Karting: R6 Race Report

In Karting Team by Samuel Cresswell

2019 Inter-Service Karting Championships
Round 6: Llandow Kart Track, South Wales

1st – Kart 45: SLt Jean-Luke Laister & Lt Martin Theodorou
5th (EXC) – Kart 46: POAET Craig Beesley & LACMN Liam Waterhouse
8th – Kart 47: Sam Cresswell & Matt Chambers
14th – Kart 49: SLt Will Wright & Max Laister
16th – Kart 48: PLAET Andy Grant & Aaron Laister
17th – Kart 89: L/CPL Jase Probert & LH(AWW) Ryan Spiller

The sixth and final round of the 2019 Inter-Service Karting Championships was held at Llandow Kart Track in South Wales. The Team had 12 drivers and two mechanics this round over six karts (numbers 45, 46, 47, 48, 49 and 89) – the most amount of karts the Team had fielded all season!

Kart 45 was driven by SLt Jean-Luke Laister and Lt Martin Theodorou and both were looking to make amends after losing the lead to mechanical issues in the previous two rounds of the Championship. Laister took the kart for qualifying and was unfortunate to only qualify in 5th with only six hundreths of a second separating him from 2nd place. Laister made up a place once the lights went out to start the race and worked with team mate Sam Cresswell in Kart 47 to pull away from the rest of the field whilst they were both in 3rd and 4th. Cresswell then allowed Laister in the slightly faster kart to overtake and he began to chase down Kart 22 in 2nd place, with Laister setting the fastest lap in the process. An intense battle followed with Laister quicker around the infield but with 22 quicker along the straights; with Laister eventually overtaking and pulling a decent lead. While this had been going on Kart 96, who had been in first position, had pulled into the pits with an engine issue and Laister unknowingly took the lead. Laister came in at the midpoint of the race to hand the driving over to Theodorou, and it was a credit to the drivers and mechanics in the pits which allowed for such a quick refuel of the kart. Theodorou continued to put in a consistent performance and held off second place Kart 50 of RAF Waddington for the remainder of the race; eventually taking the chequered flag a full 30 seconds before second place and taking the Navy’s second win of the Season!

Kart 46 was driven by POAET Craig Beesley and LACMN Liam Waterhouse and was entered into the heavyweight category of the race. Beesley qualified reasonably well, placing 11th overall and 1st of the heavyweight karts. Unfortunately whilst gridding up one of the mechanics noticed a front wheel was becoming loose and the subsequent work required to repair the kart meant starting from the back of the grid in 26th. Waterhouse started the race and immediately made up places, getting up to 14th before having to come into the pits due to the same problem. The repaired kart was sent back out a good few laps down and in last place, however the racing God’s were with the Team and a problem with the timing system meant the race had to be restarted from the point just before the wheel problem! 46 restarted the race in 14th and quickly made up places. Beesley went out after Waterhouse’s stint and put in some good lap times for an hour and 20 minutes, coming into the pits in 4th position overall and 1st heavyweight. Waterhouse went on to finish the race, having some fantastic battles right down to the chequered flag where he placed 5th overall and 1st heavyweight. Unfortunately due to a technical issue with the engines post race, the kart had to be excluded from the results.

Kart 47 was driven by LAET Sam Cresswell and LAET Matt Chambers. Cresswell, at his local track, put in a great lap during qualifying coming second (1st military) behind the civilian team which owned the track. Cresswell stayed in the seat for the start of the race and worked with Laister in 45 to pull away from the bulk of the field, running in 3rd military for the majority of his one and a half hour stint. Unfortunately around half hour into Chambers’ stint the kart began to slow by over a second a lap, which was later diagnosed as a flat rear left tyre. Chambers did well to finish the race in a poorly handling kart and still managed to only drop down to 8th position.

Kart 48 was driven by PLAET Andrew Grant and Aaron Laister with both drivers new to the Team, although with Grant having previous karting experience. 48 was a brand new kart for this race and the team had a number of small teething problems during testing that once rectified by the drivers and mechanics, allowed for a 16th place qualification. Unfortunately after some close battles an incident occurred where the nose cone was ripped off by another kart on track and a length pit stop was required to make repairs. However a solid effort from both drivers managed to get the kart back up to 16th by the end of the race.

Kart 49 was driven by SLt Will Wright and Max Laister, both novice drivers having only done a handful of races between them. Laister qualified the kart in 21st and was unfortunate to take a shunt from behind on the first corner of the race. Following this Laister, and later Wright, put in solid performances and had a super clean race whilst putting in some consistent lap times. This allowed them to finish 14th and ahead of all the other novice karts.

Kart 89 was driven by L/CPL Jase Probert and LH(AWW) Ryan Spiller and despite both being novices Probert managed to get a decent qualifying time and started the race in 17th position and firmly in with the more experienced drivers. After a long 20 minute battle with Kart 52 from RAF Waddington, sadly 89 ended up wide and off the track, snapping both steering track rods. However with a speedy recovery by the pit crew led by POAET Beesley and John Laister, 89 came out 3 laps behind the others after a restart and eventually climbed back up the pack to 18th. Spiller took over driving at the halfway stage and held off the karts behind him, finishing in 17th out of 25 karts. The drivers clearly showed that even though they’re novice racing drivers they have a lot of potential looking forward to 2020 season.

The results over the weekend meant that in the overall championship Kart 45, driven over the season by SLt Laister, Lt Theodorou and Lt Sam Harris, finished 6th in the out of 53 karts from all three services. However had the Team had a bit more luck with mechanical issues over the year things may have been slightly different – and so the guys will take that forward into next year when they will again fight at the top of the championship!