The long-awaited return of the Southern Group of Motoring Writers (SGMW) Karting Grand Prix was finally back on track.
Twelve teams competed for glory – from BMW, Honda, Newspress, Nissan, Porsche, SGMW, Stellantis, Toyota, Lexus, Gazoo, Volvo and Women On the Move Against Cancer (WOMAC) – earlier this month at TeamSport in Crawley, near Gatwick Airport.
This year’s Karting GP nominated charity was WOMAC which was established in 1979. The original plan had been to tie in the event with WOMAC’s 40th anniversary but the Covid pandemic forced the cancellation of the Karting GP in the past two years.
But it was worth the wait and, better late than never, it raised £2,550 for WOMAC.
WOMAC is made up of around 70 women volunteers working in the automotive and associated industries. It organises events and activities to raise money for cancer charities.
Over the years, WOMAC has given more than £1,000,000 to cancer-related projects, searching for more effective treatments or improving the quality of life for cancer-sufferers, their families and carers.
Despite receiving three black flags before the lap counter had gone into double digits, it was soon evident which team was the one to beat.
Graham Bothamley, head of the Toyota press garage, looked suitably impressed with his team’s work but any mentions of ‘brought-in’ karting racers were denied.
The black flags would increase for the Gazoo team during the 150-minute endurance race.
From the start to the chequered flag, the 12 teams worked hard, building up sweats and appetites that were thankfully catered for with a non-stop run of pizza throughout the race.
Despite continuing to collect black flags, the overall winner, with 147 laps completed, was Gazoo Racing. It added to the SGMW karting title it won at the previous event back in 2019.
Toyota took second place with Porsche third.
Prizes for the three fastest laps went to:
- Ryan Luscombe (Gazoo Racing) – 47.785 seconds.
- Andy Jenner (Toyota) – 48.160 seconds.
- Sean Ward (SGMW member driving for Team WOMAC) – 48.182 seconds.
Massimo Pini, a co-founder and organiser of the SGMW annual Karting GP, said “It was great to be back on track with one of our biggest fund-raisers of the year and fulfill our promise to WOMAC which was originally to have coincided with its 40th anniversary – but the pandemic put paid to that.
“The Southern Group of Motoring Writers is a big supporter of the charity and we are proud to have WOMAC patrons Sue Baker, Sarah Bradley and Claire Evans among our membership.”
The event finished with SGMW treasurer Chris Manning presenting a giant cheque for £2,550 to WOMAC chair Georgia Fox, charity co-ordinator Moyosola Fujamade and media co-ordinator Heather Webb.
WOMAC aims to raise a total of £15,000 for its two charities for 2022 – Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation and Maggie’s. Both provide care and support for those going through a cancer diagnosis. Funds raised will go towards expert advice, counselling services, patient grants and research projects.
Everyone agreed it was good to have the SGMW Karting GP back on the calendar and are looking forward to getting back on track again next year.
Find out more about WOMAC’s sterling work by visiting www.womac.co.uk
Thank you to Richard Parsons (www.richard-parsons.com) and Sims Images for all the pictures.