The winner of the 2019 Heavyweight championship was Graeme Thomas from Bridgend. Graeme proved himself to be Mr Consistent, scoring over 50 points in almost every round. Amazingly, Graeme didn't actually manage to cross the line in first place throughout the whole season. Far from being a negative, this demonstrates the incredible consistency and he was always up at the sharp end, scoring three 2nd place finishes, a 3rd, a 4th and his worst result a 5th. A fantastic opening season and one in which he can still build on, making him instantly one of the favourites for 2020. But where did he come from? Let's find out a little bit about him.
Graeme was born in Cardiff and lives in Bridgend. He became interested in karting at the age of 10, after watching his older brother race at the now defunct, Stormy Down Karting Centre near Porthcawl. He raced every Saturday morning without fail in what was called the Junior League. Sadly, this grassroots facility closed its doors following the untimely death of its owner. Graeme then joined the Junior League at the now also defunct Cardiff Raceway, which was situated under the flyover at the Llandough Business Park. This is where Graeme really came of age, winning multiple races and winning 2 championships. His rival also went on to race in Formula Palmer Audi, further proof of his talent.
After turning 16, options for an affordable karting series were non existent. Club 100 or going down the owner driver route were the only options, neither of which you could describe as affordable, especially for a 16 year old! He had the opportunity to race at the 'Johnny Herbert Karting Challenge', a charity event held at the very impressive Kings Cross Raceway in London. The track, at the time, was the longest indoor track in Europe and was finished using the same tarmac used at Silverstone. Racing royalty turned up on mass to take part in this annual endurance. Apart from the obvious F1 star Johnny Herbert, stars such as Jenson Button, Lewis Hamilton, Damon Hill, Mark Webber and many more, all took to the track and Graeme was out there among them, more than holding his own.
Once these events diminished, Graeme was back to square one. He once again teamed up with his brother, Gareth Thomas, to enter the RAF Championships (Gareth was in the RAF at the time) in their own Pro Kart. Unfortunately, budget once again got the better of him. After a few years, he then entered the UK's premier series, Club 100. With budget still tight, it meant entering just one round a year at his local track, Llandow. Having never driven 2 stroke karts before, it was a steep learning curve but one that he took to like a duck to water. But even this became an issue, costs going up year on year simply made it less attractive for a one off race.
That's where RapiKart came in. Helping racers like Graeme, race again. Good luck for the 2020 season, Graeme!