AFKC Round 1 Clay Pigeon
New season, bigger team and more karts. The RNRM Karting team headed to Dorchester for the first round of the Armed Forces Karting Championship at Clay Pigeon Raceway. Testing on Thursday the team showed true pace which was a positive start going into the weekend. Friday was mixed conditions, allowing all the drivers to practice driving in the wet. Getting ready for some tricky conditions for race day.
Qualifying was hectic with many karts on the track, making it hard for the drivers to find some space, which Kart 46 and 47 struggled with. However, 45 managed to qualify 13th out of 39.
With some work to do all three karts were determined to move forward up the grid. Kart 45 had podium pace throughout but due to no fault of the driver, two novice karts collided in front of PO Beesley leading him with nowhere to go but into the back of one of the other karts causing too much damage to continue. This resulted in the race being red flagged for a restart. Only a few laps later another red flag was brought out due to a second accident. Due to the lack of time in the race, the officials decided to cancel the rest of the race. Kart 47 had a mechanical issue during the race resulting in a lengthy pit stop dropping down the order to ultimately finish in 31st place. #46 drove hard all race and had a lot of catching up to do due to a poor qualifying result. Kart 46 remained consistently quick as the drivers managed to claw back over 20 places before the 2nd red flag which ended their run early, nonetheless, finishing an impressive 10th place.
With our newest drivers about to start the first race of their season, it was their chance to prove their skill that they have gained over the last two days of practice. After racing a handful of rounds with the team last year, AB Harris started strong using the skills he had learned over the past year, qualifying 11th. The furthest up the grid of the navy karts in the session, Lt Gregory also had a great qualifying, putting him 15th for the start of the race who is also in his second year with the team.
The race started well for all karts, gaining several positions over the first few laps. However, around fifty laps into the race, the heavens opened. As the team is split over the three races, the more experienced members of the team were on hand as pit crew for the novices, working together to get all four karts changed onto the wet tyres which was carried out smoothly due to the supervision of PO Waterhouse and the other experienced members of the crew. Kart 49 had great pace all race and showed some skill in the wet allowing them to finish 13th overall, exceeding expectations for our novice drivers. LH Gamble and Suatt piloted the kart well during the race managing with the tricky conditions resulting in them finishing 5th in class. #89 was running in the high positions all race which meant they were on for a good finish, however in the last few moments of the race they had a mechanical issue, resulting in them finishing 31st. #98 had our newest members in the team, who hadn’t driven a pro kart in the wet before this weekend. However, they all enjoyed the battling with other drivers and honing their skills in the kart.
For the last race of the day, qualifying was one of the best the RNRM team have had to date with five of our karts in the top 15 bringing one of the highlights of the day as novice driver Lt Gregory qualified 5th in what was a very wet start. All karts settled into the race having fierce battles with the other teams. Kart 47 with AB Judson at the wheel made up places to end the session in 8th putting them 1st in class. AB Thomson showed his true pace during the race getting kart 49 up to 4th place. With a further red flag cutting this race short, kart 46 managed to finish 7th overall as they were chasing the rest of the field down to gain more positions. Kart 45 had an unlucky weekend, with another DNF in their second race. Kart 47 had a tremendous race, they managed to finish 2nd in class bringing the team home some silverware.
LH Cresswell was also racing in his Rotax Kart this weekend, racing in the premier championship. Throughout the three heats he finished in the top 3, allowing him start on the front row for the final. The final was an intense battle with another driver, battling cleanly for the lead for the majority of the race. He managed to finish in 2nd place, Bringing in good points for the championship.
This was a rollercoaster of a weekends racing in the endurance class but ultimately a success for the team. This was the first time the RNRM Karting Team has had such a large presence at the AFKC, entering 7 karts into the race as opposed to the usual 5 and with a total of 15 drivers (a record for the team).
We would like to award Lt Gregory with driver of the weekend with his outstanding pace for his limited experience in the team and the impressive result of qualifying 5th in the 3rd race.
Next month the team heads to Boyndie in northeast Scotland for the 2nd round of the AFKC which will see the team travel a 1200-mile round trip to compete in the 2nd of 7 rounds in this year’s inter service championships.