Karting queen Bella races to championship title
By Martin Paul - Senior Reporter
A YOUNGSTER who never showed much interest in her parents’ go-karting business until a year ago has gone on to win a championship.
Bella Franklin, from Selaby, near Gainford, won a race at Shenington Kart Racing Club’s track, in Banbury, to secure the Shenington IKR championship title, with another race still to go.
The 12-year-old is also currently in fifth place in the cadet class of the Teesside Owner Driver sprint championship, in Middlesbrough, and with two races to go she is hoping for a top three finish.
Her mum Kathryn said: “She had some issues at the beginning of the season – crashing and bending her chassis and brake disc on the first lap of practice. But she is now faster than ever and getting better at controlling the race from the front.”
Her dad Paul said she had initially shown little interest in the sport despite the family owning Teesside Karting, which boasts the longest kart circuit in the country.
He added: “One day she decided to she wanted to have a go and it has gone from there.
“She and her teammate Gracie Mitchell having been dominating. She did so well she sewed up the [Shenington] championship before the end of the season.”
Bella came second, with Gracie taking the top podium spot in the latest race, but it was enough for Bella to take the title, with the final round of races taking place on November 6.
The last two races of the Teesside championship will take place during the weekend of October 26, when she hopes to improve her current position.
Her mum said: “She has a good chance of finishing in the top three – especially if it rains, as she loves to drive in the rain.”
While she has come on leaps and bounds since starting in the sport about a year ago, she has not had it easy and faced some tough opposition in the beginning.
Mrs Franklin said: “Bella, along with the six other girls in our championship, faced a lot of negativity when they started racing, with a lot of boys and parents taking the view that girls should move over to let the boys pass and boys who refused to be beaten by a girl.
“This was short lived as the number of girls in the championships grew.
“They all became very competitive and on race day it isn’t uncommon to see girls first, second and third on the track,” she added
Of her success, Bella said: “It’s not about winning each battle, it’s about winning the war.
“When I finished the last race in second I’d still won the war.
“I hope to progress in racing and be able to race in the W Series alongside my heroes Sarah Moore and Jamie Chadwick.”