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Mark Baines Motorsport – The fastest growing team in British karting

Mark Baines Motorsport – The fastest growing team in British karting

Four years ago Mark Baines was given the chance the start his own race team when he had someone buy him two awnings and a van. He’d ran his son, Jordan, for years but after a lot of convincing Mark took the plunge. Now in 2017 Mark has a total of 30 drivers racing for him and he’s about to turn from a Club race team to a National one with seven drivers entered into Super One. It’s an incredible achievement and something that has changed his life. Here’s his story…

Let’s start from the beginning, many people around the paddock will know Jordan Baines. He is Mark’s son and is the person that started all of this when he jumped in a Cadet at just 5 years old.

“Jordan started karting in Honda cadet at 5 years old, we did non MSA at Warden Law and loads of practicing until he started racing at 8. He raced WTP for 3 years receiving number 15, number 10 and number 8. So after 3 seeded finishes on a pathetically low budget and also 2 SYKC and LKRC championship wins, we then did 2 years Mini Max winning TVKC, SYKC and LKRC all in one year!”

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By this point Jordan was absolutely flying! It’s fair to say he would have been aiming to win Super One, with all those club wins and two consecutive top tens in WTP Cadet it looked likely. But as we all know when you move up classes the budget tends to rise and despite getting off to a great start, unfortunately Jordan had to cut his Super One season short.

“In his second year we were 3rd in Super One but had to pull out because of money, that was around same time the team started and with Jordan growing his racing was on the back seat for a while.”

It’s fair to say Jordan knew what he was doing in the seat, but I had never really heard of him too much until last year. When Jordan went out to Le Mans for the IAME International Final many would have written him off. The team were not experienced enough for it, Jordan had not had enough seat time but when Mark talked me through his results last year I was amazed!

Jordan Baines

“Last year Jordan only raced three times. He was p6 at Rowrah LGM, P12 at Kartmasters from 36th on the grid and 35th out of 140 drivers at the Le Mans for the X30 World Finals. We were very happy with this after a couple of years of not being in the seat!”

Who wouldn’t be happy with that! It had put MBM and Jordan on the World map and things were about to get even bigger for the team, but where did it all start?

Mark decided to start his team after he helped many people whilst his son was racing, he helped with kart set up and driver coaching.

Freddie Spindlow

Freddie Spindlow

“A number of people kept asking to start my own team but I couldn’t afford it and didn’t want the hassle, Mick Batty spent about 6k on a van and two little awnings and said if it works then pay me back if it doesn’t then he’s made a mistake, 4 years on we have 30 drivers on our books and many championship and race wins which I couldn’t be more proud of. Its unbelievable how we have grown, we started with 4 drivers Fraz Fenwick (who as just rejoined ) Joe Ellison (still with us ) Adam Batty and River Hughes.”

It does beg the question why hasn’t the team done Super One already? You’d think it’d be an issue of not having enough drivers to do it or not having the equipment, but Mark obviously had the drivers intentions in mind when he made the decision not to do it last year.

“I didn’t feel ready as a team last year. I wanted to make sure when we entered Super One we, as a team were ready. I don’t have the benefit of customers with bottom pockets who can do loads of testing but they do want to do Super One just for the experience and I think that’s great. I’m happy that as a team when we do the rounds we will be ready.”

MBM

It’s refreshing to hear Mark chose to wait another year. Some people may say you need to do Super One as soon as possible, but with Mark’s previous experience of running on a budget he has been able to prepare them for an extra year so all the drivers can do it properly. As for the calendar, the team have been to most tracks, but they’ll be visiting both Clay Pigeon and Rissington for the first time this year. I’m sure they were happy to see Rowrah and Fulbeck still on the calendar, these are usually two tracks where the team should be particularly strong!

Let’s take a look at the seven driver line-up for this season and how Mark thinks each of them will do…

MBM Super One Driver line-up:

IAME Cadet

  • Freddie Spindlow – I’m hoping to be challenging top ten
  • Evan Brown – massive jump for him if we can make A finals I’ll be happy

Honda Cadet

  • Justin Breward – certainly hoping to be challenging for wins
  • Daniel Holdsworth – on a strict budget I would be happy with top half of grid

Junior X30

  • Fraz Fenwick – I see no reason why we can’t get top ten and maybe even higher
  • Gracie Holdsworth – if we get a few A finals I will be very happy

Senior X30

  • Thomas Turner – really expect to be challenging for top spot, we will certainly be pushing as hard as we can!

MBM

It’s fair to say they do have a strong line-up for this season. In the Cadet and Junior classes they have one driver who should excel along with another who may be down on experience. The more experienced drivers should help the others along and as for Thomas Turner, well I strongly believe he is a confirmed title contender!

Speaking to Mark showed me how passionate he is about the sport and about his team, he seems very proud of what he has built up himself and has a lot of faith in his drivers which I believe is key. He looks to have a strong team for Super One this year, I see no reason why we won’t see them on the podium in their first year!

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Thomas Turner Driver Profile

Super One results:

  • 2014 – Mini Max – Finished 6th
  • 2015 – Junior Max – Finished 8th
  • 2016 – Junior Max – Pulled out due to lots of problems, only did 3 rounds.

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Thomas has a good record in Super One as you can see from the stats above. In his last two full campaigns he was top ten, he knows the tracks, he is quick and he is a great racer! He’s already got a proven record in the Senior X30 class too, he appeared at the last round (PFI) with MBM in Senior X30 last year and won the round with pole, wins in all heats and a 1st and 2nd in the finals! Had he not been driving with a cracked chassis he may have just won both finals!

It was a race that convinced him to go with X30 class having raced in Rotax for a couple of years. However, Thomas will have his work cut out this year with the Senior X30 grid looking to exceed 70 drivers! However, Thomas is confident and feels very much at home with the team. Thomas gets on particularly well with Jordan Baines, who is usually on the spanners for him. As we all know good communication is needed between the driver and mechanic for the good results to come.

Watch out for Thomas at Rowrah, he has a proven track record there. I’m expecting him to go very well next weekend!

Thomas Turner 5-1

5 words to describe yourself:

  • Committed
  • Consistant
  • Dedicated
  • Fast
  • Competitive

4 favourite tracks:

  • Rowrah
  • PFI
  • Shenington
  • Larkhall

3 Favourite drivers:

  • Lewis Hamilton
  • Jenson Button
  • Daniel Riccardo

2 Memorable moments:

  • Winning 2012 LGM Series
  • Racing senior X30 for the first time

1 goal:

  • To do well in Super One this year

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Mark Baines 5-1

5 words to describe yourself:

  • Hardworking
  • Passionate
  • Dedicated
  • Loyal
  • Fun

4 favourite tracks:

  • Rowrah
  • Wombwell
  • Kartodromo Valencia
  • Larkhall

3 Favourite drivers:

  • Jonny Edgar (hardworking and amazing attitude)
  • Thomas Turner (started off so shy but has an amazing talent)
  • Jordan Baines (never had a budget but so talented and amazing work ethic)

2 Memorable moments:

  • Winning British championship in 2012 with Thomas Turner
  • Jordan’s first ever win such an emotional moment

1 goal:

  • To help people achieve their goals and to prove to people how good a team we are.

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Written by Bethanie Lawson

Images courtesy of Stu Stretton and Marc Quinlivan

 

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