The culmination of a competitive year’s racing under the new IKR ( INDY) format came to a conclusion at Mansell Raceway on September 24th.
The weekend started well with virtually all competitors attending practice on the Saturday. A few notable absentees were Stuart Gray ( recovering from a medical procedure) Kevin O’Neill and John Hartshorne ( recovering from injuries). Seeded numbers 1 – 9 , however, were all present and practice seemed almost like a race day. The top 2 juniors also matched each other throughout the day, as indeed, they did during the whole of the race day.

Sunday dawned wet and dismal with all competitors fervently involved with organising their wet / inter tyres, although the day started to brighten late in the morning practice. The first heats were conducted in damp and slippery conditions. By the time of the 2nd round of heats, all competitors were on slicks and the day’s racing continued in earnest.
With the heats over, the grid positions revealed that the first four were only 1 point apart and some had to be separated by the result of the first heat ( as per NKRA Regulations ! ). Of special note, is that all four heats had different winners. In the end it was David Watts who held Pole position from Anthony Cleal. On the second row sat Joey Foster and Mike Bell. Behind were Kevin Ford and James Dawkins. Row four included Harry Smithson and Kieran Quirke. The last of the top 10 were David Waldron and Max Gunter. With 27 racers attending, the rolling lap stretched out to where the leaders were into the first bend before the last row even reached the start line!
From the lights, David Watts led, with Foster behind. Cleal took up station in 3rd (with only 3rd place needed to win the overall championship, he was not prepared to risk anything). Taylor Waldron rocketed through the pack from 18th to 12th. Over the next 4 laps the front three of Watts, Foster and Cleal could have been covered by a blanket. Behind, positions were changing frequently as drivers who had qualified badly were moving up through the field and the odd mistake invariably lost the competitor involved several places.
Then on lap 5 Foster made his move and outgunned Watts. Cleal, behind these two, continued on his watchful brief!
These three raced onto the flag without putting a foot wrong. Dawkins had made it through to 4th , but couldn’t completely close the distance to the front three. Harry Smithson made it through to 5th but equally couldn’t gain on the front group, such was the ferocity of the racing. Bell, Ford, Quirke, Waldron and Alexander brought up the top 10.
With the race over and the dust settled, with the points/positions verified and collated the results of the Grande Final were announced. Cleal had scored 5 points and had won by 1 point from Foster who had 6 points. 3rd was Mike Bell on 10 points, which was 1 point ahead of Watts on 11 points. Smithson finished 5th on 14 points. David Waldron was 6th on 20 points, beating Alexander into 7th place by 1 point. James Dawkins, who had to start the heats from the back, finished in 8th spot on equal points with Ford and Quirke, but was higher in the Final proper!

1 – Anthony Cleal – MAC / Maxi – 5 pts
2 – Joey Foster – MAC / Maxi – 6 pts
3 – Mike Bell – Octane / Lynx – 10 pts
4 – David Watts – Tony / Maxi – 11 pts
5 – Harry Smithson – Praga / Lynx – 14 pts
6 – David Waldron – MAC / Maxi – 20 pts
7 – Paul Alexander – Tony / Maxi – 21 pts
8 – James Dawkins – Tony / Lynx – 22 pts
9 – Kevin Ford – Redspeed / Maxi – 22pts
10 – Kieran Quirke – Octane / Lynx – 22 pts
The Results are now posted on the results page ( view – Results and fixtures – NKRA Grande Finals results 2023 menu) on the www.planetkarting.uk website. Participating competitors have 7 days ( until midnight 2nd October) in which to contest ( in writing to the NKRA comp Sec – mail@planetkarting.co.uk) the results as posted.
For a full set of results, please view the planetkarting.uk website or CLICK HERE


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