Kart champion’s comeback earns podium

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BUGBROOKE karting champion Ronan McKenzie has achieved his second pole position of the season and his third podium.

He finished third after an eventful days racing at Round three of the Easykart UK Junior 100cc Championship.

McKenzie, 12, last year’s Daventry District Council Junior Sportsman of the Year, qualified in pole position by over a tenth and a half at the Clay Pigeon circuit in Dorset.

At the start of the heat McKenzie was hit from behind going into the first corner, leaving him in third as the first three drivers began to pull away from the rest of the pack.

Halfway through the 10-lap race, the second place kart made a mistake and spun off the track, promoting McKenzie to second place.

McKenzie was gaining on the leading kart but he had to settle for a comfortable second place to start front row on the grid for the pre-final.

In his second year of an option contract with Italian Kart Manufacturing giant Birel on their International Easykart Driver Program for talented drivers, McKenzie began the 15 lap pre-final second on the grid but could not get within striking distance of the leader, and finished in second.

He had a brilliant start in the 20-lap final taking the lead in the first corner, but on the next corner was hit wide by the kart behind dropping him to eighth place.

But on the final lap he set the fastest lap of the race challenging for second place, but could not complete a clean move in the remainder of the lap and had to settle for third.

“Obviously I’m really disappointed with what happened to me at the start of the final. I had got into the lead when the contact happened, and I was the quickest kart in the race even having to make five overtakes, so I’m sure that I could have driven away to a win. But that’s racing.” said McKenzie after the race.

McKenzie’s father Jason added: “Even though Ronan lost out on seven places after the incident at the start, he wouldn’t give up – to be honest I think it shows what a talented driver he is that he can come back from such a setback to claim a podium.

“His overtaking was amazing – good, clean racing, and I think most of the spectators were glued to Ronan’s comeback performance rather than those at the front that benefited from the incident at the start.”

This latest podium still leaves Birel Easykart Driver Program member McKenzie at the top of the UK Championship leader board, but he is now tied on points with two other drivers with five rounds to go.

Birel will be inviting McKenzie to Italy for a test drive in a KF3 (Kart Formula Three) in July, which if successful will result in a part-funded drive for their Junior Motorsport team in the World Series Kart (WSK) next year, where drivers are routinely scouted by Formula One teams to take on to their youth driver programs.

Rounds Four and Five will take place on July 9 and 10 at the Whilton Mill International circuit near Daventry – McKenzie’s local track where he has been racing since the age of eight.

Jason McKenzie said: “We are really looking forward to our local race. There will be four classes competing in the Easykart Championships, from the cadet (eight-13 yrs) and junior (12-16 yrs) to two classes of adult karts throughout both the Saturday and the Sunday.

“Spectators are more than welcome and Ronan will be grateful for the support so please go along and say hello.