Autosport International racing car show 2015 – NEC Birmingham
The area’s biggest motor racing team and a talented local ex-kart racer’s motorsport graphics designs were on prominent display at the Autosport International (ASI) racing car show in Birmingham’s NEC.
The show stand of UK motorsport’s governing body, the MSA, had a centrepiece featuring the kart of Teddy Wilson, the 2014 IAME Cadet Champion, its bodywork graphics being the work of a Rotherham company, Jake Designs.
Run by 23 year-old Jake Ball, Jake Designs started producing karting vinyl graphics when he hung up his helmet in 2012.
Growing quickly, the company becoming renowned for high quality, striking and imaginative designs for karting bodywork, it soon had leading kart racing teams beating a path to Jake Design’s door for him to create distinctive colour schemes for their karts.
Jake Designs’ reputation, and being the largest supplier of custom karting graphics in the UK, led to Ball being requested to design and produce the karting artwork for the new 2015 Formula Kart Stars championship that is supported by the Formula 1 championship.
Displayed to the public on the Formula Kart Stars championship’s huge ASI show stand were Ball’s colourful creations for each of the four FKS categories, in the words of FKS championship chairman, Carolynn Hoy, “We really love Jake’s work – the superb designs and his flexibility!”.
Further examples of Ball’s work were on show on the Zip Karts,
and Super One Series championship stands.
Meanwhile, elsewhere at the show, Steven Hunter was also seeking some talented ex-karters.
The boss of the Dronfield-based JHR Developments racing team however was looking for recruits to fill vacant race seats created by the team’s expansion into single-seater racing.
JHR are moving for the first time into both the new MSA Formula championship where they have linked up the Zip Young Guns karting team and also the BRDC Formula 4 championship.
The team’s two single-seaters, along with JHR’s usual Ginetta Junior championship car were on display at the Grand Prix Racewear’s show stand, Zip Young Guns’ parent company.
Hunter, who spent his time discussing championships with kart racers and their parents, was in no doubt what he is looking for, “I’m after teenage racers who know how to win races”.
The Attercliffe-based sports exhaust company, Cobra Sport used the show to launch their involvement with the AMD Tuning Ford Focus British Touring Car championship team.
Milltek Sport Volkswagen Racing Cup – Oulton Park
Rotherham’s David Sutton had a weekend to savour in the Milltek Sport Volkswagen Racing Cup at Oulton Park leading the championship after a brace of dominant light-to-flag victories.
Sutton claimed the opening round’s pole position in his VW Scirocco by a huge 0.7 seconds, that he converted into an untroubled victory with a 2.5 second lead while setting the fastest lap. “It was unreal, a smooth lights-to-flag with ease!”, Sutton remarked.
Starting round 2 from grid 6th he made a great start through to 2nd place, but leader Joe McMillan defended too well, so thinking of the bigger picture, Sutton sat behind him for the safety of a 2nd place points finish.
Round 3 was again a lights to flag victory for 24 year-old Sutton but this time it was far from easy: “Howard Fuller never let up in his pursuit of me – I had to push and do qualifying-type laps all the way, qualifying lap after qualifying lap for the whole race”.
His car would not have able to keep up this pace for much more than 2 – 3 laps before the tyres overheated with an increased risk of punctures likely.
A relieved Sutton commented, “The team set the car up well. It’s been a great weekend, we came here at the last minute, I signed up to win and we have just done it!”.
But, a severely limited budget means he is only registered for the opening weekend of the season, so Sutton needed to impress to attract potential sponsors or he may be unable to take part in any further rounds.
“We need sponsors to continue, so hope to build on this and get to Rockingham”.
Doncaster’s Aaron Mason had a less fruitful weekend, with only a 2nd place and two 4ths including a fastest lap.
“We have done no testing prior to racing here”, Mason’s work commitments meant the team had to experiment with car set-up in qualifying, making a set-up false turn that hit their starting position.
But adjustments to the car prior to the race meant the 2013 champion was able to make up places in round 1, from 6th spot Mason made a sensational start to leap into the top three before grabbing 2nd.
Almost matching Sutton’s pace during the latter stages, but Mason was unable to get on terms with the leader, “the car’s setup ‘came in’ as the race went on”.
“We were quick and took the fastest lap in round 2. I tried to improve but it was taking two laps for the tyres to come in”, reported Mason who started from 5th.
Running in 3rd place, Mason was demoted to 4th place just two laps from the flag, complaining that the success ballast being carried by his VW Scirocco was proving too much for his tyres.
Starting round 3 from 4th spot Mason’s race was hampered by the engine cutting out, but he still managed to hold position in a rather lonely race.
“We are trying to make the car better at keeping the tyres cool during longer races”, two punctures dented Mason’s 2014 championship assault.
“The weekend was not perfect, but we got good points and had no accidents”, smiled Mason, 3rd in the championship, “After qualifying we changed the car completely and I was impressed how the car had improved. I am sure we will get there.”
2015 Kick Start Energy Ginetta Junior Championship – Donington Park
An exhausted Steven Hunter declared, “I need podiums and trophies” to wake up his JHR team mechanics after three nights of burning midnight oil and his talented young drivers delivered!
The Dronfield-based JHR Developments team’s workload of building-up two brand new 2015 Kick Start Energy Ginetta Junior Championship cars for the Donington Park meeting replacing those destroyed in Brands Hatch’s round two crash was compounded when Seb Perez hit the wall in testing.
In round 3, Billy Monger, Senna Proctor, and Dan Zelos qualified 3rd, 4th and 5th, spending the race locked in a 4-car dice for 2nd-place as the race leader disappeared into the distance. Proctor squeezed inside Monger at Redgate on the last lap giving him 2nd at the flag, with Monger finishing 3rd while Zelos slipped back to 6th.
“On the final lap Monger ran wide, a gap opened and I went for it. Those behind me were battling so I was able to pull away”, commented a happy Procter, “I came here leading the championship and have now pulled out a bigger gap – I need to keep this consistency”.
Monger enjoyed himself too, “A great race, with lots of overtaking, it was action-packed, I could not afford to make a mistake”.
The JHR rookies, Seb Perez, Rowan Bailey and Esmee Hawkey, qualified 18th, 24th and 25th, and worked their way through the field, Bailey to finish 14th, Perez 16th and Hawkey 18th.
Proctor made a storming start from 2nd for round 4 launching himself into the lead with Monger holding 3rd and Zelos taking 5th place.
All race long Proctor and poleman Jonathan Hadfield swapped places for the lead, with Monger and Zelos closing-up behind.
On the next to last lap Proctor got the run on Hadfield, grabbing the lead and although it was tight, Proctor was in front at the flag by 0.0292 seconds.
While Monger took 3rd on track, with Zelos in 5th, Monger was later given an exceeding track limits penalty that demoted him to 10th.
“It was a close race, as Hadfield had immense pace in the race keeping me on my toes”, Proctor revealed, “I eventually nailed it on the penultimate lap and held on to it for the win. I managed to squeeze a bit more out of my points lead!”
In the championship Proctor leads with a healthy 32 points margin, ahead of 5th place Monger and Zelos in 6th place.
The rookie pack qualified Bailey 13th, Perez 15th and Hawkey 18th, but all fell back: Perez suffered a spin that did not help his race and they finished Bailey 19th, Perez 20th, and Hawkey 22nd.
Donington Park – MSA Formula and Ginetta GT4 Supercup championships
Chesterfield’s Sennan Fielding has found that competing in the brand-new 2015 MSA Formula powered by Ford single-seater series comes with teething problems: a temperamental paddle-shift gearbox.
Despite the best efforts his team at Donington Park, Dronfield’s JHR Developments, Fielding was hampered by gearbox downshift issues in qualifying, and the problems beset him all weekend.
For round 4 the 18 year-old JHR driver qualified in 9th, battling through to 5th at the flag, he managed to hold off Ricky Collard for the duration of the race. “Apart from the gearbox not always changing down, the car felt very good”.
Round 5 saw Fielding start the reverse grid race in 4th, shooting through into 2nd, which he held until lap 7, when pounced on by Collard and demoted to 3rd, Fielding held station until the flag, for his maiden podium finish in MSA Formula.
“3rd place is a brilliant result as we’ve still got a few issues – losing a lot of time especially stuck in 6th gear through the chicane, so no engine braking.” Fielding expressed his gratitude, “Everyone – JHR and Ford – is trying their hardest to fix it. It’s a shame because we have the pace to win”.
In round 6 with Fielding starting from 10th place, “a good opening lap got me up to 4th”, unfortunately, despite his best efforts, the gearbox maladies reappeared, additionally rear brake issues caused him to retire mid-race.
Despite all these problems Fielding holds 7th in the championship, and needless to say he is hoping for better at Thruxton’s next rounds.
JHR’s sole driver in the 2015 Michelin Ginetta GT4 Supercup championship, Michael Caine, is still getting to grips with his new 355 BHP Amigos-branded car, owned by Chesterfield Global Brands drinks magnate, Steve Perez.
For Round 4 Caine qualified 5th, running the whole race at the back of a 5-car train for the lead, despite numerous passing attempts, he remained 5th to the flag.
This converted to grid 5th for Caine in Round 5, which place he held until lap 5 when he squeezed up to 4th place, then spent the rest of the race successfully keeping Will Burns back, taking the flag in 4th.
A random-draw for the top-6 grid slots of round 6 gifted pole-position to Caine. A dramatic start with 4 cars abreast into the first corner resulted in Carl Breeze demoting Caine to 2nd, until he was nudged back to 3rd by Burns on lap 3. But Caine defended this place superbly holding it to the flag, claiming his first Ginetta GT4 Supercup podium, making him and car owner, Steve Perez very happy amigos.
Caine commented, “This is our first podium, a step in the right direction, but not where we want to be. The ‘Amigos’ car looks the best out there, but unfortunately it is not quite on the money”.
Now lying 6th in the championship he concluded, “Although we are getting there. It is an emotional rollercoaster. We’ve problems that JHR are trying their best to get sorted: we will be better at Thruxton!”.
Milltek Sport Volkswagen Racing Cup – Rockingham Motor Speedway
David Sutton took his third victory from four rounds of the Milltek Sport Volkswagen Racing Cup at Rockingham Motor Speedway but was unhappy to not get further podiums, unlike Aaron Mason who improved his championship position and cut into Sutton’s lead.
Still needing to impress and attract sponsors, Sutton made a strong start from pole position in round 4 with a lights-to-chequered flag race victory, although he was pushed hard towards the end by reigning champion Joe Fulbrook.
While the Rotherham racer’s victory was error free, Fulbrook did whittle away at Sutton’s 1.5 seconds lead to bring it down to 0.23 seconds at the flag.
Sutton, who turned 25 years-old days before, was pleased with his birthday present, “I got a superb start and a great first lap, and after that I was able to manage the gap. Good points for the championship, so I’m pleased.”
Mason made up for disappointingly qualifying 6th, with an assertive opening stint by the Doncaster racer moving him up to a 4th place finish, “The first corner was carnage and it carried on for the rest of the race! I moved forward so got the result I wanted.”
Treacherously wet conditions for round 5 caught out more than a few, as Mason, who started 3rd, took the lead on the opening lap but found his Scirocco’s wet-weather set-up had no answer to the superior handling of Sutton’s car when he attacked for the lead, on lap two.
Having started from 6th Sutton, looked set for a third-straight race win until he spun at the start of the fourth lap, handing top spot back to Mason: “I braked in exactly the same spot as the previous laps, but I locked up and went straight on…”. It cost him three places and he came home in 4th.
Mason was more than happy with his second runner-up finish of this season, “We set the car up a bit too soft for the conditions and it didn’t help that my windscreen wiper packed up half-way through. But 2nd means another good result.”
Pole position in round 6 for Sutton did not translate into the lead as he dropped to 2nd on the opening lap, having abused his tyres in round 4’s race win.
With precious little tyre grip left Sutton was unable to defend his position and steadily dropped down to 8th place at the flag, “I used them all up in the first race,” he revealed, “and there was nothing left by the end…”.
Having started 6th Mason, struggling for grip to a lesser extent, had little hope of catching the leader, while engaged in a close race-long battle with Fulbrook over runners-up spot, close enough behind to seize upon any mistakes, but none came.
Mason concluded, “We both just needed to look after our tyres and make sure we got on to the podium. It was a tactical game.”
While Sutton retains his lead in the championship, it is cut to 18 points as a delighted Mason moves up to 2nd place.
W-plate meeting SYKC round 3 – Wombwell kart circuit
Josh and Tom Rafferty proved your teammate is the kart racer you want to beat the most – especially when he is your brother – in the stand-out race of the day at Wombwell karting circuit’s Brian Wilson Memorial meeting.
A large contingent of local kart racers convened at the South Yorkshire Kart Club-run meeting to compete for the honour to race at Wombwell – Yorkshire’s only kart track – with the prestigious “W”-plate on their kart for the next 12 months.
The Rafferty brothers started the Junior X30 final 1st and 3rd on the grid, Tom glued to the rear bumper of Josh, the Doncaster brothers racing so close together, they were running almost as one.
Squabbling as only teenage brothers can, they swapped the lead repeatedly, the pair constantly exchanged the first two places for the entire race.
With the chequered flag about to fall on the final lap, as Josh approached the finishing line, Tom jinked out of his shadow so they were actually side-by-side, and indistinguishable as they crossed the line.
Even though the timekeeper’s computer measured to hundredths of a second it could not split the brothers – so the result was declared a dead-heat.
Amazingly the pair both set race fastest lap, in exactly the same laptime, but on different laps! As only one race winner was anticipated, the brothers had to share the trophy and the W-plate too.
Darfield’s Adam Batty dominated the Junior Max race, untouchable from pole position, setting the fastest lap in a lights-to-flag victory, followed home by Ravenfield’s Luke Wingfield in 4th place.
Barnsley’s Jayjay Cook who qualified 6th, finishing 5th, won the W-plate as the top Novice in the Honda Cadet race, ahead of some more experienced young racers.
In the Mini Max category, after starting 5th, Barnsley’s Cole Kilner fought to 3rd mid-race and came home unchallenged. Trailing in his wake Doncaster’s George Hodgkiss qualified in 3rd, but was in 5th place at the flag.
In the Senior X30 race 16 year-old Jordan Baines, from Wath upon Dearne, started 2nd and diced race long with Peter Sharrocks but he could not find a way past.
Jump’s Ryan Turner competing in the Senior Max race, qualified 2nd and was untroubled to hold station to the flag.
Callum Hattersley, from Sheffield, from 4th spot had a race-long battle over 4th, but had to settle for 5th in the IAME Cadet category. Finishing one place behind, Rotherham’s Danyal Hussain successfully battled his way from 9th on the grid to finish in 6th place.
Milltek Sport Volkswagen Racing Cup championship – Silverstone
David Sutton underlined why he leads the Milltek Sport Volkswagen Racing Cup championship with a first-turn-to-chequered-flag victory in round 8 at Silverstone, extending his lead over Aaron Mason, but it might have been his last meeting.
The weekend began with Rotherham race-ace Sutton, from grid slot 2, mastering tricky wet conditions to lead initially in round 7’s race: but a dry qualifying meant a ‘best-guess’ chassis set-up resulted in him finding his Scirocco a handful, “it was sliding around”.
Lucas Orrock took advantage of the 24 year-old’s discomfort on lap two, and by the end of the lap he fell back to 4th-place while Mason moved into 2nd-place: the pair battling in a five-car train.
On the penultimate lap, Mason attempted to wrestle 2nd place from Orrock but locked-up running wide at Brooklands skirting the gravel trap.“I thought that was the place to do it, but it locked up the front wheels, I slid wide and couldn’t turn in”.
The Doncaster racer recovered from his off to finish 5th.
Sutton was pleased to retain 4th at the line, and with it his championship lead, “We struggled a bit in the wet; the set-up isn’t quite right but overall I’m pleased with the position”.
Round 8’s poleman was slow off the line at the start lights as Mason, from alongside on the front-row, took the lead, but Sutton starting 3rd followed him away and then nipped through to take the lead at the first corner.
That was the last they saw of him as he effortlessly disappeared into the distance, holding the lead unchallenged to the flag, Sutton made it his fourth win of the of the sixteen-race season.
Things were a bit more frantic for Mason, keen for his season’s first win, locked in a monumental triple-car fight for 2nd place that raged for the duration, the trio went at it hammer and tongs in a thrilling display of close-quarters racing as the three ran nose-to-tail.
Eventually on lap 5 Mason was demoted to 3rd, Phil House running side-by-side with Mason from Becketts all the way back to the start/finish line, in due course knocked – literally – Mason down to 4th, where he remained to the flag.
“It was a good race we just lost the battle, and I got bashed about a lot. There is a long way to go yet – must do better – we will get there”, Mason announced.
Sutton crossed the line 2.4 seconds ahead of his squabbling rivals, with a disappointed Mason just 0.7 seconds adrift of a podium finish…
Now leading Mason by 30 points, Sutton commented on win number four, “I made a fantastic start, and got Aaron at the first corner. I did a fast lap to get away and then set up a rhythm and brought the car home. Unfortunately the budget is now spent, I want to thank my friends and family for getting me here. If this is my last race, at least I ended on a high!”
CIK-FIA European Karting Championship – PFi
Ben Barnicoat’s hopes of International karting glory on home soil were dashed by engine problems in round 2 of the CIK-FIA European Karting Championship at the PF International circuit, in Lincolnshire.
ART, the team with which he won the 2012 CIK-FIA European KF championship, asked Barnicoat if he could dovetail his current International circuit racing with helping develop their new Birel ART KF kart.
In round 1 at Portugal’s Kartodromodo Algarve, he finished in 20th position.
Ironically even though Barnicoat helps run the PFi circuit, he had to miss the pre-race test through his circuit racing commitments, so was on the backfoot for the race weekend.
Nevertheless, he got up to speed being 4th fastest in Friday’s practice, “I am setting competitive times. So I now have got to try and get good Saturday heat results for the Pre-Final”.
Progressing through the various heats, in 5th, 6th, 8th, and 5th respectively, Barnicoat ended qualifying in 13th place converting to sufficient points for him to start the Pre-Final 13th on the grid.
Steady progressing, Barnicoat made 6 places finishing the Pre-Final in 7th place, and felt sure he could do the same in the Final too, starting in 7th place…
At the lights Barnicoat took 6th place on the first lap and held the position for the first five laps.
But then his engine began to lose power
Barnicoat had to peer over his shoulders to see if he was under attack going into each turn, to know on which side he had to defend his position.
Inevitably, a kart overtook him and he fell back to 7th place.
To add to his problems, on lap 9 two karts collided right in front of Barnicoat, he had to take avoiding action, losing places rejoining down in 13th.
The Chesterfield 18 year-old held 13th to the penultimate lap when he was overtaken again, so took the flag in 14th place.
“It was OK in the heats and in the Pre-Final, I went from 13th to 7th. I knew it was going to be harder to get any further and difficult to stay where I was, so as soon as I came upon the crash, I could not do anything. I have helped BirelART to bring on the chassis, but there has been more strain on the engine here than at other places. It is what it is…I have done my best all weekend”.
He is now 20th in the standings for the third and final round at Kristianstad, Sweden.
SYKC round 5 – Wombwell kart circuit
Ryan Turner reinforced his lead of the Senior Max category in round 5 of South Yorkshire Kart Club’s championship at a sunny Wombwell kart circuit.
Turner, from Jump, qualified in grid 3rd for the Senior Max final, soon working his way into the lead at the start, passing Chesterfield’s Michael Parker who had qualified in 2nd.
Turner led the whole 20 laps with Parker following closely behind and setting the fastest lap in his chase, running together for the entire race, the pair were just 0.68 seconds apart at the flag, the pair’s lead by race end was a massive 11.68 seconds over the rest of the field.
Doncaster’s Maciej Hodura, who had qualified 4th, suffered a mishap on the opening lap when a trip over the kerbs launched him into the tyre barriers and he failed to finish: as one onlooker commented, “he’s just found out his brakes don’t work when he’s flying through the air!”.
Honda Cadet pole-sitter Jayjay Cook from Barnsley led the first 9 laps of the race in a close battle with Daniel Holdsworth, who took over the lead on lap 10.
Cook did not let up and chased after Holdsworth, but on the penultimate lap he made a mistake and spun down to third, although the top three were so far in front of the rest that Cook still had a 5 seconds margin to 4th.
Novice racer Max Cotton, from Sheffield, qualified and finished 6th, enjoying a constant battle with four other racers over 5th place.
A serious crash punctuated the Mini Max race when Barnsley’s Cole Kilner and Sheffield’s Callum Hattersley clashed over 3rd place, with Hattersley’s kart landing on Kilner’s shoulder trapping him in the kart.
At the restart, Hattersley started 5th and held the position to the flag, behind him Barnsley’s Matthew Hudson qualified 6th and gained places to take 4th at the flag.
But it was local team Mark Baines Motorsport (MBM) that had the best results with a 1-2-3 finish for winner Oliver Smith, Jack Martin the W plate holder, and Rob Parker.
Further glory came for MBM when River Hughes won the Junior X30 race by a 2.38 seconds margin advantage, while Doncaster’s Stephen Dixon, who had qualified on pole, had problems causing him to fall back through the field to 5th and eventually stopping on lap 7.
Fellow Donny lad Cameron Coombes, qualified and held 3rd position until mid-race where he took 2nd and held it to the flag.
Joe Dale from Barnsley took 4th mid-race having qualified in 5th, and fallen back to 6th.
Rotherham’s Jessica Heppenstall retired while running in 10th place.
In the Senior X30 race Chesterfield’s Justin Clarke qualified 3rd enjoying a tight battle for 2nd, but missed out to finish 3rd, as MBM’s Daniel Kilburn finished in 4th.
Garry Butcher, from, Wombwell’s qualified 8th, moving to 6th, but failed to finish, while Chesterfield’s Steven Glossop qualified 10th but could not take part due to engine problems.
Kartmasters British Kart Grand Prix 2015 – PFi circuit
Ben Barnicoat made history at the Kartmasters British Kart Grand Prix, while keeping himself occupied during Formula Renault Eurocup’s summer break.
Competing at Lincolnshire’s Paul Fletcher international circuit in the two categories, Senior Rotax and Senior X30, the Chesterfield 18 year-old became the first driver to win 2 GP titles in a day.
Including the two this weekend, he has now won five Kartmasters titles, and is the first to win 2 GP races within the space of half an hour.
Barnicoat was undefeated in the Senior Rotax category having won every race through the weekend from heats through to the finals and the GP itself.
It was a bit different jumping between the two categories and it took the first lap of the X30 to get into a rhythm, then I was OK”, grinned the 18 year-old.
“While it was a bit tough starting from 10th on the X30 grid, a big fight at the front meant I could catch up”, he commented.
“It feels amazing to be the first person to win 2 titles in a day – they can never take that away from me!”
Naturally he wants to express his thanks to KR Sport and Zip Young Guns for their efforts all over the weekend.
Sheffield’s Tom Healy usually shines in the Grand Prix, “The Senior X30 GP was a tough race”, dropping from 3rd to 9th and fighting back to 7th. Unable to achieve a GP podium, in consolation he won the Best Senior Privateer Award.
Sheffield’s Tom Healy usually shines in the Grand Prix, “The Senior X30 GP was a tough race”, dropping from 3rd to 9th and fighting back to 7th. Unable to achieve a GP podium, in consolation he won the Best Senior Privateer Award.
Wath–upon-Dearne’s Jordan Baines was in the wars too, struggling with tyres all weekend. Qualifying 21st, he finished 24th.
Milltek Sport Volkswagen Cup championship – Brands Hatch & Snetterton
The Milltek Sport Volkswagen Cup championship title showdown will include two local drivers out of the five disputing the crown.
Rotherham’s David Sutton has led the championship all season, since twin wins in his Scirocco at the season opening rounds, racking up four wins from the first eight races.
Going into round 11 at Brands Hatch, Sutton had a 44 points advantage over 2013 VW Cup champion, Doncaster’s Aaron Mason.
In a pivotal race for the championship, from 3rd on the grid, 35 year-old Mason powered his Scirocco through into the lead on the Grand Prix circuit’s long straight, untroubled, he broke his duck with his maiden victory of the season – his first since Donington Park ten months ago – and narrowing the points gap to Sutton.
“It feels like I’ve finally got the monkey off my back for the first time this season. It’s been a long time – three events – since I’ve been on the podium”.
25 year-old Sutton endured a difficult day, with an eventual 13th place finish, his worst result of the year, and in round 12, finishing behind Mason saw his points advantage severely reduced to 14 points.
Missing Snetterton qualifying to attend a family wedding, Sutton started round 13 at the back of the grid, gaining 11 places to take the chequered flag in 11th position.
While Mason finished 8th, Sutton stayed at the top of the drivers’ standings, but only by a reduced 8 points.
Making a flying start to Round 14, Sutton from 11th, passed Mason off the line from 3 places behind, but Mason fought back, overtaking Sutton.
As the race developed into a true six-car grandstand battle over 4th place, ultimately Mason claimed 6th, importantly two places ahead of Sutton.
So going into the final rounds at Donington Park, just 14 points separate the South Yorkshire pair with a double length 40-minute marathon final race of the season.
For Sutton, “All I can do is to do my best and hopefully we will come out on top. It will be a massive shame for everyone involved if we lose it at the last minute”.
Mason with an enviable record of 7 victories from the 10 VW Cup races held there since 2010, he clinched his 2013 title at Donington, “I’ve just got to hope that my car is reliable and see what unfolds. I’m hoping for a wet race just to mix things up a little…”
Milltek Sport Volkswagen Racing Cup – Donington Park
Aaron Mason claimed the second Milltek Sport Volkswagen Racing Cup championship title of his seven-year track career in the final race of the season at Donington Park, in a meeting that left season-long points leader David Sutton with a very bad taste in his mouth.
Rotherham race-ace Sutton had led the series since the opening round, taking 4 wins in the initial 9 races, with Mason increasingly snapping at his heels.
Coming into the final meeting Sutton had a 14-point margin over Doncaster driver Mason who claimed pole position for round 15.
Both the championship title duo had first-lap dramas as their VW Sciroccos were assaulted by Team HARD cars: Mason punted across the gravel, while Sutton was speared into the wall.
Limping back to the pits and retirement, Sutton recounted, “I passed a crowd of grinning Team HARD mechanics as I crawled down the Pitlane: their scholarship prize brought me into the series and I don’t think they wanted me to win the championship with any other team…”
Recovering to finish 8th, Mason said, “when I realised David had gone off I just had to bring it home”, trimming Sutton’s advantage down to just 2 points.
Needing to end the final race at least three places ahead of Sutton, 35-year-old Mason showed uncharacteristic restraint starting the final round from 8th.
“I was driving a very careful race, managing the car to the end”, Mason aware that Sutton was four places behind, was more relieved than delighted to see the chequered flag, “It just got me home – I’m not too sure how many more laps the car would have managed as I was suffering fuel surge, the tyres were gone, the driveshafts rumbling…”.
The second time Mason has held the VW Cup title crown
“I’m well chuffed as I’ve only won one race this year – the only time we’ve done OK is when there hasn’t been too much weight on the car”, consistent top-6 finishes meant his car always carrying 50kg success ballast, “That took its toll in the mid part of the season”.
After the morning race’s crash, “I thought it was 100 per cent over for me, so it’s amazing to be standing here now as champion!”.
24 year-old Sutton deserved a better end to his season – being allowed to mount a valiant head-to-head defence of his championship lead battling to the flag.
Instead, although repaired, his car was ill-handling and prevented him advancing higher than 12th from his 24th grid slot.
Proudly showing “Justin Wilson RIP” stickers on his crash helmet and car in remembrance of the fellow Rotherham racer, a dejected Sutton slipped to 3rd overall in the championship standings, 6 points adrift.
As VW Cup Champion, Mason is to race in the final rounds of the Audi Sport TT Cup at Hockenheim in Germany, “It certainly puts a smile on my face. I’m enthusiastic to drive one of the 310bhp Audis – it’s a bit more like a race car so I’m hoping that it will be a good experience!”.
While Mason is undecided what he will race in 2016, for Sutton an exhausted budget may make the decision for him.
KICK Start Energy Drink Ginetta Junior Championship & MSA Formula championship – Rockingham & Silverstone
JHR Developments’ chance of their driver winning the KICK Start Energy Drink Ginetta Junior Championship will go down to the wire in the final race of the season at Brands Hatch.
The Dronfield-based team would rather forget the Rockingham weekend.
Qualifying problems and arch rivals HHC Motorsport’s cars being quicker meant a HHC wall ahead, but with Senna Proctor starting round 15 in 6th and Dan Zelos in 7th they managed to climb up to 3rd and 4th places.
Proctor and Zelos were the grid’s second row for round 16 and ran 3rd and 4th for most of the race until Proctor ‘left the door open’ at the hairpin and Zelos saw a podium chance and went for the gap.
They collided, heavily, both spun and lost places and a certain podium finish: Proctor recovered to finish 7th and Zelos 15th, hurting Proctor’s 2nd-place assault on championship leader Jamie Caroline.
In the words of JHR boss Steven Hunter, “Unfortunate and a little awkward…”
Fortunes changed at Silverstone’s round however where Proctor’s 4th and Zelos 6th place starts translating into another podium 2nd and 3rd in Round 17.
Dan Zelos [L] and Senna Protor [R] flank Silverstone’s KICK Start Energy Drink Ginetta Junior Championship round 17 winner Jamie Caroline
A very hectic round 18 that was “fraught to watch” for Hunter, had Proctor, followed by Zelos, take turns leading.
The race lead changing multiple times over the laps, meant no one pulled out any margin, so Proctor and Zelos were in the thick of a non-stop 9-car battle for the lead.
Caroline’s regular shoulder charges to Proctor’s car happened once too often damaging his car and dropped him back to 15th, vitally Proctor was able to make a last lap lunge to grab 2nd place at the flag, with Zelos in 7th.
Capitalising on his rival’s misfortune meant Proctor scythed Caroline’s 45 point lead down to just 10 points, and boasting 12 trophies from 18 races, it is building up for a massive showdown with a maximum of 73 points left on the board for Brands Hatch’s two rounds.
Sennan Fielding will be hoping to fight for the runner’s-up spot in the MSA Formula championship in his JHR Developments-run car at the season finale meeting.
Rockingham’s round 22 of the MSA Formula Championship did not go so well for the 18 year-old Chesterfield racer who dropped down from 4th to 6th.
However, starting round 23 in 4th, he was soon in 2nd place holding it for the rest of the race and setting the fastest race lap, moving him into championship 3rd place.
Attempting to get a faster exit to the hairpin to chase 2nd place in round 24, Fielding slid wide on to the rubber debris ‘marbles’ and clouted the barriers into retirement, the Dronfield-based team’s boss Steven Hunter summed up, “Sennan had a brilliant idea and he would have won but for that…”.
Thankfully he lost only 1 championship place to 4th.
After a troubled Silverstone qualifying for round 25, Fielding made steady progress in his JHR car over the early laps, improving to 7th from his 11th-place start slot.
By the 7th lap of the reverse-grid race round 26, Fielding had taken the race lead from a front row start, but Ricky Collard started to close in.
A tense battle between Fielding and Collard for race lead had Collard nudge Fielding enough for the pair to run side-by-side down the pits straight
Ricky Collard leans on Sennan Fielding for the MSA Formula round 26 lead
Crossing the line one-thousandth of a second apart, Fielding was deposed at the start of the 19th tour to defend his 2nd place, before finishing 0.6 seconds behind.
Sennan Fielding finished runner-up in round 26 at Silverstone
Feeling cheated Fielding explained, “Ricky hit me quite hard a couple of times during the race, that’s where he managed to get in front…”
Fielding was cruelly robbed of a chance to lead the championship in a chaotic round 27 where the top-3 in the points table failed to make the start: fate gave him gearbox issues and retirement on the way to the grid. But his new JHR Developments teammate Jack Butel scored a season’s best 6th place adding to his third top-9 finish in round 26.
Now just 71 points off championship top spot, Fielding is one of a handful of drivers vying for the prestigious FIA Formula 4 Champion of Great Britain MSA Formula Championship title, as the battle goes down to the wire at Brands Hatch…
SSM Super One Series Karting championship finals – PFi circuit
Strawberry Racing rounded off another successful season in the with victories at the Paul Fletcher international circuit in Lincolnshire.
Junior Max champion-elect Jack McCarthy just had to finish both of Sunday’s finals to add the Super One championship to his recent Euro Max Challenge triumph for Strawberry.
Finding it, “quite boring”, McCarthy avoided any confrontations by being rear gunner, with 12th and 18th finishes, claiming his first national title.
Teammate, Tom Gamble drove perfectly all weekend taking consecutive lights-to-flag victories in the two finals, to secure 4th in the championship.
A double podium of 3rd placed finishes for Rotherham youngster, Thomas Turner, with Tooley Motorsport, made him championship 8th place.
His performance in Final 2 deserves mention, running mid-race he was “mugged”, dropping back he earned 10 out 10 for tenacity as he fought back on to the podium.
Luke Knott gave Strawberry runner-up position in the Senior Rotax championship taking 2nd place in the first final, leading home team-mates Connor Hall in 5th and Gary Donnelly 7th.
Winning a thrilling second final, Hall turned on the style, after Knott had lead for most of the race until he fell back to 2nd.
Tumbling to 7th at the start, Hall forged ahead to take the lead, and Donnelly in 3rd place gave the Handsworth-based team a 1-2-3 podium.
“This win is a good way to end the year – a massive thanks to Strawberry”, Hall claimed Championship 3rd place, with Donnelly finishing 4th.
Matthew Hirst from Doncaster, with the KR Sport team, ended the year in Championship 9th spot with 8th and 9th place finishes: he climbed to 4th by mid-race in Final 2, until receiving a driving standards warning flag, he dropped back, slowly recovering to 9th place.
Wrapping-up the Super One Mini Max title at the previous round, Strawberry’s Kiern Jewiss bagged a double podium, with 2nd and 3rd place at the circuit where he won his prestigious GP number plates, to cap an outstanding debut year in the Mini Max class.
“I prefer winning the championship early than fighting it out here at the last race, and I want to thank Strawberry for it being a successful year”, Jewiss commented.
The team’s French youngster, Axel Charpentier, who also secured 2nd in the championship at the previous round, kept out of trouble to seal vice-champion’s status, with his respective 7th and 9th places.
The “never say die” attitude of Euan Wilson, karting with Sheffield’s S8 Racing team in Senior X30, is to be applauded: just after taking 2nd place, being nudged on to the grass, he rejoined in 6th to finish 3rd, and took championship 4th place.
In the Junior X30 category for S8, Oliver Greetham, had a pair of 8th place finishes to secure 6th in the Championship.
While, teammate Jake Douglas’ finishing in 14th and 11th made him Championship 8th place.
2015 MSA Formula championship season finale – Brands Hatch
Sennan Fielding’s two top-eight finishes in the final rounds at Brands Hatch reinforced his 4th place in the 2015 MSA Formula championship: the top-placed driver on a ‘sensible’ budget.
Driving for Dronfield’s JHR Developments team, Fielding had a mathematical chance of title glory going into the weekend, but it would need some serious misfortune to befall the two chief title rivals.
A good qualifying had the Chesterfield 18 year-old 3rd on the grid for round 28, but fluffing the start dropped him to 5th, he was swamped by the pack, where his front wing got clipped, the race official deemed it to be dangerous and Fielding was forced to retire.
This meant that Fielding had to start round 29 from the back of the grid in 17th, yet in 5 laps he was delighted to claw his way up to 8th place, “a great result”.
However, a five-place grid penalty for the final race after an accidental contact with another car rather soured things.
Somewhat irritated being demoted to 8th on the grid, Fielding was on a mission from the outset of round 30, moving into 4th-place on the second lap, latching on the tail of the 3rd-placed car.
While initially challenging for the final podium place, rear tyre problems meant he fell off the pace in the latter stages, so instead Fielding defended his 4th place, but not for long, being dropped a place on the penultimate lap to be 5th at the flag.
“It was a challenging weekend that started so well as the qualifying conditions played into my hands”, commented Fielding, “but then it has been a rollercoaster year…”.
He ended the season 4th in the championship table, 27 points clear of 5th, but 55 points adrift of 3rd place, having taken three wins, two runner-up’s, and six 3rd places – the most of anyone.
While Fielding has the single-seater experience to score when it matters, he would have been higher up the points table but for repeated gearbox maladies holding him back.
JHR team boss, Steven Hunter is pleased at how the season went for the team, and paid tribute, “Overall, an excellent first season in single-seaters, especially as Sennan is a resilient driver conquering adversity”.
Equally complementary about the team, Fielding said, “JHR did a phenomenal job. When it came together we managed 3 podiums some weekends”.
The championship top-3 had competed on ‘eye-wateringly’ huge budgets: the series winner having spent over a £million this season, whereas Fielding had much smaller resources available to him.
“Compared to how others were spending a fortune, we showed that we can do it on a budget”.
His meagre finances were boosted when Chesterfield Global Brands drinks entrepreneur, Steve Perez decided to sponsor Fielding’s car with his Amigos Tequila Flavoured Beer.
Full of praise, Fielding is very grateful for Perez’s generosity in keeping his season ‘on-track’ by providing funds allowing him to participate in vital testing, “Steve Perez coming onboard has provided more than just finance, and I can’t thank him enough for the help he has given me both on and off the circuit – I would not have had the same results in 2015 without him!”
Fielding’s focus has now turned towards where, and in which category, he will be racing in 2016.
2015 KICK Start Energy Ginetta Junior Championship season finale – Brands Hatch
Steven Hunter’s JHR Developments team celebrated taking back-to-back titles for 4½ hours, when Senna Proctor won for them the 2015 KICK Start Energy Ginetta Junior Drivers Championship crown, in the season finale at Brands Hatch: then at 6:30pm amended results were issued that dropped Proctor down into championship runner’s-up position.
The Dronfield-based team arrived at the Kent circuit knowing the 16 year-old had championship 2nd-place in the bag, and a shot at the title, being only 10 points behind table-topper, Jamie Caroline.
Although when Caroline won the penultimate round 19, with Proctor finishing 4th, JHR knew it would be tough to take the title unless Caroline had a bad final race.
Their prayers were answered when Caroline and JHR drivers Dan Zelos and Billy Monger jumped round 20’s start.
Proctor revealed, “I saw the ‘drive through penalty’ boards for Jamie, Billy and Dan. Then I knew I had a bit of a gap and a breathing space, as they peeled off and I took the lead”.
A red flag stopped the race two laps early, and also Caroline’s ability to climb through the field and score vital extra points.
With Caroline finishing in 17th place, to grab additional points for the title his team protested every car ahead, the officials giving Stuart Middleton a thirty second jump start penalty that dropped him behind Caroline.
This promoted Caroline up a place and gave him an extra point, so that he and Proctor were now level on 473 points, but Caroline clinched the title care of having more race wins than Proctor.
Feeling cheated Middleton lodged an appeal to the UK motorsport governing body’s MSA tribunal and 18 days after the race the championship results were declared official, although unfortunately for JHR it went in Caroline’s favour the appeal bid being rejected, the original penalty upheld.
“Unbelievable…”, was Proctor’s crest-fallen response, “but all my thanks to JHR for the season – my consistency helped get me to the top”.
Proctor had actually amassed more points– 497 to 495 – than Caroline (but only the best 14 races count), and driving to a higher standard kept his nose cleaner, having only 6 penalty points compared to the new champion’s 18 points – no stranger to the Clerk of the Course’s office post-race.
One consolation is that JHR won the Ginetta Junior Team’s championship: Hunter summed up, “It has been an up and down year and good to be in with a shout at both championships. We had resilient drivers conquering adversity who kept batting on”.
But it left Hunter with a sour taste, “to crown a champion then take it away is somewhat questionable, but I’ve moved on. The 2015 Kick Start Ginetta Junior championship is the past and I’m concentrating on the 2016 Ginetta Junior championship now…”