After ten competitive races on the day, the team of three students from The Brentwood School A were crowned the British Schools Karting Championship (BSKC) 2017 Champions in a thrilling National Final at Whilton Mill in Northamptonshire on Saturday 1st July.
Brothers Callum (16) and Ethan (13) Brooks and Iaroslav Kovalev (16), who are all students at The Brentwood School, beat 25 other teams to retain the title won by the school in 2016. Callum and Iaroslav were both members of last year's victorious team and they were joined by impressive newcomer, Ethan, in this talented team.
Honours in the individual races were shared amongst all four nations competing in the event. Dyffryn Taf (Wales) started the competition in fine form by romping home in heat one and followed this up with another win in heat five. Next to take victory was Belfast Royal Academy A (Northern Ireland) in heat two before the team from Sir Thomas Rich's upheld the honours for England in heat three. Not to be outdone, the Scottish teams then came to the fore with Williamwood High School winning heat four and Woodmill High School taking the spoils in heat eight.
After a consistently solid start to the competition, Brentwood A put the pressure on with a fine win in heat six but, not to be outdone, the Brentwood B team came home first in heat seven. In the closest finish of the day, The Badgers Gold narrowly held off the challenge of Southend High School for Boys in heat nine before Brentwood A signed off in style with a dominant victory in heat ten.
"The racing is so close" said a happy Callum Brooks from the winning team "BSKC gives you the benefit of a championship without having to commit to too many rounds. Team Captain (and the nervous mother of two drivers!) Mrs Brooks commented "BSKC is a fantastic opportunity as it is very affordable. The karting world is one of those places where it is very expensive and I think without BSKC no way would these three boys standing here get to compete at national level."
The prize for winning the National Final is a VIP visit to the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship event at Silverstone in September. Here the students from The Brentwood School will enjoy an action packed day as they are guided behind the scenes in both the BTCC and Support Race Paddocks.
Students Matthew Collings, Lee McLean and Alexander Spriggs from Woodmill High School finished runners-up in their first year in the competition and third place on the podium was taken by Silverstone UTC C with drivers Levi Anderson, Ben Lewis and James Whitaker.
The prize generously donated by Ginetta Cars for the highest placed driver holding a racing licence at the level of Karting National B or higher in either 2015, 2016 or 2017 was won by Matthew Collings of the second-placed team, Woodmill High School. He wins a free entry into the 2018 Ginetta Junior Scholarship which will see one budding racing driver win a fully funded season in the 2018 Ginetta Junior Championship.
Sam Cunningham of The Badgers Gold set the fastest lap in the National Final in heat nine with a time of 45.843 seconds and he will enjoy a day at a BTCC event with supergreenracing.com who have been great supporters of BSKC since their driver, Ben Green, was part of the winning team from Debden Park High School in 2014.
New for 2017 was the awarding of two Driver of the Day awards courtesy of Club 100. Impressing the judges were Sam Hudson of Gordon's School B and Iaroslav Kovalev of Brentwood A.
Will Tew, founder of the BSKC, said: "The skills of the drivers improve year on year and that has been demonstrated at this year's final. The BSKC was started to give young people a chance to experience the thrill and excitement of motorsports, and excitement is certainly what we got in the final."
Adrienne Watson, Championship Administrator, remarked: "Our congratulations to the winning team members from The Brentwood School who all contributed to a fanastic result for their school. All of the teams here at Whilton Mill should be proud to have reached the final having fought off stiff opposition in the local and regional finals. We are very grateful to the teachers and parents who give up their time to mentor their teams all the way through to the National Final.
The BSKC is an arrive-and-drive karting championship that aims to bring competitive, cost-effective karting into UK schools. Since it began in 2007 with just 22 teams competing, the championship has flourished giving students who are not necessarily interested in traditional sports like football or hockey a chance to reveal hidden talents. Many schools have told us that taking part has built the confidence of the students and this has helped them both on the track and in the school environment."
The full results of the BSKC 2017 National Final can be found at www.bskc.co.uk/results/2017/1377.
The BSKC will return in 2018 so schools should start planning their entries now ready for when the competition is launched on the website, www.bskc.co.uk, in the autumn.