Qualifying heats


World Cup

Kier Millar Trophies


The Oval Racing Expo 2016

Download full World Cup results


This was the biggest day yet for the Ninja Sprints, the class that grew from the original Rolling Thunder Show Mini Sprints and was subsequently adopted by Spedeworth and its affiliated promotions in Scotland and Northern Ireland. The World Cup title race was postponed last year while some technical issues with the class were sorted, but when rescheduled to its home track at Arena-Essex it became very important to everyone involved in this very successful formula. Partly to contest the gold roof title, but mainly to pay tribute to the last holder of the title, Kier Millar who tragically died at Lochgelly Raceway in 2015 after graduating to the Ministox formula.


42 Ninja Sprints arrived to contest a very full programme. In hindsight it was a bit ambitious to tag this major championship for the six to ten year old drivers onto the already packed programme for the Expo; the Ninjas’ World Cup really deserved to headline its own event. With all but six of the booked-in drivers attending, the entry comprised 12 drivers representing the Rolling Thunder Show; 16 with allegiance to Spedeworth/Incarace; 12 from Hardie Race Promotions in Scotland and two from DMC Promotions in Northern Ireland, although many of the visiting promotions’ drivers are also regulars at RTS meetings.


On Saturday there were six qualifying heats; the entry was split into two groups who each had three races with a drawn grid, a reversed grid and a much argued-over line-up for the third race which would have been easier if it had been drawn in advance! The top 22 point scorers qualified for the World Cup race, together with the first two from a B-final that was the first race on Sunday’s programme (and again proved controversial as only five of the B-finalists had scored points, so the rest had to start in randomly drawn positions).


Once the World Cup was decided there were four more races on Sunday with the Kier Millar Trophies to be won; this time the drivers were split between the star grades in one group and lower graders in the other. With 12 races over the weekend, plus many restarts, the Ninja Sprint drivers and families certainly had a full weekend to justify the distances so many of them had travelled.


Saturday’s first heat was won by Devon-based Kasey Jones after a tussle with Scotland’s Robbie Arnitt, while one of Scotland’s main hopes, Charlie Hardie, was eliminated in an early tangle. The second heat also needed a full restart but Arena regular Lewie Weaver then set the pace ahead of fellow RTS driver Jack Collins.


Second time out Toby Parfitt came through to pass long-time leader Charlie Haynes before the race was cut short by a second red flag, with Toby still ahead of Loui Cottrill and Charlie Hardie making up some points in third. The other group suffered three stoppages before a result was declared with Max Eaton winning from Ireland’s Aaron Ward and local boy Riley Marsh.


With tensions running high for the third heats neither race was able to complete its distance; after three red flags the first group’s result was declared with Loui Cottrill ahead of Robbie Arnitt, and local Alfie Witherall put himself into contention with third. The last heat of the day came to a premature end with Riley Marsh in front of Max Eaton and Aaron Ward.


When the points were tallied Max Eaton, Loui Cottrill and Riley Marsh were tied at the top of the list, but would start the World Cup in that order based on their best heat results, with Aaron Ward, Lewie Weaver, Alfie Witherall, Robbie Arnitt, Alec Waters, Adam Langridge and Toby Parfitt completing the top ten.


The B-final was unusually given a rolling start to try and cut down on the inevitable chaos, but there was still an early red flag and full restart. Toby Partridge led from the start, challenged by Finn Hunter-Johnson while Scotland’s Lennon Grant came through from towards the back of the grid and grabbed second just before the reds came out again. The unlucky Scottish driver was moved back to fourth place for the restart and then another stoppage ended the race with Toby Parfitt and Finn Hunter-Johnson taking the transfer spots.


The World Cup race provided all the expected action. Max Easton led away but there were reds on the third lap as a tangle between nine karts had to be sorted out. Riley Marsh and Aaron Ward tangled on the restart, eliminating the unlucky Irish boy. On the next attempt Max Eaton again took the advantage and led right up to the last lap when there was further controversy as Riley Marsh caught the leader and nipped by among backmarkers to take the flag first. Yellow  flags were waving at the last corner as Bailey Millar spun but the race was judged to have gone the distance with Riley Marsh confirmed the winner from Max Eaton, Alex Robertson, Loui Cottrill, Lewie Weaver, Robbie Arnitt, Alfie Witherall, Alec Waters, Calum Magill and Charlie Hardie.


After the World Cup presentation, the action continued with the two heats for the blue/yellow/white grades won by Alec Waters and Lennon Grant, while the red/superstar grade races went to Aaron Ward and Charlie Hardie. Aaron Ward made up for his World Cup disappointment by being the overall highest points scorer for the Top Gun Trophy. The Kier Millar trophy for the lower graders went to Lennon Grant from Alec Waters and Bailey Millar, while Aaron Ward won the trophy for the star graders from Kasey Jones and Max Eaton.