KARTING REPORT Bradshaw beats the stars for Surtees Challenge win
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