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Maiden heat victory at Rissington

July 7, 2010

Sam stormed through the weekend on the new Tony Kart Viper chassis at Rissington to achieve his maiden heat victory only to be robbed of his first Rissington trophy.


Having replaced helmet and boots after last weeks Shenington accident, we arrived at Rissington this week with 2 karts, our trusty Jade Elite and a new shiny 2010 Tony Kart Viper loan machine, courtesy of Paul Carr Racing. This chassis is designed to maximise the 2010 regulations and features a 50mm diameter rear axle as one of the key differences.



The weekend started with 2 practice sessions on Saturday on the Jade to collect base data for comparison. Then we simply swapped engine and tyres onto the Tony and ran the rest of the day on the new equipment. Sam was stunned by the difference in handling and the way the Tony launched itself out of the slow corners, particularly the dog-leg at Rissington. A huge smile filled the helmet after the first session on the Viper.

Sam was hard to identify - plain helmet and a green kart


Sam and Ayrton on the dummy grid

We made the call to race on the Tony chassis on Sunday (it was not a long discussion!) and the day started well with Sam achieving 2nd fastest in the warm up session. For race 1 Sam was drawn in p18 and made rapid progress through the field up to 5th with just 2 laps to go. He lined up #23, Harry Bond, out of the dog-leg and prepared to take him into the Elbow. In a clean move Sam progressed to 4th and set his mind to closing the gap to Matt England in third. But #23 hadn’t given up so easy and on the last lap made a very late, do or die lunge into the notorious dog-leg. The result was inevitable and Sam was speared off the circuit into a spin, whilst the aggressor carried on his merry way. Worse still, the impact bent the bumper on the new kart and it’s not even ours!! Sam was restarted but in last place with no time to recover.

At least this time a penalty was issued to #23 by the Clerk of the Course but that doesn’t help Sam’s result. But, staying positive,  we were quick in that heat – 18th to 4th and still going strong plus fastest lap of the race.


A strongly defending Zach Jones kept Sam in 5th place on the finish line in heat 2

Heat 2 was a relatively straight forward affair. Starting in P11 Sam progressed up to P5, getting caught slightly mid race by a busy gaggle of 6 karts fighting for position. Sam was clearly quicker and passed 5 of them quickly, but then found himself stuck on the wrong line through the Elbow which enabled one or two to take their places back and Sam had to repeat his overtaking which delayed him slightly.



Sam leading heat 3 as Matt(30) and Craig(48) demote Ami

In heat 3 Sam was drawn P4 behind Ami Burrows and Scott Jeffs on the front row, and good friend Matt England alongside him in 3rd. Falling into the same order over the start line, the top 5 pulled away slightly and Sam patiently followed Matt who was trying to find a way past Ami and Scott. Sam and Matt had agreed before the race to work together until they were leading.


Into the dog leg on lap 3 Matt took the inside line – Sam stuck close behind and followed him through not one but both of the leaders. Soon the 2 boys pulled out a gap, but Sam was not satisfied with second place.

I took advantage of the excellent exit speed the Viper gave me out of the Dog-Leg corner and closed up on the back of Matt around Hanger. I could then take the inside through the Elbow.


By this time some of the faster drivers had found their way past the ‘front row’ and Matt was caught up battling Craig Johnson for second. They traded places several times on the following laps and kept each other busy. This allowed Sam to pull out an unassailable lead and get his head down for some consistent laps to consolidate his first position.


Sam pulls out a gap as Matt and Criag battle it out

Towards the end of the race [front runner] Gavin Pitt passed both Matt and Craig and represented a possible threat to Sam’s victory, but he was able to maintain the gap to score a well deserved maiden heat victory.



When I saw Gavin had got past Craig and Matt I knew I had to drive my best. It seemed to take ages for that last lap board to come up. It was a great feeling to win my first heat and on the first time out in a Tony kart too“.

Our boy takes the chequered flag - another milestone



Despite that last place in heat 1, Sam’s results were still good enough for P8 on the grid for the final. The race started and Sam fell into place in p8 preparing his attack but progress was short-lived as the red flag came out due to an accident lower down the field and the drivers stopped on the start/finish line.

Once the accident was cleared the instruction was given to restart in the original positions. As the grid all push started their karts, Sam’s engine didn’t pick up and he chugged slowly away as the rest of the field flooded past. Despite best efforts from the hapless mechanic [me! – Dad] the kart would not fire. Disaster!!! 😮  With a bit of help from others [ thanks Scott ] it eventually and reluctantly fired and Sam raced off to catch up for the rolling start. In the past, we have seen similar situations where the start  marshall will send the whole pack around for another rolling lap to allow the straggler to catch up and reclaim their grid position ….. but not this time [ quell surprise ]. Sam was still 20 yards behind when the race started.


This mechanic was furious with himself – and daren’t think what was going on inside the drivers helmet but whilst fired up, Sam kept it together and proceeded to make up for lost time.

I couldn’t believe I was starting last. It’s really not fair that they didn’t let me catch up for the start when they do it for others. But I do enjoy racing from the back as you can overtake lots of people.”


Sam takes 3 at a time in the Final

Sam took no prisoners as he sliced through from 30th place. His exit speed from the slow corners was such that he was driving past 2 or 3 backmarkers at a time and you could see his helmet in the distance visibly closing the gap to the karts in front.

I was so much faster than some of the slower drivers I had to be careful I didn’t get caught out by their early braking. Then it gets harder as you come up behind the faster drivers but I was in no mood to be slowed down.


Will Shaw (24) also on a Viper was also quick on the day here hassling Craig

Ultimately Sam ran out of laps and had to make do with a tenth place finish. We all knew his pace was such that an improvement on the P8 start position was likely so we came away wondering about what might have been. Despite the disappointment, the pace was electric and the Tony Kart Viper test a resounding success.




Congratulations to team-mate Jack Hughes for a very strong showing in his first meeting on blue plates.


Next race – a 4 hour drive to Rowrah (Cumbria) next week.

Full race results here.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. trisha shaw permalink
    July 19, 2010 11:33 am

    A great day’s driving Sam and a real shame that it didn’t convert in the final, although it was an OUTSTANDING drive and deserved a trophy regardless of the finishing position.
    If it’s not too cheeky I would love a copy of the photo of Will and Craig. We didn’t get any pics that weekend at all.

  2. NIgel permalink
    July 13, 2010 9:56 am

    Congratulations, I knew it was just a matter of time!

  3. M & L Randon permalink
    July 8, 2010 2:27 pm

    Well done Sam! The new kart sounds to have been a great success. Pity about the mechanic (Dad) he’ll have to have an extra weetabix!!

    Good luck for next weekend. We will look forward to your next report. Keep up the good work.

  4. Martin Woodham permalink
    July 8, 2010 11:13 am

    Nice work Sam, glad to hear the Tony chassis is working so well for you. Shame not to capitalise on the P8, although 30th to 10th is by no means shabby (and lots of fun no doubt?!) I’m sure the pit crew is gutted!

    Best of luck in Cumbria – take your wets with you!


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