Ronan McKenzieWhilst Northamptonshire hosted the Formula One British Grand Prix at Silverstone, local kart star Ronan McKenzie was himself racing at nearby track Whilton Mill in the Easykart UK Championship “double header” event, with Round 4 on Saturday 9th and Round 5 on Sunday 10th July.

After a tough weekend of racing McKenzie, a member of Italian Kart Manufacturing giant Birel’s International Easykart Driver Program for talented drivers, came away with yet another podium, achieving third in round 4 and a fourth in round 5, leaving him in second place in the Easykart UK Junior Championship standings with three rounds to go.

As the practice day kicked off on the Friday, the heavens opened and the track was beset by rain, just as Channel 4 arrived to film some race footage of McKenzie in his kart number 65 to go with an interview they did with him the previous day for a “F1 Hopefuls” report. This was aired on Saturday 9th July on the Channel 4 News program, and details and video of McKenzie can be found on their website.

Saturday arrived and the track was dry and sunny – McKenzie had a disappointing warm-up performance, which saw him only 12th quickest of the 27 strong grid for this the 4th Round of the Championship. Changes were quickly made before qualifying which gave McKenzie good pace, qualifying in third position for the Heat.

In the Heat race McKenzie was up into second in the first lap, but not quite having the pace to hold off the kart he had overtaken, the position was taken back during lap two. He held third for the rest of the race to finish the Heat where he started. McKenzie started the fifteen lap Pre-Final in third, and lost a place in the first lap. The three karts ahead of McKenzie had slightly more pace, so he was unable to get close enough to try an overtake, but the four pulled away from the rest of the field. McKenzie held fourth to the end of the race and would start the Final fourth on the grid.

A very good start to the twenty lap Final saw McKenzie quickly taking third place during lap three. The kart ahead of McKenzie seemed to lose pace and was holding up the field, and McKenzie was unable to stage a safe overtaking move. On lap eight with karts backed up behind him he attempted a move but went wide which let two karts through, leaving McKenzie in fifth. Undeterred, he closed in on the kart in front and re-took fourth place during lap eleven, and made a pass for third on lap seventeen, which he held until the end to secure his fourth podium in a row.

Sunday was the second race day of the weekend – Round 5, and McKenzie was looking for a good result to further his Championship bid. Warm-up showed McKenzie had good pace, and qualifying saw him one of two drivers to achieve a time under 49 seconds to end up on the front row of the grid for the Heat race in grid position two – only one hundredth of a second behind the driver achieving Pole Position. The Heat was a disappointing result for McKenzie, after a false start and another rolling lap, on the start his kart bogged down and did not have rapid acceleration, allowing three karts past before the engine picked up. McKenzie managed to overtake for fourth place on lap two, but it was retaken on lap three, and the sixth place kart was pushing hard but McKenzie drove defensively and kept fifth position until the end of the race.

The Pre-Final saw an accident happen in front of McKenzie in the first corner which he did well to avoid, but he lost a place to leave him in sixth. On lap two McKenzie took fifth back, and the kart in front did not have the same pace as McKenzie, so was holding him up until he could find a safe place to pass, which he did on lap eleven of the fifteen-lap race. He set about chasing for third as he was much quicker, but did not have enough laps left to get close enough to make a move, and finished in fourth place.

The Final began and the first four with McKenzie in fourth pulled away from the field, who could not match their pace. McKenzie began to catch the third place kart, but fell foul of back-markers in the latter part of the race which cost him valuable time, and could not attempt a move. The top four all finished in the order they began, with McKenzie in fourth at the chequered flag.

Ronan McKenzie

Ronan McKenzie is competing in the following events in 2011:
Easykart UK Junior 100cc Championship
Easykart International European Junior 100cc Championship
Easykart International Junior 100cc World Finals
Easykart UK Junior “E” Plate Open Championship

For more information about Ronan McKenzie please visit www.ronanmckenzie.com

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