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Home   Canterbury   Sport   Article

Rallycross driver Ryan Lawford was remembered at Buckmore Park in Chatham on Saturday - and the KM Group's Editorial Apprentice enjoyed every lap

12 March 2014
by Dan Wright

The Ryan Lawford Memorial Trophy was hailed a massive success at Buckmore Park on Saturday - and the KM Group’s Editorial Apprentice was in the thick of the action.

19-year-old Dan Wright was just one of the drivers remembering the talented rallycross driver and engineer in the 90-minute endurance go-kart race, whilst raising vital funds for the Demelza Hospice children’s charity...

Saturday, March 8 2014 is a date that will live long in the memory for everyone at Buckmore Park last weekend.

18 teams of three drivers took part. Picture - Joe Wright

18 teams of three drivers took part. Picture - Joe Wright

We all gathered at the superb Chatham track to remember the talented Ryan Lawford - and raised just over £3,000 for charity in the process.

Andrew Jordan, the current British Touring Car champion, was racing; along with an array of Ryan’s former rallycross rivals in a grid full of quality.

It was very close racing. Picture - Joe Wright

It was very close racing. Picture - Joe Wright

But between the racing stars were complete novices, including myself, taking part in the event to remember Ryan and help the great cause.

Drivers were split into teams of three and with rallycross drivers Stuart Emery and Chris Cake my ‘Red Rooster Racing’ squad was ready for action.

Andrew Jordan gets ready to race. Picture - Joe Wright

Andrew Jordan gets ready to race. Picture - Joe Wright

We only had 15 minutes of practice before the start and after Stuart got the race going - despite three spins he won’t want me to mention - it was my first turn in the kart...

My pre-race driving training at Buckmore on Wednesday was a huge benefit but failed to help with one thing: the other 17 karts buzzing around from each and every direction.

52.194 seconds was mine - and the team's - quickest lap. Picture - Joe Wright

52.194 seconds was mine - and the team's - quickest lap. Picture - Joe Wright

But with adrenaline flowing my laptimes tumbled and despite a big off onto the grass after hitting a backmarker, I’d already shaved three seconds off my best time from Wednesday.

Overtaking was a massive thrill and once Chris returned from his first run in the 390-cc kart, ‘Red Rooster Racing’ was sitting in sixth.

Teammate Stuart Emery is a British Rallyross star. Picture - Joe Wright

Teammate Stuart Emery is a British Rallyross star. Picture - Joe Wright

Chris’ young son Matt did a top job as our our crew chief, organising our pit stops throughout, whilst ahead of us Sittingbourne-based rallycrosser Darren Scott and his family ‘Ramrods’ team was leading the way.

Stuart produced a solid second stint to keep us sixth and with a more relaxed posture for my second run, my lap times again improved.

'Red Rooster Racing' grabbed sixth - a top result. Picture - Joe Wright

'Red Rooster Racing' grabbed sixth - a top result. Picture - Joe Wright

Being on the same track as Andrew Jordan, with your family and rallycross legend Will Gollop watching was a massive buzz - and helped me produce a 52.194 second lap - the quickest of our team all day.

“The dark horse” I was called afterwards by Ryan's Dad Martin, something I didn’t expect to hear beforehand...

Darren Scott's 'Ramrods' team took home the trophy. Picture - Joe Wright

Darren Scott's 'Ramrods' team took home the trophy. Picture - Joe Wright

Chris finished the race off nicely with ‘Red Rooster Racing’ coming home sixth, a mighty result considering the number of pit stops we made.

Positions didn’t matter, though, and whilst the Scott’s took home the trophy donated by Will Gollop, every team had a smile on their face.

My pre-race training was very valuable with Instructor Matt Homewood. Picture - Andy Payton

My pre-race training was very valuable with Instructor Matt Homewood. Picture - Andy Payton

Everyone enjoyed it and as Andrew Jordan said post-race, “hopefully we’ll do it every year.”

It was a great day for Ryan.

It was all in memory of Ryan Lawford

It was all in memory of Ryan Lawford

A big thanks to Martin and Julie Lawford and Buckmore Park for their hospitality - especially Chris Pullman for the much-needed one-to-one driving training on Wednesday.

A full race report will appear in tomorrow's Kentish Gazette. 

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