes  to secure a front row slot for the final. In the Senior Max class, Taylor Adams celebrated his birthday with a win in heat 1 with Ashley Reeves taking heat 2 and Dan Gould winning heat 3. With the Rotax 177 and Senior TKM's running a split grid it was Lewis Round who took first blood in the TKM class but Matt Harris bounced back to win heats 2 and 3. Ryan Edgecumbe and Carl Adey were fighting it out in the 177's with the Seaton driver, Edgecumbe, edging Adey with 2 heat wins to Adeys 1. Last up were the Gearbox class and visiting Jade driver, Ross Allen, dominated the heats with 3 wins giving Dunks driver, Ash Lewis, a run for his money. With the heats sorted and the grids for the finals decided it was time for the last round of races to commence. First up were the Cadets and Charlie Knight was again untroubled with a lights to flag finish but the action was going on behind him as Ollie Tyler battled it out with Chris Simpson initially, before an on fire Ollie Makepeace  cut through the field and was on Tyler's tail. Tyler, worked hard and despite being pushed back to third place used his extensive experience to get past Makepeace on the final lap to follow Knight home with Makepeace trailing in behind in third. In the Minimax class, It was Pryer who had an untroubled run whilst behind him, Adams and Connor Merrifield were swapping places as they battled it out for second place. This allowed Shay Keough the chance to get in on the action but as Adams put some space between himself and this new fight, Merrified used his experience to push Keough back into fourth to claim the last step on the podium. The Junior Max final was a bit tasty after some good battles in the heats carried on into the final. There was some close racing amongst the top three as Wilson-Brown, Holden and Hepworth kept each other honest. Something had to give and on the penultimate lap, Holden went for a move getting ahead on Wilson-Brown but the end result was both Holden and Hepworth both coming off worse with Hepworth dropping to the back of the field whilst Holden received a 10 second penalty for a dislodged nosecone. The net result saw Martial Radford promoted to second and Brad Horsnell to third. The Senior Max final was possibly the best race of the day as pole man Taylor Adams was quickly relegated to third as Dan Gould and Ash Reeves got ahead and went racing. Reeves squeezed past the Rapid Motorsport prepared, Gould on lap 7 and set up a nail biting finish as he held off a determined Gould to take an emotional first win in Seniors. However, an administration error on his scrutineering card saw him denied the victory and gifting the win to Gould. Merrick Gigg was elevated to second and birthday boy, Adams, rounded off a good day with third. In the TKM class, Matt Harris continued his dominance to take the win whilst in the 177 class, it was local driver, Ryan Edgecumbe, who held off a determined Carl Adey to cement his position as the current class championship leader. Last up were the Gearbox boys and Ross Allen was again showing local driver, Ash Lewis a clean set of wheels as he managed to make it four from four with Lewis managing to keep him honest crossing the line only 2.2 seconds behind the team supported Allen. Once again the club put on a well organised and managed race meeting and thanks must go to the MSA officials and the Marshal Team who kept the racing going throughout the day.  It was also great to see an increase in the number of spectators turning out to share in East Devon's rich motorsport heritage. See you all again on 26th June when the superb and eccentric FP4 class will be racing at Dunkeswell. 

Round 2 - March 2016

With barriers roaming the track like they owned the place, the initial impact of Storm Katy made for an interesting practice on the Saturday but the near hurricane winds didn't stop the more hardy drivers from venturing out. Race Sunday began overcast with the threat of the promised rain ever present. With the new nose cone rules being implemented for this round, it was going to be an interesting day! First out to test the conditions were the Junior and Minimax grids with Joseph Holmes making it a clean sweep of the heats in the Junior class whilst Connor Merrifield took two wins in the Minimax class with Will Uphill taking the win in heat 2. The Senior Max first heat was won by Christiano Nardone with local lady, Gemma Batstone in second and Dan Gould third. Batstone stepped up the pressure in heat 2 to take the win from Gould with David Spiller in third. It was Spillers turn in heat 3 to take the flag with Gould again taking second spot with Nardone back in third. The highly anticipated battle in 177 was put on hold as the returning Colin Davis was excluded for being under weight after in heat 1 after decimating the pack. Michael Bacchetta inherited the win with Stew Baker and Ryan Edgcumbe in second and third. In heat 2 and 3, Davis was back on top and up to weight as he took the wins from Baker, Bacchetta  and Edgecumbe setting up the final nicely. Not in their usual slot, the cadets were out next and with only 1 IAME against a lot of Hondas, Connor Kearney was out to prove a point which he did in heat 1 with a .5 of a second advantage over the Honda's of Ben Watson in second and Cameron Ross in third. In heats 2 and 3, Charlie Knight was back on top with Ollie Tyler less than a second behind him in heat 2 and Ollie Makepeace even closer in heat 3.  With a strong mix of 250 and 125 Gearbox drivers this month, the difficult conditions were going to make it tricky for the only class to do standing starts! Ash Lewis was first to master the wet to take the first win in the 250's while John Pike was doing it for the 125 boys! Heat 2 and Chris Morris took the flag while right behind him was the 125 of Pike who was on a roll. It was Pike who took the flag in the third heat with Morris doing his best to keep him honest. Last up were the visiting NKRA Formula Blue class and it was veteran racer, Kevin Ford who took the first win with Duncan Mcleod winning heats 2 and 3. With all the heats completed and the weather showing no signs of improving after the mid morning dry spell was halted by a short monsoon, with added hail stones, it was decided to run straight through. It was Joseph Holmes who wrapped up the perfect day in Juniors to take the win and record a clean sweep across the board. Paige Holden was second and Ashton Thompson in third. In the Minmax, it was Merrifield who also dominated the class to take the win although he was kept honest by Uphill throughout. Jenson Watts continued his strong start to the year recording his second podium of the season. In the Senior Max final, Dan Gould dominated from pole to take the win with Nardone in second and Gemma Batstone putting in a strong drive for third. Davis continued his domination of the 177 class and even managed to pull out a 3 second gap on his closest challenger, Baker who put in a great drive to take second with Bacchetta rounding off a great day in third.  The Cadet final was a hard fought affair with Knight hounded throughout by Tyler who was determined not to let him get away. Tyler's tenacity was rewarded with second place with Chris Simpson rounding off a Honda 1,2,3 with Kearney bringing the IAME over the line in 4th. The conditions were now borderline and Roy Beal gambled on slicks and it didn't pay off! Ash Lewis recorded his second win of the season to cement his place at the top of the table with Chris Morris taking second and the ever cheerful, David Clements, taking a well deserved and popular third place. John Pike continued his domination of the 125 grid to take the win with Alex Salmon second home in class with Alex Hayward coming third. In the Formula Blue class, Pole man Mcleod was relegated to third almost immediately as the initial threat from Matty Helps disappeared in a mechanical issue. Anthony Cleal took advantage and held out to take the win with Mcleod recovering to second and Kevin Ford taking third.

Once again it was a great race meeting, professionally run and sensibly officiated in the changeable and often difficult conditions . Thanks must go to the drivers who adapted to the new procedures without any fuss and the teams behind the scenes who administered the event. See you all in April.


Round 1 - February 2016

What a difference a year makes both in weather and competitor numbers! A gloriously cold but dry and sunny weekend greeted the drivers arriving at the circuit to contest Round 1 of the 2016 club championship. With improvements across the circuit including weather proofed marshal posts, live video streaming and the circuit connectivity re organised to make it more robust the club was more than ready to go racing.

A resurgent grid saw 17 cadets take to the track with several new names mixing it with the more established drivers. With Honda's dominating the grid it was Connor Kearney one of two IAME's that moved through the grid to take the first win of the season. However, the freshly "unretired" Charlie Knight was still proving to be a force to be reckoned with taking second from 10th on the grid with newcomer, Brodie Trayhorn in third. Heat 2 and it was the same result but in a different order as Knight took the win from 6th with Kearney in second and that man, Trayhorn, again in third. In heat 3, Knight maximised his pole position to lead from lights to flag but was kept honest by Trayhorn who worked his way through from 5th to take second. In third was another local driver, Ollie Tyler, who having grabbed a brace of 4th places broke into the top 3 to confirm his intentions regarding the 2016 championship! Due to the expected low numbers in the junior categories permission was sought to run a split grid for Minimax and Juniors but we were pleasantly surprised to see healthy grids in both classes. In Heat 1 Paige Holden inherited the win when Ethan Ling dropped out on lap 8 after dominating the race. This elevated Bradley Horsnell to second and a battling Jem Hepworth to third. In heat two Ling was back on top with Holden and Hepworth fighting for the locals but struggling to keep on his tail as Ling pulled out a 6 second lead.  In Heat 3 it was Ling again out front but this time Holden and Hepworth has the measure of the Welsh man as the gap across the line had narrowed considerably to just over 1 second.  In the MiniMax class it was a welcome return to Connor Merrifield as he took a hat trick of wins to dominate the heats. Behind him in heat 1 was Austin Maddocks and Seb Marlow , Heat 2 saw the 2015 Honda champion, Jenson Watts take second with Maddocks third and in the final heat, Oakley Pryer picked up second place whilst Watts claimed third. This is going to be a class to watch in 2016! The Senior Max grid, was as predicted the biggest and toughest grid in the field with several new drivers graduating from Junior Max including champion, David Spiller and Ceran Sokhi. It has to be mentioned that there were a couple of more mature drivers racing namely Nigel Fordham, coming out of retirement as his son, Jack, goes into retirement! As ever, the quality in the field produced some varied results with Heat 1 being won by Toby Harlow with Rob Ellis in second and reigning champion, Leon Hilleard, in third. Heat 2 saw Taylor Adams put in a great drive to take the win with Dan Gould hot on his tail just .13 of a second behind him at the line. Third place was taken by Josh Gray, who having made up 19 places across the two heats was carrying some serious speed. Heat 3 and Hilleard was reminding everyone why he was champion with a drive from 13th on the grid to take the flag. Gray was second with Cristiano Nardone claiming third.

Stewart Baker in a shock migration to 177's produced the expected hat trick of wins across the heats giving 2015 champion, Ryan Edgecumbe a challenge. Edgecumbe managed to claim two of the second places available with Michael Bacchetta claiming the remaining one after Edgecumbe suffered a mechanical issue in heat 2.

A small but perfectly formed Gearbox class returned to Dunks for 2016 with promises of bigger grids to come. Reigning Champion, Ashley Lewis had his work cut out as Chris Morris took the win in heat 1 pushing Lewis into second. SW champion, Spencer Chappell, returned to the circuit where he won his plate and took third. Heat 2 saw Lewis up his game as he led Morris to the flag in an extremely tight race with only .7 of a second between them. Chappell again had to settle for third. It was the same result in Heat 3 only this time Lewis managed to extend the gap between himself and Morris to over 2.5 seconds as the flag fell. Chappell rounded off the heats with a hat trick of thirds.

It was great to welcome the TKM's back to Dunks for the start of the season and as part of their Challenge Cup initiative to try and grow the class it was good to see their effort rewarded with a good grid. Zachary Jones took the win in Heat 1 with Charlie Bruce-White and current "C" plate holder Lewis Round taking second and third place respectively. Heat 2 produced the same top 3 but this time it was Round who took the honours with Bruce-White claiming another second and Jones relegated to third. Just to prove they are a consistent but fair bunch, it was Round who was again top of the pile in heat 3 but this time Jones had the advantage over Bruce-White who had to battle from the back of the grid to claim his third consecutive top 3 finish of the weekend.

The finals were set to be hard fought affairs and in the Honda's it was a straight battle between the Honda of Charlie Knight on Pole and the IAME of Connor Kearney in second. Trayhorn and Tyler rounded of the second row.  Knight got a good start as Kearney lost a place to Trayhorn dropping to third. With another Honda acting as rear gunner, Knight tried to make a break for it but Kearney was past Trayhorn by 3 and set about tracking Knight. Knight drove a faultless race but couldn't hold off Kearney who managed to slip by on the last lap to take the flag leaving Knight with the consolation of being the first Honda home.  Trayhorn was  third with Tyler in fourth but both picking up second and third places respectively in the class order. Due to the numbers on the junior classes the finals were run separately and first up were the Junior  Rotax class with Holden on pole, Ling next to her with Brad Horsnell  and Jem Hepworth on the second row.  Holden had an awful start and was relegated to third place just in front of Horsnell as both Ling and then Hepworth swept past her on the opening lap. Ling tried to getaway but once again his early heat dominance was missing as Hepworth kept him honest and although she couldn't find a way past put in a great drive to follow him across the line less than .3 of a second behind him. Holden couldn't improve on third and both girls set identical best laps with a 48.13 proving that these two will be battling it out over the season. The Minimax final was just as tense as poleman, Merrifield, made a great start whilst Maddocks had a torrid one plummeting down the order. Will Uphill made the best of it all from 6th on the grid to come out of the first corner in second. However, Oakley Pryer was quickly past him and challenging for the lead by lap 6. Merrifield couldn't hold off the charging Pryer who got past to take the lead which he kept to the flag. Merrifield had to settle for second and Jenson Watts took third in his first Minimax final to round of a great weekend.  The Senior Max grid was equally tight with Josh Gray's efforts in the heats being rewarded with pole. Rob Ellis lined up next to him with Hilleard and Adams in close proximity on row two.  Gray made a good initial get away but was quickly caught and dropped by Hilleard on lap 5 as the 2016 champion took the lead. However, the main interest was going on behind him as Cole Edwards from a lowly 18th on the grid was cutting his way through the field taking 9 places by lap 2.  By lap 9 he had made his way to 4th and in the dying laps got into second place some 3 seconds behind Hilleard when the flag dropped.  2015 Junior CHampion, David Spiller, in his first Senior race took third. In the 177's Stewart Baker made it a clean sweep of wins to take an easy victory as Ryan Edgecumbe had a battle on his hands after a poor start saw him relegated to 5th. Michael Bacchetta made the most of the opportunity to take off after Stewart but crossed the line some 8 seconds behind  Baker, who is arguably the most experienced driver around this circuit. Edgecumbe showed his 2015 championship winning credentials to claw his way back to third.

Ashley Lewis started where he left off from his dominance of 2015 with a commanding drive to take the victory in the 250 Grearbox class with 8 seconds over Spencer Chappell. It was behind the lead pair that the main fight was going on as Chris Morris, Dave Clements and Roy Beal all battled it out for the final podium spot. In the end it was Beal who won out over Morris as Clements succumbed to a recurring mechanical issue. Last up and rounding off a great days racing were the TKM with their unique bump starts. It was a great race to round out the day as Bruce-White launched himself into the lead from the second row ahead of pole man Round. Round kept him honest and on lap 8 made his move that not only saw him get past but also allowed Jones to follow him through. With it all to do, Bruce-White quickly dispatched Jones to retake second and set about after Round. On the penultimate lap he caught and took Round and the victory by 0.05 of a second, the closest finish of the day as they crossed the line almost together. Jones was third.

In all it was a great race meeting with all the action on the track. Thanks must go to the circuit staff who prepared an outstanding venue, the club committee for administering the meeting and all the MSA officials, Marshals, Medics and support staff who enable us to go racing. Next month the Nose Cone mounting brackets will be required although the penalty has been amended to a 10 second penalty rather than 10 places. See you all in March.

Full Results can be found at: