In December i took part in my first event, the Ellough Park Open Grand Prix.
Having enjoyed my debut in December i raced in every round of the Ellough Park Open GP. At the time there was no weighted division and i was unable to compete with the lightest drivers. Never the less a year spent working on racecraft and struggling to make A finals saw me end the year in a highly credible 10th. That race in December 2009 hurt as i was counted as a novice or i would have won that title.
I continued on/off with the Open Gp season and also bought my first kart, a prokart. After doing a bit of testing at Red Lodge and taking part in a couple of rounds of the prokart championships the sheer logistics of storage and transport saw me end my owner driver dream before it had barely begun. It was time to seek a new challenge.
At this point i was still unsure if i was actually any good or not. Weighing in at over 100kgs meant lighter drivers enjoying a significant advantage. The solution was the Covkartsport Championships which ran a class for drivers 90kgs+ Right from the word go i knew i was racing in the right series, right in the heart of the racing and finally part of a competitive event.
My very first race saw me spin by myself on the third corner. Not the way i wanted to begin. The 3 round Winter Series saw me claim a miraculous 3rd placed finish having tied with one driver and beaten another by just a solitary point. That other driver was Andy Fellows, the only driver heavier than me and to this day i feel a bit bad about nabbing the trophy from him. Just a bit though. :P
The National series on the other hand was a very different story. After finishing 3rd in my class at the opening round i won the HP class at the next 5 rounds in a row (Red Lodge, Rye House, Lakeside, Sutton, Rednal), finished 3rd overall at Red Lodge which included the lighter drivers, won Rye House not only in my own class but also with drivers weighing 15kgs lighter, Won the Welsh Open and ended the year with another 3rd at Ancaster to comfortably claim the title of Covkartsport National HP Champion.
The year ended with an invitation to join a Elite Karting league Team in November.
That race at Teesside convinced me this was to be the next challenge. I spoke to a couple of drivers in November and we decided to form our own EKL team, the Newmarket Hornets. As a 4 man series we relied on guest drivers but my experience at Ellough reaped the greatest dividend of all when fellow race director Steve English put us in touch with Alex Ready and he became the 4th member of the team for the remainder of the year.
With Alex demonstrating his precocious talents we ended the year 9th overall. Alex, Josh and Sam combined for 6 wins, i really struggled to match their results. A best finish of 5th was not what i envisiged and finishing the individual drivers event 2nd from last a particular year low.
I was a part of the team that finished 3rd in the Sprints at Ellough but watched on as the trio finished 2nd in the Endurance race at Clay Pigeon as i raced for one of our newly formed teams the Newmarket Buzzin Hornets that day. By the time the year had ended we had formed 3 teams, the third being the Newmarket Giant Hornets.
I did return to Covkartsport to defend my 2 wins from 2013, this time finishing runner up in the Welsh Open, and claiming a second consecutive podium with a 3rd overall and HP win at Rye House.
After a tough closed season during which i seriously considered not rejoining i elected to race another season of the EKL. It was a decision immediately vindicated at the opening round. I secured my first podium finish in the EKL and followed that with a debut win during round 2 at Teesside 12 months on from Josh' debut victory at the same circuit.
Once again the year ended with us 9th overall, this time against a far more competitive field stacked with talent. Only 3 wins for our team one of those mine, another 2 wins coming from Kyle in The Buzzin Hornets kart giving the squad a total of 5 wins, however another trophy came in the Endurance race this time at Whilton Mill where Sam missing the round suffered the same fate i had at Clay Pigeon the year before missing the trophy performance.
Will Gibbs managed our first Race Of Champions cash payout and chose Diabetes Uk as the charity of his choice, our £100 winnings sent straight to them.
We also entered 2 teams into the British 24hr race. Despite running a far from optimum strategy we finished 6th in class just a lap off the podium positions.
I also made my 2 stroke debut in a DMAX championship round at Red Lodge qualifying 5th and sitting in the top 3 for the opening 20 minutes before falling off the circuit of the 1 hour race retiring to sort out a lack of grip with my gloves shortly after.
To round out the eventful year i recieved my first ever black flag bizarrely for a driver bouncing off my side pod and across the grass as he turned in on me!
A pre-season team meeting saw us concluding we would struggle to find the drivers to put out 3 teams yet unbelievably a few months later we were forming a 4th team the Newmarket Fighting Hornets. A new set of nassau panels were purchased and at the opening EKL round of the year a last lap pass over the #1 and #2 rated teams saw me claim my second EKL Sprint win.
We took part in the Le Mans 24hr Kart race, a battling performance under unfortunate circumstances rewarded with the "Most Sporting Team" award and with it a free entry for 2016 worth £2750. The British 24hr proved equally luckless, pole position, a big lead before 2 broken stub axles and a puncture ultimately ended our dream for another 12 months although we still finished in 6th once again with Alex recording the fastest lap in the race.
We finished in a new best overall position of 7th in the EKL. We finished 3rd in the EKL challenge and 2nd in the 6hr challenge. The Buzzin Hornets took 3rd overall in the EPEC series while the Hornets claimed their first ever title winning the hire class title in the European Prokart Endurance Championships.
The year culminated in me being nominated for Karting magazines "Outstanding Contribution to Karting" award 2015.