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If you fancy yourself as the next Lewis Hamilton or Jenson Button but are struggling to shift your motor sport dreams off the starting grid, the answer could lie just around the next high-speed corner – the British Schools Karting Championship (BSKC).
Run by the British Automobile Racing Club (BARC), the BSKC is an arrive-and-drive formula for students aged between 13 and 18. It is a team-based sport, with each entry composed of three drivers from the same school, academy or college led by either a teacher or parent as team captain. To allow everybody to compete at the same level, no more than one member of the team can have held a Motor Sport Association (MSA) racing licence above National B Novice level.
The knockout-style contest progresses from practice and familiarisation sessions beginning in March through to local and regional finals and ultimately the all-important national final in July at Whilton Mill in Northamptonshire, where the 2014 British Schools Karting Champions will be crowned. There are separate prizes for the eight regional champions.
The cost of entry for the entire championship is just £165 per team (£55 per driver), to include the use of race suits, helmets and gloves, all of which are provided by the circuits.
“Now in its eighth year, the British Schools Karting Championship continues to go from strength-to-strength, and we have already received over 250 entries for the 2014 edition,” said championship manager Mark Turner. “Virtually all professional racing drivers these days start in karting, just like Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton did, and the BSKC represents an eminently affordable and excellent value entry point into the sport.
“Not all teenagers enjoy traditional school sports, and motor sport has gained a reputation as being out-of-reach due to its cost – but we’re here to prove that isn’t the case. Some schools also use the BSKC to motivate students toward classroom achievement as well as to reward those that have excelled.
“The BSKC is an exciting, nationwide competition for which no prior karting experience is required. The championship was created to make karting more accessible to schools. It appeals to students from different backgrounds and its low cost allows everyone to take part.
“Safety is naturally also of paramount importance to us, and arrive-and-drive karting is well-established as a safe and exhilarating form of motor sport, with top speeds of up to 50mph on outdoor circuits generating an amazing buzz whilst in a strictly-controlled environment – so sign up, come along and see for yourselves!”
Schools may enter as many teams as they like, and registration is open until 21 February at bskc.co.uk – although early bookings are recommended. The local stages of the competition will take place at nearby circuits and after school hours between 10 – 28 March, to ensure as much as possible that students are not taken out of regular lessons. Minimum height stipulations apply.