Herefordshire karting ace Chris Powell plans next challenge after double national success (From Hereford Times)
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Herefordshire karting ace Chris Powell plans next challenge after double national success
A HEREFORDSHIRE karting ace is celebrating a double success in the National Club 100 Championship.
Chris Powell from Weobley won the sprint title and then teamed up with Darren Teal and Oliver Allwood to win the endurance crown as well.
The championships take place over 11 weekends and represent a substantial commitment for the competitors.
“The furthest north we go is Middlesbrough and there are rounds in North Wales, South Wales, Norfolk, Devon and Kent as well as the Midlands,” said Powell.
“All in all, it probably costs me around £5-6,000 a year to take part, including the travelling, so it’s a fair commitment.
“I get a little bit back in prize money but I don’t do it for that.”
The two disciplines require different skill sets from the drivers.
“The sprint competition is all about wins,” said Powell. “There are 22 races - two on each race weekend - and I won eight of the races.
“Overall, I had 13 podium finishes in the 22 races.
“There are qualifying heats of about 10 minutes each and then the final is 12 to 15 minutes.
“The endurance races are much longer with three racers competing in a Le Mans style race over two-and-a-half hours.
“I believe we won two or three of those but consistency is a key factor as well as not taking risks.
“If you make a mistake and lose 20 seconds, then your day is as good as over.
“In the sprints, it’s about taking your chances while you can.”
In the sprint competition, it is a repeat success for Powell.
“I won the sprint title in 2010 but last year it didn’t go so well and I missed a few rounds and came seventh overall,” he said.
“I am aiming to retain the title next year - it’s very nice to win a competition twice but if you win it three times then it’s really an achievement.”
Powell, who has been racing since 2003, has plenty of silverware to show for his efforts.
“The first few years were all about learning but over the last four years I’ve racked up quite a bit,” he said. Now, however, although he plans to continue karting again in 2013, he’s planning for his next challenge.
“As I am 30 this year, I think my chances of Formula One have passed me by,” he laughed.
“But I am on the look-out for new challenges.
“I have been thinking about taking up auto-testing. “My father Graham was Welsh champion in 1988 and it requires quite a different set of skills from karting.”
Powell, who runs the Herefordshire Raceway in Weobley with his parents Graham and Gillian, is also a keen member of the Herefordshire Motor Club which has already seen him branching out with his motoring skills.
He navigated for Ian Mason as the pair won the club’s navigational scatter series in 2011-12 after previously winning the series as a driver.
Closer to home at the Herefordshire Raceway, there has also been further success on the track with Powell’s assistant Lee Hackett also collecting silverware.
The teenager was picked for Team GB after winning his maiden British Rental Kart Championship.
“I suppose you could call Lee my protege,” said Powell. “He is still young enough to have a chance at Formula One but it’s really all about the money and getting the opportunity.
“I don’t suppose either of us would have done so well without the hours of practice we get at Herefordshire Raceway.”