24 May 2010
Leading British drivers Harry Williams, Fraser O'Brien and Sam Marsh are amongst the winners at the annual Welsh Championships at Llandow.
Round four of Llandow Kart Club's 2010 season was perhaps the most ambitious event yet undertaken, as the usual summer series combined with the annual Welsh Championships, inaugural Dragon Challenge round and a visit from the Southern Blue Challenge to require 61 races over two days blessed by hot sunshine.
In all, 14 classes were in action, with eleven chasing the increasingly prestigious 'C' Plate, and the status of the occasion was underlined by no fewer than 70 visiting drivers being included on the entry, including a number of Super 1 and Formula Kart Stars regulars.
The elongated weekend saw all drivers practice freely on Saturday morning, before launching into a brace of qualifying sessions, two heats and a Pre-Final to set themselves up for the main event.
A mammoth 30-strong Cadet field was sensibly split for the Finals, with defending Welsh champion Tom Harvey the man to beat in the Comer class after winning a heat and the Pre-Final. However, with Jordan Gilbertson and Connor Jupp both showing their potential in the earlier races, and local boys Harry Williams and Harrison Thomas also on form, a five-way scrap for the title ensued.
Harvey and Williams both led in the early laps, before a move from Jupp in to Raymonds saw both drivers run wide and allow Williams back into the lead. Given his break, the youngster was not about blow the biggest win of his short career, and held on to claim the crown with Jupp second and Thomas third. Despite being visibly disappointed at the result, however, fourth-placed Harvey showed sportsmanship isn't dead by handing over his 'C' Plate to the new champion in parc ferme.
The Honda class was all about Robbie Gallier, who returned to the Welsh Championship determined to atone for the mechanical failure that robbed him of the 2009 title. Although he made life hard for himself by posting the wrong number on his scrutineering card – resulting in a DSQ from the opening heat – he quickly made amends by winning race two and then coming from eighth to claim the Pre-Final and pole for the main event.
While Ari White and Kyle Petricca battled over second place in the Final, Gallier calmly pulled away at the front, eventually taking a five-second victory to add the Welsh title to the Celtic crown he claimed in December. Behind him, White eventually got the better of Petricca, with Fletcher Trueman taking fourth.
Junior TKM was one of the biggest benefactors of the increased entry, and it was Llandow debutants Alex Forward and Ross Darlington who set the pace. Forward took pole and a new lap record en route to heat one victory over Darlington and Zach Jones, and then proceeded to rewrite the record again in second qualifying. From there, however, it was Darlington to the fore, claiming each of the remaining three races and, with them, the title of Welsh Junior TKM 2-Stroke champion. Forward then had to make do with third, having been beaten to the chequered flag by Liam Jones.
With Jones and cousin Zach moving to the 2-Stroke class, Andrew Davies had only novice Ryan Jones as opposition in the 4-Stroke equivalent and had things his own way for most of the weekend. Although Jones was gifted the Pre-Final when Davies' engine shut down on the rolling lap, the more experienced driver bounced back to claim the Final and the Welsh title.
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