Jack BarlowJack Barlow’s roller coaster season delivered another white-knuckle ride at the concluding round of the British Super 1 championship, held at the PFi circuit in Lincolnshire last weekend (19/20 September).

In timed qualifying Jack was the third fastest driver [of 30], just seven 1/100ths of a second off the pole position-winning time. From this early, positive start he delighted his team with a fine win in the first of the weekend’s two heats.

Disaster struck in the following race, when after finishing in 7th place, post-race checks adjudged that a loose jet did not meet the regulations. After much debate as to whether it gave a performance advantage – it didn’t – the stewards decided to exclude Jack from the race result – putting him down in 20th place for Sunday’s crucial, first final.

With his chances of winning the championship now looking over, Jack’s father, Paul urged Jack to “just go out there and have some fun” in the pre-final. Jack responded, “I was a bit nervous, but not too bothered. I listened to what dad said and just went out and did it.”

From the start, he was imperious going forward. At the end of the opening lap, Barlow was up to 11th place. A handful of laps later, he was up to 5th but some way off the lead quartet. “The front four had gone. I couldn’t see them but I got my head down and started to catch them,” he said.

Jack eventually bridged the gap to the 4th-placed kart, and over the proceeding laps caught and passed the karts ahead of him until he was in the lead. From there he pulled away to take a convincing win.

If his pre-final win had been remarkable, Jack’s victory in the main race was almost unremarkable. It was a textbook lights-to-flag triumph. Although pressed hard in the opening stages, Jack’s consistency, allied with his pursuers fighting each other for track position, allowed him to eke out an increasing margin. As the chequered flag signalled the end of the race, Barlow crossed the line nearly six seconds ahead of the next driver. Once back in the paddock, he revealed that in the first half of the race, there were some anxious moments.

“My kart was set-up to ‘come on’ [work at its optimum level] later, rather than soon after the start but it took for ages. I was being caught by the pack and I could see Matt getting really frustrated, telling me to go faster and I was thinking, ‘I can’t push any harder’.”

He added, “Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to win overall but I finished 2nd and I’m over the moon at that. At the beginning of the season none of us expected that I’d be fighting for the British championship”. So much so, that Jack bet his father and team boss that if he finished in the top three, they would have to give up smoking. “Dad’s struggling already,” Jack grinned.

Jack’s next big race is the final round of the Formula Kart Stars championship at Whilton Mill [3/4 October]. He is currently leading the points but expects a tough fight from his fellow title protagonists.

“It’s going to be difficult but then, it has been all season. We’ve just got to make sure that we’re really well prepared and then just see what happens.”

To keep up to speed with Jack’s career, visit www.jackbarlow.co.uk.

Photo by Graham Smith/TSR Productions