By Cheryl Tay
IT WAS a last-minute decision by veteran karter Eric Ho to participate in this year’s Singapore Karting Championship (SKC).
He did not initially fancy his winning chances, but that changed after he won the first round of the racing series, then came in third in Round Two and second in Round Four.
Although he did not make it to the podium in Rounds Three and Five, Ho’s accumulated points over the season was enough for him to seal the SKC overall title at the fifth and final round at Kartright Speedway last weekend.
Said Ho, who has been karting since 1994 in the carparks of Kallang: “Going into the finals last weekend, I had the championship lead but mathematically there were four drivers capable of winning the title.
“I put in my best and am happy to have won the title.”
Ho qualified in pole position but managed to finish only fifth in the final race, which was held under very wet conditions and had to be shortened because of worsening weather.
The poor weather caused disruptions to the final race of the Senior and Masters categories on Sunday afternoon.
The Senior race started off dry but the rain came midway through, forcing the race to be red-flagged as drivers came back in to change tyres before a race restart.
Defending Senior champion Mohammed Nasri Naufal won the race, but the 2011 Senior championship title had already gone to Thaddeus Lee.
Lee had earlier qualified in pole position, finishing first in both heats and the pre-final, scoring as many points as he could to win the Senior title and race the final without any pressure. Still, he was involved in a collision with Nasri and Vincent Nathan before the race was paused.
Dropping down the order, Lee had to struggle with a bent steering column and an increasingly wet race, managing a fifth- place finish eventually that was enough for him to hold on to his title.
In the Junior category, Manon Maistre – one of three females competing in the SKC last weekend – flipped and landed on her head in a controversial incident during the pre-final, throwing the chances of her first podium finish out the window.
The title fight was then down to the usual podium dominators Amin Noorzilan, Yeo Hong Yang and Gabriella Teo, with Amin having a slight lead over Yeo going into the final round.
However, Yeo failed to finish the final race owing to a mechanical fault. Amin thus retains his Junior title, also taking top spot in the weekend’s race.
Reigning Cadet champion Jon Lee finished this season in perfect style, qualifying in pole position, then finishing first in both heats, the pre-final and the final to take his second Cadet championship title.
The Veteran title was already secured by Anthony Seow prior to Round Five.
*This was first published in My Paper.