It was possibly the wettest racing season the team has ever experienced, making learning the new kart even trickier. Fortunately, Matt’s experience means he tends to race well in the wet, which was needed at Fulbeck where in the pre-final race due to technical issues and poor pace, Matt started from the back of the field in the worse rain conditions possible, with near zero visibility. His steady clean driving saw him gain more track positions than any other driver, passing the checkered flag in 5th place.
Another memorable wet race was at Shennington, where the whole field’s eyes were on the heavens. Matt and the team gambled on the track drying out during the race, and as Matt was starting from 14th on the grid, the team figured they had nothing to lose, opting for slick tyres rather than full wets. The race began with the guys on wet tyres pulling away leaving Matt dead last, but as a dry line slowly appeared Matt started to put in the quickest laps, and what a smile he had on his face as he passed everyone to take the lead and the race win, finishing a full ten seconds ahead of the 2nd place driver.
Overall the team had a few issues with the new kart this year, trying to get up to speed at the various tracks around the UK. They tried everything they could to get the kart up to the race pace that was expected, the kart set up and raw power wasn’t giving enough to maintain the challenge to win the championship. Therefore, the second half of the season became more about securing 2nd place in the championship. This was also due to a few tricky finishes through bad luck as well as the lack of race pace that made the goal of winning the championship tougher. Worse still, the 3rd and 4th place drivers in the championship were getting quicker, finding more pace, scoring good points and therefore catching up to Matt. Matt did a great job, driving intelligently to hold the other drivers off from stealing 2nd place in the championship away from him.
For that reason the last race of the season was exciting, as Matt needed to finish 4th or higher with his closest rival finishing 2nd or lower for Matt to maintain 2nd place in the championship. The challenge was tough from the start as the rain came down while all the drivers were on slicks. Matt carefully made his way around the track but unfortunately was taken out by a driver pushing him to 5th, while his rival was now leading! After some tough racing Matt managed to get himself back to 4th, overtaking his main rival who eventually slipped back to 7th.
With that, the season was completed. Matt managed to finish 2nd place in the championship, which was no mean achievement given the handling and power issues the new kart posed for the team. Second place wasn’t the main goal for 2019, but it’s still a great result and is now Matt’s highest finish in two-stroke championship racing. An achievement that wouldn’t have been possible if not for the incredible support from sponsors Oakenhurst Aircraft Services Ltd, friends and family.