Luke Watts becomes the 2017 English Champion!

June 19, 2017

Karting

It may only be his second full year and racing and despite being one of the youngest drivers in the field Luke Watts won the IAME Cadet E plate yesterday at Fulbeck.

With Super One at the same track next weekend all the big hitters were there and from 7th on the grid Luke charged through to take victory to go along with his podium in Honda Cadet.

IAME Cadet 

There were 26 drivers entered into the IAME Cadet class including many of the leading Super One and LGM Series drivers. After qualifying on pole at Super One last year Luke has fond memories of the Fulbeck circuit and got off to a brilliant start. 

In the opening heat despite starting down in 8th Luke was quickly into the lead of the race after just two laps passing some of the favourites for the plate. Once there Luke was able to pull a gap of half a second which allowed him to concentrate on his own race. He came under some pressure towards the end but too the win nevertheless to get his day off to a perfect start.

However, heat two was the complete opposite for Luke as he got involved in an incident, the impact had caused damage to his rear bumper forcing Luke into the pits for a stope which saw him finishing a lap behind the rest of the pack. There was nothing he could do about it, he was still setting times as quick as the leaders which was a positive to take away.

Knowing he needed a good result in heat three Luke turned things around hugely to go out and take another victory from 9th on the grid! It wasn’t quite the start Luke got in heat one which made it even more impressive as he slowly worked his way up the order before taking the lead with two laps to go. He had to hold off the likes of Chris Draper and Rashan Chigorimbo to do it and won by just 0.07 seconds.

That second win helped Luke to salvage a decent grid position in 7th place, giving him a decent chance at winning the E plate.

Luke once again made a hugely impressive start working his way through the order making some great moves to pick the leaders off one by one. This included seeded drivers Matthew Rees and Maxwell Dodds before Luke was eventually in the lead after five laps. A few laps later Luke was once again battling with Chigorimbo and lost the lead after being pushed off the track, he was able to get back to 2nd with two laps to go as there were now 8 karts all battling. The last lap was nothing short of dramatic! Luke managed to retake the lead but heading into the penultimate corner he was hit by the same driver again which saw him roll into the barriers in what was a nasty incident! The red flags immediatley came out and Luke was thankfully okay. That meant the race was put back a lap and although at that time Luke was 2nd, Chigorimbo received a ten second penalty for gaining an unfair advantage meaning Luke took the win and became the 2017 IAME Cadet English Champion and will carry the E plate for the next year!

Luke has had so much bad luck recently, mechanical issues, being caught up in other drivers incidents, but finally he was able to show what he could do and as a result took a win in a nationally recognised event. With Super One at Fulbeck next weekend Luke will be the man to beat!

Honda Cadet 

There was a more subdued grid in the Honda Cadet class but that said there were some big names at the front including the likes of Josh McLean, Theo Micouris, Lucas Ellingham and Harvey Charter.

Heat one was a sign of things to come with Luke battling against Ellingham, Micouris and McLean. From 3rd on the grid Luke got straight into the lead and stayed there until the very last lap. Under pressure from Ellingham and Micouris he lost two places on the very last lap, inexperience perhaps but it was a lesson learnt for future races.

In heat two the five drivers mentioned at the start would be the ones to battle over the lead and with Luke starting in 5th he struggled to make progress with all five drivers covered by less than a second. He did battle with Charter who refused to work with Luke but they had a great race with Charter eventually taking 4th. 

In heat three Luke got a great start, but whilst getting to 3rd the two leaders had escaped which left Luke battling with his teammate Ellingham later in the race. The battle saw them drop further back from the leaders and Luke eventually settled for 4th.

In the final Luke started the race just minutes after his incident which saw him flip the kart on the last lap. Cleared by the medics as fit to race again, Luke wents taright back out and drove a fantastic race to finish on the podium. Luke kept the two leaders honest, but wasn’t quite able to reflect his pace of the heats but a 3rd place is still a great result and he was happy to see his teammate Josh McLean take the win.

Overall it has been a fantastic weekend for Luke, an E plate and a podium in Honda Cadet is more than he would have expected and it’s probably been his best weekend in karting to date. One he has worked hard for and one he truly deserves!