McKeown and Munster celebrate inaugural ROKiT British F4 Esports titles
- Munster Rugby Gaming overhaul Apex Racing Team on final night to win inaugural Teams’ title.
- Luke McKeown holds firm in nail-biting finale to seal Drivers’ crown.
- Peter Berryman takes a fourth win from pole in opening race at Brands Hatch.
- All Star Cup honours go the way of Mike Epps.
Munster Rugby Gaming won the inaugural ROKiT British F4 Esports Championship title on a dramatic final night at Brands Hatch.
With Munster taking their share of a £6,000 prize pot, Luke McKeown also made the headlines after taking the Drivers’ title for Apex Racing Academy.
With both categories finely poised for a three-way showdown heading to the Kent circuit’s iconic Grand Prix layout, qualifying ramped the excitement levels up another notch.
Peter Berryman led an Apex Racing Team front-row lockout ahead of team-mate Jamie Fluke, Alx Spetz and Josh Lad made it an all-Munster second row, with McKeown and Stanley Deslandes completing the roll call of title contenders inside the top six on the grid.
Race 1: Berryman’s late season surge continues
Berryman gave himself the best chance of springing an upset as the rank outsider for the Drivers’ title, powering clear whilst the pack behind battled to win the opening race of the night at a canter.
After a level start between the two ART challengers on the front row, Berryman could count on Fluke as a rear gunner, until the latter was pitched into a spin at Paddock Hill bend whilst battling with a fast-starting Spetz.
With Berryman released, Spetz’s attention turned to playing the team game. With McKeown and Lad directly behind, he positioned his car expertly at Hawthorns to put the former on the outside line. Lad saw his chance, and moved to the inside to secure third.
The two Munster cars then inverted, with Lad moving through to finish second behind Berryman, and Spetz completing the podium.
Race 1: What they said
Berryman: “The start of the race was tough; we struggled a little bit with the balance of the car. Confidence was a bit low, so I couldn’t really push it too much. I ended up under a bit of pressure, but it’s quite easy to defend at this circuit, so I wasn’t too stressed. I got into a bit of a rhythm and the balance came back. It’s nice to get pole, get the win, but with Jamie getting shunted off, it feels a bit like maybe it’s for nothing.”
Race 2: McKeown crowned after five-car thriller
With just four points now covering championship leader McKeown from Lad and Berryman heading into the final round, the pressure was on – and the Apex Racing Academy protégé rose to it magnificently.
A chaotic opening few laps resulted in McKeown rising to the race lead. With both titles on the line, his approach to the 30-minute contest was made far simpler when team-mate Deslandes was collected by a spinning Ted Bradbury (YRDA Arden) at Stirlings, wiping both cars out and ending any realistic chance of Apex Academy taking the honours.
Free to race single-mindedly, McKeown led until the closing laps, when he was reeled in by Spetz. Their battle then allowed Lad, Fluke and Berryman to make it a five-car train for the lead. Lap-on-lap, the quintet went wheel-to-wheel, but somehow avoided contact.
McKeown took the chequered flag first to wrap up the Drivers’ title, with second and third for Spetz and Lad enough to crown Munster Rugby Gaming the inaugural Teams’ Champions.
Race 2: What they said
McKeown: “Obviously the Teams’ title, in terms of prizes, is more important, but personally the Drivers’ Championship is still something to be proud of. I’m really happy, it’s been close all season with Josh, and then Pete coming into it at the end. That last was really tense, my heart was going. I just defended and was being overly careful, because I didn’t want to leave a door open for Alx to go through and, perhaps if he goes through, the train of cars goes through.”
Spetz: “After the Knockhill round, I thought it was all over, but it’s just amazing that we managed to bring home the Teams’ title in the end. I wanted to fight Luke, but as soon as I got close to the incident limit, I couldn’t risk a contact, I had to be so careful.”
Lad: “It’s really amazing. It’s been a pretty tough championship, we prepared massively for this race and to see it pay off with two great results was amazing. Alx has been a great team-mate, we’ve communicated perfectly – especially in that last race, when it was getting a bit stressful at the end!”
All Star Cup: Epps shines brightest to wrap up the honours
Mike Epps was the class of the field in the All Star Cup, an invitational event comprising real-world stars and content creators, using the same Brands Hatch GP circuit and IR-04 single seater.
The former BTCC racer won expertly from pole position in the opening race, then worked his way through the field in the second to claim second on the road behind British GT champion Will Tregurtha.
That put Epps eight points clear after the double header from Tregurtha, with soon-to-be Formula Ford racer Jason Smyth completing the top three.