British racer Ella Stevens makes karting history with first female KZ win at Kimbolton

British rising star Ella Stevens became the first-ever female driver to win a KZ Final in the Wera Tools British Karting Championships at Kimbolton Kart Circuit last weekend [13-14 May].

The 16-year-old was immediately fastest out of the blocks on her debut in the KZ2 class, qualifying on pole position around the 1-mile Cambridgeshire venue, notorious among drivers for its fast, technical nature to drive.

Stevens, from Wotton-Under-Edge, Gloucestershire, then translated that pace across to each of her two Heat races. After winning the first, Stevens recovered from a five-second time penalty for a minor jump start in the second to finish as runner-up, and secure second on the grid for the Pre-Final.

A lightning start quickly promoted Stevens to the race lead, from which she was never headed at the front of the 18-strong field to register a third victory on the road of the weekend, quite some statement amongst the best of the UK’s notoriously competitive karting scene.

Even more impressive, however, was Stevens’ performance in the Final, the headline race at each event. Starting from pole, a tough opening two laps dropped Ella back to sixth spot but, in the gritty, determined fashion often associated with her manager and mentor, Alice Powell, she immediately began to mount a comeback.

With three minutes remaining of the 15-minute contest, Stevens found herself on the back of a four-way battle for the lead out front. A dive past early leader Tom Adams at the final corner promoted her to the podium, before subsequent moves on Josh Price and Charlie Turner returned her to the lead with just two laps to run.

In clear air, the Jade Racing Team ace immediately stretched her legs, taking the chequered flag half a second clear to thrown down the gauntlet to the rest of the pack as the early KZ2 championship leader.

Ella Stevens (Kart #28) said:

“I’m absolutely delighted with the start to the season at Kimbolton. It’s a very proud moment for me as well to become the first female driver to win a KZ2 race, especially because of how competitive the grid is this year."

“There were so many different challenges to adapt to over the weekend – getting the laps together in qualifying, managing the race from out front, but also battling back like we did in the Final. I think it’s safe to say we’ve shown we can race, as well as put in one-lap pace!"

“A huge thanks to everybody at Jade Racing Team, my manager Alice, my family and everybody who continues to support me. Hopefully we can keep this form going next time out and for the rest of the season.”

Alice Powell, Ella Stevens’ Manager said:

“This is Ella’s rookie season in the KZ class, and she has adapted to the challenge extremely well. She is racing against some very tough and fast drivers, many of whom have won British championships in other categories prior to this year."

“Full credit to Ella for putting in so much hard work to improve her performance on track, and equally a massive thanks to Jade Racing Team, who have been a huge help in that regard. She and the team should be very proud of what they’ve achieved.”

The next round of the British KZ2 Championship will take place at Glan-Y-Gors on the 9-11 June.