I started racing back in 2005 when I was 11 years old. I first got involved when my dad booked me on a practice day at Bayford Meadows Kart circuit in Sittingbourne in the school summer holidays in 2004. I remember enjoying the day so much, I was hooked! This resulted in me doing some more practice days in the autumn of 2004 and eventually led to my parents buying me a kart. I steadily improved throughout the year to the point where I was on the edge of the top third of the field, often beating much more experienced competitors.
2006 is where things started to become a little more serious. My parents bought me a new kart early in the year and generally invested more money and time in to my racing. As a result of this, I was now expected to start picking up good results. To begin with, my results were not as good as had been expected due to me not being used to the pressure, but I soon got used to it and started to perform better. I took my first podiums and wins at club level in the summer. In late August, I competed in a race called the London Cup, which was a one-off race meeting every year at Rye House. I qualified third for the pre-final, but then me and another kart collided resulting in his kart going up in the air and landing on my hand on the steering wheel and breaking my thumb. I restarted the race and finished sixth despite only driving with one fully working hand. I made a reasonable start in the final and I was in the battle for third, but my chain snapped half way through the race.
9th in the Motors TV UK Karting Challenge
Various podiums and wins at club level
I started to venture further afield in 2007. As well as the usual Club meetings I raced in, I competed in my first national championship, ‘The UK Karting Challenge’ which was televised on Motors TV, a channel on Sky and televised throughout Europe. I learned a huge amount that year, as racing at a national level was a completely different ball game to racing at club level. After a shaky start, I had a good second half of the year and scored some consistently good finishes, with a best result of fourth in the last race meeting, resulting in me finishing ninth overall in the championship.
2nd in UK championship
6th in the World Finals in Jesolo Italy
2008 prompted a big change in my karting career, as me and my parents decided to change to a different class. We moved from the Rotax class to the Easykart class due to the spiralling costs of the former. This turned out to be a very good move as it was the first time I had raced in a championship where all the drivers were on a level playing field machinery-wise. I had a small dose of bad luck at the start of the year where I had mechanical failures in the first and third rounds of the championship but made up for these with 3 wins, 2 second places and a third place over the other 6 rounds to finish second overall, but the best was yet to come. At the end of the year, the top 5 in the championship were invited to compete in the world finals in Italy, which were held at a circuit called Jesolo, half an hour away from Venice. I qualified tenth (out of sixty eight drivers) and was the only British driver to qualify for the main race. I made a good start, stayed out of trouble and finished sixth, narrowly beaten by Oscar Tunjo (who would go on to win races in GP3 and European Formula Renault) who had much more experience of racing abroad and at the Jesolo circuit than I did.
6th in UK Championship
5th in World Finals
7th in UK Championship
Up until 2009, I had been racing in the junior age group of karting, for people from the age of 11 to 16. As I turned 16 during 2009, I had the option to either stay in juniors for another year, or to move to seniors, which is what I did. My first year in seniors conflicted with my GCSEs, so I had the combination of learning a new style of racing with a different kart and the distraction of my GCSE final coursework and exams. As soon as the exams were over, I could fully concentrate on my racing. Everything came together at the end of the year where I came third in the final round of the British championship despite starting from twentieth on the grid due to an earlier mechanical failure. I ended up sixth in the championship, but still qualified for the world finals as from 2009, the top 10 in the championship were invited to the world finals. The world finals were held near Siena in Italy. I put everything I had learned throughout the year in to practice and finished fifth in the World Finals and was the top British driver again.
2010 was my final full year of karting, as I took a year out in 2011 to concentrate on my A-Levels and sorting out my career. Unfortunately 2010 was the year where all my bad luck seemed to strike. I had one podium at the start of the year but the remainder of the year was dogged with mechanical failures, mostly during qualifying and heats, meaning I often had to start from the back of the grid in the main races. I managed to finish seventh in the championship so I once again competed in the world finals, this time, held at the Casteletto circuit in Italy. The world finals summed up my year perfectly: full of potential, but dogged by bad luck! I qualified for the main final, but got taken off the track on the first lap by a wayward driver, meaning I was down to around thirtieth position. I managed to work my way back up to seventh position with 3 laps to go, setting the second fastest lap of anybody and fast closing down on fifth and sixth positions only for my chain to snap and me retiring from the race.
Mobile: 07545 221966
Photos courtesy of Rick Wilson, Chris Middleton, Jon Bryant (snappyracers.com) and John Hutchinson