Curtis Guy raises the Cambodian flag in preparation for a lap of honor after winning the Phnom Penh Grand Prix.
TThe first Wat Phnom Go-kart Grand Prix succeeded in its major objective of producing
an atmosphee similar to the F1 racing at Monaco, with an international field blasting
between old colonial buildings in the heart of Phnom Penh on April 10, watched by
a crowd of several thousand.
Race director Iccy Harrington was satisfied with the spectacle, but said the circuit
was too narrow for safety and convenience and he hopes to change the location if
the event is repeated.
The circuit was built around a start/finish line, pits and main straight in front
of the Ministry of Post and Telecommunications and included a back straight along
Sisowath Quay. It started out as a 700 meter course but was shortened during practice
to eliminate a tight hairpin that caused many karts to stall.
"It wasn't our first choice of circuit but it was the best we could do in the
circumstances. The streets around Wat Phnom and the Sunway Hotel area are wider and
would be more suitable, but we need the support of the municipality and the police."
City Governor Kep Chuktema, who watched the race and presented the trophies (as the
year's first rain began to fall), said he was enthusiastic about repeating the event.
Harrington was disappointed with the police for failing to take responsibility for
crowd control; as a result people crossing the track became a concern and it was
more due to luck than good management that nobody was hit by karts reaching up to
Junior race winner Alexis Chevalier on the podium.
However it was not an errant spectator that caused a big pileup three laps into the
main event. This was due to a slow back marker clipping tyres and spinning at the
chicane entrance, causing seven leading karts to collide. Twenty seven karts were
in the first start, reduced to 20 for the re-start.
UK professional racer Curtis Guy led from start to finish. Guy has been making a
living from karting "on and off for years. I'd like to race cars but no-one
will pay me." Aged 42 and overweight he does not fit the usual go-kart racer
profile and said he gave away at least 16 kg to his European-size comrades, and 36
kg to the Asian drivers. "A 10 kg weight advantage is worth .8 seconds per lap
to my rivals."
Open class: Curtis Guy 1, Kenny Yip (Singapore) 2, Kelvin Ng (Malaysia) 3; 125cc,
C Guy 1, Tep Rithy (Cambodia) 2, Sar Rotha (Cambodia) 3; 100cc, Yip 1, Ng 2, Phillip
The (Malaysia) 3; 4 stroke, Vo Nan Ra (Vietnam) 1, John Curran (Ireland) 2, Tran
Thanh (Vietnam) 3; junior race, Alexis Chevalier (French-Cambodian) 1, Kasper Kinder
(Holland) 2, Timothy Salse (France) 3.