‘Young Gun’ takes Grand Prix title

Sam McDonnell
Sam McDonnell

Coleraine and District Motor Club’s ‘Young Guns’ had their biggest success since the teams formation when local lad Sam McDonnell brought home the Irish Karting Grand Prix title.

The GP ran over two days is the biggest Karting event in the country and is the race every driver aspires to win. The team had work to do to get on the pace as they struggled last time out due to chassis issues, morning unofficial practice was used to try to get a base setting and several gearing changes put Sam on the pace after official practice.

A front row start in heat one was transformed into a win and Sam followed this up in the second heat from a mid grid position to the delight of the team.

As in Formula One race equipment is scrutinised after each race and unfortunately this lead to a disqualification in heat two as there was less than one litre of fuel in the tank.

Although this was traced to a fuel leak and quickly fixed Sam was excluded from the result meaning a win was required from the back of the grid in heat three on day two.

As the race progressed Sam made his way up to second place in a train of eight drivers bumper to bumper. Going into the last lap one false move could cost the race but Sam held his nerve to pass leader Jack Irvine with a late braking move on the outside at the end of the back straight to win by 0.1 seconds.

This earned him a front row start in the final and when the lights changed he stormed through to the lead only for the race to be red flagged for a second corner incident which required the ambulance, fortunately the driver involved was uninjured,

The race was re-started and Sam ended the first lap in second behind Tom Edgar, he made his move on lap two and as the following pack diced for second he slowly pulled away to take the win by four seconds and his and the teams first GP win.

Action moved back to the local track at Portstewart last Saturday for round seven of the Northern Ireland Championship and Round 3 for the Coleraine and District Motor Club Championship.