Hat trick for Ford in SGMW’s 2018 Karting Grand Prix thriller

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Rival teams were determined to prevent it, but there was something inevitable about Ford ‘doing the hat-trick’ at the Southern Group of Motoring Writers’ 2018 Karting Grand Prix.

The only difference between this year’s win and the blue oval team’s 2016 and 2017 victories, was Ford’s star wheelman Jake Cassetta being pipped to the fastest driver title by his nemesis, FIAT’s Chris Clubley – runner-up to Jake in 2016 and 3rd last year, but No1 this time.

SGMW team members: (left to right) Sean Ward, Richard Gooding, Tim Pitt and Phill Tromans

Maisie Goldney, another Ford team member and the brand’s Press Officer for Corporate Affairs, said: “A huge ‘thank you’ to the SGMW for arranging such a brilliant event again. It’s amazing for Ford to come back and win it for the third year in a row. It’s a very exciting event, great fun and amazing to have raised over £3,000 for Mission Motorsport. Brilliant job guys.”

And that £3,100 cash for Mission Motorsport saw a milestone passed for this highly successful annual event: the SGMW has now raised over £20,000 for motoring and related charities since the inaugural GP in 2014.

BMW/MINI racers (left to right): Sophie Bradbury, Helen Wilson and Lauren Prema

Mission Motorsport, supported by Help for Heroes, aids the recovery and rehabilitation of those affected by military operations, through providing motorsport opportunities, and using the mantra ‘Race, Retrain, Recover’. The charity joined the fun too, earning 13th place from a starting grid of 17 teams.

With one team dropping out on the day, SGMW also entered a team for the first time, gaining 8th place, though picking up the Wooden Spoon Award for the most infringements.

SGMW Chairman Ian Robertson said: “We don’t usually enter a team as we always maintain that the Karting GP is our PR colleagues’ big day, and a chance for us to give something back to them for all their help and hospitality.

Volkswagen team members: (left to right) Michelle Betty, Mike Orford, Adam Bartram and Grant McPherson

“But maybe we have now shown the real reason: our drivers’ ability to attract black flags.

“Seriously though, this has been another memorable event, with that £20,000 milestone passed and a hat trick from Ford; everyone was out to stop them, but they showed true championship quality.

“Once again, I must thank SGMW members Kevin Haggarthy and Massimo Pini for creating the event, which is then perennially and brilliantly executed by our Secretary Chris Rees. The GP was only intended as a one-off, but it returned by popular demand and is now a fixture in our calendar.”

SGMW members

But don’t just take Ian’s word for it.

Head of Press and Public Relations, Volkswagen UK, Mike Orford said: “Thanks to the SGMW for organising another enjoyable karting evening, which always raises so much money for charity. We may not have troubled the podium at the end of the night, but the team and I had a brilliant time regardless. As well as lots of pizza, of course.”

Honda UK Car PR Section Manager Simon Branney echoed the sentiment: “The SGMW karting event is always a fantastic evening of fun, laughter and noise – and this year was no exception.  I chose not to drive, to the relief of the Honda team, and I believe we ended up in the top ten (6th)?  Next year – top five!”

Volvo team members: (left to right) Ben Foulds, Francesca Turton, Kelly Miller, Barnaby Jones and Mike Gale

Volvo’s Head of PR, Mike Gale, said: “Thank you to the SGMW for putting on such a brilliant event. We all had a fantastic time at the Grand Prix, and it was great to support such a good cause as Mission Motorsport.”

Citroën PR Manager Katie Read said: “It’s absolutely great fun – I love it. Everyone gets competitive and really into it. We were doing so well until our team got black-flagged, so we had a 30-second penalty.”

Mitsubishi General Manager of Press, Public Affairs and Events, Conor Twomey, said: “This is my fourth year coming to this, if not my fifth. I never miss it and I’m always amazed when another year has gone by and we’ve come back again. It’s just one of those little bits I always make time for, no matter what I’m doing.”

Waiting for those results…

And there was a double bonus, according to Fiat and Alfa Romeo Press Relations Manager, Krystyna Perry: “We’ve managed so far to move from 16th place all the way up to seventh. Doesn’t really look like we’re going to win, but we have won car of the year from the Southern Group of Motoring Writers (awards) so thank you very much for awarding this to the Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio.”

And finally, a word from one of the SGMW’s own drivers, Sean Ward: “It’s very competitive out there, insanely competitive. Of course, it’s all for charity and we’re being very friendly and civil but, as soon as the visors go down on the helmets, it becomes quite intense. Half an hour in a kart and you’re tired… very tired.”

Ford winners: (left to right) Jake Cassetta, Andy Benson, and Maisie Goldney

The 2018 podium places were:

1st Ford: Jake Cassetta, Maisie Goldney, Andy Benson and John Palmer

– they received the SGMW GP trophy based on a splendid Moto-Lita leather-covered sports steering wheel, to be engraved and held until next year.

 

 

2nd placed Performance Comms: (left to right) Andy Murphy, Ross Milton, Ross Pinnock, Luke Bowler

2nd Performance Communications: Andy Murphy, Ross Milton, Ross Pinnock and Luke Bowler

 

 

 

 

 

3rd placed Lexus team: (left to right) Molly Miles, Mike Crofts, Joe Clifford, Michael Copus

3rd Lexus: Joe Clifford, Michael Copus, Molly Miles and Mike Crofts

 

 

 

 

 

 

On the podium – the winning teams

Fastest Lap winners:

1st: Chris Clubley (FIAT)

2nd: Jake Cassetta (Ford)

3rd: Joe Clifford (Lexus)

 

 

 

Too many black flags – SGMW racers (left to right) Phill Tromans, Sean Ward and Richard Gooding show off the Wooden Spoon

A grid of 17 teams battled at the all-action three-tier circuit at TeamSport, Crawley, with the event consisting of a 150-minute endurance race, plus practice session and safety briefing beforehand.

 

 

 

 

Cliff Hall of Mission Motorsport (centre) accepts the Karting GP cheque from SGMW officers Chris Rees (left) and Ian Robertson

This year’s grid (in alphabetical order): BMW-MINI, FIAT, Ford, Honda, Lexus, Mission Motorsport, Mitsubishi, Newspress, Nissan, Performance Communications, Porsche, PSA Group (Citroen, DS, Peugeot), SGMW, Skoda, Toyota, Volkswagen, and Volvo.

STORY: Steve Loader

PICTURES: Chris Manning

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