Ben Barnicoat returned to familiar surroundings over the weekend as he took part in the 2019 Motorsport UK Kartmasters British Karting Grand Prix and continued his rich form at the event where he has proven himself over the past decade. The young Brit secured his eighth and ninth titles at the annual event with victories in both the Rotax Senior and X30 Senior Grands Prix. With the results, Ben became only the second person to ever achieve victories in both classes in the same year, having been the first to achieve the feat back in 2015.
Racing with Mick Barrett Racing, Ben entered the Rotax Senior and X30 Senior classes at the PF International Kart Circuit, and secured victories in all but two of the events he entered over the weekend. Having only raced in the Rotax Senior category once before, Ben adapted quickly to the different machinery and tyres to which he is used to racing Karts with, taking three victories from four heats, and then finishing 2nd in his pre-final before starting in P2 for the grand final. After initially dropping back to P3 off the start, Ben quickly found his rhythm and recovered back to his starting position and moved up to take the lead with 10 minutes of the 15-minute race remaining. From here, Ben maintained a gap to the chasing pack and crossed the line with a two second lead, breaking the record to become the most successful driver at the event.
With this victory under his belt, Ben shifted his focus to the more-familiar X30 class, with a determination to secure another strong result. This was evident as he went on to take a clean-sweep in each of the four qualifying heats, as well as victory in the pre-final. Lining up for the final Grand Prix, Ben was faced with extremely tough competition with seasoned professionals who are actively racing across the UK and Europe, including his Mick Barrett Racing teammate, Cole Kilner. Unfazed by the strength of his rivals, Ben again showed his skill and highlighted the racecraft that has seen him become the event record-holder, and at the chequered flag had a lead over his closest rival of half a second. Record re-broken, and title number nine achieved.
Commenting on the record-breaking double race win, Ben explained:
Ben Barnicoat: “What a great day! It is an amazing feeling to take another victory here at the UK Kartmasters British Karting Grand Prix, and I am so proud to now hold the record for the most wins and to be the only person to have done the double, and now twice, winning both the Rotax and X30 Senior categories on the same day. The competition gets stronger each year, and this year was no different.
A lot has happened in my career since that first win back in 2010. I am now a McLaren Automotive Factory Driver and I am racing this season in the European Le Mans Series with Thunderhead Carlin Racing, so it has been a big transition over the past 10 years, but it is great to be able to return to where it all started and still hold my own.
There is some extremely strong talent coming up through the junior ranks, and the seasoned seniors definitely get stronger every year – this was the most challenging year I’ve competed here.”
Heading in to the event, Ben – still only 22 years old – had matched the record for number of outright wins, with seven titles to his name after winning the X30 Senior class for the past two years. The first win came in the junior KF3 class which Ben won in 2010 with Mick Barrett Racing, and he then retained the title in 2011. The following year saw Ben progress to seniors, where he took the Formula TKM Senior title.
With his professional racing career progressing at a rapid rate, Ben’s focus had moved away from karting and on to single-seater racing, but he returned to the Kartmasters British Grand Prix in 2015 to challenge for both the Rotax and X30 classes. His return saw him triumph in both senior categories, and he became the first driver in the history of the highly-competitive event to claim both titles in the same day. An achievement that has never been repeated, until this year.
After another year away, Ben achieved further success in the X30 class at the 2017 event, and when he successfully defended this title in 2018, the Chesterfield-born racer equalled the record of outright victories with seven.
Ben Barnicoat: “It is great to have been back with Mick Barrett Racing and to score titles eight and nine, and break the record with them, especially as they are the team where it all started for me with my first title back in 2010. A huge thank you to each member of the team. I’d also like to thank the engine builders Aventus Power and Cream Racing Engines, and to my sponsor Wentvalley Aggregates and Recycling for their continued support.”