Home » Race reports » Ralph King Clinches SuperLight Crown, But Only After Munro Goes Down Fighting

Ralph King Clinches SuperLight Crown, But Only After Munro Goes Down Fighting

by Chris Simpson | September 29, 2021 | Young Drivers Championships

That’s the very fast maths of it. A double win for King in Round 6 at Buckmore Park that was but sort of wasn’t. King won the Final for sure, but Dan Munro won the Pre Final on the road and then a contact penalty would see him demoted to 5th in the classification. A hammer blow to his title aspiration, a race led in the early going by Dillon Davis off grid 5 with a Moses pass into turn 1 on the start. Undaunted Munro came out for the Final all guns blazing chasing King to the finish, after Max Papworth had had the early lead. Dan’s efforts were not enough to keep the championship title in play into the final round. 

With 10 scores to count, the points difference in the championship table, and the chase for Daniel Ricciardo Series prizes favours King by 14 points with 2 scoring races left at the final round, Munro’s next scores to drop are a 3rd and a 5th, he can only improve his points tally by a maximum of 8 points with a pair of wins. Dillon Davis lies 19points behind Munro, so Munro can take some solace that he cannot be caught either, he is the SuperLights Championship runner up. The race for 3rd through to 5th, all bring with it a superb John Vigor trophy and will be between Davis, Max Papworth, who started the main Final with fantastic turn 1 overtake of his own, Beau Sullivan, and needing a race win, or dual podiums, to go with that new helmet paint, Casey Baughan. There’s too many permutations here, Casey cannot catch Davis for 3rd overall, but 4th and 5th are reachable, and all 3 positions are in play for the others. It will be close for sure back at Buckmore Park at the end of November.

Qualifying

Dan Munro led the way in practice and continued that way setting provisional pole at the outset of the session with 45.76 from Papworth, Baboolal and Ralph King. Ralph then moved to the pole with 45.574, and William Taylor moved on to the front row on the next lap. Taylor moved up to pole himself with 45.434, King improving his time to stay 2nd ahead of Papworth moving into P3. Then Munro returned to move pole position out of further reach with 45.409, William Taylor had secured a 2nd on the grid with his previous effort, Max Papworth and Ralph King on row 2, Dillon Davis and Beau Sullivan on row 3, Casey Baughan, Dylan Brierley, Kasper Marriott and Archie Johnson rounded out the top 10. 28 karts on the grid for the Pre Final, top 11 covered by less than half a second, top 22 by less than 1 second.

Pre Final

It was an even run up to the line from Munro on pole, the light going green early, so that it was still very much two by two going into the long turn 1 right hander, sometimes driven as an early apex, double apex or late apex depending on the racing situation. Typically off a race start the inside line has a distinct advantage hugging the inside kerb going around the corner. However thats if you can hold the inside curve, Munro ran off the kerb after the initial apex, Papworth on grid 3 couldn’t hold it either, opening the inside lane for Dillon Davis to perform the Moses (the parting of the waters) pass perfectly from mid corner from grid 5 to the lead heading down to hairpin 1. Munro tried to close a door on Papworth’s foot which was already committed to the 2nd place door jam, Dan ran wide and slow Max moved over into 2nd place covering the inside into the next corner. Taylor had been hung out to dry on grid 2 by such an even and fair start he passed Baughan for 4th slowing Casey down enough for King to squeeze up the inside around haierpin 2. Davis covered up down into Paddock corner and then again into Garda, concentrating on getting a fast exit to be 0.4secs clear over the line at the end of the lap, in the line behind him there were 7 in the train with Beau Sullivan in 7th place on Baughan’s bumper.

King eased his way by Taylor through turn 1 and hairpin 1, Sullivan dove up the inside Baughan, only run wide and slow on the exit. Two laps later King sent it late up the inside of Papworth at Paddock, Max could not reach the apex because Ralph was there, and 3rd position was his. The top 7 still a group covered by 1.7secs, 1.6secs behind Louis Robinson brought the chasing pack through of Archie Johnson, Stefan Kaczmarczyk, William Pemble, Liam O’Sullivan, Tom Haffenden and Nathan Crowley in 14th place. Sullivan tried again into hairpin 2, and from not so late, made the corner and demoted Baugham to 7th. By now the top 3 had just a hint of a gap, over Papworth and Taylor, and in making the pass Sullivan and Baughan had also slipped to the edge of losing the draft. Johnson replaced Robinson in 8th place.

On to lap 8 of 16, Dillon Davis had managed to hold off Munro for nearly half of the race, but King joining and the championship on the line, there was a time pressure growing for Munro to get on with it, because King surely would. Turn 1 to hairpin 2 got busy and the group all came back together, off the corner Munro led, and the group had to filter into the single optimal line for esses on the other side, King was 2nd, Papworth 3rd, Davis shuffled down to 4th, Taylor, Sullivan and Baughan back into line. As the only obvious overtake for Munro, who lead to the end of the race, somewhere in the battle he’d picked up his penalty, his number 5 was flashing penalty on the digiboard. Sullivan eased Taylor out of 5th place at turn 1, Davis retook 4th off hairpin 1, King struck for the lead. They would jockey for position, Baughan briefly passing Taylor, after a failed attempt to retake 5th place from Sullivan, Casey couldn’t hold William he was back through in a handful of corners. Their dicing had lost them time, the leading group was stretched and down to 5.

With 4 laps to go Munro struck back for the lead, the lead group still 5. The next lap Davis worked his way into 2nd place, giving Munro a half second lead, Davis closed on the leader on the penultimate lap, but before he could inherit the win, King sent it on the last lap to take up station in 2nd place, surely knowing full well Munro had a penalty coming which would give Ralph the win and place one hand on the champion trophy.

When penalties were applied King was the winner from Davis, Papworth, Sullivan, the demoted Munro, Taylor, Stefan Kaczmarczyk, Archie Johnson (cone penalty), Liam O’Sullivan, Tom Haffenden rounding out the top 10. Where was Casey Baughan? Demoted to 11th for gaining a single place through contact.

Final

This time it was Max Papworth with a Rocket to Mars start squeezing through up the inside of turn 1 to lead into the first hairpin, following him through and maybe pushing (or boosting him through, to keep the space analogy going) Munro had come off grid 5 and moved into 2nd place ahead of the pole man that Dan needed to beat in Ralph King. By the end of lap 2 Munro was pushing for a way by to the lead, and Papworth was beginning to realise that keeping the lead for 16 laps was not going to happen, his pace while fast enough to gap Dillon Davis in 4th place, was not fast enough to hold Munro and King who were all over him.

King moved through to the lead on lap 4, Max held off Munro for 2 more laps. By then Dan had lost the tow from King, and the gap moved out to over 1 second by halfway, Papworth riding Munro’s slipstream for as long as he could to drag him clear of Davis by then 3 secs down with Taylor, Kaczmarczyk, Sullivan and Louis Robinson in the line behind him. Baughan was back in the top 10 passing Nathan Crowley but the pair had lost touch with the Davis group.

On to lap 12 it was more or less still the same, Kaczmarczyk exited 6th place, after a promising display that couldn’t come to much, as he was carrying a 4 place penalty for ‘Grid loading/pushing into Turn 1’ at the start. This also promoted Baughan who was working his way up the Davis, passing Robinson for what was then 7th place. Two laps later Casey was back for 6th place taken from Sullivan and there was still time to catch and pass Taylor in 5th, maybe even his ADR team mate David in 4th before the finish.

Up front King was managing to hold Munro at around 0.7-0.8 of second, a no relaxing, no mistakes position to be in, but still the best place to be, and going on to the final lap the gap was half a second still a bit of a lunge gap that would require a divebomb, if Dan could nail the lap to leave one sensible attempt down at Paddock or Garda, as the run up the finish line comes to soon to draft passed. It was close with Munro on his bumper at the line, but the race win and championship was Ralph King’s. (if my maths is right – CS).

SuperLight Podium – New Champion – Ralph King flanked by Championship Runner Up Dan Munro and 3rd place in the race Max Papworth

Penalties made the final classification King, Munro, Papworth sharing the trophies. Davis, Baughan, Louis Robinson, Nathan Crowley (cone penalty), Kasper Marriott, Phillip Baboolal and William Taylor demoted to 10th (2 cone penalties) in addition to a poor last lap that had seen him drop to 8th, Archie Johnson, Thomas Northcott and Beau Sullivan, another fairing poorly on the last lap and pinged with a cone penalty.

Words: Chris Simpson

Photography: John Patterson

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