Anthony Amato – Win Machine. 6 from 6.

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If there’s anyone out there in the Young Drivers Championship Lightweights thats just letting everyone, including the championship leader, be lulled into the sense that the championship is nearly in the bag, or saving themselves for a dramatic counter strike, and run, I should hurry up. You should spring your surprise at Bayford Meadows on the 8th of August. Anthony Amato is now only 4 wins short of making it an academic clean sweep and we know how well he goes at Bayford. His advantage at Whilton Mill appeared to be just 2 tenths of a second per lap, on the best of the rest, but that’s more like 2 tenths of a second in every session, probably every lap and more, of Round 3. I don’t see him bothering with the pre event practice, although he’s not turning completely cold as he is also enjoying success in Club100’s SP60 Lightweight Class so had had plenty of practice in the intervening period since Round 2 in May.

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Two to three tenths does not seem a lot, but it is consistent, and thats a minimum, it’s the difference between a champion and an occasional top five finisher (and I would know, having had one for a team mate, and its frustrating – CS). If he starts up front, he drives away, on this occasion to 4secs in Race 1 from Louis Falk and Jamie Mead, and in Race 2 to 2secs clear of Jamie Mead. Although, that’s not the full story, the pair were 10secs clear of the main field starting with Josh Bates. For saying all of that Amato’s lead is only 20 and 21 points to Falk and Mead, but with a win being 130points and 2nd place 128, it’s hard to see where enough points, or really drivers are, to claw it back and on current form the title will be wrapped up at Lydd in September, and if not just academic after the next round at Bayford, unless Anthony has to miss a round.

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So the real championship race, is for runner up between Falk, Mead and George Hannay which is set to run on to the end of the season, with George strong at Bayford Meadows, the next round coming up, and 15-16points behind second placed Louis and Jamie, Hannay needs a strong result.

Qualifying 

Two tenths behind Amato, McKenzie Jones was second fastest in practice, with Mead, and Ben Foden covered by half a second, when qualifying went green, Amato immediately posted 53.608, and it was Jones again in P2, 3/10ths off, with Falk, Mead, Foden, Ed Gordon and Elliot Alt making up the top 7. Amato moved the mark to 53.389 which would be more than enough for pole position, Lewis Appiagyei moved up from P8 to P4 and the outside of Falk on row 2.

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It would remain more or less as you were until the last 2 laps of the 6min session that turned out to be 7 laps. Jones posted 53.72 to improve his P2, Mead responded to move his time to 53.82 to go P3. The next lap McKenzie secured his front row start with 53.571 and Jamie edged a little quicker and safer into 3rd place. With the chequered flag out and last laps to score, Mead topped out at 53.789, Appiagyei could not improve on his earlier 53.873. Falk and Gordon started on row 3, Jack James and Ben Lambeth made up row 4, and Foden and Hannay, the latter complaining of traffic on his fast laps, made up the top 10 in a field of 26.

Pre Final 

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Anthony Amato would sweep through into turn 1 and be able to hold off any challenge at Xmas. McKenzie Jones would struggle with grid 2, allowing Jamie Mead and Louis Falk to move through and as they returned to start finish, and Mead was on the edge of losing any assistance with a tow, from Amato. Another good lap from Anthony and he was fully in control of the race, the gap 1.2secs and rising, so long as his kart did not wilt in the heat, and Anthony could maintain his concentration he was halfway home. 

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Five minutes into the race Mead was unable to throw Falk off his tail, the gap to Jones was slipping out to nearly 1sec, and Lewis Appiagyei, Ben Lambeth with Edward Gordon in tow were edging closer as well, and with another half second or so, to Ben Foden, with George Hannay, Jack James, Josh Bates, Lewis Davis, and Elliott Alt making up a line from P8 to P13. With battle joined with Lewis Appiagyei, Gordon would pass Lambeth for 6th, moving straight through Lewis and Lambeth, and Foden would slice through in the fall out of Ed’s move, with Lewis would be shuffled to the end of the line over the next couple of laps, Davis coming into the top 10. 

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With two minutes remaining of the 12min final, Amato’s lead had edged out to 2.6secs, Mead remained 2nd, but unable to shake the attention Falk, but no pass that would stick had so far been forthcoming. By the time the last lap board appeared on the scoreboard, traffic was just to say playing a part. Mead had almost broken clear the previous lap, but now the traffic had swung back to Louis even if he was still half a second down. McKenzie Jones was 1.6secs behind but also 4.6secs ahead of Gordon. Ed was then secure by 1secs, for one more lap in P5, Foden settling in for 6th, Josh Bates picked off Lambeth, Hannay and Davis in 10th place would have one more lap to run down 8/10ths of a second on Ben but that wouldn’t happen.

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Clipping the monster kerb made for a poor final lap that would see Hannay fall back to 12th just ahead Appiagyei in a sprint to the line over for 12th place. Anthony Amato ran on and out to 4secs win, but over Louis Falk, grabbing 2nd place on the last lap from Mead. Biggest movers in the race were further back, Matthew Cooper had qualified only 24th, but had found his feet and made progress to finish 17th, and Owais Zahid, had started last, made the odd pass, and benefited from others misfortune – penalties and spins (thats racing for you) to finish 21st.

Final

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The beauty of starting up front was very much to the fore as Anthony Amato brought the field through again and straight into a lead, from which he would not be removed, Mead was glued on to his bumper but it was 0.4secs when they returned to start finish Jamie riding the slipstream for as long as he could, into what immediately became a 2 horse race for the win, as behind, Falk had not been ready from Amato on the start, had then slotted into turn 1 in 3rd place but from where he would be swallowed by the field, that would return themselves to the stripe, 4secs behind, the leading pair, and in a radically different order to the grid.

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When the dust, fires and debris had settled at the end of the opening lap, it was grid 13 Lewis Appiagyei running in P3, Ben Foden with a line of drivers behind in the shape of George Hannay off grid 12, Josh Bates, McKenzie Jones, Jack James, Eliott Alt, at the expense of Louis Falk, and with Matthew Cooper and George Bacon making excellent starts, again at the expense of Ben Lambeth off grid 8 and Ed Gordon off 4 making up the top 15 with Tamino Colavecchi. 

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After 5 laps Mead was clinging on to Amato but almost certainly going to lose touch eventually. Bates had jumped Foden and Appiagyei to lead the chasing group, through which Hannay had slid back to 7th place behind James. At halfway Amato was clear, Bates 6.7secs behind the leader had also broken free of the pack, leaving Foden in P4 to tow the group through, a group that was now down to Appiagyei and James then a gap to Falk, Jones, Alt, and Hannay, the latter who’s slide had perhaps reached it bottom in 10th place, and from where George would start a recovery. He retook 9th from Alt but helping Elliot back to P9 as George cleared McKenzie out of P8. Hannay broke free of this 2nd group, leaving Jones and Ben Lambeth to muscle back passed Alt.

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With 2 laps to go, we know the race, barring an unlikely gaffe with a back marker was in the bag for Anthony Amato, 2secs clear from Jamie Mead, 8secs down the road Josh Bates had a similar margin on Ben Foden, so the final 3rd place trophy was in the bag for Josh. And that, save for Louis Falk picking off Jack James on the last lap, in the chasing group headed Lewis Appiagyei in 5th place, and just joined on it’s tail by George Hannay finishing 8th, was that.

On the road McKenzie Jones and Ben Lambeth rounded out the top 10, however McKenzie had 10places of contact penalties that classified him 19th, and he was not alone, Ed Gordon had a 6 place penalty for ‘contact causing driver to come to a halt’ that classified him 17th, a disappointing end for the pair to an event that had gone well in qualifying and Race 1. 

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Lightweight Podium – Winner Anthony Amato, Jamie Mead and Josh Bates

So after blisteringly hot day at Whilton Mill, we learnt not a lot more than we already after Round 2, Anthony Amato remains on course to be the inaugural Young Drivers Champion in Lightweights, and there’s not so long to wait this time, Bayford Meadows on 8 August, and the weather may well hold until then.

Words: Chris Simpson

Photography: John Patterson