Ferguson boys gear up after 2013 success
9:02pm Wednesday 29th January 2014 in Sport
KART racing brothers Stuart and Oscar Ferguson can’t wait for the new season to start after ending the 2013 campaign on a high.
The pair, aged just 12 and 11 respectively, made their mark at the end of the Llandow Kart Club season, with Stuart claiming the Celtic Challenge – and, with it, the prestigious ‘CC’ number plate – while Oscar appeared on course to make it a family 1-2 after fending off both the reigning Welsh and Celtic champions for much of December’s finale.
Although he was pushed off track just two corners from home in the race for silverware, Oscar was rewarded with the 'Driver of the Day' award, before ending the season by being recognised as the Drivers’ 'Driver of the Year’ in the Honda Cadet class – perhaps the ultimate accolade after a typically hard-fought season.
Remarkably, both boys have only contested 26 race meetings in their short ‘careers,’ and regularly pit themselves against rivals who race as much as three times a month. While the big fields and frenetic nature of Cadet class racing often means that the result is uncertain, experience usually plays a big part in determining the outcome, underlining the strides Stuart and Oscar have made in the past few months.
Having got an early taste for driving on the family farm and subsequently honed their craft at the Llandow Race Academy, the brothers took their first competitive steps in July, 2011, improving sufficiently in the past two seasons to claim fourth and sixth respectively in the 2013 championship standings. December’s Celtic Challenge, however, provided further proof of their progress, with Stuart clearly the driver to beat as he comfortably topped qualifying, before winning both heats and the final. Oscar, meanwhile, was third fastest in the time trial before leading the pursuit of his elder brother in both qualifying races. Despite his stubborn defence of second place extending into the final, however, he was denied a podium appearance by last lap contact that sent him tumbling to an unrepresentative 19th at the chequered flag.
“Winning the Celtic Challenge was definitely my best moment in karting,” Stuart admitted. “We had been running towards the front all season, but there are some very good drivers in the Cadet class so finally coming out on top, and at such an important event, was particularly pleasing. It is a shame that Oscar couldn’t join me on the podium as he had been driving very well all day, but I’m sure his time will come this season.”
Remaining in the Cadet class for 2014, the Kings Monkton School pupils will look to confirm their positions at the front of the field from the first round on February 16, as well as challenging for Welsh Championship honours in May. In the meantime, they will continue to represent their school at rugby and keep up a football rivalry that comes to a head each time Chelsea face off against Manchester United.
“We might be family, but we definitely want to beat each other at everything,” noted Oscar, who finished second in November’s final championship round. “While I was happy to see Stuart win the Celtic title, it only makes me more determined to reach the top step of the podium in 2014. We’ve not been racing as long as some of our rivals, but we learned a lot from the Academy and what we’ve done since, and I hope that makes the difference this season.”
Such has been racing’s influence on the Ferguson family over the past couple of years, father Charles has been persuaded to join the Ginetta Racing Drivers’ Club and will be hitting the tracks in support of the this season’s British Touring Car Championship. His focus, however, will remain on his offspring’s endeavours at Llandow, with karting providing additional life lessons to those learned in school.
“The boys are both doing well at Kings Monkton, and the headmaster, Paul Norton, is very supportive of their racing,” Charles commented. “Paul’s leadership and approach to education has certainly helped the boys to focus and learn, which, in turn, has benefited their success at karting. But their time at the track also provides experiences that will undoubtedly help them going forward – working together, dealing with adversity, enjoying success in the right way. The past couple of years racing at Llandow has been very enjoyable and we look forward to more of the same in 2014 and beyond.”