Total Kart Zero’s Felix Smedley took a resounding victory, controlling the race from lights-to-flag at Clay Pigeon Raceway, bouncing back from a difficult start to the day to kickstart his season in style, beating out Jaq Ohara by 1’s.
Felix Smedley controlled run from lights-to-flag was his first podium and a first victory in Total Karting Zero, it was a great race and really special for him to win in front of family and friends as well. It was unexpected, for a driver who usually spends his time at the back of the grid, he was so entirely over the moon at achieving the win.
Jaq Ohara put on another brilliant drive to recover from a slow start to take second, despite a commanding charge was unable to close down the gap, while Joel Dixon-Coen put plenty of pressure on Smedley in the early stages of the final, only to fade away to third at the finish. There was also heartbreak for Jenson Walker. The young racer was on course for a clean sweep of all the races on the day, only for a loss of power to cause him to stop at the start of the final and with it any chance of victory.
Rob Smedley, Total Kart Zero Championship Race Director: “It was a privilege to be invited by Clay Pigeon Raceway to enter their club round in June this year. To have our Electric race karts race on grids at a petrol event was a first and we certainly turned some heads!”
“What was interesting were the comments that our karts were actually quick – yes they are! I have been a petrolhead myself so I appreciate the scepticism but we have certainly converted many more petrolheads to the electric possibilities of motorsport.”
“What is great about our series is seeing new families enter the sport who would not have other wise done so. The arrive and drive simple approach we offer with a fixed price, together with the parity of all the karts being equal in performance is what attracts people. The more and more families that get involved the more our plan is working – the talent pool will grow and that’s our mission complete!”.
Lucy Smedley, Total Kart Zero Co-ordinator: “We had a great time bringing our series and our customer base to Clay pigeon to race at their club event early this summer.”
“The staff and racing community were so welcoming and it will certainly be a venue we will regularly use on our racing calendar as it provides for such great racing!“
“Many of the kids have commented that it is their favourite track and it was exciting for them to watch the petrol races in between their own competition.”
Felix Smedley, Total Karting Zero by Rob Smedley, Image Supplied by Matt Gale at Behind The Fence Photography
Qualifying – Dixon-Coen storms to pole at Clay Pigeon Raceway
Joel Dixon-Coen cemented his place on the front row as he stormed to pole position in the Total Karting Zero Cadets at Clay Pigeon Raceway, narrowly outqualified Jenson Walker in what was a thrilling qualifying session that could have seen anyone of six drivers take the top spot.
Jenson Walker set the early pace before being usurped by Joel Dixon-Coen and then Harrison Leach inside the opening 5 minutes, with Dixon-Coen setting the quickest lap down to 43.51.
The trio traded the top sport between them as they reached the midway point of the session, with Walker narrowly holding first with a 43.30, 0.04 back.
Felix Smedley who had started slowly then opened up the session further by going third doing a 43.52, 0.19 just off the leading pace. Eva Morris also improved, but not as much as she would have liked having set the fastest second sector of anyone at that point, moving up to fifth with a 43.77.
Jaq Ohara was one of the final drivers to set a competitive time in qualifying taking P5, setting a last lap 43.62, 0.51 down on Pole, dropping Eva Morris down to P6. Harrison Leach then stuck it into P3 on the final lap depriving Felix Smedley, setting a 43.42 just 0.10 ahead.
William Swales P7 and Ellis Garrett P8 both beat the chequered flag to give themselves one last shot at a top six spot, Swales final run was not strong enough to deprive Eva Morris and despite his best effort Garrett missed out as well. Jenson Herridge, P9 and Alfie Dixon, P10 rounding out the top 10 finishing their qualifying just 0.09 apart.
Despite holding provisional pole, Walker who had dominated practice had to watch on as Dixon-Coen then slashed his time down to 43.16 before going even quicker with a 43.06, 0.24 clear, with Walker losing over a second to his rival in the middle sector, Dixon-Coen taking pole position for the opening heat of the day.
Tracy Dixon, parent of Joel Dixon-Coen: “Joel has been racing with Total Karting Zero since it began in the Autumn of 2020, this was Joel’s first ever MSUK club meet, at Clay Pigeon with the team, having come from indoor corporate karting.”
“He really benefitted from the extra practice sessions on the Saturday, giving him lots of confidence going into race day, he was absolutely thrilled to achieve another pole position”.
“We are so proud of his achievements, both on and off the track, with how he conducts himself. Joel is always as cool as a cucumber, he is also super proud of himself, and rightly so!”
Joel Dixon-Coen, Total Karting Zero by Rob Smedley, Image Supplied by Matt Gale at Behind The Fence Photography
Heat 1 – Walker untroubled throughout
Lining up in scorching heat, it was Jenson Walker and Joel Dixon-Coen who gave everyone a hand-in-mouth moment, the pairing going side-by-side off the line and into the first corner. Eventually, Walker pulled ahead, but not without a slight touch between the pair on the exit of The Esses.
There was a moment of despair on the opening lap for Harrison Leach, forced to retire having been involved in a scuffle at Hann’s Hairpin, as Felix Smedley and Jaq Ohara came together taking with them the unlucky Leach who had done so well to put his kart third in qualifying.
Promoted to third, Eva Morris was taking no risks and immediately made a pass on Dixon-Coen at Button’s, Dixon-Coen was not able to retain his position dropping down.
William Swales spun out at Billy’s Blind, due to the incident further back he lost no positions on track and carried on in fifth.
Having kept his nose clean on the opening two laps, Ellis Garrett was able to get through the rest of the Heat unscathed to finish fourth, Jaq Ohara who recovered from his opening-lap clash made up 5 places on the way to take fifth.
Dixon-Coen was far from finished, edging ever closer to Morris each lap, Dixon-Coen began to reel in Morris in the fight for second, eventually passing Morris at The Horseshoe rising back to second.
Despite putting up a good fight, Felix Smedley was not opposed to taking a few more risks and tried several times to drive around the outside of Swales along the Pit Straight, Swales holding on for seventh as they crossed the line.
Out in front, Walker enjoyed a controlled run to the chequered flag, finishing the race with a 4.4s advantage over Dixon-Coen, with Morris 8s further back. Earning himself pole position for Heat 2. Walker will have been thankful for a much calmer race, looking untroubled throughout the 11 laps to win.
Jenson Walker, Total Karting Zero by Rob Smedley, Image Supplied by Matt Gale at Behind The Fence Photography
Heat 2 – Walker leads from Lights-to-Flag for win
When the lights went out, both Jenson Walker and Joel Dixon-Coen powered off the line and into Billy’s Blind, but it was Dixon-Coen who smartly ducked behind Walker and took a tow, attempting to slipstream past into Hann’s Hairpin. Walker was aware of this and duly covered his line to maintain the lead.
Eva Morris held third position, a seemingly over eager Ellis Garrett did not enjoy quite as positive an outing as he had in Heat 1, spinning into Billy’s Blind dropping him down the order.
The top four all held their positions, with Walker and Dixon-Coen trading fastest laps in a battle for first, Dixon-Coen opted for patients using the slipstream to good effect, attempting a brave pass around the outside of Walker along the Pit Straight, but could not make it work and ended up losing time to Walker.
Behind them, Morris and Ohara were locked in a fierce battle for third, at Billy’s Blind Morris ran wide spinning out dropping down the order to seventh, the tussle had allowed Walker and Dixon-Coen to pull away at the front.
While Morris was losing places, Harrison Leach was gaining them, Felix Smedley now up to fifth, Smedley made a brave move around the outside at Top Bend on the final lap, this provided a dramatic dash to the line for everyone watching as Leach held on by 0.35 to finish forth.
For Jenson Walker, he had strengthened his hold on the Total Karting Zero race meeting at Clay Pigeon Raceway, leading from lights-to-flag, the young star held off a late charge from Dixon-Coen to take back-to-back Heat wins and pole position for the final.
Jenson Walker, Total Karting Zero by Rob Smedley, Image Supplied by Matt Gale at Behind The Fence Photography
Final – Smedley charges to win.
After a disappointing series of heats, Felix Smedley appeared to have achieved all he could as he lined up sixth on the grid, that was until the lights went out, with Smedley bolting off the line and pulling into the distance ahead of Joel Dixon-Coen and Jaq Ohara.
Pole sitter Jenson Walker was left standing at the start as his TKZ Kart stalled on the line, not that Dixon-Coen was given any chance on his getaway, with further drama into Billy’s Blind Ellis Garrett running wide caused several drivers to back off, Smedley made the most of this chaos to bolt into the lead.
Lining up in seventh, Harrison Leach picked off the first four in front of him with relative ease but came unstuck against Eva Morris and was unable to bridge a 2s gap early on. Morris matched the top three by setting the fastest lap of the race with a 43.51, 0.10 ahead of Smedley.
At the front, Smedley was now 3s clear of Dixon-Coen, who had been unable to pull clear from Ohara, Morris and Leach who remained within touching distance of the chasing pack. There was a brief moment for Dixon-Coen at The Horseshoe, which allowed Ohara through from third. Composing himself, Dixon-Coen re passed Ohara into Billy’s Blind.
Attempting to make up more ground Leach passed Morris into Hann’s Hairpin, Ohara had retained momentum on the exit of Top Bend and past Dixon-Coen with a brilliant switch back along the Pit Straight. Dixon-Coen made a move on Ohara at Hann’s Hairpin, Ohara responded quickly keeping the door shut at The Horseshoe.
An astonishing final few laps saw the race turn on its head, begun by the sudden issue of a backmarker for Smedley, briefly held up by Jenson Herridge through Billy’s Blind and The Esses this lost him 3s, putting him 1.5s ahead of Ohara and Dixon-Coen.
In the closing laps, Ohara brought the gap down to under a second, with Ohara on the hunt for Smedley, despite a late charge, setting three continuously faster laps that Smedley, it was too far off on the final lap to trouble the leader.
There were still moves to play out, with Morris confidence rapidly increasing, she made a move on Leach coming off Top Bend, squeezing past Leach on the line to take forth by 0.19s.
Finishing eighth, Walker crossed the line ahead of Alfie Dixon and Jenson Herridge on lap down on the rest of the field, while William Swales who enjoyed a spell at the front, finished the day seventh, after starting P8.
Lucy Smedley, parent of Felix Smedley: “We know he loves our electric karts but hasn’t had much chance to race in them himself.“
“At the race at Clay Pigeon we allowed our own son Felix, age 10 to compete among the cadets. Felix likes to drive a petrol kart but struggles with the noise and so enjoys sitting at the back of the grid and purposely positions himself there as he doesn’t like the petrol noise coming up behind him! ”
“He had a great race at Clay pigeon and actually won – so it was a great weekend for the whole family!”.
Tracy Dixon, parent of Joel Dixon-Coen: “It was amazing to take part in this first club event, the first of many we hope!”
“Being in this mixed petrol/electric environment was a great opportunity, making some great friends along the way, it was also great for Joel, finished up on the podium yet again!”
“It is great to now watch the next generation enjoying the sport they love so much. TKZ has a real family feel to the team”.