Griffiths signs off season at Whilton Mill
Having wrapped up the UKC season in August with third in the championship, PaddlUp Academy driver Ethan Griffiths still had one last endeavour in 2022, which was to finish the British Kart Championships on a high.
The weekend itself (15-16 October) was to feature a thrilling double-header finale at the Whilton Mill circuit near Northampton. Proceedings got underway on Friday with wet practice sessions but Griffiths was quickly on the pace.
As is always the case in national karting, practice and circuit time are at a premium. Unfortunately, a non-starting engine meant the PaddlUp racer was unable to participate in practice, despite this reduced track acclimatisation, Griffiths qualified 11th in mixed conditions.
Regrettably, the mechanical woes didn't stop there, with slow pick-up at the start meaning the Welsh driver dropped back into the pack during both of his heats, resulting in eventual 12th-place finishes on both occasions.
After once again starting 11th on the grid for the all-important final, Griffiths wrestled with his kart throughout the race, citing unpredictable handling as the culprit for his lack of pace. Having eventually finished 18th on the road and 17th after a penalty for another driver, a post-race assessment of the kart revealed loose rear axle bearings as the offending component.
After a late night ensuring the kart was in tip-top shape, the final day of the season dawned. Griffiths was quick out of the blocks in qualifying, swiftly establishing himself in the top ten, but it was not to last as the #99 machine was seen careening into one of Whilton Mill’s notorious grass banks. With the BKC’s qualifying format taking an average lap time across three laps, Griffiths’ charge was halted, eventually winding up 24th.
Despite the calibre of the rest of the field, Ethan made light work of his competitors in both of Sunday’s heats, scything his was up to 18th during both races. Spurred on by the promise of a new games console should he finish in the top ten, Griffiths put in a stellar drive to climb from P19 on the grid to P9 at the flag (after penalties for others).
That was enough to secure 12th in the overall championship and the title of second-best rookie. Now his gaze switches to next season, and a move into a more powerful category, the specifics of which are still to be ironed out.