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1 July 2021

Karting with Heroes – Small but Mighty 2021

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Our first, Small but Mighty race took place at Daytona, Sandown Park, Esher on Saturday 19th June. The weather was kind to us….most of the time…..and despite the race being run under Covid conditions, which limited the numbers who could attend…. we all managed to have a brilliant afternoon.

Our five teams had been tasked with helping to encourage donations, but it was The Entrepreneurs, lead by Dave Ward who raised the most and who fully deserved Pole Position, so well done them. Dave also brought his son, Joe, with him for the first time. Joe said he found it daunting but was happy that the rest of the team, James, Sam, James, Hugh and Ryan helped and advised him along the way…and boy were they fast!

The Armed Forces team was led by Ravi and Amar Pankhania from The Nacropolis Group, along with business colleagues who were keen to support the team. They were joined by Jacques Liebenburg and Tara Rakhes from the BackUp Trust..a charity which gives aid to spinal cord injuries….and let’s just say that they did not hold back!

The Superstars. As ever, our celebrity supporters rocked up to help us. Donations were headed up by Pimlico Plumbers who also fielded two drivers of their own…Steve Walker (seriously fast!) and Sophie Bateup.  Lemar, Danny John Jules, Shaun Dooley and his son Jack, DJ Munro, as well as Beverley Knight’s husband, James, raced in the team but there was strong support from the sidelines too, from Andrea McLean and her husband Nick Feeney, along with Tim Vincent and Raj Ghatak (Eastenders) and Friederike Krum…a wonderful opera singer, who brought her lovely friend Arthur Currie..a Chelsea Pensioner.

The Stuntmen. This was the team to beat.  It was going to be hard because since Back on Track came into being, the professional drivers have been there for us and have attended all our events. Headed up by Salvo Cachia… one of our Ambassadors…. we saw the likes of Bobby Trundley, Sandro Ballesteros, Tamsin Germain, Ben Lennon, Gareth Patterson and Josh Wakefield head the leaderboard time after time. They did pretty well in the fundraising stakes too, thanks to Michael Rust who took charge of fundraising for them .

Finally, Small but Mighty… the dream fundraising team of young Tony Hudgell, our Mascot and our founding Patron Mark Allen, along with their intrepid band of brothers, the injured veterans, including our own Pete Hobbs and Jamie Hull.  They may all be injured but they are fearless and for a very long time were at the top of the leaderboard.

And so…they were off. Tony Hudgell, aged 6, was in the number one position and he sped off like the young professional he is destined to become. Back on Track had previously presented Tony with a specially modified kart of his own live on Good Morning Britain (You can watch that moment here!) and had arranged for some lessons at Daytona to enable him to be a confident and safe driver. To say that he is a natural is an understatement…he was asking for the speed limiter to come off after the first lesson.  He is quick….and getting quicker, so Lewis Hamilton had better watch out. 

After a couple of laps, Tony came off and the race began in earnest, with all the drivers determined to be in the lead and it continued this way for the next couple of hours. Then the rain started but did it slow the pace?  Not one bit.  The Daytona marshals were extra vigilant and we are pleased to say that no-one was black flagged so all went well.   When the chequered flag was finally waved, and the numbers of laps were added up, the winners were announced as follows:

First Place: The Stuntmen 

Second Place: Small but Mighty

Third Place: The Entrepreneurs

The Trophies and champagne were then awarded by our wonderful Chelsea Pensioner, Arthur Currie who said he had been itching to get in one of the karts and drive. Maybe next time!

At that point it was getting late and the rain began in earnest, so we all ran for the safety of our cars and went home.

Will this be the last Small but Mighty race? We doubt that so watch this space!

Finally, we would like to thank Wright Karts for very generously donating and adapting the kart for Tony; Angela Cullen at StitchesRUs who painstakingly produced, sewed and embroidered logos onto Tony’s race suit; and Michael Rust of GUK and PSS who sponsored the inaugural Small but Mighty race enabling us to raise even more money with which to help our injured veterans.   

Thank you too, to everyone who donated.  We appreciate every penny you gave us.

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