Joe Turney has aligned his star with the likes of Lewis Hamilton and George Russell by winning the Senior Rotax Kartmasters championship.
The biggest single UK karting event took place at the prestigious PFI circuit in Grantham over the first weekend of August, with a huge turnout of drivers competing to be the “Kartmasters’ Champion at the British Karting Grand Prix. This is not for the faint hearted, the Grand Final is one of the hardest single races in karting with all drivers hoping to win the right to display the sought after GP plate and join the elite group of Kartmasters Champions.
Turney accepted a massive challenge and entered two classes, Rotax and X30, in just his second year of senior racing. If he won both he would join just one other driver to win two Kartmasters titles on the same day and that driver, McLaren Academy Driver Ben Barnicoat, would be lined up on the grid beside him.
Rotax came up first and against a very strong grid Turney was dominant winning three of the heats and accepting second in another as he knew he already had pole.
He went on to win the prefinal and in a thrilling final, with grip rapidly falling away from him and with immense pressure from the driver behind, he drove an impeccable race with the lead only leaving him once to win the class, become a Kartmasters Champion and cement his position in the Karting history books.
X30 Senior was one of the most eagerly anticipated grids, almost 60 drivers including World Champions, British and European Champions and drivers in other formulas with no one giving any quarter.
After two thrilling days of racing in which Turney took pole, raced hard and fair he went into the prefinal on grid three and emerged second.
The final has been described as the finest and most exciting ever Kartmasters finals with a phenomenal mixture of dynamics, Turney was hoping to become only the second ever dual title holder, Barnicoat was aiming to be a record seven times winner and Hodgson was looking for his fourth title and to settle a score from the previous year when he was taken off on the last lap.
Turney went off grid two and from the less favourable line slipped back but immediately made it back to the back of race leader Barnicoat, he took the lead and tried to pull clear but Barnicoat, whose father operates the circuit, knows the track so well and the headwind kept the two joined for several laps until Barnicoat took the lead and it was Turney’s turn to tuck in behind him and push clear.
This time they made up a second advantage and entering the last lap it was all of nothing. They came off the bridge and into the flat out downhill section, Barnicoat went slightly wide into hairpin one giving Turney the only chance he would get, he slipped down the inside but Barnicoat was not going to miss his record attempt and kept Turney tight.
The two karts rubbed and Barnicoat regained his position leaving Turney exposed to Hodgson who swept through to take second and Turney third. The move was controlled and Barnicoat admitted afterwards that he thought Turney had got him but it wasn’t to be.
Turney took two podiums and showed that he is a controlled, capable and determined driver who races cleanly but will yield to no one. He commented “I gave Barnicoat a great race and he returned the compliment, it was an important race for us both but only one can take the crown”.
He moves on to complete the British Championships, finish his European season and compete in the X30 international final in Le Mans in October.