TWO Rustington karting brothers raced to superb finishes in the Red Bull Kart Fight earlier this month racing in the tracks of Formula 1 star Mark Webber.
Both Jack and Andy O’Neill had qualified for the UK final after first qualifying in practice sessions in Gosport, before being the two fastest drivers in the regional final at Buckmore Park in Kent.
Nineteen-year-old Jack and 16-year-old Andy each motored to top-five finishes in the Cardiff final in front of 9,000 people, while Jack raced to a podium finish.
He finished third from 36 drivers in the 85mph karts and was presented with his trophy and champagne by Red Bull driver Webber and interviewed for Red Bull TV by F1 pundit Jake Humphrey.
After practice and semi-final races throughout the day, Webber took his F1 car around the the purpose-built street circuit at Cardiff Bay, as did Daniel Riccardo in the Red Bull NASCAR.
The brothers then took to the track for the final with the world-famous stars’ fumes still in the air.
Jack improved one place in the race after starting in fourth, while Andy improved an amazing nine place in just eight laps, and from starting 14th on the grid finished in fifth, in so setting the fastest lap.
Jack said: “The whole experience to race through the streets of Cardiff was incredible.
“We were doing speeds up to 60mph and were inches away from the thousands of spectators, all that was separating us was plastic armco barriers and traffic lights.
“As I finished on the podium I had the opportunity to meet Mark Webber and got interviewed by Jake Humphries which was a once in a lifetime experience and one I will never forget.
“I felt the day was a taster of what it would be like to be a F1 superstar.
“To have the experience of racing in front of thousands of people along with multiple interviews from different media companies was unbelievable.
“And it all started by setting some lap times around my local indoor kart track which proves what a fantastic event Red Bull had put in place.”
As part of his prize Jack will be going up to the Red Bull F1 headquarters next month to see behind the scenes and to train using the F1 simulator – while his trophy is made from the gear cogs of a Red Bull F1 car.
He added: “I will be able to see all the different operations of the team and be able to have a go on their simulator.
“I can’t wait.”
Andy said: “I was ecstatic about my fifth place, moving up nine places in the eight laps and getting the fastest lap in the final by half a second.
“I felt really confident knowing that even though I started 14th because of kart-related problems throughout the event, I could just go out there and have some fun and take chances that I wouldn’t normally
“For me the whole experience was breathtaking. Just seeing the whole street converted into a go-kart track around the Millennium Centre in Cardiff was just incredible, along with the thousands of fans that came to see the Red Bull F1 Car, The Red Bull NASCAR, The Red Bull Matadors and the kart race. It is certainly an experience I won’t ever forget.”