The best of British young motorsport talent came together at Buckmore Park circuit yesterday to compete in the Henry Surtees Challenge, sponsored for the first time by Ford, for a range of career enhancing prizes to aid them in their race programme preparation for 2015 whilst raising funds for the ‘Henry Surtees Foundation’. 19 year old Jack Aitken, current Fortec Motorsports Formula Renault Eurocup racer and BRDC Rising Star, won the event amongst some extremely tough competition.
The event, organised by former F1 world champion John Surtees OBE, brought together drivers from all classes of motorsport in their 15th year and over who hold an MSA licence, are a member of Club100 or are a Buckmore Park Elite driver.
‘Great British Bake Off’ judge and self-confessed petrol head Paul Hollywood officially opened the event by dropping the starting flag for morning practice. All 39 competitors in the ‘Henry Surtees Challenge’ ran on Bridgestone wet tyres for practice and qualifying because of torrential rain - all remarking on how good and quick the tyres were in such conditions.
With the weather picking up in the afternoon, the superb Club100 Birel karts were set to race on slicks. Following a thrilling day of extremely competitive racing, the quality and closeness of which was demonstrated by the fastest lap going to Luke Reade who finished in 15th position, regular HSF supporter Steve Rider was on hand to wave the chequered flag. The top six drivers were presented with a prestigious Henry ‘H’ trophy and the top eleven finishers had the choice of some the best career enhancing prizes ever offered at a UK kart meeting.
In a generous decision taken by the Racing Steps Foundation, its supported drivers Ben Barnicoat and Oliver Rowland donated their prize positions to the next placed driver on the time sheets. The top three in the event (and as prize recipients) were as follows:
· Jack Aitken, Winner, 2014 Henry Surtees Challenge received the top Henry ‘H’ trophy, a full kit of Puma race clothing – one suit, three pairs of gloves, two pairs of racing boots, one pair of running shoes and one pair of lifestyle shoes, donated by Puma SE and chose a tour of the Carlin Motorsport facility, seat fitting, simulator testing session with a race engineer and a Formula 3 Dallara Volkswagen test, donated by Carlin Motorsport, as his prize.
· Ben Barnicoat, received the prestigious Henry ‘H’ runner-up trophy.
· Ross Gunn, third place, received Henry ‘H’ trophy, two sets of gloves and underwear, one pair of racing shoes, one pair of running shoes and one pair of lifestyle shoes, donated by Puma SE and chose the Formula Renault 2.0 two day test with Manor Competition at a Spanish circuit, donated by Renault UK and Manor Competition.
· Kyle Fowlie, fourth in competition but third placed prize recipient received Henry ‘H’ trophy, one set of gloves and underwear, one pair of racing shoes, one pair of running shoes and one pair of lifestyle shoes donated by Puma SE and chose the BRDC Formula 4 test, donated by Hillspeed.
The other prizes that were on offer to choose from were:
· Test day in the Ginetta G40 GRDC to one driver aged 16 or over, donated by Ginetta
· ‘MSA Formula’ test, which includes half day seat fitting and acclimatisation test in the UK donated by Falcon Motorsport, followed by one full day at their Spanish test in the new FIA F4 car that was on display at the event courtesy of Ford
· A simulator session at the Ferrari Driver Academy and a Ferrari Racing Department factory tour for two people, donated by Ferrari. Air travel donated by Travel Places
· A full motorsport fitness assessment, donated by Porsche Human Performance
· Tour of the Red Bull Racing facility, simulator session and evaluation by a race engineer, donated by Christian Horner
· An Arai GP-6S helmet in white finish, donated by Arai
· Full website package and online branding, plus a three month social media package, donated by 5G Creative
· A pair of custom-fit driver communication earpieces suitable for all racing formulas up to F1, supplied with a year’s support to ensure the wearer is fully equipped to hear vital communications for a full season of racing. A pair of custom-fit filtered noise plugs – to protect hearing. A complete hearing health check consisting of an ear examination using a video otoscope (see inside your own ears) and a comprehensive hearing test. Advice and information on protecting your hearing to assist with a motorsport career, donated by specialist in Formula 1 equipment, Hearing Electronics Limited
· A two hour training session at iZone Driver Performance, donated by Andy Priaulx
· A supply of Teng Tools to the value of £1,000, donated by Teng Tools
Jack Aitken - winner, 2014 Henry Surtees Challenge
"It was another amazing day. It is my third year competing in the Henry Surtees Challenge and I shall be back next year for sure. I have chosen another prize with Carlin and I can’t wait to do it; they are a great team and it shall help me take another step in my racing in general. I’d like to thank John and the Foundation for putting on such a great event for young drivers, the prizes are incomparable to any karting, or racing, competition out there and it is also a wonderful way for us to remember Henry."
Ben Barnicoat - runner up
"I have had a great day! I had a good practice and was pole in my qualifying group, then in the final race Jack and I were right on the limit. I would have preferred to have been a bit closer to him, but I don’t think that the karts could have gone any faster – we were really pushing! I am extremely happy to get second; it’s the best result I have had at this event, and I shall be back again next year as it is for such a great cause. I have finally been able to get a blue ‘H’ trophy that everyone wants and I would like to thank John for organising the event, it’s been fantastic."
Ross Gunn - third place
“It’s a fantastic event and I really appreciate all the work John that does to put on the event and to raise money for the Foundation, which is such a good cause. My pace was ok in the morning, but thankfully it dried up in the afternoon and I managed to get a good race start. I finished fourth in the pre final, and then to battle with someone like Oliver Rowland in the final was great. I tried to catch Ben and Jack in front, but they were just too quick. I am really looking forward to my Formula Renault test in Spain and am very grateful, thank you John and Manor Competition.”
The ‘Hard Luck’ trophy was presented to Alexander Simms who said; ”It’s been another really fun day. In practice I was really slow, but somehow I got pole as the track was drying out a bit. In the race I actually went backwards! I got overtaken, a lot, but I thoroughly enjoyed it and all whilst raising funds for the ‘Henry Surtees Foundation’ and supporting John, which is very important to me.”
John Surtees, OBE
“Once again the weather was not too kind to us in the morning, but it has provided an extra challenge for the drivers and showed the quality of the field we had, because we didn’t have any mishaps at all. We had extremely competitive racing with lots of talents from different categories of Motorsport and the event not only helps to raise funds for the Foundation, but also offers the young drivers in this stage of developing their career a chance to win prizes that will help them to prepare their motorsport programmes for next year. I’d like to thank all of our supporters who very generously provide an unbelievable array of prizes, and everyone at Buckmore Park and Club100 for their support.”
‘Fastest Lap’ Henry ‘H’ trophy was presented to Luke Reade.
‘Over 80Kg’ Henry ‘H’ trophy was presented to David Pittard.
· All funds raised by the Henry Surtees Challenge 2014 will support the Henry Surtees Foundation, Registered charity number 1137388.