This weekend (5/6 March), for the second year in succession, the Easykart UK series kicks off at Ellough Park Raceway near Beccles.
“It’s because of the welcome,” explains promoter John Vigor. “Richard Lock and his team bend over backwards to help and with the investment they’ve put into the facilities it is just a fantastic place to go kart racing. The marshals are also second to none and I think the circuit lends itself very well to Easykart. The racing is always fantastic with loads of overtaking, and little in the way of crashes. For me, it’s one of my favourite tracks.”
Large grids again show that the championship’s appeal lies in its ability to offer great value-for-money balanced with a friendly atmosphere in the paddock. However, neither of these two qualities mask the standard of competition throughout the classes - and this year’s championship is arguably the most open yet.
In Cadet, the field is composed of second-year drivers and an influx of newcomers and with last year’s top four graduating to the Junior ranks, it falls to Sam Faulkner, Jenson Murchison and Matthew Round-Garrido to assume the mantle of principal title contenders. Don’t discount the Hawkey siblings Esmee and Ethan, plus Thomas Moran and Jordan Sanders - whose 2nd place in round 6 signalled his ability.
Junior champion Toby Sowery returns to defend his title, but some of the drivers who pushed him hard all the way to the final round at Forest Edge have opted to take sabbaticals as GCSE commitments take priority. Coming into the category are a number of Cadet stars, including reigning Champion Ronan McKenzie, runner-up Tom Thickpenny, Will Stowell and Zack Nickson. They face established runners AJ Morris, Kieran Gordon and James Lay - all of whom could well claim not just their first race wins, but also the title.
Having spent much of last season watching from the sidelines, 2009 Light Champion Terry Langley makes a welcome return to the fray. Not only will he go head to head with his successor Elliot Rice, but also an exciting mix of tough, seasoned campaigners and ultra-quick, young chargers. Look out for Patrick Lay, Owen Jenman and Sam Dimelow. After 2009 Junior Champion Lay announced his presence with a win on his senior debut - the current Junior vice-Champion - Luca Hirst’s progression will be well worth following.
Almost in spite of his undoubted talent, Barnaby Pittingale only won his first Heavy crown last season. Admittedly, he won 50% of the finals, but also saw his rivals take big leaps forward in their development. Mark Lawrence scored two victories and was a worthy runner-up. ‘Sir’ Tim Hill enjoyed his best season to date, but that maiden win eluded him. It would take a brave or foolish man to bet against him breaking his duck in 2011. Simon Mace and Will Gibson also featured strongly and took top ten finishes in the World Finals. They’re back to make life for their fellow competitors very hard indeed. And look out for Jim Rainbird. Karting runs through him like ‘Blackpool’ does a stick of rock and the veteran racer will want to be in the thick of the action from the word go.
If you’re looking for a fast, friendly series where the emphasis is on driver ability rather than budget, then you’ll love Easykart.
Sunday’s meeting is a great way to meet the drivers and receive advice from them and get information from the UK Easykart importer, Andy Cox of ACR and series promoter, Club100’s John Vigor.The action starts from 10:00am at Ellough Park Raceway, near Beccles.