Jack BarlowPrior to the start of the Grand Final of the annual Kart Masters event, Jack Barlow was so nervous he could barely stand. “I had to sit down,” he admitted with a laugh after lifting the biggest title of his career so far at the PFi circuit in Lincolnshire last Sunday (2 August).

His success came after a challenging weekend that almost completely dispelled any last hopes for the much-hyped ‘barbecue summer’.

Surviving crashes and torrential downpours, Jack emerged from the qualifying heats on Saturday with sufficient points to secure a front-row start for the first of Sunday’s two finals. After seizing the advantage during the opening two laps, he briefly lost the lead – but quickly re-asserted himself and cruised to a comfortable victory to earn himself pole position for the Grand Final.

Moments ahead of the start of the Grand Final, Jack sat down quietly on the sidelines to gather his thoughts and focus.

“I concentrated on what it would feel like to lift the winner’s trophy and that helped,” he said.

Jack got a perfect getaway and was clear of the bumping and barging behind him in the opening lap’s first few corners. However, he was unable to create an early breakaway and was soon caught. He defended his lead and waited for his tyres to come up to their optimum working temperature. When they did – after six laps – he pulled away.

With only daylight ahead of him, Jack simply had to keep his concentration and a string of consistent lap times saw him move comfortably clear. But all his good work was undone in an instant when he made a mistake, pushing too hard into a corner, he ran wide onto the grass. He lost over a second of his lead, causing nervous palpitations amongst his team and family. The incident served to refocus his mind and, able to retain the lead he quickly re-extended his advantage and held it to the chequered flag.

After the press conference and podium celebrations, Jack said “I’m over the moon [to have won], especially against such a quality field. On the last lap I had to keep saying to myself, ‘take it easy, just bring it home’.”

There were also emotional scenes in the paddock, as Jack explains “My team manager, Matt Napolitano [of Lydd-based Wavertree Motorsport] kept hugging me, my dad was speechless and Mum was in tears”.

Now with his first major title under his belt, Jack hopes to be able to go on and fight for the British Super 1 and Formula Kart Stars Championship crowns but is trying to keep his feet on the ground. “I’ve definitely got the confidence now but we’ll just have to see.”

Keep up to speed with Jack and his career by clicking on www.jackbarlow.co.uk

Photo by Chris Walker /Kartpix