Ryan Anderton has rebounded from an uncharacteristically off-colour run with a hard-fought rostrum finish in the Lewis Hamilton and Bernie Ecclestone-backed Formula Kart Stars (FKS) Championship at Glan Y Gors – and now the talented young Somerset speed demon has set his sights on ascending the top step next time out.
Ryan travelled to Glan Y Gors in North Wales embroiled in a fierce scrap over the leading positions in FKS’ keenly-contested Mini Max class – but having been stymied by misfortune in recent outings. It was time, he acknowledged, for a return to form.
“We’ve not had the best of luck of late, so I needed to fight back and get a good result for my own confidence as much as anything else,” reflected the highly-rated Glastonbury-based hotshot. “I love the track, and have won there three times in the past as well as finishing on the podium in national meetings; it’s challenging and undulating and power isn’t the be-all-and-end-all – skill behind the wheel plays a major part.”
Having been hampered during Saturday’s qualifying session by a rival’s mistake, Ryan began both of the day’s heat races on the unenviable outside line in sixth. Undeterred, a brace of gutsy and encouragingly competitive performances secured a pair of third places at the chequered flag, earning the St. Dunstan’s Community School pupil second on the grid for the all-important final. He takes up the story.
“As expected, I lost out at the start with being on the outside line, so I had to focus on trying to fight my way back through from there,” he recounted. “We were slightly down-on-power, and it was a struggle to make up ground with everybody being so evenly-matched.
“It was a really close battle inside the top five, but at the same time, it was a bit dull because there was very little actual overtaking going on. There were very few chances to attack, but we were satisfied to finish fourth in the end – it was good points towards the championship.”
That it indubitably was, and in Sunday’s qualifying, Ryan duly fulfilled the potential he had been adamant was there the previous day with second place, missing out on pole position by a gnat’s whisker in an extremely closely-fought session.
Lining up on the outside of the grid, however, cost the Coles Racing ace in his heats, as he wound up fourth in the opening encounter – albeit lapping faster than the winner along the way – and found himself driven into at the start of the next, lumbering him with a bent axle, a race-long vibration and a lack of rear grip.
After fighting his way grittily and impressively back to third, a collision directly in front of him left Ryan with nowhere to go – and an unlucky 13th when the flag came down. From there, he began the final seventh – the first time all weekend that he had been on the favourable inside line.
“I went side-by-side with another driver into the first corner, but neither of us was willing to concede and there was a slight touch, which cost me some time,” the 12-year-old confessed. “After that, I just had to work my way back through and got up to third by the end. Like in Saturday’s final, it was proper nose-to-tail racing, but with everybody defending really well, there wasn’t much action.
“On the last lap, I had someone right behind me; that put me under pressure, and I had to concentrate on staving him off rather than looking at making any more progress. It was a shame it wasn’t a more exciting race, but it’s always good to get a podium and it was definitely a positive way to put a stop to several pretty negative weekends.”
What’s more, the result – allied to his fourth position 24 hours earlier – has kept Ryan firmly in the tense three-way tussle over the runner-up spot in the championship standings. Nutts Corner in Ireland is next, and although he has never been there before, the West Country star is clearly hoping to benefit from a little rub of the green.
“We’ve got to be happy with what we achieved at Glan Y Gors,” he mused in conclusion, “but now it’s time to start winning! It’s really tough given the calibre at the front of the field in FKS this year, but that’s what we need to aim for.”