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“Nothing became him in this life so much as the leaving of it!” I can’t remember who first uttered these words, or at whom they were actually aimed, but they could easily apply to the WTP class which, by all accounts, is currently in its death throes. Attending this year’s Little Green Man rounds, you’d never guess that the patient is terminally ill. Despite a slightly reduced entry list, the quality of racing has been very high indeed, reminiscent of those earlier days when over 60 drivers were registered and quite a few others had to be turned away. Six years ago, it looked as though WTP was about to take off big time, but the anticipated lift off never quite happened. It’s unfortunate because a healthy WTP class with reasonably priced motors and low maintenance costs would have brought tremendous benefits to karting in general and cadet racing in particular. Many former participants have come forward to express their dismay that the engines are no longer being produced. Everyone, it seems, has fond memories of this class and it’s rather like attending a funeral service where no-one wants to speak ill of the dead. It’s nice to be remembered with affection, although personally I’d prefer being intensely disliked but still very much alive.
With three rounds completed four likely candidates for the Little Green Man title have now emerged. Fate dealt a very unkind blow to Alex Stott in Round 2 when his track rod sheared, but he bounced back at Wigan to record an excellent victory. Provided that he doesn’t suffer any further misfortunes Alex should be in with a strong shout at the end. In pole position at this moment is Cory Stevens, but his margin over Sam Priest, the 2nd place contender, can literally be measured in thousandths of a second. At each round, two bonus points are awarded to whoever sets the fastest lap time. At Wigan, Cory’s fastest lap was recorded as 47.862 seconds. Sean Gee, another strongly fancied title contender, set a time of 47.865 seconds. That differential of 0.003 seconds was sufficient for Cory to collect the two extra points and he now leads the championships by just one point. If there’s a closer championship battle anywhere else in karting, I’ve yet to be made aware of it.
Pippa Coleman, Louise Richardson and Hannah Pym are young ladies who have all done very well in previous Little Green Man Championships. Of particular note was Pym’s achievement last year in finishing as the runner up to Matthew Graham. This year another young female has been impressing onlookers with her obvious speed. Less than 12 months after first entering the sport, Gaby Weyer turned quite a few heads at Kimbolton where she finished amongst the top six prize-winners. She comes from a motor racing family and her dad, Mark, used to compete regularly in Radical Sports-car events. However, Liverpool fan Gaby confesses that she used to be more interested in football than motor sport.
“I play soccer for the White Woman Lane U12 team in Norwich,” she says. “I’m also involved in running and particularly like taking part in Cross Country races. My best subject at school is obviously PE. I like watching F1 on television and my favourite driver is Jenson Button. I would never have thought about karting until my younger brother Tom entered the sport. After Tom started, I wanted to have a go myself and we bought an ARC/Comer kart. I swapped it for a Tonykart before my first race. Tom initially ran on a Zip but he’s now on a Tonykart, too. Apart from the Little Green Man, we both run in the Formula Kart Stars Championships. I prefer racing in WTP because it’s less intense and a lot more fun. There’s a lot less contact out on the circuit and I think that people are generally friendlier.”
Up until very recently Gaby ran with RL Racing whereas Tom could be found in Neil Berryman’s Energy Corse team. Last month, however, Mark Weyer decided to set up his own team which, apart from Tom and Gaby, now includes Thomas Day. “Fortunately Jamie Croxford is still acting as my mechanic. He’s very good at setting up my kart and has got lots of karting knowledge,” Gaby points out. “Although we are now racing in the same team I think there’ll still be rivalry between Tom and myself. We raced together in Round 2 of the Formula Kart stars Championships at Whilton Mill where Tom actually beat me. It’s the first time he’s finished ahead of me in a race and I wasn’t very happy about it. I think beating me has improved his confidence but I’ll still be working hard to make sure it doesn’t happen again for a long time.”
Whilst racing himself, Jamie Croxford established an enviable reputation both at home and abroad, frequently outshining Europe’s top drivers. “I wouldn’t say that working on karts is quite as good as actually racing them,” he concedes. “Nevertheless, it’s very satisfying to watch Gaby and Tom improving their skills, knowing that I’ve played some part.” Mark also claims that he’s deriving a lot of satisfaction from running his own outfit. Gaby’s mother Andrea confesses that she doesn’t quite share the family passion for motor racing. “If they decided to pack it all in right now, I wouldn’t be at all unhappy, but it doesn’t look as though that’s likely to happen,” she admits. “With a firm shake of the head, Gaby insists “I’m going to be around for quite a while yet!.”.