Anderton signals that the goalposts are shifting with second podium in swift succession
07.12.2010: Rewind nine months or so, and at the beginning of his maiden campaign of national competition, exciting young Somerset karting star Ryan Anderton would have been happy simply to make the top 30 amongst such esteemed adversaries. Fast forward to the end of
Rewind nine months or so, and at the beginning of his maiden campaign of national competition, exciting young Somerset karting star Ryan Anderton would have been happy simply to make the top 30 amongst such esteemed adversaries. Fast forward to the end of the year, and he is now regularly taking the fight to the very best in Britain.
His spirits buoyed by a superb second place finish to West Country compatriot Lando Norris the previous time out at PF International in Lincolnshire, Ryan travelled to the high-speed Shenington circuit in Oxfordshire ready to pit himself against no fewer than 48 MSA Cadet class rivals comprising some of the quickest drivers around.
Feeling quietly confident, the Glastonbury-based hotshot nonetheless estimated that there were as many as 15 competitors in with a chance of doing battle right up at the sharp end of proceedings, and the fact that he had only raced at Shenington once before – and that some time previously – did not play in his favour.
“It’s a good track, and all about how you drive the corners,” he mused. “Some you have to enter really smoothly, but others you just chuck the kart in. As so much of the lap is spent on long straights, the only way you can really make a difference is in your cornering speed.”
With a key skill in Cadets the ability to successfully draft and slipstream your fellow drivers – and one that is absolutely vital at Shenington – Ryan fought his way rapidly through to the front from a mid-grid starting slot in his opening heat race, working in tandem with Norris as the pair annexed the leading two positions before going on to intelligently push each other away from the baying pack behind, swapping places on a couple of occasions as they did so.
Barely a quarter-of-a-second adrift at the chequered flag, P2 represented an excellent result – particularly given his sparring partner’s far greater reputation and experience on the national scene – but then a shunt from behind in heat two whilst lying fifth sent the St. Dunstan’s Community School pupil briefly off-piste and spiralling down the order.
Winding up a frustrated ninth yet with a better fastest lap time to his name than most of the drivers who finished ahead of him, to say that Ryan was fired-up for the all-important final was something of an understatement.
“I just wanted to get to the front as fast as I could,” he acknowledged. “I started from fifth on the grid, but I dropped a place to sixth initially, because there was a bit of mayhem and I got pushed on into the first corner which sent me wide. After that, though, I was the quickest driver on the track by half a second a lap, and I worked my way through into third place.
“Unfortunately, because the two leaders were working together and pushing each other along, they had the advantage of each other’s tow whereas I was on my own, which meant I wasn’t able to make any inroads into them. The race was pretty much set after that.”
A lonely run to the flag from thereon in it might have been, but to his immense credit, Ryan never once stopped pushing in a determined effort that saw him end up a mere two seconds shy of victory. What’s more, a second consecutive podium finish added to his recent run of impressive results and represented another circuit ably conquered as the Fusion Motorsport ace continues to learn with every outing and consistently builds up his confidence, experience and expertise ahead of 2011.
“I would have preferred to have got to the front sooner, because then I would have stood a chance of winning,” he reflected in conclusion, “but considering I’d only ever been to Shenington once before, I was pretty pleased to finish third.”
That hint of dissatisfaction with the bottom step of the rostrum only serves to betray the 11-year-old’s fiercely-competitive spirit and desire to succeed. No longer content to merely run around in the midfield, he has every right to be justifiably proud of his performance – one that is, after all, a measure of just how far Ryan Anderton has come.
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