Last year Karting magazine teamed up with BIZ Karts to take part in our first full race season. The championship was the Rye House Pro Kart Championship, the most competitive Pro Kart championship in Europe!
For our first season we didn’t do too badly at all. A total of 13 drivers took part over the nine rounds with our best result being a 5th place at Round 3. A race that was televised on Motors TV!
The format of RHPK is three hours of practice followed by 30 minutes qualifying ending with a four hour race. A minimum of two stops are required meaning two or three drivers are needed for each team. The karts of the teams own and they all use GX160 engines. Our chassis was provided and looked after by BIZ who also hired in the engines for us, which were rebuilt by UFO engines.
Going in blind it was always going to be tough task against some real talented teams and drivers. The season started with Lee Henderson the Team Captain and at Round one he was joined by Karting magazine Journalist and HSF Winner, Piers Prior. Completing the team was DMAX front runner, Luke Cousins.
We got off to a dream start with 4th in qualifying before some problems saw us fall back to 9th at the flag in the race.
Round two Lee and Piers were joined by former F100 front runner, Joe Scorey. Clearly going in the right direction Piers qualified 3rd for the race and briefly led but during that stint a weight post collapsed causing us to come in underweight and with it came a heavy penalty. We eventually recovered to 18th place.
Round three was the televised round (see programme at the bottom of this feature) and Lee pulled a few strings to bring in a star studded team which included Sports Car racer, Bradley Philpot and former Junior Max European and World Champion, Harry Webb. With a full grid of 36 karts we qualified 7th for the race and Harry kicked things off with a fantastic first stint. Things fell apart when Lee miscalculated Brad’s stint and not ready for the pit stop we found ourselves having to stop again. This dropped us from a potential podium to a 5th place finish.
Round four Lee brought in TKM British Champion, Matt England and Pro Kart front runner, Stephanie Lutteridge. Problems came with difference in weights and heights which made the stops tricky and a mechanical issue saw our race end early. But both Matt and Stephanie showed fantastic pace!
Round five Lee brought in karting legend Colin Brown. He beat Lewis Hamilton to the 2000 World title and was now joining the team to try and help us at round five. His brother, James was due to race but pulled out during practice with injury. Unfortunately we suffered issues which saw us having to retire for a second consecutive race after a tyre came off as Colin left the pits for his second stint.
For round six Lee decided to bring back expeirence in Joe Scorey and we brought in yet another British Champion in Sam Marsh. Same brought raw pace as did Joe, but Joe also brought very good technical knowledge and between all three drivers they were able to finish 7th despite one or two problems. It was our second best result of the season at the time.
Post round six was where we unfortunately lost Lee from the team. An incident away from the track was going to out him out the seat for a few months so replacing him as Captain was DMAX and Club100 Champion, Tom Golding. It was at this point we decided to put together a team to all race at the last three rounds and Tom decided to choose fellow A&D front runners, Tom Sibley and Tom Kempynck.
Our championship position at the end of all nine rounds was 12th and out of 46 teams that’s not bad going.
We’d like to take this chance to say a HUGE thank you to BIZ and the RHPK Championship organisers and fellow teams who helped us along the way. We’d also like to thank UFO Engines and all 13 drivers who represented Karting magazine.
RHPK seems like any other championship from the outside, but when you take part it is actually very unique. LIVE grid walks at every race, commentary, pace cars (see below list) at every race, lunch cooked for the whole paddock by Team Polish Lambo, friendly atmosphere and televised races long with a proven race format.
We are planning to return for the 2017 season, we hope to see many more teams there!
Full 2016 Driver List:
2016 Pace Car List:
ITS Ariel Atom
Burton Powered Ford Focus RS
Starlet Drift Car
Ford Focus ST
Ford Escot MKII Rally Car
Leon Smith’s Midget
Watch back round three as televised on Motors TV here:
Written by Chris McCarthy
Images courtesy of Andy Webb, Sprocket Photography
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