With 55 registrations in the Senior Rotax category of the Wera Tools British Kart Championships, it would be a tough ask for a newcomer to the class to battle in the top half of the leaderboard at the end of the season, but 2022 Rookie winner Ronnie Smith did just that. Despite a tough start to the season, the Tooley Motorsport karter secured an all-important “season of learning” to take top spot and put his experiences to good use for a potential tin-top career.
As a Motorsport UK Academy squad member, enrolled on the Enhanced Diploma in Sporting Excellence (DiSE) course delivered in collaboration with Loughborough College, Smith has only been racing for three years, but has his sights set on endurance series such as the Word Endurance Championship or IMSA. And his time in the BKC serves as the perfect grounding for his future.
“My season started slowly at PF for round one, where it was my first ever event on the British championships scene” he says.
“I struggled to adapt to the new tyre as I had just moved up from juniors, but took valuable lessons and advice. [In] rounds two and three at Larkhall and Warden Law, I started to improve and started to find pace within the midfield of a very tough senior grid. Clay Pigeon was my toughest round due to a DNF which was out of my control in the final, but with the team’s support, I reset and moved on with my head held high for Kimbolton. Round five was a crazy round where we had all weathers thrown at us and where I had my best heat results which meant I started the pre final in p13. Round six at Whilton Mill, I knew I just had to stay consistent and pray for rain as I was one of the fastest in the wet conditions. After a P18 finish on the Saturday and a P27 finish Sunday I had done enough to win the Rookie championship.”
“I was delighted to win the rookie championship as a whole because I kept my head high in what was a very tough season of learning for me and to bring home some silverware makes it all worthwhile” he continues.
And there were some valuable lessons along the way too.
“On track, things like race craft along with taking opportunities when they come [are important] but also to pick the right moment which hopefully means finishing the race! Also the biggest lesson I’ve learnt is to always be as polite and as nice as possible off track. Being a good person off track can draw attention to you for all the right reasons for people such as sponsors.”
He has a busy season planned in 2023, although it won’t be back in the BKC.
“I will be moving to cars to compete in the Fiesta Junior Championship which runs alongside the TCR UK series. So I have another steep learning curve ahead of me next year but am excited with the challenges ahead. [I`ll be] continuing to develop as a driver with the help of the Motorsport UK Academy both on track and on- line as I am also a keen Esports Racer.
“A huge thank you to Tooley motorsport for their constant support throughout a very tough season both physically and mentally. A huge thanks to Cream Racing Engines for providing the power for me all season. A huge thanks to Southgate Timber Company for all your backing and allowing us to compete at such a high level. The biggest thanks of all goes to Mum and Dad who provide the backing for me to compete against the best drivers in the country. Huge thanks to Dad for being my mechanic all season too. If you would like to get in touch to help back me for my 2023 season, please do not hesitate to get in touch through all of my social media channels.”