On Wednesday 26 October the best of British young motorsport talent gathered at the iconic Buckmore Park karting circuit in Kent to battle it out in the sixth annual Henry Surtees Challenge.
The event organised by former F1 World Champion, John Surtees CBE, and the Henry Surtees Foundation, provides both kart and car racers that are currently progressing up the motorsport ladder the unique opportunity to win a spectacular range of career enhancing prizes to help aid their race programme preparation for the future, and this year was no exception.
The karting event was officially ‘flagged off’ by Former F1 commentator and newly appointed charity ambassador, Steve Rider. The hotly contested race saw 25 of the UK’s most talented young kart and car drivers battle it out, using superb Club 100 Birel Karts.
After setting a strong pace during qualifying, Callum Bradshaw, Ben Barnicoat, Piers Prior andCharlie Turner dominated the race throughout. Piers Prior worked tirelessly to maintain position often playing cat and mouse with Ben Barnicoat. A surprise outsider at the back of the pack, Michael Crees, qualified 21st in the group, and demonstrated excellent race craft working rapidly up the pack from 21st position to 10th within the first lap of the pre final and continued to pick up places. On one hairpin a spectacular undercut manoeuvre saw him pick up two places in less than 200 yards, a great tousle with Piers promoted him higher up the pack. But as the chequered flag lowered on a spectacular racing day, Callum Bradshaw clinched the podium, followed by Michael Crees and Ben Barnicoat. As race results were being adjudicated, a surprise penalty put Barnicoat back two positions elevating Prior to third position.
15 year old rising star Callum Bradshaw from Leicester was crowned the 2016 Henry Surtees Challenge winner. Callum is no stranger to karting, he started out as a novice late in 2012, and has most recently represented the UK in the world championship for promising young karters, competing in the Junior X30 this season.
Callum said “it was my first time competing in the Henry Surtees Foundation Challenge. I started slowly getting used to the karts, but soon picked up pace and was at the top of the pack throughout the race. I am thrilled to have won the event. Its not often you get to race against genuine and highly skilled racers such as Jake Dennis and Ben Barnicoat. I know that being awarded both the test with Carlin in a Formula 4 car, plus a test with Renault in the Clio Cup is such incredible opportunity, and I will relish getting behind the wheel of two very diverse race cars, with such experienced racing teams. I am sure it will greatly assist me with my racing career, and provide an invaluable insight into car racing. I am really grateful to John Surtees and the foundation”.
Runner up Michael Crees said “I have always wanted to take part in the event, but didn’t think I would be good enough, what with my size, weight and age, I was sure that it would hinder me. I had an absolutely fantastic time and am amazed to be on the podium, and scoop not just one, but three ‘H’ trophies is phenomenal. To me it was also awe inspiring to hear John Surtees share his invaluable knowledge with the younger drivers in providing them advice on which prizes were best matched for their career path”.
In third position Piers Prior said “I had an awesome time once again, racing was tough but respectful. I raced as hard as I could, the kart was a bit off pace which hampered
my progress, just a fraction of a second off in a field as competitive as this is all it takes. However, Callum drove immaculately, we had a nice battle in the pre-final and he deserved to win. I am really looking forward to spending a day testing with Ginetta in a GT car, I have never driven a car like it before, so it will be an incredible experience, I am sure it will be very beneficial for my career, plus to also be awarded the web package on top will enable me to market myself to potential sponsors”.
John Surtees said “Buckmore is renowned for being a physically challenging circuit and a superb training ground for future British World Champions. For over 50 years, the track has seen the likes of World Champions Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button hone their racing skills amongst many others”.
He continued “I know the difficulty youngsters are faced with in motor sport; the event provides a big helping hand with their careers and some of the prizes available will assist them greatly in their preparation for the 2017 season. Today I was really impressed with the impressive lap times. It was a thrilling day of extremely competitive racing, and really showcases the up and coming talent we have in the UK. We are grateful to the sponsors for offering the exceptional prizes and to Club 100 for providing the karts and back-up.”
The top three drivers were awarded with the prestigious Henry Surtees ‘H’ trophy title and given a choice of an incredible selection of career enhancing prizes – considered to be the best prizes ever offered at a kart meeting.
Callum Bradshaw, Winner of the Henry Surtees Challenge 2016 received the top Henry Surtees ‘H’ trophy, a Renault Clio Cup test experience and a Carlin test day experience including simulator and test drive in an F4 British Championship car. Plus a full kit of Puma race clothing – race suit, three pairs of gloves, two pairs of racing boots, one pair of running shoes and one pair of lifestyle shoes, donated by Puma SE.
Michael Crees, Runner up, received a Henry Surtees ‘H’ trophy, a tour of the Red Bull racing facility in Milton Keynes for two people, with half day simulator experience and evaluation by an F1 race engineer, an Arai GP-6S helmet in white finish, donated by Arai, plus Puma race clothing – two sets of gloves and underwear, one pair of racing shoes, one pair of running shoes and one pair lifestyle shoes, donated by Puma SE.
Piers Prior, third place, received a Henry Surtees ‘H’ trophy, a Ginetta test day experience in the G40 GT5 challenge car with potential to drive a G55 GT4, a full website package and online branding, plus a three month social media package, donated by 5G Creative, plus one pair of racing shoes, one pair of running shoes and one pair of lifestyle shoes donated by Puma SE.
Ben Barnicoat was awarded a special prize as the driver who, in the opinion of the judges John Vigor (Managing Director, Kart 100) and Steve Hollman (Managing Director, of Buckmore Park) had contributed outstanding performance and great tactical skills during his performance on track. Ben was awarded a factory tour for two people of at Ferrari, including the Road Car and Racing Departments, plus the Ferrari Museum.
Fastest Lap: Michael Crees
Over 80kg: Michael Crees
Unluckiest Driver: Scott Huntley
Prizes were awarded down to 7th place taking into account the drivers’ performances, placings and ambitions including
- A two hour training session at iZone Driver Performance, donated by Andy Priaulx – Awarded to Charlie Turner in 4th position
- BRDC British Formula 3 test, donated by Hillspeed – Awarded to Ross Martin in 6th position
- A pair of custom-fit driver communication earpieces suitable for all racing formulas up to F1, supplied with a year’s support to ensure the wearer is fully equipped to hear vital communications for a full season of racing; A pair of custom-fit filtered noise plugs – to protect hearing; A complete hearing health check consisting of an ear examination using a video otoscope (see inside your own ears) and a comprehensive hearing test. Advice and information on protecting your hearing to assist with a motorsport career, donated by specialist in Formula 1 equipment, Hearing Electronics Limited – Awarded to Ben Green in 7th position
- A supply of Teng Tools to the value of £1,000, donated by Teng Tools – Awarded to Ross Martin
- A full motorsport fitness assessment donated by Porsche Human Performance – Awarded to Ben Green
To download a set of high resolution images, please click on the link below.
(Picture credits: Please credit photographer Gary Hawkins)