Today at Leyland Festival we are delighted to announce our very first sponsorship in grassroots karting with Leon Barlow at Monkey Motorsports. Leon is an exciting young prospect and we are thrilled to support him and the team.
My name is Leon Barlow, I am 11 years old and I very proud to be sponsored in my first season of competitive karting by enZari.
I started karting in February 2018 when i was 9 years old. My dad took me to Team Karting in Rochdale and I’ve been hooked ever since. Unlike most indoor karting trackings, TK is a completely tarmac track, so you get much more grip round the corners rather than at other tracks which are concrete or plywood. I was hooked! I needed more. I have always been interested in cars and engineering, so sitting in a kart for the first time was really exciting. I would recommend it to any petrol head, of any age.
First Time At Team Karting
We went to TK pretty much every weekend in 2018, mainly to the wide awake club on sunday morning, improving my driving each time. Then, for my 10th Birthday in June, I got a to drive at Three Sisters in Wigan, at the Bill Sisley Kart School. This was really exciting, as also they where still club karts, the track was much, much bigger, so you could really get up some speed. The kart school is tought by Chris who really tought me how to drive a kart. I already new about racing lines, but this really helped me take it to another level. Throughout the rest of the year, i advanced through the school to advanced level, winning a mini competition in the process.
Schooling at Three Sisters
At Three Sisters, the Manchester Buxton Kart Club run their MSA (now name Motorsport UK) club championship. We went down to watch 3 or 4 times, and quickly realised the speed they were running was way faster than what the hire karts would do, and I needed some of it. We spoke to a few of the teams to get more of an understand of what kind of level I needed to be at to start racing there. They pretty much although I could join as a rookie, it would certainly help if I had a a year of practice and testing in a race kart first, then joined up for MSA racing. Which obviously makes, as these guys were really quick, and I hadnt even been in a race kart yet.
My Very Own Kart
So, Christmas 2018 came, and I had my very own race kart. a 2015 Project One with a Honda 160 RPM SP engine. It was fully up to MSA spec so at least I would be training in a competitive kart ready for my first race season in 2020. Little did I know that my Dad and Grandad had been talking to Matty, the owner of Team Karting, about which kart and engine to buy, with the intent to drive in the Indykart Championship at Hooton Park. Indykart is more of a “dads and lads” type karting club. There are many tracks and clubs throughout the country to allow people of all ages compete. In my age group (cadets) the main engine is a Honda 200 RPM Extreme, which is pretty much maintenance free. All the engines come from RPM Racing, who tune the engines from 5.5hp to 7.2hp then seal them so they are all very similar. So far this season, we have done 5 round where I have finished, 6th, 5th, 4th, 4th and 2nd. Each week my times and racecraft improves which just comes down to seat time.
The goal this year is to keeping improving my skills, and driving abillty at Hooton Park. We are also entering Indykart at Teeside which is streamed live on YouTube.
You can read more about how my first few races went this season on my personal blog monkeymotorsports.co.uk