Published: 06:00, 22 January 2021
Dan Tidwell has landed his first karting title - more than two decades after taking up the sport.
Tidwell clinched the F160 Championship in the final race of the season at Buckmore Park.
It was a special moment for the Sittingbourne racer who first drove a kart at Bayford Meadows for his sixth birthday.
Now 28, he finally knows how it feels to win a championship.
“It was unbelievably close - I won it by two points,” he said.
“It literally came down to the final race of the final round at Buckmore Park and the guy who finished runner-up in the championship was three seconds behind me.
“The most nerve-racking time was when we were sat on the dummy grid. We had to wait for about five minutes but it felt like 10 hours.
“I was second on the grid and he was fourth, so he was directly behind me.
“We went into that race level on points, so whoever came out on top won the whole thing.
“I finished second and he came third, so that secured the title.
“I had a reasonable lead over him and that’s where my experience came in.
“Years ago I’d have pushed for the win and probably binned it, but this time I settled in second place and got the points I needed.”
Racing is in the family so it seemed inevitable Tidwell would follow suit.
He had a break from karting in his late teens and early 20s, but is glad he came back.
“I started at Bayford Meadows when I was six,” said Tidwell.
“Dad got me a session on one of the hire karts for a birthday present. He’d been a racing driver since the early 80s so as soon as I was able to see over the wheel, I was into a kart.
“I won races when I was younger but there was a lot of money coming into the sport at that time, so we did struggle a bit.
“I stopped karting when I was 17 because I wasn’t getting anywhere and I started to fall out of love with it.
“I’d put everything into it and when you aren’t getting the rewards it’s hard to motivate yourself.
“I got back into it five years ago, when I was 23, with the goal of trying to win a championship, and I’ve finally managed to do it.”