Bobby Thompson

Scottish victory keeps kart racer Bobby in title contention

  • Victory in Scotland and podiums in Wales
  • Karting successes lead to car racing opportunities

The weather may be dreary but sun continues to shine on Hornchurch based kart racer Bobby Thompson as he enjoys the most successful season of his career in the Lewis Hamilton and Bernie Ecclestone supported Formula Kart Stars Junior Rotax Championship.

Bobby, who will celebrate his 16th birthday at the end of this month, has had to juggle his intensive fitness programme, hectic racing schedule and endless hours of travelling up and down the UK with his GCSE exams at Emerson Park School but he has been able to complete his studies while maintaining his race winning form in the same karting championship that helped launch the careers of Hamilton and his fellow Formula One star Paul Di Resta.

After taking his first FKS victory at Ellough Park in Suffolk, Bobby and his Vital Motorsport team travelled to Larkhall in Scotland for rounds five and six of the 12 round series and, in tricky conditions, Bobby promptly underlined his status as one of the hottest properties in British karting by dominating Saturday’s fifth round to take his second consecutive race victory in front of the Sky Sports TV cameras.

“I wanted to keep my winning streak going,” said Bobby, who battled through a rain storm to take a two-second victory in his 70mph kart. “The kart is great in the wet and it handled perfectly. I wasn’t as nervous during the race as I was at Ellough Park and it was easier to keep my concentration in the final laps.”

The Sky Sports cameras captured the emotions of his victory and Bobby, who supports the Caudwell Children’s Charity through his racing activities, is one of the drivers who features in Sky’s ‘How to Start Karting’ video guide.

“Having the cameras there to witness my win and show much it means to my family and team made the feeling even more amazing,” added Bobby, who moved into the championship lead in the process.

But Bobby’s Scottish weekend wasn’t destined to end on a high note despite the PT Heating and Plumbing sponsored driver putting in arguably the drive of his life in Sunday’s final.

With rain falling again Bobby swept through the field from the eighth row of the grid, setting the fastest lap of the race and taking the chequered flag in fine style for what he thought was another win. However officials deemed that Bobby had made contact with another competitor during his charge and excluded him from the results.

“At the start of the race I felt that I was going to be quick,” commented Bobby, who started near the back of the pack after a retirement during one of his heat races. “I picked myself up and focused on passing people one by one. I caught and passed the leader and pulled away and I was gutted when I found out I had been disqualified. We’re going to appeal the decision to the Motor Sport Association because it could mean the difference between first and fifth in the championship.”

Having watched his Championship lead disappear at the stroke of an officials’ pen, Bobby was quick to regroup in the seventh and eighth rounds of the championship at Glan Y Gors in North Wales.

“Glan Y Gors is a real drivers track and you have to be aggressive and attack it,” added Bobby, who took pole position in Saturday’s qualifying session and won both his heat races to secure pole position for the final. “The kart felt great but I knew that the other drivers would be even more aggressive as I had proved I could pull away if I was in the lead.”

True to form the final became a dogfight with the top seven or eight drivers all battling for the lead with Bobby getting shuffled right to the back of the lead group before fighting his way back to third place at the end.

“The final was one massive battle,” concluded championship standings with four rounds remaining should his appeal against his Scottish exclusion be into an accident with anyone so I had to settle for possible but we have a lot of work to do.”

Despite his hectic karting schedule Bobby has also made the transition into car racing in the Ford Fiesta Junior Championship for 14-16 year-olds and scored a sensational pair of top five finishes in his first ever car meeting at Snetterton.

As one of the only drivers in the paddock not running with a major team, Bobby tackled the daunting Cadwell Park circuit in Lincolnshire in his full race-spec 110mph machine where he stunned the series frontrunners with two fourth place finishes on a track dubbed the ‘Mini Nurburgring’ due to its similarities to the famous, 15-mile ex-Grand Prix track in Germany.

“I’m still learning front wheel drive,” beamed Bobby, who belied his novice status in cars around the hilly, tree-lined undulations of a thoroughly soaking Cadwell circuit. “Everything is still new to me in cars but it felt good to be so close to the podium, especially on such a tough track. I’d like to thank Neil Hampton from Carp Trader for his support as he has spent a lot of time working on my car and helping us prepare for the races.”

Proving beyond doubt that Bobby has enough talent to progress up the motorsport ladder, in the week leading up to last weekend’s race in North Wales Bobby was one of six British drivers invited by BMW to the Brands Hatch circuit in Kent to test a fully fledged Formula BMW single seater racing car as part of a scholarship shootout for the global Formula BMW Talent Cup.

“It was an honour to be chosen by BMW,” stated Bobby, who was also invited to Valencia in Spain in 2011 to test one of the 210bhp machines. “Brands Hatch is a great track and I felt comfortable in the car straight away.”

Although Bobby lacks the necessary budget to consider a full time switch to single seater racing, he says that the extra experience around the former home of the British Formula One Grand Prix will stand him in good stead when he next participates at the circuit in his Fiesta.

“The power is so impressive,” concluded Bobby. “It’s another great opportunity for me and it will put me at an advantage when I next race at Brands Hatch.”

Bobby’s 2012 summer odyssey will now take him to Northern Ireland and the Nutts Corner circuit near Belfast for the next two rounds of the Formula Kart Stars Championship.

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