CIK-FIA World OK & OKJ Championships
CIK-FIA World OK & OKJ Championships at PF International kart circuit (20-24 September 2017)
The 2017 World titles for the OK and OKJ classes would be decided at the impressive facilities at the 1.4km PFI circuit in Lincolnshire. The entry list was equally impressive with 181 competitiors travelling from 30 countries around the globe. 94 of those would be challenging for the prestigious OKJ title. The event also brought key figures from the world of motorsport: Fernando Alonso, Ralf Schumacher, Mick Doohan and 6 times World Karting Champion Mike Wilson to name but a few.
Chris only recently joined the Forza Racing outfit, and this would be his second race meeting with the team. His first being the previous weekend, the final round of the X30 Euro Series, held at Castelletto, Italy, which saw Chris take an impressive victory.
In Timed Qualifying Chris held pole almost continuously for the session. With just a minute or so to go he was still 0.1sec ahead of his closest competitor. In the last few moments of the session however, a rival pipped him by 0.003 of a second! A small fraction of a blink of an eye! The first 74 competitors were covered by less than a second over a lap. 2nd overall in Timed Qualifying meant he would start 4 out of the 5 heats on pole. Consistency in the heats would be the main aim for Chris, and he duly delievered with a 2nd place finish in his first heat, followed by 1st and two further 2nds, with the last heat being held on Sunday morning.
In contrast to the inclement weather seen in the first few days of the meeting, Sunday morning saw the paddock bathed in sharp Autumn sunshine. The World Championship Finals would soon be upon us and the anticipation and tension in the air was rising as everyone went about their preparations in near silence. The quiet was only broken by the scream of warming engines. Only 34 drivers from the original 94 would get through to compete in the 19 lap final.
Chris started the day in determined mood posting the fastest time in warm up, and swiftly followed up by winning his 5th and final heat. His consistent results in the heats put him on the front row for the final at P2 alongside Harry Thompson, with team mate Dexter Patterson in third.
From the outside row Chris slotted quickly into 3rd at the start. The top four broke away from the pack initially, with the lead swapping places many times. At one point Chris was back to fourth before making his way back up into 2nd position. Behind there was contact between two to three karts allowing the top three to break away with gaps of around ten kart lengths between them. Next would come a test of sheer pace to see how the gaps would develop. Chris started posting purple laps, one after another and the gap to Thompson behind grew larger. Chris was now beginning to reel in his team-mate Dexter Patterson, and by lap fifteen the gap was down to zero seconds! It was a tense last four laps to say the least. Chris looked to find a way past but was mindful that his team Forza Racing were holding 1st and 2nd places with a large gap back to third place. Patterson defended well however, and they finished in that order at the drop of the chequered flag.
Chris commented that being CIK/FIA Vice-Champion of the World “feels good!”
Chris would also like to thank Jamie Croxford of Forza Racing and Gordon Finlayson of GFR engines for the huge amount of work they put into achieving the result at this event.