Britain’s fastest twins, kart racers Shaun and Matthew Arnold endured mixed fortunes in the latest rounds of the Formula One Management backed Formula Kart Stars Championship at their home track at Ellough Park in Beccles.
Although Shaun arrived at the third and fourth rounds of the championship with momentum on his side following his sensational wet weather victory in the second round at Kimbolton it was Matthew, the elder twin by 15-minutes, who finished the weekend with the best result of his FKS career to date.
The 15-year old Capel St Mary based twins, currently studying for their GCSE’s at East Bergholt High School, compete in the fiercely competitive 70mph Junior Rotax class in the same championship that helped launch Lewis Hamilton and Paul Di Resta on the road to stardom and had high expectations heading to the track where they began their karting careers.
While Shaun battled his way to a heat win in Saturday’s third round it was Matthew, in his first year in the Junior class, who ended the weekend on a high note with a stunning drive from 19th to 5th in Sunday’s final, earning praise from his team boss and winning a £125 voucher from Silverstone based iZone Driver Performance for his efforts.
Following two challenging heat races Matthew qualified his Danny Cruttenden Motorsport Durapipe Ltd sponsored kart in 11th place for Sunday’s gruelling 22-lap final but a crash in front of him at the first corner forced him into taking evasive action and he completed the opening lap in 19th place.
“I thought ‘Oh no here we go again,’” recalled Matthew, who was the victim of someone else’s accident in the opening two rounds of the championship, which prevented him from showing his true pace. “Then the red mist came down and I knew I had to be aggressive.”
Displaying the perfect mix of controlled aggression Matthew began moving up the order, passing kart after kart and posting lap times that matched the leaders of the race. On the final lap Matthew had risen to ninth but then with just two corners to go three karts ahead of him (including brother Shaun) collided and he squeezed through to take his first top five finish of the year in national level competition.
“I saw the group ahead battling and I knew if they continued to fight I would catch them. I passed two karts going into the hairpin when my brother got taken out and then got two more into the last corner,” concluded Matthew.
Team boss Cruttenden, himself a multiple karting champion, was full of praise for his young charger.
“Matthew’s drive in the final was stunning,” stated Cruttenden, who watched Shaun’s chances of a podium finish evaporate with two corners to go when he was eliminated in a crash that saw the driver who hit him excluded from the results. “Shaun deserved a podium but we’ve got to take the positives from the weekend and Matt really proved that he has plenty of raw pace.”
After finishing fourth in Saturday’s final Shaun was on course for a potential podium on Sunday until the aforementioned crash. Despite the accident Shaun still holds fifth in the overall championship standings while Matthew’s top five effort sees him move up four places to seventh overall with eight rounds still to go.