KARTING: Smalley boys reign in wet
West Pinchbeck’s William Smalley (15) was crowned the East of England Cup champion as brother Ben (11) took third place in his class.
Ben started off what was to be a great day for Team Smalley Racing by taking a podium spot in the very competitive Honda Cadet Class at Fulbeck Kart Circuit.
The East of England Cup had attracted a massive field of 26 drivers – including two of the country’s elite Super One drivers – for the Honda Class and it proved to be the largest and hardest fought class of the weekend.
A rough heat one saw Ben punted off twice.
Starting 16th, he made a superb start by climbing to eighth coming out of the first corner – only to be hit off at the second chicane dropping him to 19th.
Once again he climbed back to 11th before again being wiped out.
This time he re-joined in 16th but was only able to climb back to 12th before the chequered flag dropped.
A relatively trouble free heat two saw him finish fifth but as the heavens started to open prior to heat three, the wet set-up provided by mechanic and dad Nick along with Ben’s wet driving style were to prove decisive as he crossed the line in second place – setting himself up for a second row start in the final.
An extremely wet final arrived and Ben found himself starting a well placed fourth but once again bad luck struck as he was hit off at the first corner.
Re-joining in 15th, he quickly made his way up to 12th by the end of the first lap.
He then started lapping two or three seconds quicker than the karts around him and by the end of lap five had made his way back up to seventh.
Then came his good luck, with both the third and fourth place karts retiring with engine problems due to the excessive water on the track – moving him up to fifth at the end of lap six.
Still with a lot of work to do but lapping quicker than the karts around him by over a second a lap, he went on to pass the next two placed karts on the penultimate lap to lift himself up onto the final podium position.
Ben was behind only the two elite Super One drivers before the chequered flag once again dropped and a well deserved third place prize and trophy was his.
William then rounded off a superb weekend for the team.
Running in the Junior Rotax Class, he started well with second and third places in heats one and two.
But as the day progressed and the heavens opened, William and his mechanic Danny Atkin adapted their driving and set-ups much better to the wet conditions than the other competitors.
A small error in heat three denied him the race win but as he crossed the line in second he had easily set the fastest laps of the heat by well over half a second.
An almost torrential final saw William starting second and as he sat patiently behind the leader for six laps, pulling out of the spray each lap along the straights for some visibility, he knew when and where he was going to make his move having worked out the track grip levels and his tactics in similar conditions in heat three.
As the pair of them entered the penultimate lap, he made his move on the leader and completed the needed pass on the inside at the top hairpin to take the lead.
He then held his nerve and went on to stretch his lead, taking the chequered flag a lap and a half later, by a margin of 2.1 seconds and went on to complete the final lap a massive 1.2 seconds quicker than anyone else on track, setting the fastest lap of the final as well as earning the title.