Karting magazine RHPK 2016 Review

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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 1 Team (left to right) - Lee Henderson, Luke Cousins, Piers Prior
Round 1 Team (left to right) – Lee Henderson, Luke Cousins, Piers Prior

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.

Joe Scorey
Joe Scorey race for Team Karting magazine at both Rounds Two and Six

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.

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Round 3 team (left to right) – Lee Henderson, Brad Philpot & Harry Webb

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!

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Round 3 team (left to right) – Lee Henderson, Stephanie Lutteridge & Matt England

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.

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Colin Brown racing for Team Karting magazine at Round 5

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.

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Sam Marsh on it at round six

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.

It turned out to be a good move with the trio improving race by race in pace and results and getting quicker and quicker with setup and pit stops. Over the three rounds they had a 19th, 12th and 6th.

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Team Karting magazine for Rounds 7, 8 & 9 (left to right) – Tom Sibley, Tom Golding & 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!

Click here to find out more about the RHPK Championship

Full 2016 Driver List:

Colin Brown
Bradley Philpot
Harry Webb
Sam Marsh
Matt England
Tom Golding
Tom Sibley
Tom Kempynck
Piers Prior
Joe Scorey
Lee Henderson
Luke Cousins
Stephanie Lutteridge

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Harry Webb racing for Team Karting magazine at round 3

2016 Pace Car List:

ITS Ariel Atom
Burton Powered Ford Focus RS
Starlet Drift Car
Ford Focus ST
FunCup Car
Delorean
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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