YRDA Champions Review 2020

December 28, 2020

Formula Renault Eurocup

A year to be remembered: YRDA Champions Review 2020

Despite the challenges and road bumps 2020 has brought to the motorsport community, moments of excellence have been seen throughout the industry.  Whether that's in Formula 1 with Pierre Gasly winning in Monza, Sergio Perez winning in Sakhir (both Ex-Arden drivers of course) or Lewis Hamilton becoming the most successful driver of all time, the feeling of winning never gets old and for the #YRDArmy that winning feeling was a regular occurrence in 2020 and we crowned 4 champions at national and international level.

Alex Quinn — Formula Renault Eurocup Rookie Champion 2020

Throwing it back to the start of the Formula Renault Eurocup season, Alex Quinn was unsure if he had a drive heading into the first round of the season, when due to unforeseen circumstances Quinn was called up to take the wheel of the Arden Formula Renault machine.

The season that lied ahead would be an outstanding display of talent from start to finish.  Round one saw a performance no one could’ve ever envisioned. Pole and P2 in race one was the ideal start to what would be the dream campaign in 2020.

As the rounds went by, more amazing performances came, with more on Italian soil in Imola. But then came the mid season.   It’s fair to say no season is a smooth ride, wherever you look in sport and this was no exception for Alex. A steady mid season made the rookie title look out of reach for Quinn, but with pure determination he was not giving up.

Spa, arguably the pinnacle of the Formula Renault Eurocup season and certainly the highlight of Quinns season.  A poor qualifying would make a good result seem miles away, but in race one a P4 finish made hopes rise for the weekend as as the final race of the weekend approached another mid grid start set the race up to be a show stopping performance from Quinn.  A phenomenal drive saw Alex carve through the field to claim victory at Spa and bring home an Arden 1-2 finish.  The dream result at a circuit so close to the Arden team.

As the next rounds went by Quinn looked unstoppable, picking up rookie wins at every round and once the curtain fell on the season Alex would be crowned Formula Renault Eurocup Rookie Champion 2020.

Jem Hepworth — Britcar Endurance Champion 2020

After injuries for Jem, she would sadly have to start her season from the side-lines but at round two she made an immediate impact taking a double win at Brands Hatch Indy. Round three would see mechanical issues forcing the team to retire which put them on the back foot, but they would bounce back with a win at Silverstone before further dramas in race two.

The two DNF results meant Jem and Danny were now chasing at the Snetterton finale putting a lot of pressure on Jem in her first season in the championship. But it’s pressure that Jem thrives on and she duly accepted the challenge for what looked set to be a grandstand finish.

Jem’s opposition would be the fellow VR Motorsport car along with SB Race Engineering. Putting the car on the front row was a solid start to the day and now two races lay ahead to sort out the 2020 champion.

In racing terms there would be two hours split into two races and Jem and Danny really needed to get off to a winning start to put the pressure back on the opposition. As they have done on a couple of occasions not only did Jem win, but she did so convincingly going on to win by an astonishing 30 seconds!

With championship rivals 3rd and 4th it put Jem in a great position championship wise. However, with things so close in the points no mistakes could be afforded in the final race of the season.

It was a tough race for Jem and Danny who were put under a lot of pressure over the duration of the race and were forced to fight back on a few occasions. But they did everything required to score the points and would come home in a comfortable 2nd place to crown themselves the Britcar Endurance champions!

A brilliant result for Jem who becomes the first female champion in the series and to do it in her first season made it even more impressive! Given the circumstances the result has also seen Jem, Danny and the VR Motorsport team and widely recognised from the Motorsport community.

Luke Watts — Junior X30 Ultimate Karting Champion

From cars to karting, the #YRDArmy looked unstoppable in 2020 as Luke Watts would bring our championship tally to 3 as he claimed the first ever Ultimate Karting championship in 2020.

The year got off to a dream start for Luke as he would win the first ever race of the championship, setting the season up in great style. A great result for the young KMS talent who set the expectations from the start.

The gap between round one and two, would prove extremely difficult for Luke Watts as he would suffer a robbery of all his racing kit meaning with no Kart to race on, he would have no option but to race on borrowed equipment.  This however would prove no challenge to Luke as in the warm up round (the very weekend the incident took place), Luke dominated to take an astounding victory. Not only showing his racing talent, but also his mental strength to put all excuses aside and show the grid what he is capable of.

Round two didn't bring such luck and after an intense three days of hard-fought racing Luke would cross the line in 7th place. Not the ideal result, but one which would see him remain firmly in the title fight with a very strong points haul.

Ahead of round three no one knew this would be the last round of the season, but with the pandemic raging it was clear that with a second lockdown pending every point up for grabs would be essential in achieving the best possible outcome. As usual Luke stepped up to the mark with a phenomenal weekend at PFI, which saw Luke take a very sensible 2nd place finish and retain his championship lead. A great result and one that would prove vital to the success of 2020.

Then it was confirmed. Ultimate Karting Champion 2020! The first ever champion and a great result in a very challenging year.

Vinnie Phillips — Mini X30 British Karting Champion

A message to the world was sent by Vinnie Phillips in 2020 as he stunned the competition to claim an almost perfect run of victories to claim the British Karting championship.

The series couldn’t have started much better for Vinnie with an almost perfect weekend. Vinnie dominated both rounds one and two walking away with a commanding championship lead.

This domination would be no fluke as he would go on to do the same at Kimbolton at the next round to continue his unbeaten form. Vinnie looked unstoppable and a dominant performance from Vinnie at Mansell Raceway. Another double victory made Vinnie look unstoppable as the final rounds and the championship trophy loomed in the distance. The domination would not stop there and all the way until the final round at PFI Vinnie was simply unstoppable, winning every final up for grabs.

Then came the all important last rounds, two days of intense competition at arguably the UK’s best kart track. Vinnie only had one goal in mind and knew wrapping the title up a round early was possible in many ways… As with any challenge 2020 has thrown in the path of Vinnie it has been dealt with in exceptional form and professionalism and this final was no exception! Another sublime victory made the champagne taste even sweeter for the Phillips and Fusion family as Vinnie would claim his first ever British Karting Championship. A remarkable achievement done in the most dominant fashion. Unsurprisingly, it left Vinnie as the highest points scorer across any of the championships competing in 2020.

Ethian Symonds — Mini X30 Kartmasters British Kart Grand Prix Champion

The biggest one off event of the year, the Kartmasters British Grand Prix. A true jewell in the calendar and a title every driver wants to win. Famed for its hard racing and pure grit and determination needed to win, 2020 was no exception and for Ethian Symonds a dream came true.

With a shortened format qualifying was more important than ever and a top ten result from Symonds set up the weekend. After a strong run through the heats with an outstanding drive in Heat 2 crossing the line P4, Ethian lined up fifth for the Pre-Final. After a well fought race the young Brit crossed the line in P4, placing him in an optimum position to challenge for the win.

The Final of the Kartmasters British Grand Prix lived up to its reputation. After a mega start and quick decisive moves, Ethian found himself in the box seat with two laps to go. With thousands watching online and the pressure of the countries best drivers behind all chasing the coveted GP plate. Symonds drove the race of his life to take the flag and claim his first ever Kartmasters GP title.

This meant Symonds added his name to a list of racing legends including Lewis Hamilton and some of our #YRDArmy in Tom Wood and Ethians' driver coach and 2017 CIK Karting World Champion Danny Keirle, who had this to say: “Firstly a huge congratulations to Ethian Symonds after having a few days of coaching at PFI in preparation to Kartmasters. He put on a great display of what he has learnt and became Kartmasters Champion!!”

All round a phenomenal performance from the whole #YRDArmy and only a taster of what’s to come in 2021.