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Controversy as kart event abandoned

PUBLISHED: 10:41 28 March 2008 | UPDATED: 07:18 01 August 2010

A karter in action at Ellough Park raceway.

A karter in action at Ellough Park raceway.

CONTROVERSY has marred Ellough Park Raceway's biggest weekend to date as bad weather saw a prestigious national series meeting abandoned on Sunday.

It was the first time in the track's 45-year history that it had seen some of the country's top young drivers go head-to-head.

CONTROVERSY has marred Ellough Park Raceway's biggest weekend to date as bad weather saw a prestigious national series meeting abandoned on Sunday.

It was the first time in the track's 45-year history that it had seen some of the country's top young drivers go head-to-head. But slippery conditions saw the first round of the British National Super 1 TKM kart championships cancelled 10 heats into Sunday's programme, writes Richard Wood.

Over 100 drivers from across the country had descended on the region's biggest and fastest kart circuit over the Easter weekend, but the feast of speed was cut short when an official MSA steward called time on the event following a crash.

The steward, Gerry Blythe, said: “The track conditions deteriorated during the day and the drivers were not driving to the conditions, so following a serious accident, attributable to the conditions, I decided enough was enough.

“The safety of the young people is my chief concern.”

The decision to abandon the meeting at this point meant that the young drivers - who came from as far away as Scotland, Ireland, Wales, and the Isle of Wight - all went home with no points to show for their weekend's efforts.

Despite completing practice and qualifying sessions on Friday and Saturday, a minimum of 16 heats had to be completed on the Sunday for the results to stand.

The series has been called the pinnacle of kart racing in the UK and was where Lewis Hamilton cut his teeth in motorsport.

The karts can reach speeds of up to 75mph and are split into two classes, Honda Cadet and TKM.

TKM is then further split into junior and senior classes, and two and four-stroke engines sizes. A total of 16 heats were due to take place on the day, followed by six finals.

The fact that the decision to abandon was taken at 1pm caused controversy, as later in the afternoon conditions had greatly improved.

“We were actually tidying up the rubbish in the sunshine,” said Richard Lock, managing director for Ellough Park Raceway.

Series promoter Neil Hann said: “The Super One Series very much regrets the decision taken by the MSA steward to abandon round one of the TKM series at Ellough Park.

“Although the decision to stop the racing at the time may have been correct, the steward could well have suspended the proceedings for an hour or so, and then reviewed the situation, when in fact the weather had cleared and the track conditions improved.

“We could then have at least finished the heats and everyone would have had a result for the event instead of nothing."

Ellough Park Raceway worked for nine months to secure the championship meeting, but the disappointment of Sunday's abandonment has been offset by the announcement that the series will return next year.

“Organisers have said that they were very satisfied with it and we've had some positive comments

from racers on the message boards,” said Lock.

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