Well… it’s all Anthony Amato at the Moment.
Hot off the back of the news and the return of Buckmore Park to the calendar for 2 rounds to end the season, YDC reconvened down the road at Sittingbourne for what is now the 2nd of 3 rounds at the venue. Pleasingly the weather was sunny again, but it was also pleasantly warm with a belated beginning of spring, almost appropriately matching the late start to the season. I wish I could report a very different affair to the opening round of the season, but it would not be that way.
Looking like the class of the field currently is Anthony Amato, who took another double win. Perhaps in even more convincing style, topping the time sheet in every session, and winning from pole position in the Pre Final but particularly in the main Final where he won it off the start, or rather with his start, catching Ed Gordon ready, but off guard to be able to get on it when the poleman went with the green light. Amato emerged with a comfortable lead off turn 1, leaving Louis Falk, George Hannay, Charlie Folland, Jamie Mead, Antony Wypych, Jack James and Gordon himself to argue over the podium steps and the minor placings.
Amato has plainly too much speed to be given any kind of head start. Perhaps Whilton Mill in July maybe a different story, but if it’s not then he will prove difficult to catch in the championship hunt if we leave Bayford Meadows for the last time in early August with another repeat.
When practice flipped to qualifying green Amato brought his practice pace into the session leading the way with 53.65secs. Louis Falk was the first to emerge from the chasing pack of himself, Gordon, Wypych, James, Elliot Alt, Ben Lambeth, Taylor Jessup and Tommy Welsh, to go P2 on the 2nd lap of the 6min session. Gordon and Lambeth moved on to row 2, then late in the session Ben would be replaced by Folland, only for a flurry of faster laps at the end of the session which saw Alt return to start on the outside of row 2 for the Pre Final, ahead of Charlie, as the top 3 remained unchanged. Amato banged in 53.482, to signal more punish to come, while only Falk had been able to dip under 54secs early on and Ed Gordon had been unable to breach it, with his early time proving to be his best.
Folland was joined Wypych on the 3rd row, with Lambeth, Mead, James and Hannay making up the top 10 of a 26 driver grid. If you remove the pole man from the equation, and argue over who got a clear lap and whether your best laps were spoilt as a consequence, P2 to P12 were covered by around 1secs, and half of that could be a good slipstream, and there was the same margin as between Wypych in P6 and Joe Craddock in P18, so it’s all there on the track for the taking, with a little luck, and a lot of application.
Anthony Amato got the hole shot into turn 1, after all he is getting plenty of practice at pole position at Bayford Meadows. Louis Falk on the difficult grid 2, as all grid 2s are, lost out to Ed Gordon off grid 3 into turn 1, and then again on the run through the infield to Charlie Folland. At the end of lap 1 Amato’s lead was 0.77secs, and importantly he was already taking his slipstream out of range of Gordon, who in turn had a similar margin on Folland. Falk pressed initially for a way back by Charlie, but it wasn’t happening, and the top 4 stretched away from the field but also from each other.
Louis had Ben Lambeth making a good start applying early pressure from a group including George Hannay, Jamie Mead and Jack James. Behind and making up the top 10 Tommy Welsh in space of his own and then Taylor Jessup, towing through Joe Hollis, a fast starting Henry English, Lewis Davis, and Antony Wypych, the latter, who’d had an awful start, almost as bad Elliott Alt’s he’d come through at the end of lap 1 in 20th from grid 4.
All of the racing action was behind Falk in 4th place as Mead continued his progress into 5th, with James and Hannay moving through, mostly at Lambeth’s expense, and slowly closing on to Louis’ bumper. At halfway Jamie was there just as Louis caught up to Folland, and then Mead was through to 4th place, just to take Charlie for 3rd on the next lap. This 3 way dice for 3rd would slip to a Folland v Falk battle as Jamie’s excellent pace pulled him clear. With 4 laps remaining Jamie was less than half a second down on Gordon, who after running his lap times down to 54.1 by mid race, was beginning to fade as Mead enjoyed clear air or the draft from whoever he was catching. And in this case Jamie was catching Ed, and Gordon could not hang on to Jamie once he was by.
With 2 laps to go, Amato was 5.6secs clear, and even though Jamie was more or less on similar outright pace as Anthony, he was never going to trouble the pole man. It’s a shame Jamie was penalised 2 positions in the classification for pinching the fuel pipe (both hands on the wheel, unless acknowledging a yellow flag, please) as his pace in the race suggested he didn’t need that extra help. So Gordon and Falk would be promoted a position each after Louis had moved back passed Folland for 4th place on the road. George Hannay was holding Ben Lambeth at arms length to the finish to take 6th place, then a gap to Jack James, who was able to cruise into the finish and not be be challenged by Tommy Welsh. Antony Wypych made up the top ten, before a big gap of nearly 10secs opened up to Lewis Davis, gap to Joe Hollis leading in the main field in 12th.
Perhaps in an effort not to be left metaphorically standing, as Falk had in the Pre Final on grid 2, Ed Gordon had managed to get out too far over his skis to be coming through the cut through ahead of pole man Amato to his inside, and Anthony cannily compounded the pain by possibly slowing down to about as slow as he could go, to leave Ed looking mildly panicked, probably worried for being done for a jump start by crossing the line ahead of the pole man. In backing off so much waiting for Amato, who after a tap from Falk behind, picked his moment perfectly to pick up his pace, crossing the line in the lead, but leaving Gordon struggling, on the then short run to turn 1, to pick up the revs to hold off Falk and Mead off the 2nd row.
Indeed as Amato stretched away, leaving the first turn, Gordon on the outside had already lost 2nd to Falk before getting into turn 1, still marooned as everyone went low, he lost out to Mead off the corner, unable to get over and into the line. Charlie Folland was through before reaching turn 2, and George Hannay was by coming off the complex. No one likes grid 2! Still struggling to get into his stride, the main field stacked up behind him coming off the corner and even though he was entirely blameless, that concertina effect opened up on the run to turn 3, and then closed rapidly into a mess of contact and spinners mid corner. This left a big gap behind Jack James in 8th place when they reached the end of lap 1. Amato was gone, 1.4secs up the road already, and he once again left the minor places up for dispute between Louis Falk, George Hannay, Charlie Folland, Jamie Mead, the luckless Ed Gordon, Antony Wypych and Jack James. Theo Jones in 9th led Max English and main field through 2.5secs off the lead group.
On lap 2 Folland got a great run on to the back straight and was able to pick off both Hannay and Falk, leaving a door open, in the long left hander and around the hill to lead this 7 kart battle for 2nd, nose to tail over the line to end lap 2. Again more battling in the group just handed more time to Amato, already into turn 1, 3.2secs off in the distance. Jamie Mead was showing strongly again working his way passed first Hannay then Folland, as Jack James moved by Wypych, Falk, and Gordon, to leave Ed on the tail of the group. Folland and Mead’s battle over 2nd place continued, keeping the group to together and allowing the leader to have the race won before halfway. Not wanting to miss out on the fun for 2nd place, Hannay rejoined and worked his way to the position, Mead left hanging on to George’s draft to pulling clear of Folland. The trio in turn had by then broken the group leaving Jack James in 5th, to fight with Louis Falk, Louis complaining of a blister, presumably on one of his hands, a hot sweaty day after all, Wypych and Gordon, the latter unhappy with the handling of his kart and never recovering from the slaughter of his start.
Into the closing stages the top 4 was settled, despite the blister, Falk was able to put in a final spurt, to pick off Antony Wypych and Jack James, and Antony would be caught in sight of the chequered flag by Lewis Davis working his way from the mess in turn 3 on lap 1 to finish 7th after passing Elliot Alt (10th) and Ed Gordon (9th) on the way to a strong finish.
Well… Anthony Amato at the moment. It’s only 12points, and that might be a blessing because it feels like it should be more, ahead of Louis Falk but Louis, Jamie Mead, George Hannay, Edward Gordon, Charlie Folland are covered by 12points, and don’t rule out Lewis Davis and Elliot Alt a further 10 and 16 points back. Both whom if they didn’t have such bad luck wouldn’t have any luck at all.
Words: Chris Simpson
Pictures: John Patterson