By Adam Jones
Rye karter’s pre-season preparations continue, despite on-track dramas
An incident-packed weekend (26/27 February) tested the mettle of Pett kart racer Jack Barlow – but in typical fashion he emerged from the numerous melees at Whilton Mill in impressive style.
With the opening round of the prestigious Super One British Kart Championship just a fortnight away (12/13 March), Jack was competing at the Northamptonshire circuit to complete his pre-season preparations. He had travelled to the event with his confidence high, after scoring an important psychological blow against his title rivals by taking a superbly timed victory at Shenington in Oxfordshire just a week earlier.
At the picturesque Whilton Mill track, Jack started from 28th place on the grid. He had worked his way up to 6th when, as he rounded a bend at speed, he found a tyre wall had been dislodged by an incident further down the field, leaving him with nowhere to go. Despite taking avoiding action he clipped the tyres and was out on the spot. With the marshals not responding to his frantic signals, Jack bravely ran onto the track to drag the obstacle off.
In the following race his fortunes were little improved. Again the Rye College GCSE student had quickly cut through the traffic and was well inside the top ten when another driver collided with him, dropping Barlow back down the order and prompting a fight back to 13th.
He won the third and final heat with authority to secure a place in the A Final – albeit on the 9th row of the grid.
It was another race littered with crashes, and although he had lost ground Jack managed to keep all four wheels pointing forward during the hectic opening lap. As the race found its rhythm, the highly-rated teenager – who is being watched by several top-flight motor racing teams – picked his way forward with a series of bold and incisive passing manoeuvres to take the chequered flag in 7th position.
Commenting afterwards, Jack said: “Seventh doesn’t sound particularly great when you look at the results in the cold light of day, but I’m really pleased with my performance. The wet conditions made it difficult for everyone and contributed to making it a crash-fest – but I was fast both in the dry and when it rained. The set-up of my kart gave me confidence, I never gave up and I was quick. Roll on Super One!”