In truth, any one of half a dozen could have won the title. Ultimately, it was decided on the final bend of a pulsating last lap that left even the spectators gasping for breath.
Daniel Ticktum started as he intended to finish, out-qualifying Shanaka Clay, Connor Hall and Jamie Caroline by several hundredths. In similar wet conditions, he appeared to win the opening Heat against Caroline but was later penalised one place. Next time out in dry conditions, he won comfortably ahead of Josh Smith. Ryan Anderton suffered an early set-back in the Prefinal when he pulled into the pits for repairs on lap 3 after holding 4th place. Ticktum had led from the start but was soon outpaced by Hall and Dean McDonald who both looked happier in wet conditions. Ross Martin finished 4th ahead of Caroline and Clay.
Rapidly drying conditions meant that everyone eventually opted for slick tyres, although there was some frantic work going on just minutes before the main Final got under way. McDonald found himself pushed wide at Turn 1 as Ticktum and Caroline both slotted in behind the race leader, Hall. A four-kart collision at the chicane eliminated James Manning and Ryan Anderton, while Bradley Drowne and Zak Fulk both lost valuable time. Jack Leese was an obvious beneficiary of all the confusion as he climbed up to 9th spot from grid 17.
With just one lap completed the top three were already 50 yards or more ahead of McDonald who was fighting hard to keep Martin and Smith behind him. Ticktum looked to be rapid as he moved onto Hall’s rear bumper. Caroline was able to remain in contact with the leading pair for the first quarter of this race but suddenly lost 20 yards or more. Ticktum lit up the timing screen on lap 6 and by now Hall was under real pressure.
Next time around Ticktum seized the initiative at Stewart’s Sweep but two laps later Hall regained 1st place with a neat manoeuvre coming out of Paddock Bend. Ticktum set the fastest time on lap 10 only for Hall to follow suit next time around.
Hall was trying desperately to break the tow but Ticktum couldn’t be shaken off. On the penultimate lap, they approached a back-marker, who moved obligingly out of their way. Hall managed to gain several yards coming out of Paddock Bend and he began his final tour with a little bit of breathing space. However, Ticktum had the better line around McRae’s and he pulled off a breathtaking manoeuvre at the next hairpin.They plunged down the back straight virtually together but Ticktum held on around Stewart’s Sweep.
Into St John’s, Hall almost got his kart alongside but had to give way approaching Sunny Bend. Ticktum was forced into defensive mode as he chose a tight line around Paddock. Hall swooped around the outside but it was Ticktum who claimed victory by less than half a kart’s length. Caroline finished a lonely 3rd before Smith came around in 4th ahead of McDonald and Martin.
“It was very close;’ admitted Ticktum afterwards. “Even after I’d passed Connor half way around the last lap, it could still have gone wrong. He came back at me very strongly and I needed to concentrate hard on staying in front.”
Karting Magazine August 2011