Clay Pigeon Raceway is justifiably proud of its history as the track that launched Jenson Button’s career. The circuit’s website also boldly states that it is “the home of champions” and “the place where F1 dreams start.” Where better for the Easykart series to hold its third round, taking place this Sunday (27 May).
A quick glance at www.easykart.co.uk shows that Sam Faulkner is already developing a vice-like grip in Cadet. He has dropped just two points in the opening races and his almost perfect score has lifted him clear of his nearest rivals, Jenson Murchison and Ethan Hawkey. Not that the championship is already over - far from it. Any misfortune for Sam at this stage of the season would close the gap right up and there is a gaggle of drivers who are improving with each round. Bailey Campbell enjoyed his maiden visit to the podium at Ellough Park last month and can be expected to be slugging it out for another trophy finish on Sunday. Rookie Adam Sparrow has challenged the series regulars during his maiden year in Easykart and is an exciting prospect. Krishaan Sivagnanam threw away a possible podium in Suffolk and will be keen to make amends at Clay. Jason Gavagan, Shayne Harrison and Charlotte Fox are also worth keeping an eye on, but Faulkner has to be the top tip for the win.
Incredibly, James Lay’s performances in Junior are even better than Sam Faulkner’s. He has lost a solitary point in the opening rounds and has to start as the favourite on Sunday. His ATPC (Associate Team Partnership Conglomerate) team-mate Zack Nickson has emerged as his principal threat and has shown his ability to outpace his friend. Predicting who could either beat this pair or join them in the top three is almost impossible. In terms of his points position, Brandon Williams’ name is on the top of the list. He excelled at the championship’s curtain raiser on Teesside, but was soundly beaten by Ben Nicholls and Jake Welsby at Ellough. Thomas Moran is tied on 469 points with Jake, whilst Jordan Sanders and Michael Iacovou both have 468 points. Matas Grigalauskas is just ahead of Nicholls in the table and Esmee Hawkey found consistent form at Ellough. If she builds on that at Clay, she could well break into the top five.
Steve Youle’s interpretation of the tricky conditions was a joy to watch at Ellough and he thoroughly deserved his Light victory. The key question is can he do it again? With the talent of Patrick Lay, World Champion Luca Hirst, Kieran Gordon, Grant Hunter, plus Sam Dimelow and reigning Heavy world number one Barnaby Pittingale – to name but a few – assembled against him, it is tempting to suggest not. However, Youle is a wily old stager and nothing motivates and empowers more than a win. A former junior club champion at Clay, Tony Longstaff demonstrated his natural speed at Ellough on his way to an eventual 5thand thus laid down a marker to show there is more is to come. It should be much in evidence on his home turf. If reigning UK champion Ayrton Hirst returns, there really will be an embarrassment of riches on display.
The Heavy class is another fascinating conundrum. Will Smith leads the way, but it is Joe Paterson whom has won the two main finals thus far. However, the Essex ace has been bettered by his East Anglian rival’s superior consistency. Like newly crowned Champion’s League winners Chelsea, Paterson has the air of a man who feels destined to win the ultimate prize but, like the west London giants, is clearly fallible. Mark Lawrence and Andrew Gould will understand that feeling. Both started the year as potential race winners and title contenders, but the wheels have quickly come of their challenges. Expect their fightback to start on Sunday.
For those of a betting disposition, the trio of Michael Roots, Carl Churchill and Simon Mace are all well worth a wager. As is Roland Breadner, who was a joy to watch at the corresponding fixture last season.The action starts from 10:00am on Sunday 27 May at Clay Pigeon Raceway, Wardon Hill, between Dorchester and Yeovil. For more information, please visit www.easykart.co.uk