Jack Barlow is British Champion
By Adam Jones
Pictures by Chris Walker
Rye already has one National Champion in the person of Bronwen Ewing, who won the 24 Hour Cycling title in Rye Wheelers colours in June.
Now Jack Barlow, who lives just a stone’s throw away from Bronwen, has won one of the most prestigious championships in British karting, completing a historic treble.
The Pett teenager scooped the Ginetta Super One Junior Rotax crown at the Three Sisters circuit in Ashton-in-Makerfield, near Wigan last Sunday (16 October), to add to his impressive tally of victories; including the Kartmasters Grand Prix and Rotax Cup titles.
16 year-old Jack had gone into the seventh and final round of the series leading by just a handful of points, but was in confident mood, having won the Rotax Cup event just two weeks earlier (25 September).
For Timed Qualifying, the 46-strong field was split into two groups. Barlow narrowly missed out on setting the pole position time during his session, by just one hundredth of a second.
“I had a really good qualifying. Thankfully it was my team-mate (Rob Holland) who pipped me rather than anyone else,” Jack said. “I think overall I was the faster of us but Rob just managed to drive a single, very quick lap.”
Starting from second place on the grid for his first heat, the Sussex Coast College A-level student went on to claim a comfortable win before taking another emphatic lights-to-flag victory in the following race, to give himself pole-position for what became the title-decider. Not that Jack was aware of this, as his team manager Warwick Ringham had decided to keep him focused on the race rather than the Championship.
“Warwick wouldn’t tell me what the points difference was between me and my nearest rivals. He just told me to go out and win. From the start I got a gap (over the chasing group) with another driver, but Warwick signaled to me that I should let him through. I did this and from there just pushed him round the track. Unfortunately, he kept making mistakes and that slowed us both up. I could see the team saying ‘push, push, push’ and knew that this meant the pack was gaining on us.” At the head of that pursuing group was Jack’s closest challenger for the Championship, Nathan Harrison.
“Nathan caught up because the leader (Sam Marsh) was defending through every corner. This was pretty stressful because I knew I had to keep Nathan behind me (in order to win overall). I could easily have passed Sam, but could see the team didn’t want to risk him launching a late move on the last lap and potentially knock me off the track.”
Barlow crossed the finishing line in 2nd place but wasn’t aware that he’d done enough to seal the Championship: “I didn’t know I’d won the title. I looked up at the team truck (where the management and mechanics were watching from its roof) and they just put their thumbs up. In Parc Ferme I was saying to my mechanic Andy Horne, ‘Have I done it, have I done it?’”
On his return to the Strawberry Racing awning, Jack quickly began to calculate the points positions and upon realizing that he had clinched it by four points, the relief was palpable. “I walked over to Andy (Horne) and gave him a big hug.” He added, “This is one of the hardest championships to win in karting. The standard of competition is extremely good and I’ve beaten over fifty other drivers, so I’m very proud and pleased to have won. It is also the perfect reward for the people and companies that have supported me. I am very grateful to Key Motor Finance, Rollersigns and of course, my mum and dad (Paul and Rhonda).”
The Adidas and Superdry clothing-supported youngster’s next big challenge is the annual Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals, held this year at the home of the Dubai Grand Prix, the Al Ain Raceway (23-26 November).
In the interim, keep up to speed with Jack and his racing career by visiting www.jackbarlowracing.co.uk
“Rye’s Own” November 2011
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