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It has just been revealed that Josh Rattican and Will Orton will represent Great Britain at this year’s CIK-FIA Karting Academy Trophy after successfully passing the MSA selection process. Several drivers applied for the opportunity to race on the biggest Karting stage in the World, but after a tough decision it was Josh and Will who emerged successful.
Launched in 2010 the Academy is a fully level playing field championship which supports the CIK-FIA European and World Championships. Drivers are selected by their relevant ASN’s to compete in the series which will see them run on equal OTK chassis and Vortex OK Junior chassis. The 51 drivers have just three rounds to battle it out for the championship leaving no margin for error!
Since the championship began there has been just one British champion in Callum Bradshaw who cruised to victory in 2016. Ben Barnicaot was the Vice Champion in 2011 to Charles Leclerc but elsewhere there have been mixed fortunes for the Brits in the championship. British drivers to be selected in the past include Roy Johnson (2010), George Russell (2012), Alex Gill (2012), Ross Martin (2014), Alex Gill (2014), Alfie Brown (2016) with Joseph Taylor and Alex Simmonds taking part last year.
This choice from the MSA will certainly come as a popular one! Josh had a brilliant start to the 2017 season, a podium at the X30 Winter Cup was followed by a strong start to the British Championships with Josh finishing 5th in the final at round two. But shortly after the third-round Josh was unfortunately involved in a horrific incident at Fulbeck which saw him out of the seat for eight months! A lengthy recovery process eventually saw Josh return last month at the second round of the Trent Valley Kart Club Championship where he gained 13 places in the final to finish 16th.
A week later and Josh was out in Valencia for the X30 Winter Cup. Still adjusting Josh was thrown into a field of 49 of Europe’s best and qualified 4th for the final to eventually go on and finish 10th in the final. What Josh has shown over the last year is a lot of fight and determination and a comeback that will inspire anyone in the sport. It’s that kind of attitude that is needed in the Academy, that combined with Josh’s raw pace makes him a brilliant choice.
Certainly a wildcard Will is going to make a big step up to compete in this year’s CIK Academy but speaking to him and his father they are more than aware of the challenge ahead and are already preparing for round one! Will may be an unfamiliar name to some purely down to his lack of experience at British Championship level. So what is Will’s background in the sport? Well he started racing back in 2010 at the age of just 5 in the Bambino class. Will took part in the first two seasons of the Bambino Kart Club Championship becoming Vice Champion in 2012 where he went head to head with Maxwell Dodds.
Concentrating on other things Will then took two years out of the sport full time before returning in 2015 in the NatSKA Championship. Will won the Cadet class in 2016 and jumped up into MSA racing for the first-time last year entering the Junior TKM British Championship. Will faced a huge uphill battle with his lack of experience and having to learn lots of new tracks as well as the Junior TKM class but progressed well throughout the year with his best result coming at Shenington where he finished 11th in final two. So he can learn learn quickly and knows how to win championships, two things required for the Academy Championship!
Who will they be up against?
We will be previewing the rest of the grid later this week but for now you can have a look at the entry list below. The highest returning seed this year is Sami Meguetounif who was 5th in last years championship.
How will they get on?
Form would suggest that we have one title contender and one driver who should get quicker and quicker over the season and could even prove to be a dark horse. There’s no doubt Josh has the pace to take podiums and even win races, it will just depend on how he can adjust to the OK Junior class but in the capable hands of Coles Racing I think he’ll do just fine. I’m predicting a top five finish in the championship!
As for Will it is hard to predict. He did race at the X30 Winter Cup this year, but making his debut in the X30 Junior class he was always going to struggle. I think if he does enough testing he should be aiming to consistently make the final to begin with. Come the last round he may just pull a performance out the bag that no one expects. It’s going to be one heck of a journey, but I can’t wait to follow it!
Where will they be racing?
The championship kicks off at Salbris in France on the 6th May before moving to Lonato in Italy on the 15th July. The championship will then conclude at the Genk circuit in Belgium on the 9th September.
“This is a dream opportunity for me. It’s a great honour and a privilege to be representing my country in the CIK-FIA Karting Academy Trophy. I’m so determined to show what I’m capable of and will work very hard to get the most out of this once in a life-time opportunity. Thank you to the MSA for the support and confidence placed in me.”
“I’m delighted to be gifted such an opportunity and I am going to grasp it with both hands.”
MSA Academy Manager Greg Symes
“We put Josh and William through a review and then an interview process; their results and experience spoke for themselves and they were a joy to meet. We believe that both will do an excellent job in representing the UK both on and – just as importantly – off the track”.
Written by Chris McCarthy