Callum Bradshaw enjoyed what could be the best weekend of his Karting career to date in Essay as he took a clean sweep of victories in the races to put himself in a commanding championship lead in the Academy Trophy.
Callum started his weekend off by qualifying 2nd overall out of the 50 competitors but from there on in he became unbeatable.
Callum’s closest rivals in the heats were local driver Thomas Mialane and fellow country man Oliver Clarke. But two victories helped him seal pole position going into the Pre-Final on Sunday.
Although his heats were impressive this was now where the points were scored so it was important Callum kept his head and stayed out of trouble! The BKC Racing driver did just that in the Pre Final and although he was not the quickest driver, he was the most consistent and won by just over one and a half seconds.
The final was a similar story although this time Callum had a different driver for company in the shape of Mads Eielso Hanson. The Danish driver was able to pass Mialane at the start and quickly pull a gap allowing him to solely focus on chasing Bradshaw down! But Callum showed no signs of weakness and Hanson was only able to get within half a second of the Brit but dropped off in the second half of the race allowing Callum to cruise away and take his maiden European victory.
We all expected Callum to be a favourite coming in as a Vice World Champion but to dominate in the fashion he did will be a wake up call for any drivers planning on taking the Academy Trophy this year!
After the race Callum commented: “We have had a really good start to the CIK-FIA Academy Trophy at Essay to say the least! At the start of the weekend we struggled with a few issues but my team, BKC Racing, were quickly able to sort it out on Friday practise. On Saturday we poled it in our group by 5 tenths (second overall) which I was pleased with, seeing the problems we had in practice! I started second for Heat 1 and had a good start eventually finishing 1st and in Heat 2 I started pole and won that as well! In the Pre Final I was really confident that I could win the after being unbeaten in the heats. Mid way through the Pre Final I opened up a gap and started to maintain it seeing as the tyres were a key part for the Final. In the Final I just knew I had to carry on what I had been doing and just maintain the gap throughout. I’d like to say a big thanks to my Dad, Mum, Rob Dodds (Team Boss), Alex Ferris (mechanic) and everyone who has helped me. I’m looking forward to Round 2 in Portimao.”
Oliver Clarke impresses on debut!
Unlike Callum, Oliver came into this meeting with no European racing experience at all and not only that but is also a rookie in the Junior class.
He is taking the huge step up Callum took last year but after his fantastic performance at the FKS opener I can imagine his confidence was somewhat high coming into the event.
It was hard to predict where he may finish prior to the event but in the end I thought a top 5 would be about right but he’d have to get there first! I’m sure Oliver came in not knowing what to expect.
Immediately Oliver looked quick in practise and that would have certainly taken away some of the nerves and pressure going into Saturday.
Oliver qualified 6th in his group which put him 11th overall which was a very solid result considering these are what the other countries consider their best drivers! As we went into the heats Oliver seemed to just get quicker and quicker and he pulled out two fantastic results with a 2nd and 3rd putting him on the outside of round two for the Pre-Final!
Oliver drove another stormer of a race in the Pre-Final taking 4th place just 7 seconds behind Callum, but was perhaps hard done by after he was given a 3 second penalty for ‘partly leaving the corridor at the start’ which dropped him back to 8th place. A frustrating result but he still put himself in a great position for the Final.
In the Final Oliver perhaps drove his best race of the weekend! He calved his way through to 5th place at the start before passing and catching the Singapore driver Zi Yang Alvis Ang to finish a very impressive 4th place!
The MSport driver has had a fantastic first round and now sits 4th in the championship just 10 points behind 2nd place Mialane!
After the race Oliver commented: “I am very happy with my performance at the CIK FIA Academy Trophy opener and I’m already looking forward to Portugal and I’m hoping to improve my result. I’d like to thank everyone who has supported so far including my family and team, MSport Racing.”
Could this be the best year for Great Britain in the Academy Trophy to date?
Superb race for Ardigo in KZ
It was a quality field for the opening of the CIK-FIA European KZ Championship, even though the entry was a little too limited. The Spaniard Jorge Pescador (Praga / Parilla / Vega) took advantage of his pole position in Qualifying Practice to maintain the advantage in both the Qualifying Heats. The Italian Paolo De Conto (CRG / Maxter / Vega) was then ranked 2nd ahead of the Frenchman Jérémy Iglesias (Sodi / TM Racing / Vega) while Marco Ardigo (Tony Kart / Vortex / Vega) came back to 4th position after 10th during Qualifying.
Ardigo then asserted his dominance in the final stages by first winning the Pre Final against the Belgian Rick Dreezen (Ricciardo Kart / Parilla / Vega) who had new tyres. Iglesias took control early in the Final before yielding to Ardigo, the indisputable winner, and Flavio Camponeschi (CRG / Parilla / Vega) on the rise since his 21st in Qualifying. The Czech Patrik Hajek (Kosmic / Vortex / Vega) and Briton Ben Hanley (Croc Promotions / TM Racing / Vega) completed the top five. In the provisional classification of the Championship, Ardigo and Iglesias lead from Camponeschi, De Conto is 4th and Pescador 5th.
Corberi relentless in the KZ2 Final
The confrontation was fierce among the 58 participants in the first Competition of the CIK-FIA European KZ2 Championship. The Italian Leonardo Lorandi (Tony Kart / Vortex / Vega) opened the scoring during Qualifying Practice while the Dutchman Stan Pex (CRG / Vortex / Vega) was in the lead after the Qualifying Heats in front of Lorandi and the Frenchman Paolo Besancenez (Tony Kart / Vortex / Vega). Pex won Pre Final 1 against Besancenez and the Italian Alessio Piccini (Tony Kart / Vortex / Vega), while his compatriot Luca Corberi (Tony Kart / Vortex / Vega) stood out by winning the Pre Final 2 after constantly running in the top four early in the weekend.
The Italian Fabian Federer (CRG / Modena Engines / Vega) again placed himself in 2nd position after experiencing trouble and a retirement in his first Qualifying Heat. Corberi quickly seized the lead to the detriment of Pex in the Final and flew to a superb victory. Federer came back inexorably to 2nd position ahead of Besancenez and Lorandi, Pex having to settle for 5th place. In the provisional classification of the Championship, Besancenez is in 2nd place behind the leader Corberi, with Pex still in 3rd position in front of Lorandi and Federer.
Written by Chris McCarthy
KZ & KZ2 Reports courtesy of CIK-FIA
Images courtesy of KSP