The penultimate round of the 2021 Cadet Kart Championship season headed to South Wales in the first weekend of October, as the Vale of Glamorgan circuit Llandow, based half an hour outside Cardiff, welcomed all racers.
Amidst a varying set of weather conditions, five drivers from the factor X-Kart team would race in the Junior Pro Kart and Rotax classes at the 0.9 mile circuit.
Despite a difficult initial start to this year's campaign, the #34 of Jacob Jukes would prove his worth in the racing on Sunday, taking pole position in the Saturday afternoon qualifying session, before winning two of the three heats and the final on Sunday.
This now puts him second in the overall standings going into the final round at Dorset's Clay Pigeon Raceway in the penultimate weekend, trailing George Donald (#16) by 41 points. Along with this, he would also be voted as the class' Driver of the Day via a poll.
"The pole meant so much, we’ve been so close so many times. But this time I knew it would come as the kart was so good in that session. I could see what it meant to the team and my dad too, so that was a special moment," explained Jukes after a fantastic set of results.
"The racing was so close in the first heats, but in heat three, we got the perfect setup and it was just a case of bringing it home. Once I knew the gap was so big, I backed off to save the tyres and keep everything cool. The final was close up until the guy behind made a mistake and then it was just a case of driving it to the finish.
"It was humbling to see everyone trackside clapping and cheering, I don’t even know that many people in Wales, but the support I got was amazing, so thank you to those people too!"
Sandro Ballesteros would do double duty in Junior Pro Kart and Rotax in Llandow, having secured second in the qualifying session on Saturday, before stringing together a succession of second place results in all three heats and the final, behind eventual race weekend winner Maximus Shields (#181). It puts the Rochdale racer second overall with just the final race weekend at Clay Pigeon remaining.
In Junior Rotax, he would place eighth in qualifying, 0.993 seconds off the pole position time set by Jacob. In the three heats, he would end up finishing 11th, 10th and sixth, ahead of the final where he started in seventh, taking the chequered flag in sixth after a four-way scrap for fourth. In the Rotax class, Sandro is tied on 620 points for third with the #25 of Jacob Vickers.
"It was a new challenge for me at Llandow, as I've never driven here before, but I learnt a lot by getting out there and driving on a very wet circuit, having arrived Friday night," said Sandro.
"I was pleased with P2 in Pro Kart qualifying, but a little dissapointed in Rotax, ending up P8, on what was a difficult day for everyone.
"I have to say a big thank you to the track staff and the organizers for their hard work to keep us racing in such difficult conditions, along with my mum and dad who give me such awesome support.
"It was brilliant progress during the Rotax heats to end up being part of a wicked four-way scrap for P4, where I ended up P6. In Pro Kart, I lost time early on to Max Shields, but I got closer to him as the final went on, but missed out by just 0.112 seconds from him as we crossed the line.
"Big thanks to the team at X-Kart as always, and I'm hoping for some more luck and better weather at Clay in three weeks."
Will Young (#22) would also get some welcome success in the differing conditions in South Wales, initially taking fifth in qualifying on Saturday, 0.768 seconds off pole position.
The three heats would see him place in the top ten, securing eighth, fifth and second respectively, ahead of the shortened final on Sunday afternoon. In the final, Will would also show some great race craft after starting fifth, but would end up being embroiled in a four-way fight for fourth by 0.122 seconds ahead of Jacob Vickers, with Sandro and the #7 of Nikolas Ellis.
"After a challenging start to the day in pouring down rain, we had a solid end to the day finishing second in heat 2," said Will
"The final saw the weather improve a lot and despite some challenges with the kart setup I managed to bring the kart back home in fourth. Huge win for my team mate Jacob and X-Kart!"
Will heads into the final round on October 23rd & 24th fifth in the standings on 589 points.
Bartek Filipak (#8) would enjoy the challenge of the combined dry and wet weather conditions at Llandow, initially taking third in the Novice class in qualifying, ending up 15th overall with a 51.677 second lap time on his sixth lap in the session.
Along with this, he would be the second-highest placed novice in two of the three heats, finishing in 15th and 14th in the opening two, before taking his highest result in the third, placing 11th. Starting 13th in the final, he would secure a consistent top-15 run all weekend long, ending up 14th at the end of 15 laps.
Harry Hurst-Grover (#14) would be back in action after his accident in the previous round at Glan-Y-Gors, and would also shine as one of the Novice drivers in South Wales.
Initially, he would end up 18th in qualifying, but would make progress over the course of the three heats, finishing 20th in the first, 13th (top novice) in heat two, with a fantastic seventh (as top novice) in the final heat. It would also be another 13th place finish in the final, ahead of Bartek for top novice honours by 0.372 seconds at the finish.
"It has been a great weekend for our drivers here at Llandow," stated X-Kart owner Matty Street.
"The amount of great results for Jacob, Sandro, Will, Bartek and Harry was such a welcome achievement for the entire team, even though some of the drivers are still learning.
"I couldn't be any prouder of our drivers, along with the entire crew behind the scenes, such as the parents and mechanics. We're all looking forward to heading to Clay Pigeon to see how well we get on in the final round later on this month."
To find out the results from Round 6 at Llandow, head to the following link:
The current championship standings can be found via the links below:
Junior Pro Kart: https://results.alphatiming.co.uk/cadetkartchamp/2021/champ/17/
Images © Stu Stretton Photography & Josh East Photography