SUPERKART CHAT by Gary James, Freelance Superkart Reporter & Commentator



Liam Morley dominated proceedings at the second British Superkart Championships event of 2022 at Anglesey Circuit with three wins from three starts in the Division 1 class. Lee and Luke Plain came out on top in F250 Nationals while honours were shared in the F125 Open class between Jack Tritton, Ross Witherow and Shane Stoney.

Twenty Superkarts took to the track with no F450 National drivers as part of the entrants. After a free practice session on Saturday morning which saw Lee Plain have a spin, the Superkart qualifying took place a couple of hours later with short ten-minute session.

Division 1 championship leader Lee Harpham set the pace from the start. After altering the rear wing and dialling out some understeer, he improved on each lap to eventually post a time of 1m 23.215s (only 5/1000ths outside the lap record) and claim pole position. Liam Morley was suffering a bit with over fuelling and got down to a 1m 23.456s before the chain snapped on the next lap and he parked up at the Corkscrew unable to complete the session but had claimed the other spot on the front row. Ross Allen was giving the Jade Karts SA1 chassis it’s long circuit debut and was pleased with his third place on the grid while using old tyres. However, the gap of over two seconds to the front row was a bit daunting. Andrew Gulliford was back on UK soil after a recent foray to Magny Cours for the French championships and wound up fourth quickest just over half a second slower than the Jade driver. Alan Witherow made the trip across the Irish Sea and headed row 3 with Superkart returnee Andy Waite alongside. Lee Plain was quickest in the F250 National class and lined up on row 4 with Samantha Hempshall right behind. Sam was on a quicker lap than her 1m 28.109s but the THR motor jumped out of gear, and she lost 4.7s. There wasn’t much to separate the F125 Open drivers and Superkart rookie Shane Stoney lined up on row 8 as the quickest in the class only 0.210s ahead of Ross Witherow (son of Alan) with Jack Tritton a further 0.245s back.

The first race on Saturday afternoon was held in cloudy dry conditions. When the lights went out Morley was slightly better away and took the lead around the outside of Turn 1. But Harpham dived up the inside into the Banking and momentarily took the lead before Morley got the cut back and led on to the back straight for the first time. Gulliford had slotted into third spot chased by Allen, Waite and Witherow. Up at the Hairpin, Harpham tried again and got the lead, however, on the run down to the final corner Morley was alongside. Harpham out braked himself trying to keep his rival at bay and Morley was through. From then on the Anderson driver stretched his lead by 2 or 3 tenths per lap. On lap 5 he set a new lap record of 1m 22.753s, a time 1.099s quicker than Harpham and suddenly the gap was up to 2.765s. The championship leader had no response and Morley reeled off the remaining laps to win comfortably by 6.334s. Allen passed Gulliford on lap 2 and settled into a lonely third place, not as fast as the duo ahead but 2s a lap quicker than those behind. The battle for 4th was between Witherow, Gulliford and Waite. Gulliford lost power when a piston cracked and he dropped back while Waite’s new tyres took time to come in. He’d lost ground in the opening laps but clawed back the deficit only to see his VM temperature gauge soar to 95 degrees when a hose clip snapped. Witherow claimed 4th by 0.749s from the overheating Waite.

Lee Plain led the F250 National class from the off with Tom Hatfield in close pursuit, but they had to deal with the twin cylinder kart of Mark Pask who was quicker down the straights but not so lively through the corners. Plain got ahead as Hatfield became trapped behind the green and white machine. It wasn’t until lap 6 that the Parker Motorsport driver stayed ahead and by that time Plain was way up the road. At the flag the Exeter driver claimed his fourth win in the championship by 4.644s with Hatfield having to settle for another runner-up spot. The scrap for third place was between Hempshall, Parr and Lombardo (who had managed to spin on the warm-up lap behind the pace car). There wasn’t much between them until lap 6 when Parr got a false neutral and dropped back while Lombardo couldn’t maintain his early pace and fell away. Hempshall claimed third spot despite a misfire at tope end with Lombardo next through after Parr’s Viper engine seized on the last lap.

In the F125 Open class, Ross Witherow made a great start and managed to put a couple of 250’s between himself and his rivals on the opening lap before they powered past on the next time around. Witherow led the way from Tritton, Stoney and von Gerard and managed to open out a gap of just over two seconds before half distance. Tritton then started to close in and set the quickest class time on lap 7 as the gap shrunk to less than a tenth of a second. Down to the final corner Witherow tried to leave his braking as late as possible but spun and stalled the engine. Tritton was through to take the win while Ross tried to push his kart across the line to get a finish but failed to make the line. Stoney picked up second place but was on old tyres and was 5.741s behind. Von Gerard was third but a lap behind after being passed by the flying Morley.

Race 1 Results

1st Liam Morley          Anderson VM

2nd Lee Harpham        MS Kart Harvey VM

3rd Ross Allen             Jade SA1 IAME

4th Alan Witherow      Anderson PVP

5th Andy Waite           Anderson VM

6th Andrew Gulliford  Anderson VM

7th Lee Plain                Anderson DEA (F250 National class winner)

14th Jack Tritton          Anderson TM (F125 Open class winner)

With the grid positions for Race 2 on Sunday morning determined by a drivers fastest lap from the day before, it was Liam Morley who had pole position with Harpham alongside while Allen and Waite lined up behind on row 2. Allen lit up the Jade IAME at the start and led through the Banking chased by Morley, Gulliford, a slow starting Harpham and Waite. Harpham passed Gulliford alongside the back straight and then got ahead of Morley further round the lap as the Anderson driver was waiting for his new tyres to come on. Allen flashed across the line at the end of lap 1 with a handy buffer of 0.796s over Harpham while Morley was nearly a further second behind. With his rival struggling with grip levels Harpham needed to get a hurry on and he took the lead from Allen at the Hairpin on lap 2, but Morley’s Dunlops were now starting to work and passed Allen at the Banking on lap 3. The chase was on. Two laps later at the Rocket complex the 0 kart took the lead and finished the lap with a new record. Morley lowered the time again on the next lap with a 1m 22.442s as he increased his lead to 1.605s. Further rapid laps saw him pull clear of Harpham and at the flag he was 5.519s ahead. Two starts and maximum points had brought him level with Harpham in the championship. Allen could do little to challenge the pair ahead and finished in another lonely third place, still getting used to the new SA1 chassis. Fourth was another battle between Witherow, Gulliford and Waite. On lap 3 Waite pitted when the rear wheel studs came loose leaving Witherow to defend the spot from Gulliford. Witherow lost the place at the Hairpin on the last lap but then Gulliford ran wide at the final corner allowing Witherow to nip through and claim 4th by 0.120s.

In the F250 National class Lee Plain got a good start from row 4 chased by the Parker Motorsport duo of Shaun Lombardo and Tom Hatfield. However, they couldn’t stay with the reigning champion who got his head down and jumped Pask and was on the tail of Gulliford getting a decent tow. Plain set his fastest lap at half distance and had an advantage of 4.026s over his pursuers who were tucked up behind Pask. Hempshall had moved into second place in class on lap 2 with a great move around the outside of Lombardo at Rocket but then a missed gear at the same place four laps later and lost ground. She reclaimed the place from Hatfield on the next lap and eased clear to claim the runner-up spot. Lombardo had dropped away leaving Hatfield and Parr to dispute third place. Parr passed Hatfield into the Hairpin for the final time to get his best result of the season.

The anticipated battle in the F125 Open class fizzled out early on. Tritton had changed engines overnight in a bid to get some more speed, but the carburettor settings were causing the motor to over fuel, and he dropped to the back of the field. Von Gerard pitted after 2 laps with a water leak which was causing his IAME engine to overheat. He did continue once things had cooled a bit but was two laps adrift at the flag. That left Ross Witherow and Shane Stoney to contest the lead. However, Stoney was down on power with his DEA motor eating reed petals Witherow was not to be denied this time and ran out a worthy winner by 5.469s.

Race 2 Results

1st Liam Morley          Anderson VM

2nd Lee Harpham        MS Kart Harvey VM

3rd Ross Allen             Jade SA1 IAME

4th Alan Witherow      Anderson PVP

5th Andrew Gulliford  Anderson VM

6th Lee Plain                Anderson DEA (F250 National class winner)

14th Ross Witherow    Anderson TM (F125 Open class winner)

The grid positions for the third race were similar to earlier except that Gulliford had moved up to row 2 with Waite now on row 3. When the lights went out Morley made the perfect start from pole position and led through Turn 1 followed by Harpham, Allen and Gulliford. But behind them it all kicked off with contact being made and six karts went off. The race for Mark Pask, Shaun Lombardo and Michael Parr ended at the first corner with all drivers safe. Andy Waite managed to keep his engine running and regained the track, but a camber bar was broken and he pulled off soon after. Alan Witherow managed to re-start his kart but had dropped to the back of the field. Lee Plain was also caught up in the melee and pushed his kart back into the end of the pitlane.

Up at the front, Harpham had grabbed the lead along the back straight with Morley, Allen and Gulliford in tow. At the end of the lap the safety car was deployed so that the marshals could move karts and drivers into a safe place and there was no change in the order of the first four. Luke Plain had benefitted from the turmoil ahead of him at the start and was fifth on the road and leading the F250 National class with Samantha Hempshall and Tom Hatfield holding the next two places in the class. Ross Witherow’s TM motor seized along the back straight on the opening lap, so Jack Tritton led the way in the F125 Open category from Shane Stoney and Paul von Gerard.

The safety car pulled off at the end of lap 2 and Harpham kept his lead, holding off Morley into the Banking. Morley showed the nose of the 0 kart at the Hairpin, but Harpham just held the advantage. It was just a matter of time before the lead changed and on the exit of the Banking on lap 4 Morley was through. Fastest lap next time around took him 3.576s clear and he reeled off the remaining laps to secure win number three by 5.644s. Harpham tried something different on set-up, but it didn’t produce the result he was looking for and had to settle for second spot again. The championship is nicely poised heading to the final round at Donington in September with Harpham and Morley tied on points. Ross Allen collected another third place and still has an outside chance of retaining his number 1 plate if things go wrong for Morley and Harpham at Donington.  Gulliford was heading for 4th place in the race, but his VM motor seized at half distance allowing Alan Witherow to come through from the back of the field for another solid result.

Luke Plain led the way in F250 National after the re-start and opened up a decent gap before Sam Hempshall closed up at the end of lap 3. Her bid for victory ended a few hundred yards further on at the Banking when the THR motor seized and she pulled off. Tom Hatfield saw his chance of a win and glued himself to the rear bumper of Plain’s kart. On the final lap he was just ahead and looked as if he was going to take the flag (not a Turkish one) for a class win. But he left a small gap on the inside at the final corner and Plain went through after brief contact to snatch victory by 0.318s. Richard Connick drove a steady race to get third in class.

Jack Tritton’s chance of another win in F125 Open ended just after the re-start when he retired into the pits with a broken gear linkage. That left Shane Stoney unopposed to take his first Superkart victory in only his second event. “I am really pleased with that. It’s a big change from racing cars and I am still learning the intricacies of Superkarts.” Paul von Gerard persevered with his overheating IAME to claim second place in the class.

Race 3 Results

1st Liam Morley                      Anderson VM

2nd Lee Harpham                    MS Kart Harvey VM

3rd Ross Allen                         Jade SA1 IAME

4th Alan Witherow                  Anderson PVP

5th Luke Plain                         Anderson DEA (F250 National class winner)

6th Tom Hatfield                     Anderson DEA

8th Shane Stoney                     Anderson DEA (F125 Open class winner)

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