SUPERKART CHAT by Gary James, Freelance Superkart Reporter & Commentator
DONINGTON PARK 24TH & 25TH SEPTEMBER 2022
This weekend sees the final event of the 2022 Motorsport UK British Superkart Championships with two rounds taking place over the Donington Park Grand Prix circuit. In addition, the final race on Sunday will be the British Superkart Grand Prix. Both the championship rounds will count for points and the grid for the Grand Prix will be based upon the finishing positions in the earlier races. With 25 points up for grabs for a win it is nicely poised across all four Superkart classes in the championship decider.
Tied on points at the top of the Division 1 championship is the current Grand Prix holder, Lee Harpham, and Liam Morley. Harpham picked up two wins at the opening event at his local track, Cadwell Park, in May and a pair of second places at Anglesey in June. Last year he was runner-up in the British Superkart Championship, so would love to go one better and lift the title this weekend. Morley had to play a secondary role to Harpham at Cadwell Park in May but was unbeaten at Anglesey in June. His only blemish was a non-finish at Cadwell Park with a big-end failure. That could prove costly if the scores are still level on Sunday.
Third place in the championship is held by the reigning champion Ross Allen who is 22 points behind Morley and Harpham. Allen picked up a second and a third at Cadwell Park and was in line for another podium finish until a carburettor fell off one of the IAME engines. The Jade driver then scored another pair of second places at Anglesey in June. There is a mathematical chance of Allen retaining his title, but it would need the championship leaders to have mechanical issues.
Another driver to watch out for is Andrew Gulliford. Lying fourth in the championship after a podium finish at Cadwell Park, he wasn’t so fortunate at Anglesey where his best result was a fifth before the engine seized in the final race. He will be hoping for better things at Donington.
Lee Plain, the reigning British Superkart Champion in the F250 National class started his defence in the best possible way by remaining unbeaten at Cadwell Park. After making a few aerodynamic tweaks he was rarely troubled on his way to securing maximum points. At Anglesey in June he picked up another two wins. Recent form would suggest that the man from Exeter will be celebrating again this weekend.
Tom Hatfield was Plain’s closest challenger at Cadwell Park, leading briefly before settling for two runner-up slots. A gearbox issue meant he didn’t start the final race so was unable to bid for a win. Another pair of second places at Anglesey kept Hatfield’s score ticking over but can he beat Plain this time around?
Bennett’s Superkart Scholarship winner Samantha Hempshall was expected to challenge Plain at Cadwell Park in May, but two retirements when the exhaust manifold came off dented her chances. However, with everything securely wired and bolted, Hempshall managed to get a second place in the final race of the day. At Anglesey she picked up a third and second before the THR engine seized in the final race. Hempshall has far exceeded her previous best of 10th in the Motorsport UK British Superkart Championship and would love to end the championship season with a win.
Hatfield’s teammate Shaun Lombardo finished third in all three races at Cadwell and holds fourth spot in the points standings. Lombardo also collected a fourth and fifth at Anglesey before a first corner incident eliminated him. This is the first season that he has competed in the British Superkart Championships and will be hoping to finish in the top three.
In the F125 Open class it is championship rookie Jack Tritton who leads the way after collecting two wins at Cadwell Park and another win at Anglesey. However, his trip to Trac Mon was plagued with problems. Over fuelling of the carburettor saw him drop back to third place in race two and then a gear linkage broke in the final outing.
Shane Stoney, son of multiple champion Chris Stoney, made an impressive Superkart debut at Cadwell Park in May with a pair of third places. The former Radical Champion then improved at Anglesey with a couple of seconds before his first championship win in the final race of the day. Stoney is only 14 points adrift of Tritton so it will be an interesting contest between them at Donington.
Tom Riley, the reigning F125 Open champion, had a split link come off the chain in the first Cadwell encounter but bounced back with a second and a win. However, he was forced to miss the Anglesey event as he was recovering from the effect of Covid. He still has a mathematical chance of retaining his title, but it is a tall order.
The F450 National class is better supported this time. Kosta Kyritsis leads the way with two wins at Cadwell, while Ami Jerger picked up a win and a second place. Ronan McClintock had a disastrous weekend at Cadwell so will be hoping for better fortunes this weekend.
After the culmination of the British Superkart Championship, the final race of the weekend at Donington will be the British Superkart Grand Prix. Lee Harpham will be looking to retain his title in the Division 1 category, but nine-times winner Liam Morley has other ideas. He was in contention with Harpham right up to the final corner before an engine problem curtailed his chances. He will be out for revenge and win number 10. In F250 National Paul Platt would like to hang on to his GP plate, but there will be a strong challenge from Lee Plain. Neither Mark Bramhall (F125 Open) or Kevin Ridley (F450 National) will be at Donington to defend their GP titles so we could see an interesting contest in those classes.