Arnold twins ready to rip up the race track in Formula Kart Stars
THERE was 33 minutes between them at birth but the thinnest of margins separate twins Matthew and Shaun Arnold on the race track.
The ultra-competitive 15-year-olds will be racing in the same series this season – Formula Kart Stars – but may have to rein in their desire to gain bragging rights in their Capel St Mary household, especially as they will be representing the same team, DC Motorsport.
“It is going to be interesting as we don’t like being beaten by each other at anything, even if that is just a board game, so I think our dad will have to play referee this season,” joked Shaun, who is the younger of the siblings.
“We argue with each other constantly and Matt’s little line is usually ‘I am quicker than you’ and I respond by saying ‘I can race better than you.”
Matthew responds immediately: “That’s not true, look at this last weekend,” referring to his win in a club race – a race that Shaun finished second in.
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This year will mark the third year that the twins, who attend East Bergholt School, will have raced competitively, having begun in 2009, skipped 2010 and raced in different championships last season – Shaun in Formula Karts Stars Junior Rotax and Matthew in Formula Kart Stars Mini Max.
Shaun will be one of four seeded drivers in the competition and expects to finish in the top three having raced in a Junior Rotax-type kart last season.
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Matthew, in his first season driving a Junior Rotax-type kart, is eyeing a top-five berth.
They may have differing ambitions but both believe they have the tools to make it to pole position, even if they have different strategies.
“I can do a quicker lap but Shaun is better at race craft and catching people,” said Matthew, who has a racing style similar to Jenson Button according to his brother.
Shaun explands: “If you were to use the two McLaren drivers as guides, Matt is more like Jenson Button, smooth, tidy and fast whereas I am more aggressive like Lewis Hamilton.
“Matthew is more patient and if he has reined someone in, will take his time before overtaking. I will trying to work my way around the car in front as quickly as possible.
“But we are both fast. There is a track in Wigan where you can reach speeds of around 80mph with your bum about an inch off the ground, so that is pretty special. It is all about consistency and if you can constantly clock lap times of about 42.3/42.4 seconds that will give you a better chance of winning than someone who might put in a 42 second lap but then fail to maintain that and not be able to pull away.
“But there might be some tactics involved too, not so much in the heats but in the finals.”
Hamilton is an example of a former Kart Stars driver who has gone on to make it to the very top and the boys have similar designs, although funding could be an issue.
“We would like to make the progression to cars but it generally boils down to have the finances and with two of us, that could be difficult,” admitted Matthew.
For now, the Arnolds’ sole focus is the Kart Stars Championship which begins on Easter weekend at Kimbolton, a track that is familiar to them both. They enjoyed their most successful weekend of the year to date there recently with Shaun sealing a sensational victory and Matthew taking a top-ten finish.
“It’s been our local track for quite a while and this year we have been practising quite a lot there,” said Shaun.
“I think we have got home advantage and been very fast there and hopefully that will give us the edge. But we are up against tough competition and in a recent race in Junior Max, there were about 20 of us finishing with two tenths of a second between us.”