KART­ING RE­PORT Bradshaw beats the stars for Sur­tees Chal­lenge win

Motor Sport News - - Racing News - Pho­tos: Gary Hawkins By Rob Lad­brook

Or­gan­iser: HSF/ Buck­more Park Kart Club When: Oc­to­ber 26 Where: Buck­more Park, Kent Starters: 25

Kart­ing star Cal­lum Bradshaw booked him­self a Bri­tish For­mula 4 test with Car­lin af­ter com­ing out on top of a star-stud­ded field in the sev­enth an­nual Henry Sur­tees Chal­lenge event at Buck­more Park.

Bradshaw took a con­trolled vic­tory in the fi­nal af­ter beat­ing driv­ers such as Euro­pean F3 race-win­ner Ben Bar­ni­coat, GP3 driver Jake Den­nis and Ginetta Ju­nior cham­pion Will Tre­gurtha, which high­lighted the en­try.

The event aims to help boost the careers of as­pir­ing driv­ers via a se­lec­tion of top prizes, all do­nated by lead­ing teams and sup­pli­ers. All pro­ceeds from the event go to­ward the Henry Sur­tees Foun­da­tion.

De­spite the horde of es­tab­lished car rac­ers, the front row for the Pre-fi­nal had a fa­mil­iar look about it, with the cream of the ar­rive-and­drive kart­ing world al­ways fig­ur­ing well at this event. All driv­ers run on Club 100 115cc Tkm-en­gined Birel hire karts, with driv­ers switch­ing chas­sis be­tween each ses­sion.

Easykart fron­trun­ner Owen Jen­man grabbed pole ahead of last year’s win­ner Piers Prior. Up­hold­ing car-rac­ing hon­our was a sec­ond row of Bri­tish F4 man Alex Quinn and Bar­ni­coat. Bradshaw felt his first kart was down on power and started just fifth, but ben­e­fited from trou­ble for others ahead in what was a fraught first race.

When the lights went out Jen­man headed the pack, but Bradshaw got the best get­away, run­ning third at the end of the first lap be­fore dis­plac­ing Quinn for sec­ond.

Jen­man couldn’t get a gap and soon the top five ran as one as Bradshaw, Bar­ni­coat, Quinn and Prior piled the pres­sure on.

Jen­man was el­bowed wide through Hair­pin Two, al­low­ing Bar­ni­coat to steal into the lead ahead of Bradshaw. Bar­ni­coat man­aged to forge a slen­der lead, aided when Char­lie Turner be­gan to pres­sure for sec­ond, hav­ing bat­tled his way up the or­der mid-race. Turner snatched sec­ond spot from Bradshaw a lap from home, but the or­der at the flag didn’t last.

From the 25 en­tries, the grid man­aged to rack up a to­tal of 24 place penal­ties for var­i­ous trans­gres­sions, with Bar­ni­coat pinged two places for track lim­its, and Turner get­ting four for mul­ti­ple con­tact.

The amended re­sult gave Bradshaw the win, and pole for the Fi­nal, ahead of Bar­ni­coat, Turner and Prior.

With driv­ers switch­ing chas­sis, there is a cer­tain amount of for­tune in­volved in which driv­ers ben­e­fit from a marginally stronger kart with each ses­sion. That proved a fac­tor.

Bar­ni­coat got away well to run out­side Bradshaw to grab the lead through Henry’s Bend, but couldn’t pull away. “I don’t think the kart I had un­der me in the fi­nal was quite as good,” said Bar­ni­coat. “I was hav­ing to drive the widest Birel ever made!”

Bar­ni­coat’s de­fence lasted an im­pres­sive eight laps, with Bradshaw lit­er­ally push­ing him around at points, un­able to find a gap, but one ap­peared at turn one.

“Ben was de­fend­ing well, but he left a lit­tle gap on the in­side so I went for it,” said 15-year-old Bradshaw. “I knew my kart was faster than his, so it was just about pick­ing my mo­ment.”

Once ahead, Bradshaw ex­celled as Bar­ni­coat acted as the cork in the bot­tle to those be­hind. The im­pres­sive Michael Crees did mange to sneak past for sec­ond af­ter pulling off a great move into Hair­pin One to pass both Bar­ni­coat and Ross Martin as they fought ahead of him.

Bar­ni­coat held on for third on the road ahead of Prior, Turner, Martin and Ginetta racer Ben Green, but was demoted to fifth for a sec­ond track lim­its in­fringe­ment.

“It’s been an amaz­ing event,” said Bradshaw. “The prizes are amaz­ing and will re­ally ben­e­fit all of us.”

Bar­ni­coat (left) and Bradshaw fought hard for the vic­tory

Fi­nal podium (l-r) Prior, Bradshaw, Crees and John Sur­tees

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