Teenage karting ace, Thomas Turner has ended his first, full major UK Championship season in third-place, at the PFi circuit’s Super One Series karting finals.
The Rotherham 16 year-old was engineered by 18 year-old Jordan Baines (son of MBM team boss, Mark), the pair’s combined ages almost equal to that of some of the more experienced competitors he has beaten during the season.
Only having been eligible to race in the Senior X30 category since late-summer 2016, Turner made a very successful ‘toe-in-the-water’ debut at the end of last year, with a podium finish in the final round.
Competing in the whole series during 2017, Turner has raised more than a few eyebrows with his speed and also how he has ‘kept his nose clean’, never having been penalised for infringing a dropped front bumper penalty at all in the Championship.
Such being fate, at PFi the end of season race was not an easy one with Turner having to endure a catalogue of problems to make it to the final.
In the B Final he started 17th and came through to 5th, but then his engine seized so he had to start the A Final from the back of the grid.
So starting the season-ending race from 32nd, he was 24th by the end of the first lap, then overtaking one or two karts every lap he was 8th at the flag, and set race fastest lap in the process.
S8 Racing’s Euan Wilson qualified in 12th-place and worked his way through the field to take the flag in 4th, but, “I’ve been penalised for a dropped front bumper”, making him finish 13th on the results sheet.
In the earlier race he had come through from 29th to 12th and won the B final.
S8 teammate Oliver Greetham qualified in 22nd and was coming through the field setting 2nd fastest lap on the way, before a mechanical problem meant he was unable to finish the race.
A brief rain shower before the OK Senior race did not slow Chesterfield’s Ben Barnicoat who had qualified 3rd on the grid.
He took the lead easily on the opening lap, and began setting race fastest laps as he pulled out a massive lead. By lap 5 he created a two second lead, growing it to three seconds by lap 10, and at the flag he had pulled it out to 3.8 seconds.
“The race was pretty tame, with me having a four second lead at the flag”, Barnicoat said. “I took the lead at the first hairpin, it was a late move, but I did it. My fastest laps were set early on, as I had to win the in the slowest time possible due to the rain and the track being so slippery.
“Although it was wet I knew it would dry out, and when it did I struggled as the tyres were getting warm. The drizzle at the end cooled the tyres and I pulled the gap out.
“What we learned this weekend will help us with the upcoming CIK-FIA OK World Finals”
Further down the order, Strawberry Racing clinched the 2017 MSA British Senior Kart Championship (to give the OK Senior Championship its full title) with Mark Kimber who had qualified a place higher than Barnicoat in 2nd-place.
Up against added opposition from visiting foreign and other drivers – like Barnicoat – preparing for the CIK-FIA OK World Championships Kimber immediately fell back through the field to be 12th on the first lap. He sensibly avoided trouble in the tricky conditions, slowly making his way through the field to score a safe 8th at the flag, but clocked up enough points to be crowned MSA British Senior Kart Champion.
As part of the raft of prizes he received from the Super One Series, Kimber was delighted to receive the prize of a full factory-works drive with the TonyKart Racing team at the forthcoming, OK World Championships, to be held at the PFi circuit.
Strawberry teammate, Dean MacDonald qualified in 18th-place and did well to get up to 4th by the middle of the race, unfortunately he fell back to 13th at the flag.
The team had the IAME Cadet final pole position care of Max Dodds, but the 11 year-old was overtaken by Taylor Barnard at the start.
Despite taking the lead on lap 4, Dodds had the lead grabbed from him by Barnard on lap 5 and subsequently slipped down to 4th place by the flag drop.
“At the start I received a shove and by the time I recovered the front three had broken away, so I could only finish 4th”
Dodds smiled, “Although I was 4th in the race, I have finished the season 3rd in the Championship”.
His dad and ex-racer, Oliver, was pleased with Max’s year considering the team - Strawberry Racing – that in 2017 they were competing in a category new to them, and in 2018 he is considering staying with them in the Cadet category for another season, “after all, he is still only 11 years-old.
His Strawberry teammate, Josh Rowledge, qualified in 3rd-place but also fell back through the field to finish 8th.
Having qualified in 26th-place, Barnsley’s Jack Younger managed to gain places, improving to take the flag in 20th.
For the Junior X30 final, Barnsley’s Matthew Hudson, qualified in 11th-place, benefitted from karts spinning ahead of him, he was in 3rd-place by the end of the first lap, setting two fastest laps during the race, and took the flag in 3rd, finishing the season 3rd in the Championship, and highest-placed rookie.
Barnsley’s Cole Kilner qualified well in 5th-place, and through the heats he looked to be on for a better start position in the final until a ‘racing incident’.
Hit and then run over by Reggie Duhy (Duhy was not penalised for this action), Kilner suffered an injury to his right shoulder that needed to be strapped up for the final. Intent of getting at least one in revenge, Kilner announced, “We are faster and we are going to beat him...”
Kilner’s race was livened-up by the intervention of heavy drizzle falling, there being no time for any of the field to change to wet weather tyres.
The slippery track caught many out, along with Kilner, who spun on the first lap, and then had to wait for the field to pass, before re-joining in 30th. Undaunted he fought his way through the pack making places to be 14th at the flag, ending his Junior X30 season 3rd-highest rookie in the Championship.