THE FIRST-EVER BRITISH INDOOR KARTING CHAMPIONS HAVE BEEN CROWNED
Words by Tom Gibson. Photography by Steven Hughes.
Three hundred and forty days. That’s how long the 2020 edition of the British Indoor Karting Championship (BIKC) lasted. From the day that sign-ups opened on July 1st 2020, through to the final chequered flag falling at TeamSport Warrington on June 6th 2021.
Over the weekend 178 of the best indoor karting drivers descended on one of the longest, oldest and fastest circuits in the country, to battle it out to become the inaugural BIKC Champions. And what a show those in attendance and the thousands watching along at home were treated to. Not only that, but these drivers were also competing for a whole host of prizes from our sponsors - Daniel Ricciardo Series, Club100, BIZ Karts, Nestle Professional UK & Ireland, and Arroxx Racewear.
It started with the Featherweights on Saturday who set the tone for the weekend when Dante Dhillon (Warrington) dominated his heats and semi-final to score pole position for the final. Alongside him was Zac Venn (Bristol), a driver who had fought his way through the heats with the likes of Adam Sheargold (Basildon) and Mario Dinolov (Cambuslang). When the pair met on track in the final, they spent the whole 15-minute contest locked in a battle for the lead. Eventually, they crossed the finish line just inches apart, with Dhillon taking the first-ever British Indoor Karting Championship crown. Sheargold would complete the podium, with Dinolov having to settle for 4th.
The Lightweights went next, with any one of five drivers looking like they could take the title in the closing stages of the race. Dec Preston (Warrington) had closed right onto the back of the leading quartet of Sam Slater (Bristol), Tom Kempynck (Harlow), Steve Gray (Trafford Park) and Oliver Smith (Crawley). Smith had spent the heats making some amazing moves through the field, while Gray and Kempynck had a lot of latent pace in their BIZ karts. Despite Kempynck making a move for the lead, Slater held the pack at arm's length to win the final, with the top five drivers split by 0.9 seconds at the line. Kempynck and Gray completed the podium.
The Heavyweight category was just as close, with any one of six drivers looking like they could take the title heading into the finals. Adam Hadfield (Sheffield) and George Boothby (Sheffield) lined up on the front row, with Jack Jones (Cardiff) and Mark Bramford (Coventry) on row two. Boothby shot into the lead at the start ahead of Hadfield, with Bramford jumping Jones. Hadfield managed to snatch the lead from Boothby at the bottom of the flyover, before Bootbhy returned the favour a lap later, setting up a five-way fight for the lead. The race went down to the final lap, with Bramford applying the pressure to the back of George Boothby, but the Sheffield driver held off the challenge to become a British Indoor Karting Champion. Bramford followed him over the line, with Hadfield falling back to finish 3rd.
The final category of Saturday was the Super Heavyweights, with one driver stamping their authority on proceedings. Joel Arguelles (Coventry) didn’t defend, he didn’t check behind, he just put his foot down and went for it. Sam Dixon (Docklands) would start on pole position, with Arguelles alongside, Darren Wilson (Gosport) and Kevin Warner (Crawley) would be alongside them. Arguelles snatched the lead at the start, with Warner darting past for 2nd place, and from there the leader didn’t look back. After withstanding an early challenge, Warner started to slip back as he defended from James Dixon-Joel (Preston) who had moved past Dixon for 3rd. But Arguelles was in a different league, taking the chequered flag with five seconds in hand over the rest of the field, the biggest winning margin of the day. Warner completed the podium with Dixon-Joel just beating Dixon on the line, with Aiden Finn (Preston) trying to join the party in the closing laps.
Sunday would see the final three classes take to the track, with the cadets kicking off the action with another hard-fought race. R. Welsh (Trafford Park) took the lead early on from F. Buck (Bradford), who appeared to have a fault with his kart, as J. Warner (Crawley) blasted past. A red flag to give Buck another kart and a fair shot at victory meant that Welsh had it all to do from the restart. A total of three red flags meant that the final would end with a single lap sprint to the finish with Welsh having to deal with the challenge from Warner, Buck, Norman and O. Banks (Stoke), who had made some mega moves during the heats. Despite the challenge, Welsh would cross the line first with almost seven-tenths over J. Warner and F. Buck to complete the top three.
The Junior category has been the hardest fought contest of the entire championship, and one of the fastest, with many drivers joining the exclusive ‘59’ club, lapping the circuit in less than 60 seconds. Pole for the final went to B. Sproat (Trafford Park) who had only started racing in August 2020, behind him though was J. Lilley (Warrington) the current lap record holder. C. Ratford (Basildon) started 3rd, and wasted no time going for 2nd after a small mistake from Lilley, and no sooner had he past Lilley, he went for the lead on Sproat, with M. Boulton (Mitcham) following him through demoting Lilley to 3rd and Sproat to 4th. Try as he might, Boulton couldn’t do anything about Ratford in front, who came through to become Champion. Lilley would end the contest in 3rd, while Sproat would be passed by S. Brhlik (Birmingham) and K. Leadbeater (Bradford) to finish 6th.
The final category of the weekend was the Rising Stars, one name at the top of the timesheets all day was M. Jones (Preston). He managed to get to the front for his semi-final and scored pole for the final ahead of M. Williams (Warrington) and M. Roberts (Preston). When the lights went green, Jones set about driving away from the chasing pack, and ‘drive away’ he did. It was helped by a three kart fight for 2nd between Williams, Roberts and M. Burrows (Trafford Park), which lasted most of the race. Williams would win that battle, with Roberts coming home 3rd, but out in front Jones took the chequered flag with a scarcely believable 6.85-second margin over the rest of the field, he also bagged the fastest lap of the competition, a 59.195 on route to the title.
So that completes the 2020 edition of the British Indoor Karting Championship, with seven worthy champions who now enjoy prizes from our series sponsors Daniel Ricciardo Series, Club100, BIZ Karts, Nestle Professional UK & Ireland, and Arroxx Racewear.
Now all eyes shift to BIKC 2021, which kicks off qualifying on July 1st. To keep up to date with the series, head to bikc.co.uk to find out more.
Looking to take your karting to the next level with outdoor karting? Our prize sponsors, Daniel Ricciardo Series and Club100, offer incredible competitive race series for karters ready to take the next step in their motorsport journey. For more information, head to www.danielricciardoseries.com for karters aged 8-15 years or www.club100.co.uk for 15+ adult racing series.