Talented racers from the Motorbase Driver Academy put together an outstanding run of success in both karts and cars over the weekend, 24th/25th September, with the highlight being a fantastic final round victory in the Wera Tools British Kart Championship for Alfie Garford.
Garford started off the double-header conclusion to the season at PF International near Grantham with second and sixth in the two Heats on Saturday. Starting the Final on the front row, he hit the front inside two laps and went on to take a jubilant win – or so he thought. Incredibly, his kart’s rear bumper had snapped in half on the last lap and so he was disqualified due to the damage.
After such immense disappointment, Garford hit back in style on Sunday and achieved the redemption he’d been seeking. Qualifying on pole position, he won the first Heat and finished second in Heat Two. Beginning the Final on pole, he did slip to second but after a stunning final lap, trading the lead multiple times, he sealed the lead and the win in style with half a lap to go.
In the Daniel Ricciardo Series at Hooton Park, near Ellesmere Port, Bryn Calder was fastest in qualifying and broke the track record for an IAME 100 kart. In the opening Heat he led the entire race, just missing out on the last lap and finishing second. In the Pre-Final, Calder started in second place and finished runner-up after fighting hard for the win throughout.
Beginning the Grand Final second on the grid, Calder aced his start to rocket into the lead but the action was soon red flagged and a full re-start took place. Pushed wide onto the grass when the race got underway, Calder kept a cool head and finished second again to make it a hat-trick of podiums.
At Silverstone National Circuit, where Motorbase Performance’s Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship team departed with the lead of the Teams’ Championship with its NAPA Racing UK entry and the Drivers’ Championship lead with Ash Sutton, Academy racers delivered additional success in support categories Porsche Carrera Cup GB, Ginetta Junior and the MINI CHALLENGE.
In Porsche, NAPA Racing UK’s Hugo Ellis produced a star weekend for JTR. Qualifying seventh overall, second in Pro-Am, he finished race one in those positions and then delivered even more in race two. From the fourth row of the grid he charged to a superb fifth overall and second again in Pro-Am, only 0.3 seconds shy of the class winner and just 0.7 seconds from the overall podium.
Harri Reynolds re-took third in the Ginetta Junior Championship with a very competitive outing for Assetto Motorsport. Qualifying third, a great battle at the sharp end in race one ended with him taking fourth – having fought back from seventh after contact on lap one. In race two he finished second, thanks to a great last lap pass at the final corner, and then added second again in race three.
JWB Motorsport team-mates Jack Mitchell and Jamie Osborne were both rapid at Silverstone in the MINI CHALLENGE, the former taking third place in race three before a penalty dropped him to fifth position. He started off the event with sixth in the opener, up from 10th on the grid, and finished fifth in race two also.
Osborne, younger brother of BTCC racer Sam, produced an excellent qualifying inside the overall top 12 – third fastest of the Rookies. Finishing 11th overall and third in class in race one, he was fourth in the Rookies and 14th overall in the second contest. Set for a top 10 result in race three, an unfortunate penalty for a false-start dropped him to 18th in the classification, fifth of the Rookies.
Pete Osborne – Motorbase Performance Team Owner and Team Principal:
“Another fantastic weekend across the board, from our BTCC team right the way through the Motorbase Driver Academy racers in the TOCA support categories and in karting. Alfie delivered an outstanding weekend in the British Kart Championship, hitting back brilliantly with his final round win, and Bryn was on superb form as well in DRS with a hat-trick of podiums. Fantastic stuff!
“Hugo was incredibly impressive in Porsche, so close to that first Pro-Am win and right up there beating a number of the established Pros. It was great to see Harri on the podium twice in Juniors and Jack and Jamie were strong in MINIs. I was very impressed with Jamie’s pace this weekend, he was unlucky in the last race but overall a fantastic weekend.”