Samuel Oram-Jones enjoyed another strong run and took four more podiums during rounds nine and ten of the 2011 British Formula Kart Stars (FKS) series at Whilton Mill last weekend.
Sammy, who competes in the MiniMax class for 11-16 year-olds and who also contests the same class in the British Super One Rotax Series, came into the event on a real high, having claimed a victory last time out in Belgium, as well as having secured the Lewis Hamilton 'True grit' award again - an accolade given to one MiniMax competitor at each round for making up the most places.
The Milton Keynes-based teenager began very strongly, and after going second in first qualifying in his RL Racing Department Ltd-run machine, he maintained that position throughout the opening heat. He also claimed P2 again in the second heat. However, unfortunately he was excluded, through no fault of his own, as the clutch drum had split open during the race. That failure left his kart in contravention of the regulations and earned him an automatic disqualification.
Sammy remained focused though, and despite having to start the round nine final of the Lewis Hamilton and Bernie Ecclestone Formula One Management-backed series right at the back, he gained nine places on the opening lap alone, jumping from 21st to 12th. He then proceeded to battle his way up to second, and while an incident with one of his rivals dropped him back to seventh with four laps to go, he still came through and crossed the line to finish in a superb fifth place.
“We qualified well today and I was pleased with second in the first heat. We also got the same position again in the other heat, but we were unlucky with the equipment,” Sammy explained. “The clutch had a crack in it at the end of the second heat - we are not sure what happened. A few other people had the same problem, but they stopped before the end of the race. It was disappointing to lose that position and it is frustrating to have to carry that no score now.
“However the final still went well. The start was really good - we made up loads of places and then picked our way through and got up to second. Then though right near the end one of my rivals drove over the top of me and that cost me a few places. A shame but fifth was still good.”
The following day Sammy took P5 in the second FKS MinMax qualifying session, his best lap spoilt when one of his competitors stopped in front of him. However he took second in the first heat on Sunday, setting the fastest lap in the process in that race, before claiming third in heat two after again running right at the front of the pack.
In the round ten final, the Pro Performance-affiliated youngster ended the weekend with yet another rostrum - his fourth from six races at 'the Mill - and despite the pain of that exclusion on Saturday, he remains fifth in the FKS standings, now with 1330 points on the board, just five points off fourth.
“We were really quick in the two heats today, especially the first one,” Sammy continued. “I was then pushing the whole way in the final. It was quite a difficult race and while I made a little mistake on the penultimate lap, which cost me second, other than that I thought it was very good.