Dubai, UAE, 11 March 2018: Three seasons. Three consecutive Nomad titles. Sameer Mohideen, Samuel Garbutt and Mateo Moussaoui of Ghost Racing Team held off a spirited last lap challenge by P1 Racing to win the fourth and final round of the 2017-2018 Senior Emirates Schools Karting Championship (ESKC) at Dubai Autodrome on Sunday and successfully defend their status as Nomad Class champions.
With SISD Senior Team nipping at their heels, Henry Jenkins, Thomas Raw and Jaden Taylor of Dubai English Speaking College (DESC) 6 also held on for a final round class victory and with it, the 2017-2018 ESKC Senior title.
There was no trophy given for it, but Samuel Garbutt of Ghost Racing Team should have earned a Most Valuable Driver award after delivering a stellar performance on the night. Garbutt clocked in an extraordinary lap time of 1:10.951 in qualifying—the only driver to dip below the 1:11 mark—to grab the top spot on the grid for his team in the final 90-minute endurance race.
DESC 6, however, didn’t look to be in good position early on, only reaching as high as P7 in qualifying, behind ESKC category rivals Dubai College and SISD Senior Team.
Garbutt made well use of pole position and broke away from the pack in the opening laps. Behind him it was turmoil as teams jostled for position. Each of the teams would make at least four pit stops during the race, so teamwork and strategy would play an important role in the outcome.
DESC 6 got it right, and the team picked its way through the field to overhaul would-be contenders. The Nomad squad of P1 Racing also did well, going from P3 to challenge for the win in the closing laps. Maybe Kyle Kumaran of P1 Racing just needed a few more laps, but despite his best attempts to reel in the race leader, Samuel Garbutt of Ghost Racing Team maintained control and crossed the finish line just 0.154 seconds ahead after 69 completed laps.
Henry Jenkins of DESC 6 rolled in for third-place overall, which was good enough to secure the ESKC Class Championship for the team.
DESC 6 closed out the 2017-2018 season with 128 points to take top honours, while SISD Senior Team had to settle for second-place on 115 points. Last year’s Senior champs, Jumeirah English Speaking School Arabian Ranches, claimed third-place with 98 points.
Thomas Raw of DESC 6 commented, “We all came in feeling pretty confident. We were all in good spirits coming into it, and really just seeing how it goes.”
Raw also hailed the fighting quality of their rivals. He said, “They (SISD Senior Team) pushed us right to the last round; it made for a tense ending.”
In a season where Nomad Class teams, with drivers of mixed schools, dominated each of the four rounds, Ghost Racing Team demonstrated its credentials as the best Nomad team in ESKC history. It racked up an impressive 165 points on its way to the 2017-2018 Nomad title. VDR Racing put up a valiant fight to take second-place with 141 points, while JESS Nomad Team secured third on 136 points.
When asked about his team’s third historic Nomad title, Samuel Garbutt of Ghost Racing Team said, “It’s great really, an amazing achievement and a sign of the hard work we’ve been putting in over the years.”
Sameer Mohideen added, “And we’re looking for sponsors.” And rightly so. The team has a winning pedigree and is now looking to take on greater challenges, such as upcoming rounds of the Dubai Kartdrome Endurance Championship.
Report & Photos: Aaron Meriwether