If there was any doubting that Charlie Eastwood could hold his own in kart racing’s 125cc Rotax Max class then he certainly put those fears to bed yesterday by demolishing the opposition in the opening round of the Ulster Karting Club’s championship at Nutts Corner Circuit.
Eastwood is no stranger to pressure after finishing fifth in last year’s British championship series in the KF3 class and after storming through to win the finals at Kirkistown two weeks back he certainly made the usual challengers in the class sit up and pay attention.
The newly resurfaced and altered circuit however would add its own pressures to everyone competing but on the day Eastwood really showed he was the one to beat after going into pole position for the finals.
From the off Eastwood was under early pressure from defending Northern Ireland champion Stefan Lyttle from Cookstown, Irish O plate champion Shane Daly from Dublin and defending UKC champion Brian McCarte from Ballymena.
However, by the end of the opening lap Eastwood was already showing signs of being in strong command of the healthy turnout of the fastest non-gearbox class.
As lap after lap rolled by Eastwood simply steadily increased the pace and realistically did not give the challengers any chance of catching him on the new and much improved surface.
At the flag, Eastwood sailed home with over a three second margin on Lyttle.
Daly fought off McCarte to come home in third with McCarte having a tough finish to take sixth.
In the World Formula class Moira’s Paul Prentice ‘stole’ the show when Gilbert and Joe Yates tangled with only two bends to go. Peter Caldwell and Mark Overend took second and third.
It was a family affair in the front two rows of the Honda Cadet class with twin bothers Samuel and William Harron from Bangor holding the front row from the Doherty twins Philip and Christopher. However, the tough finals saw Jack Gaughey from Glenavy storm through to win from Philip Doherty with Castlereagh’s Jack Young settling for third.
This Saturday Young takes on the next round of the Northern Ireland championships at the same circuit (10am).