It's been a really busy year, so many apologies for not keeping you all updated more but hopefully this post will give you a whistle stop update on all the highs and a few lows on what has to be one of my most successful years since I started racing!
2018 was a new start for me as I moved up to the larger full sized kart and we decided to enter the X30 Mini class and to use this year as a learning year in preparation for 2019.
I did not have many test session before my first meeting in February at HKRC with Jack Dex Racing, one full day and the Saturday of the race meeting to be exact and on reflection that meeting would prove to be a good indication of how the year would proceed as I won the final.
The next meeting was the TVKC Championship Round 1 and I finished on the podium there also, this was starting to look good.
The more time I spent in the seat the stronger I was getting. It was after Round 3 of the HKRC champs (March) that I was offered an opportunity to try the MS Kart by Jack Dex. So we decided to try the kart the following weekend at Shennington.
It was the first time out on the chassis, at a track I've only been to 4 times in cadets but I gelled with it immediately and went on to win the meeting! That sealed things, MS chassis it was and I got my head down and started working with Jack Dex to tweak and develop the chassis throughout this year.
This year went by very quickly with me punching at the front of most meetings I entered but my main goals were;
- Win TVKC Championship
- Win HKRC Championship
- Win East Anglian Trophy
- Win Kartmasters British Grand Prix
- Win a round of Super One
- Win a round of LGM
I started well at TVKC but engine issues caused by extremely slow sighting laps by other drivers caused me issues mid-season so it meant the championship came down to the wire but I dug deep and was very comfortable with the chassis by the end of the year and came away with two wins in the final two rounds sealing the 2018 Championship, 1 of 6 done.
Having missed the first round of the championship I had to make sure I brought my 'A' game every meeting here and for all but one of the meetings I attended I won an nearly brought home maximum poinst hauls every outing. This meant that I had sealed the 2018 Championship with a round to spare, 2 of 6 done.
East Anglian Trophy
Following my dominance at HKRC I had high hopes for this high profile event and although my first race went nearly as wrong as it could go, through no fault of my own I might add, I threw caution to the wind and I went on to win every race from then on and take both final wins over the two days and the overall title, 3 of 6 done.
Kartmasters British Grand Prix
This event is arguably one of the most difficult in the UK and can be down as much to luck as anything else.
I started our campaign well but not as good as I'd hoped qualifying 5th, although the competition was very close with the top 5 seperated by hundreths of a second. Anyway from 5th I could do what I needed to.
Heat 1 a win and one of the best last laps I have driven under intense pressure.
Heat 2 a problem as my throttle linkage got fouled by a stone wedged in it so I couldn't operate it via the pedal, so midrace I have to try and use my right hand to open the throttle whilst trying to unwedge the stone. I lose places but manage to clear it with a few laps to go and salvage a 12th place or thereabouts, which under the circumstances was not too bad.
Heat 3 a 5th which was disappointing......relative to how I wanted to do.
Heat 4 another win.
I had to wait to see where this put me and it was great when I saw I was Pole for the Pre-Final on Sunday.
Pre-Final I had a very strong race but with a few laps to go I went into the 2nd hairpin and the driver in front brake-tested me resulting in a nose penalty which meant I would have to start the Grand-Prix in 13th place!
Most would think this was the weekend over but I love working through and I decided I would throw caution to the wind again......
It was a long way back from the front row where I had hoped to be starting but I got my head down and started working forward. Unfortunately the front few drivers had agreed to just work away from the chasing pack in the initial stages of the race which meant that although I was setting fastest laps and coming through the pack the front pair gradually eeked a gap to the P3 driver.
I got to P3 with 2 minutes to go and the P4, 5 and 6 drivers were right there and decided it was time to race for position and relegated me back a spot so with 2 laps to go I made a monster move around the outside of the P3 driver at the hairpin to take the position back. I nailed the next series of corners to make a gap and held this to the flag.
So, although disappointed I didnt win P13 to P3 and a new lap record was quite an achievement. This was also the opinion of others as in addition to the P3 rewards I won the overall 'Spirit of Kartmasters' award for overall performacne, tenacity and demonstrating the character to continue to overcome issues. So maybe not a win but I like to think a 4 of 6 as I surpassed expectations and it was recognised by the organisers and other team managers offered their words of congratulations and support.
As pat of the Kartmasters awards, I received an entry to the Iame World Finals at Le Mans but unfortunately we could not raise the budgets to allow us to attend.
Unfortunately we did not compete in a S1 round but judging by how things were going I feel I would have been competitive.
LGM (Little Green Man)
It was one of my goals to compete in a round of the LGM championship and see how I fared. I decided to attend HKRC as the round there was in place of the normal club meeting so I'd be free and would know the circuit very well.
I was strong all day with P8, and two P2 finishes in the heats putting me P3 for the Final. I started the final and was strong slotting into P2 chasing down the leader whilst gapping the following pack but unfortunately there was a battenburg flag so the pack all closed in until the restart.
The green flag was waved and we went, 2 laps after the restart I caught the leader and made a gap which I stretched over the next few laps. Unfortunately with 3 laps to go I got a puncture in the front tyre and the pack caught me but I managed to hold on to P4 over the line, which with a flat tyre is a great achievement.
Again, not the win I'd hoped for but clearly showed I was a contender.
As I'd missed out I decided to do the final LGM round at PFI to see if I could tick the box and I made sure I would be on fire for this one..........I ended up winning everything, TQ, the heats and after stretching my lead to nearly 10 seconds in the final I won that by nearly 8 seconds. So 5 out of 6 with this one.
At TVKC awards presentation I was also awarded the Mansell Trophy for the driver who had scored the most championship points out of anyone in the club, across all age groups and all classes of racing, a major achievement.
In addition to the above I made a few trips to a club that I've only raced at during the British Championship rounds, Whilton Mill KC and apart from one meeting won every meeting I attended which was great. Videos from these meetings are on my videos page or on YouTube, search for Alpha Timing Live.
So all that's outstanding from this year is to attend the HKRC awards in January to collect my champion award and possibly somehting more there also. I have not been told exactly what,but I may be in the running for a special award there also, I'll keep you updated.
2019 - I'm moving up to the Junior X30 class so let's see how we get on there and with some luck we may get an entry to the Iame World Finals again and be able to raise the funds to allow us to attend.
Thanks to all those who enable me to get on the grid to race including;
ARC Audio Visual & IT Solutions Limited
Jack Dex Racing for the unwavering support and hard work with both the equipment and me
MS Kart for the fantastic chassis and exposure on their website
Jade Engines for providing the engines capable of winning at any level
Alan Hoyle for helping where he can and always being there to help when the chips are down.
Please follow me on social media and check back to my website regularly for updates and it would be great to see you at some of my races if you can attend. please see the calendar section of the website for dates and locations.
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lucas.ellingham.9?epa or search Lucas Ellingham
See you in 2019!