Kartforce is a charity that has been set up to help provide a regular activity for injured British troops, having developed a karting concept that enables those troops without limbs to drive as well as the hardware to run events. And they are an ambitious company. They want to set up a series of karting events around the country, both indoor and outdoor, where injured troops can race against members of the public and karting teams, allowing them to enjoy the adrenalin rush, challenge, and personal achievement of driving karts.
And once that’s done: Internationals against injured troops around the world
As I said, it’s ambitious, but ultimately possible by the creation of a set of hand controls that can be fitted and removed from any kart, quickly and easily, thereby doing away with the need for fully adapted karts. Kartforce sets up tester days at various karting tracks throughout the country so that injured troops can come a try out the equipment, get taught how to used it by skilled instructors and then keep going back to their local tracks to enjoy karting with their family and friends.
So, if you want to take on the troops at an organised karting day, then these people are the ones to do it with; because not only will you be helping out our injured heroes, but you know that, with the weight of the armed forces behind it, it is going to be one organised event
One such recent event took place at Whilton Mill in Northamptonshire on April 1st. It’s an outdoor track so Sunday prayers were aimed at good, warm, dry, hot and sunny weather - and answered – which made the racing that much better.
It was actually the debut for what was tagged ‘Team Kartforce’ and before the race the team had been the subject of coaching lessons and expert tuition from the likes of British Racing Drivers Johnny Mowlem and Josh Hill (son of 1996 World F1 Champion Damon) who both gave up their own time to pass on tips and training to the team. And the teachers were impressed.
“They have exactly the right mentality for motorsport”, said Josh. “They have the discipline and want to be the best they can be. In next to no time they were taking the right lines and just getting quicker and quicker.”
The whole event started in the morning with individual sprint races so that the organisers could work out the particular standards of the drivers – after all, safety is a primary concern in this high-powered sport even though fun and achievement is the ultimate aim. And there were 62 drivers in all with points awarded for finishing places that determined grid places in the finals as well as standards – and there were three finals too (A, B & C), due to the large number of drivers.
For Team Kartfoce, two lads in each of the B & C finals, finishing high up in the final races: for a debut ride so very very respectable.
On to the afternoon session which meant the team endurance challenge with more drivers joining in making up the 16 teams.
With an initial qualification on the grid of 10th, Team Kartforce were pleased, but better was yet to come. Moving up to 6th on the first corner, with coaching from Josh they kept up the pace, swapping a few places here and there but never dropping below 10th, before taking the chequered flag in that impressive 6th place.
And remember that this was the first visit out for these lads demonstrating the Bulldog spirit that our troops are renowned for! It all goes to prove that with application, good coaching, good equipment and a spirit that doesn’t know the phrase “Can’t Do That” anything is possible – even with missing limbs. In fact, one KartForce double amputee team member also only has a thumb and ring finger on his right hand so pulls the throttle lever with his ring finger, but still managed to keep the pace up.
Dave Player, founder of KartForce says, “These lads come here to race, they come to win and they’re not looking for any preferential treatment. The hand controls they use allow them to compete on a level playing field”.
Team KartForce’s next event is on 3rd June, Jubilee weekend, at Daytona Sandown Park, Esher, Surrey. where once again Josh Hill will again be Team Manager for race day and both Josh and Johnny Mowlem will be giving them coaching sessions on the run up to the event, so maybe we will see a few of the team on the podium at the end of the day. Daytona have been keen to support the charity and have very generously offered track time so the lads can get some practice and coaching in the weeks leading up to the big race.
But if you fancy taking on the team, and helping towards a charity that helps real heroes, why not put a team together and get on down to Esher? This will be a 2 ½ hour endurance race with 30 teams all driving twin engine ProKarts, each team consisting of maximum 5 drivers – who must be either 16 or over, or experienced kart racers over the age of 14. Teams must arrive by midday and the cost per team is a mere £300.
For all information about the day or about what KartForce are doing in the future, visit www.KartForce.org or call Dave Player on 07824 628029
KartForce solely relies on donations. You can donate to KartForce here.