Ash Hand confident of a ‘clean sweep’ in final karting campaign

Ash Hand confident of a ‘clean sweep’ in final karting campaign

10.01.2010: Young Warwickshire karting star Ash Hand was devastatingly fast for much of 2009 – but on occasion he was also devastatingly unlucky, meaning his end results, whilst impressive, did not truly reflect his pace

Young Warwickshire karting star Ash Hand was devastatingly fast for much of 2009 – but on occasion he was also devastatingly unlucky, meaning his end results, whilst impressive, did not truly reflect his pace and potential. As he enters what will likely be his final year in the sport in 2010, he makes it clear that he intends to claim every last bit of the silverware for himself.

Ash finished fourth in the UK-wide, Lewis Hamilton and Bernie Ecclestone-backed Formula Kart Stars (FKS) Championship last year, but his utterly dominant curtain-raising performance at Kimbolton and sensational showing in the Whilton Mill finale – when he defeated champion and season-long Junior Max arch-rival Matt Parry following a thrilling race-long duel – demonstrated what might have been. Or, the Nuneaton ace counters, what will be in 2010.

“I’m feeling pretty positive,” he affirmed. “There will be more pressure to perform this year, but I feel confident that we can live up to it. I’ve got a lot more racing and testing miles under my belt now and my racecraft has come on a long way over the past year – so I’m aiming for the clean sweep, with FKS, Super 1, Kartmasters and the ‘O’ Plate. It will probably be my last year in karting, so that would be a good way to sign off.”

His confidence is palpable, and to add to the anticipation, the 15-year-old will also be making his international bow in the Euro Max Winter Cup at Malaga in February as a prize for triumphing in the blue riband Kartmasters meeting at PF International last year. Several months later, and again as a reward for his fine efforts in 2009, he is due to take part in a shoot-out for a drive in the Formula Palmer Audi (FPA) single-seater series in 2011 – what he acknowledges would be a significant boost to his burgeoning career indeed.

“Malaga will be the first time I’ve ever properly raced abroad,” Ash explained. “I’m really looking forward to it, and can’t wait to find out what it’s like to race in Europe. It will be a big thing for me and a new experience with the different tyres they run there and the different driving style – and it will certainly be a big learning curve. Hopefully we can go out there and prove that British drivers are the best!

“The FPA shoot-out is a huge opportunity, and one I’m really excited about! It will be a massive jump, especially as I’ve had no previous racing car experience, so I might have to try and get some practice in before we go – but where I’m lacking in experience compared to the others, hopefully my racecraft will make up for it.

“If I won, I think it would be a tremendous step for me and might help in terms of attracting sponsorship too, and would really show that I’m going places quite quickly, considering how long I’ve actually been racing. It’s just a fantastic chance to move my career forward.”

Indeed, with considerably less experience under his belt than the majority of his adversaries – having only really begun karting in anger in 2008 – the Maple Park teenager’s achievements to-date have been little short of spectacular, and his progress outstanding. Admitting that his primary goal for the campaign ahead is to retain the coveted ‘GP’ plate that has adorned his P1 Racing mount ever since his Kartmasters success back in August, Ash is also evidently keen to renew his rivalry with Parry, who he pipped to glory in that race – and who he aims to pip to glory a whole lot more in 2010.

“I should be one of the front-runners again and one of the main contenders to win,” the George Eliot School pupil concluded. “I’m really determined to hold onto the ‘GP’ plate – I want to keep that more than anything probably. It really stands out, and it means a lot having it on my kart. It proves that I’ve beaten the best drivers in the country to achieve it, and I think it earns me more respect out on the racetrack, too.

“I’m confident I can get the better of Matt this year. I know my equipment will be as good as his this time, whereas it wasn’t in 2009, and I expect there to be a lot more close races between the two of us like at Whilton. I beat him there – and I’m going to beat him again!”

As calling cards go, it is a persuasive one. Parry and co. have been warned.

To keep up-to-date with Ash’s latest career news and results, please visit: www.p1r.co.uk


- RA -   photo Chris Walker kartpix.net

Permanent-URL: http://www.automobilsport.com/karting-ash-hand-clean-sweep-kartmasters-formula-palmer-audi---74615.html

10.01.2010 / MaP

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