Milton Keynes – The fifth annual British Schools Karting Championship (BSKC) has been won by a trio of students from the Altrincham Grammar School for Boys (AGSB) in Bowdon, Cheshire.
Hours after Sebastian Vettel swept to victory at the Formula One season opener in Australia, Altrincham team-mates Max McGuire (17), Alex Wilson (14) and Zubair Hoque (14) fended off competition from over 30 schools and colleges from around the UK to clinch the BSKC title at the series finale at Daytona Milton Keynes.
The students will be rewarded with a VIP factory tour of Red Bull Racing’s state-of-the-art Milton Keynes facility – where Vettel’s Grand Prix-winning car was built – and also with a day of professional driver training in Arden International Motorsport’s cutting edge racing simulator.
At the end of Sunday’s 10 races Winterbourne International Academy (Sam Jenkins , Scott Rose  and Ross Goulding ) were runners up, just 3 points behind the squad from AGSB with last year’s BSKC champions, Hutcheson’s Grammar School, (David Wagner , Charles Wagner,  and Kerr McEwan ) taking the last podium position.
Sunday’s event marked the culmination of a championship which has been contested by over 1,350 students from over 450 teams, with schools from England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland all vying to become the British Schools Karting Champions of 2011. Teams battled through regional finals – 10 of which were hosted at venues across Britain – to win a place in the National Final, which was held on Daytona’s challenging 1360m circuit.
When the action got underway at the Buckinghamshire venue it was North Yorkshire’s Richmond School which stole an early march on its rivals, with a win, a second and a fourth from its first three races. As the competition progressed, several teams hauled themselves back into contention, including AGSB, Bristol’s Winterbourne International Academy (WIA) and last year’s BSKC champions Hutcheson’s Grammar School from Glasgow.
The Scots had a sizeable points advantage after the penultimate race, but by a twist of the alternating heat format
Hutchesons’ Grammar was not due to take part in the final sprint to the chequered flag – the team had already completed all of its six races.
As the lights went green for the championship-deciding race, AGBS’s Alex Wilson capitalised on pole position by slotting into the lead at turn one, with Northern Ireland regional final winners Regent House Grammar School in hot pursuit as the pack disappeared down to the bottom end of the circuit.
When the two leaders re-emerged at the top of the back straight, they had been joined by a hard-charging Luca Hirst from Bruntcliffe School in Leeds. A furious battle ensued in which Bruntcliffe muscled its way past Regent House and then set about hunting down AGBS for first.
Title contenders Richmond School and WIA started in 14th and 15th respectively, but despite good starts the two drivers found themselves dicing with each other in the midfield and losing precious time.
Meanwhile, despite a spirited defence, AGBS driver Wilson could do little to stop Bruntcliffe and Regent House scything past in the closing stages – but it didn’t matter. Altrincham’s third place was just enough for the Bowdon-based squad to overhaul Hutchesons’ Grammar School’s points lead and secure the 2011 British Schools Karting Championship.
Max McGuire, driver and team captain of Altrincham Grammar School, said: “It’s been a fantastic day. We didn’t get off to the best of starts, but we pulled it back at the end with some strong performances. The BSKC is an absolutely brilliant championship. It’s great fun, it’s competitive and it’s extremely cost-effective. I know several people who started off karting in this championship and are now looking to start racing professionally.”
Eddie Hall, Deputy Head at Altrincham Grammar School, said: “I’m really pleased for Max, Alex and Zubair because they’ve worked hard for this and they were up against some very tough opposition. What I particularly like about the BSKC is that it’s a departure from the kind of sports that schools traditionally take part in. There are often kids on the periphery who don’t get the chance to shine in those sports, so karting introduces something new and gives them a fantastic opportunity to share the limelight or discover a new talent.”
All photos courtesy of Alex Roache Photography
Full press release: download as PDFFull Results
|1||AGSB A||88||BSKC 2011 Champions|
|3||Hutchesons' Grammar School A||84|
|4||Robert Smyth Racing||79|
|6||Sawtry Community College||76||1 win|
|7||ColVIc GP||76||2 x 4th best result|
|8||TBSHS A||73||1 win|
|9||Bosworth College A||73||2 x 3rd place|
|10||Caterham School A||71||1 win but 6th determines place|
|11||CCB A||71||1 win, 7th next best result|
|12||Gateshead College A||68|
|13||The Hurst||67||1 x 2nd place|
|14||Lutterworth College A||67||5th best result|
|15||Wellacre Academy C||66||3rd best result|
|16||Dunbar Grammar||66||4th best result|
|17||Prince Henry's A||66||5th best result|
|20||The Armthorpe School||61|
|22||Regent House A||51|
|24||Rainford A||46||3rd best result|
|25||Hartismere G||46||7th best result|
|29||Dumbarton Academy A||34|
|30||The Winton School D||28|
|31||Winterborne Wizards B||22|
|32||FCC A Team||21|