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Teamsport Tornadoes & Hereford Heroes share first EKL wins
Old 21 May 2012 18:58
 
Category: Karting
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Bayford Meadows hosted the first round of the new Elite Karting League (EKL) which saw Hereford Heroes claim the cash prize for winning the Race of Champions while West Sussex based Teamsport Tornadoes dominated the endurance events while claiming the overall and endurance team wins of the day.

25 teams comprising 107 drivers, with a broad range of experience, competed on a very level playing field. All drivers were weight equalised to 90kg bringing a highly competitive element to the racing. Following a one hour practice session, drivers competed in a packed schedule of 16 eight lap races, a Race of Champions qualifying and a 12 lap race for a cash prize before qualifying and two one-hour endurance races.

The drivers included ‘arrive and drive’ karters looking to progress to a more competitive arena through to those with more of a racing pedigree including 2011 FIA Formula Two driver Ramón Piñeiro and 2008 Karting World Champion driver Mathias Grooten.

Hereford Heroes dominated the sprint races with seven wins from the 16 starts. Teamsport Tornadoes won six with the remaining sprints victories being taken by Cambridge Cobras, Pontefract Pirates and Birmingham Wheels Bullets.

Hereford Heroes went on to claim the £625 cash prize for the Race of Champions. Mathias Grooten was their driver nominated for the race. Having qualified second, behind the Birmingham Wheels Bullets, Mathias lost ground in the early stages and was back to third but quickly reclaimed second. He had to wait until lap nine of the 12 lap race to make his move for the lead, overtaking Teesside Angry Birds who had lead from lap five. From there Mathias/Hereford Heroes held onto the lead while Birmingham Wheels Bullets, Teesside Angry Birds and Matchams Machines battled behind. At the flag the top four were separated by just seven tenths of a second with Mathias heading the pack ahead of the Birds, Bullets and Machines.

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Mathias Grooten, Hereford Heroes: “P2 wasn’t the best place on the grid – P3 would have been better because going into the first two turns the inside line is quicker. At the start I tried to go round outside and was passed and so had to catch the leaders. I got back into second and then with the leader we both went deep and got onto the dirt so the third and fourth placed karts passed us both. I recovered to third and got P2 back and got the same run up again to get P1 back. I tried to defend the small lead and build up a half second gap. I held it to the last lap but then they caught me and I had to defend hard for the last three turns to the end.”

Hereford Heroes topped the timing sheets again in Enduro qualifying, with Teamsport Tornadoes alongside on the front row. Pontefract Pirates and Birmingham Wheels Bullets were on row two for the one hour race. At the half-way stage, Pontefract Pirates had moved up to lead with Teamsport Tornadoes second followed by Hereford Heroes and Birmingham Wheels Bulldozers. In the second half of the race Teamsport Tornadoes clinched the lead followed by Birmingham Wheels Bullets and Pontefract Pirates. The Matchams Machines put in a valiant effort and having started eighth managed to cross the line in fourth.

Enduro 2 grid was determined by the race one finishing order. Although Teamsport Tornadoes were on pole and won the race, it wasn’t a straightforward domination. Pontefract Pirates were leading for a spell mid-race but then slipped to fifth for the flag. Hereford Heroes, having started from 22nd, had a great race, driving through the field for the 62 laps to finish second and just 1.2 seconds from the victors. Matchams Machines took the final podium position just three tenths of a second ahead of Cambridge Cobras.

Owen Jenman, Teamsport Tornadoes: “That was hard work! We won it on the pit-stops really. We had a good strategy and were in and out as quickly as possible and get out into clean air. It’s great to have won the first ever EKL endurance races. It’s been really good competition and tight racing.

Bob Pope, EKL Director: “We’ve had good racing today and a lot of positive feedback. The teams’ spirits have been fantastic – watching it mean so much when they win is great.”

The Elite Karting League offers affordable competitive karting. Each event entry costs a driver less than £100 and teams stand to collect prize money of up to £1000 per event. Drivers are weight equalised to 90kg making the racing more competitive. The teams are racing in identical karts with Biz Kart Evo chassis and equalised twin GX160 Honda engines.

It’s not too late to join EKL. Visit Facebook.com/thekartingleague.

The next round of EKL takes place at Ellough Park, Norfolk on 10th June.
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