Seconds before the chequered flag, Ford seizes victory in SGMW GP
After trailing the Fiat team in second place for 55 minutes, Ford’s Jake Cassetta spotted his chance to gain victory in the 2016 SGMW Karting Grand Prix.
“I got within sight of the Fiat kart two laps before the end of the race and did my best to catch him up. I was right behind him by the last lap, and when I saw him go wide on the last corner I put my foot down and shot past him on the inside,” said Jake.
Not only did the Ford financial analyst clinch victory from the 2014 victors, he also recorded fastest lap of the 2.5-hour long endurance race. His lap time of 48.007 seconds was one of the fastest recorded at the circuit since the introduction of new karts at the start of 2016.
SGMW driver steps in
In the last minutes of the race SGMW onlookers started to forget their neutrality because Fiat, with a team member missing, had co-opted SGMW member Tyler Heatley as their fourth driver.
Group chairman Chris Rees said: “The SGMW doesn’t enter a team because the aim of the GP is to give our industry PR colleagues a good time out, as a small thank you for all the events they stage for us. But SGMW members are available to top up if any team falls short on team numbers, and a winner’s trophy for Tyler would have been a first for our race volunteers.”
It was not to be, though. It was wheel-to-wheel stuff from Fiat and Ford in the final yards, with third placed Kia a lap behind.
Tense wait for results
However, the result was unclear at first, as the race organisers had deliberately switched off the race monitor board ahead of the final laps to check the final data and pinpoint any possible misdemeanours.
Suspense mounted as the teams waited for the results to be announced, with the Ford drivers hiding their nerves by speculating wildly about the size of possible pay bonuses if they came through. All was forgotten when Chris Rees finally announced the winners, though. The Ford team of Jake Cassetta, John Palmer, Paul Baynes, Kevin Welsh and Charlotte Ward received the SGMW GP trophy based on a splendid Moto-Lita leather-covered sports steering wheel, which would be engraved and theirs to display for the next year. The Fiat team, comprising Conor Twomey, Darren James, Chris Clubley and Tyler Heatley were awarded trophies for second place. Demonstrating just how close a battle it had been, Fiat drivers, Chris Clubley and Darren James recorded the second and third fastest laps of the race: 48.873 seconds for Chris and 49.065 for Darren.
The Kia team of Carly Escritt, Dan Sayles, Neil Kent and Richard Slowgrove claimed third place.
Record charity haul
As well as a nail-biting finale, the third annual SGMW Karting Grand Prix also raised a record £4,445 donation to charity. The biggest winner at the event on Thursday 14 April, and most loudly applauded, was the Essex and Herts Air Ambulance Trust (EHAAT). It’s a cause close to the hearts of all attending with around half the trust’s lifesaving calls being to road accidents. Each mission typically costs £2,700, and £200 per hour in fuel costs to keep each EHAAT helicopter in the air.
Tony Stone, an EHAAT paramedic and a racer on the night, said he and his teammates had been amazed by the event and thanked everyone involved for the generous donation, adding that the trust receives no Government funding.
Best GP yet
SGMW chairman and one of the event organisers Chris Rees said afterwards: “It was easily our best GP yet, vindicating our switch from February to April, so that the venue’s vent walls could be opened without everyone catching cold.
“I would like to thank all the teams for respecting our wish not to recruit pro and semi-pro drivers specially for the race. It definitely made it fairer for those racing and a greater spectacle for all of us who were trackside.”