Race ace Harpham is plotting title defence
RACER Lee Harpham hopes the "amazing" partnership involving Grimsby's Harpoon Racing can rev him on to back-to-back European title crowns.
The 30-year-old is already gearing up to defend his CIK-FIA European Superkart Championship title after an impressive maiden success.
The Grimsby racer, a British champion in 2006, missed the previous two European campaigns, but came back from the wilderness to storm to European glory after Harpoon Racing and Redspeed teamed up for the first time.
And Harpham hopes the Redspeed Racing axis will continue next season as he targets more glory in the 250-twin class – the biggest championship in super-karts.
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"It was a fantastic feeling to win a title I have been working towards throughout my racing career," said Harpham.
"The win was all the better after spending two years out and nearly retiring from the European championship.
"I want to defend my title. There is no longer a world championship, but drivers from all over the world compete in the Europeans.
"Apart from moving to cars that would be slower than super-karts, the only way forward is to maintain my title.
"Last season we had a really strong mix as a team – the reliability was outstanding and the set-up allowed me to drive to my maximum ability.
"Harpoon Racing has enjoyed a fantastic season within the partnership.
"My mechanic, Jon Hateley at Redspeed, was 100 per cent committed and team principle John Riley offered great advice and support.
"It felt like we were one team. We won't be looking to race with anyone else."
Harpham wrapped up the European title after a tense final round double-header at Le Mans, in France.
He needed to finish ahead of team-mate Marcel Maasmann in both races to be guaranteed the title.
There was drama on the first corner of the opening race when Maasmann was involved in a big crash that took out four fellow races.
But the Grimsby racer wasn't one of them – and he went on to bag second and third-placed finishes to secure the title.
"I was nervous going into the final races but we had qualified third so I knew the speed was there," said Harpham.
"I had a great start in the first race and I knew there was the possibility of a collision on the first corner – it is very tight with speeds averaging 120mph on the approach, and then suddenly dropping to 40mph.
"The first I knew of the crash was when the safety car was deployed. I saw Marcel parked up at the side of the circuit with a badly-damaged kart. Thankfully, he was unharmed. I then just had to complete the weekend with good finishes for the championship points we needed."