MSA British Cadet Championship and the FKS Championship for Mini Max and Junior Max.

‘Most Important Win Ever’ For Kart Ace Thompson

  • Northern Irish triumph keeps Bobby in title contention
  • Points penalty fails to de-rail Junior Max star

Hornchurch’s fastest teenager, kart racer Bobby Thompson has vowed to ‘hold nothing back’ in his quest to clinch the Formula Kart Stars Junior Rotax Championship following another imperious performance at the Nutts Corner circuit in Northern Ireland.

The 16 year-old suffered a major setback to his title aspirations in the same karting championship that set current Formula One stars Lewis Hamilton and Paul Di Resta on the road to glory when he was docked 100 championship points and lost one of his two wins from the Larkhall circuit in Scotland for allegedly making contact with another driver.

Therefore the Emerson Park School student travelled to Nutts Corner for rounds nine and ten of the twelve round series fifth in the points standings, 79 points adrift, instead of holding a comfortable lead. But whereas many drivers in a similar position would have called time on their title bid, the setback only served to increase Thompson’s determination.

“I knew I had to do well,” commented Thompson, known throughout the karting paddock as ‘The Bobster’ “and part of me was also hoping that my main rivals would have a bit of bad luck.”

Despite having never visited the fast, gradient filled Nutts Corner circuit prior to the FKS meeting, Bobby and his Vital Motorsport team quickly found a fast set-up and after a day of testing, ‘Bobster’ knew that he had potentially race winning pace.

“The track was really good,” continued Thompson, who supports the Caudwell Children’s Charity through his racing activities. “I instantly felt comfortable and the fact that it is so fast and flowing really suits my style.”

Saturday’s ninth round took place under sunny skies and although sixth fastest time in qualifying was slightly disappointing, Bobby quickly underlined his reputation as one of the best racers in the championship as he powered his way up the leaderboard to finish second and third in the two heat races and secure a place on the outside of the front row for the all important final.

“I was on the outside row for the start, which is never the best place to be,” recalled Thompson, who slipped to sixth at the start. “But as soon as the race calmed down I started to claw my way back to the leaders. Because the pace is so quick at the front and the drivers are so consistent it is hard to gain places so I had to set my mind on each passing move and try and pick my moment without losing too much time to those in front.”

Thompson’s tactic was successful as he slotted into third place and waited until half way round the final lap to pick off one last rival to take second, a result he was justifiably pleased with.

“I was really pleased with second,” added the PT Heating and Plumbing backed driver. “I gained places on most of my main rivals in the championship and I knew that I had another round to go one place better on Sunday.”

Bobby may have had a short wait for his next shot at victory but the weather on Sunday was a world apart from the previous day as warm sunshine was replaced by cold, windswept rain, rendering all previous set-up data useless.

But the weather didn’t deter Thompson, who qualified third and finished second in his opening heat race before winning his second heat to ensure that he would start the final from pole position.
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In treacherous conditions Thompson put on a wet weather driving master class, holding onto the lead through the tricky opening corners and then simply driving away from the rest of the field at a rate of more than half a second a lap to score a stunning victory that even he admitted was one of his best ever.

“I was able to break the slipstream of the drivers following me and from then on I could judge where everyone else was because as I was coming out of a corner I could see the chasing pack going in. That helped me as I knew I wasn’t under any pressure.”

To put the final stamp of authority on his third win of the year Thompson set the fastest lap of the race on the final lap and he took the chequered flag more than seven seconds ahead of his nearest rival. Even more significantly was the fact that during the weekend he had reduced his championship deficit from 79 to 38 points and moved from fifth to third in the standings with two rounds to go, giving him a chance at the title that looked unlikely at the start of his Northern Irish voyage.

“This is the most important win of my career and also the most spectacular,” concluded Thompson. “The gap to the leader is half what it was at the start of the weekend and I know that if I have a good weekend at Whilton Mill I have a chance of the title. It’s going to be really tough so there will be no holding back and no hesitation. I have to go for it.”

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