My Karting career started in 1999 as a result of a chance meeting at an indoor event where this other chap and I had ended up with equal points qualifying in first and second places for the final. I was asked if I fancied joining them as third driver for an endurance Pro-Kart team they were setting up to contest the Daytona Owner/Driver Pro-Kart winter championships at Milton Keynes. I was of course delighted and took up the offer immediately. I only lasted two races as I had to have a shoulder operated on which then lost me my drive for the following season. Unfortunately even at that level, money talked and if someone could be found who was lighter and hence (usually) faster then they were drafted in to do the driving over people like myself who are on the heavy side !!
So after two seasons of irregular and frustrated driving, I discovered Club 100 which advertised to offer arrive and drive Karting in 2-stroke karts instead of the 4-stroke "lawnmower" engined karts I was used to. I didn't need a kart of my own and the biggest bonus was that they ran two weight categories : lightweights up to 80kg and heavyweights for 80kg and over. I also really liked the idea that the karts supposedly accelerated from 5 - 60mph in about 5 seconds and could top 80mph flat out.
Club 100 also ran two types of championships. Sprint championships for individuals and Endurance championships (albeit 2.5 hr races instead of the 6 hour Pro-Kart races I had been used to) for teams of 3 drivers usually.
My first year in Club 100 was in 2001 contesting just the Heavyweight Sprint series. I finished the season 37th overall but didn't make any A-finals. This fact left me as the highest placed "Rookie" in the series, a "Rookie" being defined as someone who had never made an A-final, and hence I became HW Rookie Champion. Hooray, A trophy in my first year !
I lost about 10kg in weight at the end of 2001 and started 2002 in much better trim. I made my first A-final at the 3rd round and went on to make another 6 ending up 21st in the HW table. I was then voted most improved Club 100 driver for 2002 which was a real honour for me.
I was also part of a 3-man Intermediate series Endurance team called "Jenny Tools Racing". We had a competetive first year finishing 6th overall and taking our maiden win at Whilton Mill which was a great feeling seeing as it was very difficult to achieve when we were running against teams that were lighter than ourselves, our team being made up from 3 heavyweight sprint series drivers !
2003 was a reasonable season, building slightly on the successes of the previous year before ending up 20th. Jenny Tools were promoted to the highest Premier class endurance series where we finished a reasonable 15th taking a few top 10 places on the way but more importantly, we gained a lot from having raced with the faster, more experienced teams and drivers. At the end of season awards ceremony I picked up the award on behalf of Jenny Tools Racing for most improved endurance team.
In 2004 I was verging on the top 10 of the championship for the first half of the year before ending it 16th. The highlights of this season included qualifying 2nd for the A-final at Rye House in attrocious conditions where weight seemed to help for once, only failing to take pole by someone else having a faster lap time. Unfortunately I had an attrocious handling kart in the final and dropped down the order before being taken out on purpose by someone who thought I had tried to squeeze him off the track ! I would have definitely improved on my personal best race result of 9th and to add insult to injury, the chap who'd punted me off had his penalty overturned, great ! I also had two career best equalling 9th places at Clay Pigeon and Whilton Mill. Annoyingly, I had to miss a few races and had a disaster at one other and as a result just failed to make the top 15 which would have made me a seeded driver for 2005.
Endurance racing for me turned into practice sessions for the sprint series races. Our newly renamed team "Scuderia Veloce" not really living up to its name as we struggled from the very start of the season for various reasons !
Club 100 attracts drivers from all over the UK, from Ireland and sometimes from Europe. Some drivers have gone on to greater things such as Formula 3 and Touring Cars and sometimes come back for more, sometimes not even winning either ! As a result of it being arrive and drive, everyone gets the same equipment with which to show their skills which I think puts it into a bracket slighter higher than club Karting but below the highest Super 1 national level. The karts are direct-drive which means if you spin, you stall and they only race on slick tyres (even in monsoon-like conditions !), so your driving greatly improves with experience and of course, Karting is great at developing race craft which you can then apply directly to other forms of motor sport. ! Of course, not everyone has the money to go further even if they have the talent and consequently, the top 10 of each class are usually filled by extremely talented drivers that would, and have, embaressed drivers in higher forms of motor sports when given the opportunity. This is why I am proud to have achieved what I have done in Club 100 so far.
The Club 100 driver pool also seems to have a bit of knack in providing winners to various national driving competitions that have happened in the past couple of years across the UK. Two drivers have won drives in old Formula One cars and management contracts in order to help further their motor sport careers. Then there was the runner up in the inaugural Formula Woman championship, and in 2005, my name was added to that list as I was chosen by Auto Express magazine to share their entry in the 2005 Uniroyal Fun Cup along with two other magazine staff drivers, in the process providing me with my first season racing cars, my ambition since the age of 10 !
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