Mixed fortunes for Morris and Hepworth at British Championship season opener

April 5, 2019


Last weekend saw the British Championships get underway for the Rotax classes and with it Jordan Morris and Jem Hepworth start their 2019 campaigns. There were mixed fortunes for the pair with Jem’s weekend being hit by technical issues, whilst Jordan competed in a strong mid field to pick up two top twenty finishes.

Jordan Morris – 19th

To sum up Jordan’s weekend in one word would be, consistency! From the off Jordan, racing in his first ever national meeting, had put himself right in the middle of a very competitive Junior Max field with the prime focus to avoid having to fight in the repechage race.

Jordan qualified 22nd in the 45-kart field which set him up for 15th place starts in both of his heats. There’s always danger starting in the thick of it can lead you vulnerable to incidents but a top ten finish in either heat was not an over optimistic aim now. 

As the season officially kicked off in heat one Jordan made a slightly nervy start dropping back to 20th in the first three laps. It wasn’t an ideal start, but far from a nightmare either and Jordan was able to quickly compose himself and start making some of those positions back again. Eventually Jordan would steal 17th on the final lap, but his hard work would unfortunately come undone post-race after receiving a front fairing penalty which dropped him down to 20th.

With no such problems at the start of heat two Jordan was immediately fighting for a top 15 finish. His times were matching some of those in the top ten, but he would eventually come home to finish 14th being promoted to 12th post-race after penalties for some drivers ahead. 

The results would leave Jordan in 22nd for the opening final further highlighting his consistency in the heats. The first final would see Jordan tested on his resilience for the second time of the weekend after being pushed back to 30th at the start of the race. But similar to the opening heat Jordan stayed calm and slowly moved his way back through the field eventually going on to finish 19th place.  

Final two would see the race get off to a much better start with Jordan moving up to 16th on the opening lap. Although briefly pushed back that was where Jordan would stay for most of the race and he even got as high as 15th on lap 12 before the battle around him erupted. It led to Jordan being in 18th going onto the last lap and with too much pressure behind he would eventually finish the race 20th which would become 19th post-race. 

Jem Hepworth – DNF

As mentioned already Jem’s weekend was heavily affected by technical issues and those would start straight away in qualifying with Jem suffering from a spark plug issue. It meant she was only able to set a time good enough for 50th place leaving her a huge amount of work to do in the heats! 

That work began immediately in the opening heat with Jem having to make as many places as she could. However, with the Senior Max grid so tight and competitive it was not an easy task, but Jem got off to a solid start gaining eight places to 17th. She was within two tenths of the leaders when it came to pace showing where she perhaps could have been.

Now fighting to stay out of the repechage Jem needed an even better result in heat two and that’s exactly what she went on to provide. She charged through the field gaining an impressive eleven places to finish in 14th place with lap times good enough to be in and around the top five. 

It felt like enough to make it into the finals, but devastatingly Jem would fall short by just one point meaning she would have to race in the repechage. Jem would start from pole position and would only have to stay in the top six to qualify through to the finals. Playing it safe Jem would not get involved in any battles and sat at the back of a very closely knit quintet for the lead to qualify safely into the finals.

The first final would see Jem start on the back row so she had absolutely nothing to lose and everything to gain! That mind-set and approach seemed to play into her favour over the course of the race as she progressed nicely through the order eventually finishing 24th. However, she would be one of several to pick up a front fairing penalty dropping her to 29th post-race.

Things would go from bad to worse when it came to final two after technical gremlins came back to haunt Jem in the shape of a carburettor issue. To add insult to injury whilst to salvage a result Jem would be taken out of the race leaving her to watch the final six laps from the side of the track. A frustrating end to what had been a weekend of strong potential.