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.

Although the Junior Honda entry boasted only five entries, the racing underlined the typically close nature of Prokart competition. Each driver laid claim to at least a podium place, with Daniel Jones and Lloyd Sealy taking the heat wins, before the latter began to stamp his authority on proceedings with victory in the Pre-Final.

Sealy could have expected Jones to provide his usual close opposition in the main event, but was gifted an easy run to the flag when Jones struggled with an intermittent engine problem that eventually saw him retire just as his fightback was beginning. The Jones family then learned a salutary lesson in dealing with tough times as brother Chris was also sidelined with engine gremlins, leaving defending champion Jamie Warren and novice Alex Thomas to complete the podium.

Having taken both the Minimax and Junior Max crowns in 2009, Sam Marsh returned in search of a 'double double' in 2010, but found the competition as stiff as ever.

Although he remained unbeaten all weekend in Minimax, and pulled away comfortably in the Final to leave Macaulay Austin and Leon Hilleard scrapping over the minor podium places, Marsh found life in Junior Max altogether tougher, with a 25-strong entry one of the biggest of the weekend.

Fraser O'Brien appeared the class of the field as he claimed victory in all four races, but the ever impressive Joshua Collings made sure that O'Brien didn't have life easy by pressuring him throughout. While O'Brien eventually took the Welsh title by a mere second, Marsh's bid for a little bit of history ended with third place, meritorious in its own right after he dropped to eighth at the start.

Dominic Gorrett, meanwhile, suffered an up-and-down weekend, starting with a trip to hospital after crashing practice, Having missed first qualifying and heat one, he returned to claim pole for race two - only to crash on the opening lap! From last on the Pre-Final grid, Gorrett then recovered to tenth, only to undo his hard work by dropping to 20th on the opening lap of the Final. He eventually battled back to eleventh - and was then awarded the weekend prize for best presented kart.

Thanks to a lot of hard work by competition secretary Colin Lipscomb and several of the drivers, Llandow welcomed back a Senior TKM grid for the first time in five years, with a ten-strong entry led by 2009 Super 1 runner-up Randall Lynn and old rival Joe Forsdyke. The pair shared heat wins before Lynn secured pole for the Final with a close Pre-Final win, but an opening lap move from Forsdyke gave him a lead he was not to lose. Two seconds separated the rivals at the end, with Kevin Westbrook taking third and Sam Grogan, from the back of the grid, fourth.

Simon Evans dominated a Senior Honda class graced by just four karts, with club veteran Paul Saunders coming through to take second from youngsters Ferdinand Ball and Gareth Lewis.

While Evans finally converted a string of podium finishes in Welsh finals into victory, Dan Jones did likewise in Formula Rotax, winning all four races despite a closely-matched 20-driver entry to claim his first Welsh crown after ten years and three runners-up results.

Although Nathan Lawley and Nigel Davies fell by the wayside health-wise, the action was a fierce as ever in this season's best-supported class at Llandow, with some unexpected names featuring on the Final podium. Having dominated the front of the field through the build-up to the main event, Jones took advantage of the scrapping behind him to open out a four-second cushion, while the visiting Stephen Andrews got the better of the LKC regulars to take second. Liam Revell completed the top three after bouncing back from exclusion in first qualifying.

Richie Raymond also finally achieved the goal of lifting a Welsh Championship title by becoming the first such winner of the Max 177 class and emulating father Jonathan, who won on several occasions in the 1980s.

After winning both heats and the Pre-Final, Raymond saw off Wayne Stone in the main event, with the runner-up taking advantage of a wild moment for Nigel Hughes to claim second spot. Hughes recovered to complete the podium as the 177 class showed an increase in numbers.

Although not competing for Welsh titles, both Junior and Formula Blue added to the rich variety of the weekend, with Ryan Edgecumbe and Craig Copeland running out victors.

The weekend ended with the latest outing of the Bambino class as Alex Austin and Morgan Chell respectively the younger brothers of former Welsh champions Macaulay and Ross - went head-to-head to the delight of the large crowd.



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