SUPERKART CHAT by Gary James, Freelance Superkart Reporter & Commentator




Lee Harpham was on top form in the Division 1 twin cylinder class when he took three wins at Cadwell last weekend. Starting from the front row in the delayed opening race, he swept past early leader Andrew Gulliford on lap 2 with pole sitter Ross Allen was in close attendance.  The gap fluctuated around the one second mark until lap 6 when the Jade driver was hampered by a lot of slower traffic. Suddenly the gap was out to over two seconds. Harpham reeled off the remaining three laps to take the win by 2.809s. “I caught the traffic at the wrong moment,” explained Ross afterwards. Gulliford kept Allen in sight in the early laps but an off on lap 4 dropped him back and he settled for third spot safely clear of Andy Waite who had his hands full dealing with the quickest of the F250 Evo runners.

That driver in the F250 Evo class was Lee Plain. Starting from row two of the grid, he was the meat in an F450 sandwich for the first couple of laps before claiming fifth place on the road as class leader. He demoted Andy Waite on lap 5 and with clear track in front of him settled into a good pace taking the class win by 21.951s and the first step towards retaining his King of Cadwell title. Shaun Lombardo held second place in the F250 Evo class for the first two laps before being overhauled by Dave Heathershaw.  Both drove a great race with the HRK THR driver claiming the runner-up spot from the Parker Motorsport man by 4.044s.

In the F250 National category for older spec engines, Martin Gower had a comfortable lead until he dropped out after 5 laps. That handed the class lead to Peter Tillson-Hawke with Cadwell rookie Ben Ardern in second spot. They were both lapped by the flying Harpham at the flag.

Out of 40 Superkarts, F125 Open driver Clint Bridge qualified 14th quickest overall and looked favourite to take the class victory. At the start he had to jink sideways when an F450 was slow away in front of him and made contact with Samantha Hempshall, damaging a rear winglet. Nevertheless, he was 12th on the road after two laps until his TM motor seized on lap three and he went off at Hall Bends, fortunately without any additional damage. That gave the class lead to another Cadwell rookie, Jack Tritton. Although he had been around Cadwell as a sidecar passenger, this was his first time using four wheels. He took an easy class win by nearly a lap from Rob Austin. Tom Rushforth was having a rare outing in the F125 Open class, using Fletcher Hurn’s Spyda TM. He was lying second until the motor seized at the end of Park Straight on lap 5.

The F450 four stroke class had a good contingent of competitors with 9 on the grid. Charlie Johnson qualified on row 3, with rival Mark Gellatly on the next row. Both were using Hoosier tyres for the first time and were amazed at the grip levels that they gave. For the first two laps they were mixed in with Andy Waite and Lee Plain having a real scrap. When the twin and single pulled away, they were left to sort out F450 class honours. Gellatly opened a gap of 2.186s after 6 laps, but Johnson started to reel him in.  “The tyres felt great, and I was hoping to get a good run out of Barn Corner on the last lap,” explained Charlie. His bid for victory failed by 0.411s.

Race 1 Results

1st Lee Harpham                     MS Kart VM

2nd Ross Allen                         Jade IAME

3rd Andrew Gulliford              Anderson VM

4th Lee Plain                            Anderson DEA (F250 Evo class winner)

5th Andy Waite                        Anderson VM

6th Mark Gellatly                     Silverstone Yamaha (F450 National class winner)

13th Jack Tritton                      Anderson TM (F125 Open class winner)

18th Peter Tillson-Hawke        Anderson Honda (F250 National class winner)

The second race was another Harpham win, but he was a bit lucky. Starting from pole position he took the lead and by the end of the opening lap had an advantage of 1.050s over Allen. But on the next lap the VM motor started over fuelling on one cylinder and it bogged down at the hairpin. Allen took over at the front, before the race was red-flagged. The results were taken at two laps giving victory to Harpham by 0.379s.

 In the F250 Evo class Lee Plain was third on the road and took another class win with Heathershaw snatching second place from Lombardo by 0.022s.

Peter Tillson-Hawke had another easy run in the F250 National class safely clear of Ben Ardern.

With Bridge and Rushforth both non-starting due to earlier engine issues, Tritton wrapped up the F125 Open class from Rob Austin.

In the F450 class, the expected battle between Mark Gellatly and Charlie Johnson didn’t materialise. Johnson made the better start and led his rival by 3.422s after one lap. Gellatly retired on lap two when something broke on the Silverstone chassis and Johnson was lucky to survive an off at the exit of Charlie’s. He continued as the class leader, unlike Ronan McClintock who went off at the same spot and made a heavy impact with the barriers. The race was red-flagged as a result and Ronan was badly shaken, but did manage to walk from the damaged kart.

Race 2 Results

1st Lee Harpham                     MS Kart VM

2nd Ross Allen                         Jade IAME

3rd Lee Plain                            Anderson DEA (F250 Evo class winner)

4th Andrew Gulliford              Anderson VM

5th Charlie Johnson                 Anderson KTM (F450 National class winner)

6th Andy Waite                        Anderson VM

13th Peter Tillson-Hawke        Anderson Honda (F250 National class winner)

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

The final race would decide the King of Cadwell title in all the classes. Harpham was on pole again and took the lead at the start chased by Allen and Waite. The order was the same at the end of the opening lap with the Grimsby man 0.75s to the good.  Allen kept Harpham in check until they hit the first of the traffic on lap 5 and suddenly the Jade driver was 3.398s behind. Two laps later it was Harpham’s turn to get held up and the gap was down to 0.659s. It looked like we were all set for a close finish. Harpham tried to lap an F450 at the bottom of the mountain on the penultimate lap and was pushed off line but somehow got past. Then it was Allen’s turn, but contact was made with the four-stroke driver at Hall Bends. This sent the Jade spinning across the grass but fortunately he kept the kart out of the barriers and managed to regain the tarmac. However, he had lost a place to Gulliford who had closed in. Harpham ran out the winner by 3.567s retaining the Division 1 King of Cadwell with a maximum score. Gulliford had his best result of the season with second place 5.552s ahead of Allen at the flag.

In the F250 Evo class Lee Plain had an easy race. Starting from row 2, he was never headed and took the class victory by 15.498s. His third win of the day also saw him retain the Evo King of Cadwell crown. Second place looked to be heading in the direction of Dave Heathershaw, but he was caught and passed by teammate Samantha Hempshall. After a race 1 retirement when an engine sprocket came off and a lowly finish in the shortened second outing, she drove very well from 18th on the grid to finish 6th on the road and second in class, her best result all season.

Peter Tillson-Hawke started off strongly in the F250 National class but slowed around half distance allowing Martin Gower to come through. They then ran in close formation with Ben Ardern starting to close the gap. Harpham passed them on the final tour to put them a lap down. At the flag only 1.388s covered the three drivers with the class win going to Gower and the King of Cadwell for F250 National going to Tillson-Hawke.

Clint Bridge had repaired the TM motor to take up a place at the back of the mixed grid. With Rob Austin a non-starter it was a two-horse race in the F125 Open class. Tritton led the way, but Bridge had gained 11 places on the road during the opening lap and was closing in. By lap 5 it was down to 1.647s but Jack benefited from a tow off a Division 1 driver and kept Bridge at bay. The Cadwell rookie took his third class win of the day and the F125 Open King of Cadwell.

Mark Gellatly was a non-starter in the final race which would have left the way open for Charlie Johnson. But Charlie’s team noticed an oil leak while he sat on the dummy grid and that was his day over. That threw the F450 class wide open. Kosta Kyritsis and Garry Ward battled throughout with Ward getting ahead on lap 4. Running just behind Martin Marks in the Division 1 class, they circulated in close formation with Ward taking the class win by 0.585s. In the absence of Johnson he also lifted the King of Cadwell title.

Race 3 Results

1st Lee Harpham                     MS Kart VM

2nd Andrew Gulliford             Anderson VM

3rd Ross Allen                         Jade IAME

4th Andy Waite                        Anderson VM

5th Lee Plain                            Anderson DEA (F250 Eve class winner)

6th Samantha Hempshall         Anderson THR

10th Garry Ward                      Anderson KTM (F450 National class winner)

12th Jack Tritton                      Anderson TM (F125 Open class winner)

15th Martin Gower                  Raider Honda (F250 National class winner)