The month of June tends to signal the mid point of everyone’s seasons. Ambitions of a possible championship challenge or championship recovery is usually what is everyone’s mind at this point.
Most months I mention the major arrive and drive series’ first, but I want to give special shout out to series such as SG Petch at Teesside, West Midlands Kart Championship, Rugby Kart Championship and Northampton Kart League at Whilton Mill who are all seeing fantastic numbers and are going from strength to strength. Website and Facebook pages for these championships will be at the bottom of this article so go check them out and get involved.
Last month Club100 made a special visit to Spa in Belgium. The event was advertised as 10 hours, but there was a twist. Instead of a straight 10 hour endurance it was split into 9 separate races with 4 x 30 minute, 2 x 1.5 hour and 2 x 2.5 hour. Everyone I spoke to were really positive about the format and I personally think it was a great way to keep everyone interested all weekend long. Club100 drivers of past and present all came together for weekend of great racing. I hope to see this return next year and for many years to come!
This job means I tend to know who is doing what and where as well as what they have previously done. One trend I’m seeing increasingly regularly is graduates from Junior championships at Brentwood Karting having more and more success. The mastermind behind the championships at Brentwood is Dan Lee and I asked him a couple of questions on the success of those young drivers.
Dan, you have been at Brentwood Karting a long time now, has it always been you drive to help the youngsters out?
“I gain a great sense of achievement from the progression of young drivers. Brentwood Karting caters for all customers, adults and kids having fun, however in recent years I have looked at providing a strong foundation for younger drivers to excel in Motorsport, both as drivers and engineers”.
There has been a lot of very successful junior drivers start their racing career at Brentwood and gone on to have further success at other circuits, why do you think that has been the case?
“Driver progression requires alot more work than pointing at a corner and telling the driver the best way to drive round it.”
“My plan here is to tailor each progression plan to suit each driver, we will get to know the driver find their weakness and target that area and develop a plan to help their weakness become a strength. Drivers are tutored during the race events we hold here and we often have a professional racing coach on their race meeting providing feedback and tips to a handful of drivers each week so all drivers receive a lot more advice here than they do at other circuits.”
“Once a driver is at a level where they can move into other forms of Motorsport I try to provide them with an insight into the next step, Test days with kart racing teams, work experience with Motorsport teams, tours with F1 Teams, race car simulator sessions”.
Looking ahead what plans do you have to continue to help the stars of tomorrow?
“I thoroughly enjoy the position I am in and I’m keen to assist more “stars of tomorrow.” The Brentwood Karting Race League is currently operating very well with the biggest driver numbers we have ever had, we have also introduced a “Development Club” for novice drivers looking to join the Brentwood Karting Race League. For drivers looking to progress on from the Race League I can now provide a good footing for a successful career in Motorsport.”
“Three of those drivers to come through under Dan’s supervision has been Matt Luff but first Fraser and Amy Brunton. The brother and sister team now having great success at circuits such as Buckmore, Ellough and Samdown. Fraser has now also now ventured into owner driver and I spoke to them about their thoughts on the start Brentwood gave them.”
Both of you started racing with Brentwood, what do you think your experience there taught you to help you be successful elsewhere?
Fraser: “I actually started racing in the Rookies at Buckmore in January 2013 but went along to Brentwood in January 2014 when I was 10 as my dad was keen to get me more frequent racing experience as they race every Sunday morning. We ended up doing 44 Sundays in 2014 but it paid off as my driving got better and better. The Brentwood track is challenging, the karts are pretty equal and the racing is tough. However, the best thing about the Brentwood experience above all other tracks is the support you get from the guys who work there. They always talk about racing lines, overtaking zones and braking points. They spend time with you after the race and explain things clearly when there have been incidents so we all improve. The Manager, Dan Lee, is very supportive in guiding and coaching the drivers especially the new ones.”
“The Brentwood championships also provide fantastic prizes for the winners. Over the last two years, I have had test drives with Project One and Evolution Racing as well as factory tours of race teams including Force India and Carlin.”
“This solid racing experience was a great help when I raced at other tracks in 2015 including Bayford, Buckmore, Sandown, Milton Keynes and Ellough Park. However, I always return to Brentwood on a spare Sunday.”
Amy: “I started racing in the Rookies at Buckmore in August on my 8th birthday but joined Fraser in the Brentwood cadets in early 2014 and really enjoyed it. The cadet drivers are competitive on track but good friends in the paddock. We have great fun. The Brentwood Team really helps you drive faster and race better. That gave me the experience to race competitively at many tracks.”
You have both been successful at other circuits such as Buckmore and Fraser also at Ellough, do you plan to both continue to travel to Junior series around the country or will that focus change to other targets?
Fraser: “I enjoy the racing at different tracks and there is a group of friends that I race against most weekends. I have managed to win 8 championships since the Brentwood winter series of 2014/2015 and will still continue with Ellough, Buckmore and Brentwood this year while also racing more with my own kart.”
“I qualified for the SODI World Championship last year so I am heading off to Paris at the start of July for the finals. Racing at many different circuits in different karts over the last few years should help but I know the competition will be tough.”
“In the first 5 months of 2016, I have had a good run of success at Buckmore and Ellough which are the Sodi counting rounds in the UK. I am currently lying 4th in the Sodi World Championship and have already scored enough points that should see me qualify for the 2017 finals too.”
Amy: “I have also raced at many tracks in 2015 and tried hard to catch my brother when we race against each other. We have been on the podium together a few times and there have been many Brunton one, two’s in the races. However, we did crash into each other once. This year I have been focussing on the InKart Cadet Championship at Daytona, Sandown where I am currently lying in second place. I also race at Buckmore with Fraser. I got my ARKS licence at the same time as Fraser so am hoping he’ll let me have a go at one of the races.”
Fraser I know you have already stepped into owner driver karting and immediately had success, so does that mean we will see a brother and sister double attack moving into owner driver karting?
Fraser: “I have had great support from Dan and Greg of Mutation Motorsport in my first step into owner driver karting. Dan arranged a test in a minimax kart for me after keeping an eye on my championship progress and Greg came to watch. He was suitably impressed and the Team agreed to run me in a Honda Clubman for the rest of 2016. At my first race weekend at Bayford Meadows in May, Greg helped set the kart up on Saturday and I was able to get pole position on the Sunday. I then won the first heat and came third in the second heat before ending up third in the final. It was a great start.”
“The current plan is to finish this year in the Honda Clubman and look at racing in minimax or junior X30 for 2017. That would leave the Honda available for Amy although she might get to race it sometime this year.”
Amy: “I have only driven Fraser’s kart for my ARKS test but am hoping to race it at some point in the year. It would be great if both of us could have our own karts and race together at different tracks.”
“This year I have also become a member of the Susie Wolff, Dare2BeDifferent initiative which is aimed at helping girls in motorsport. I am looking forward to participating in the members’ sessions. I met Susie at an event last year and have been really inspired by her achievements. Hopefully I can get as far, or further than she did in her career.”
Finally Matt Luff who arguably is the most successful graduate from Brentwood. As a member of Jack Dex Racing he is having great success, such as last weekend where he finished 3rd in the East Anglian Cup at Kimbolton. Matt still races regularly in arrive and drive karting and is also a member of team Brentwood Banta who are leading the 6 hour team championship at Buckmore. A series that also acts as a qualifier for the Sodi World Series.
You began your racing career at Brentwood, what do you feel they offered to all Juniors in those first years of racing that has helped the majority of you have great success in various championships around the country?
“I think that Brentwood gives the opportunity for affordable racing at a highly competitive level on a weekly basis. Drivers improve quickly thanks to the opportunity to race every weekend. They don’t just organise races like most other tracks around the country but they give lots of guidance and support so that every driver can reach their maximum potential.”
I know you have often gone back to Brentwood even though you now race at other circuits and in other championships, is that help, guidance and support still in place when you do return?
“Yes, that guidance and support is always in place no matter what level of experience a driver has had. They will always help any driver to progress them into higher levels of karting or other forms of motorsport.”
Looking ahead then what is the long and even the short term plan with your karting career?
“I have just been invited to race for the JDR racing team, who have given me one of their excellent MS karts. I would like to repay this support by succeeding in all of my current TKM championships. I have considered the move to x30 but my ultimate goal for the future would be a move into cars.”
I would like to thank Dan, Fraser, Amy and Matt for their time and wish them the best for the remainder of the season and beyond. I’m sure we will continue to see successful drivers coming off the Brentwood production line.
Looking ahead for the next month all the championships kick on to continue the rest of the 2016 campaign. Next month there will be two World Championships to be contested with the Kart World Championships in Italy and the Sodi World Series in France. I will preview both in next months column.
Driver of the Month
Tomasz has probably had one of the most successful months of his karting career by picking up a 3rd place in DMAX Heavy Heats, winning DMAX Heavy Enduro and along with team mate Richard Lacey as Team Velocity winning Round 2 of the Power Maxed DMAX Team Endurance. Congratulations to Tomasz on what has been a very successful 2016 season so far which could potentially see him winning 3 championships.
As from next month we will change the Driver of the Month competition with a 5 person shortlist published 48 hours before the column is released so you can all vote.
Until next month then.
Written by Lee Henderson
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