Pontefract teens blast to success in police branded go kart (10 May 2017)

Racewaykarting3A sleek new high performance vehicle has gained pole position in the West Yorkshire Police fleet - but has started its career by being raced around by teenagers! 

Young drivers at the Pontefract Badgers racing club have truly got some new wheels to be proud of after taking delivery of a force branded off road go kart to help them compete in tournaments. 

The teens have already used the Proceeds of Crime part funded vehicle to help them gain experience in outdoor karts- helping them blast through to national finals of the British Schools Karting Championships. 

Two of the three teams entered by the Badgers in April's regional finals finished first and third with the Badgers Bronze team finishing 4th, just 5 points off qualification. 

The 125cc kart was built to help club members gain experience of racing outdoor vehicles and was built by the teens and club, with work starting last year. 

Extra funding for it was provided by the Proceeds of Crime Act Fund administered by West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner Mark Burns Williamson. 

Stakeholders involved in the Pontefract Badgers include MALTRA, Wakefield District Housing, Wakefield Council & Harworth Estates Housing Group. 

The club itself, which was set up by police and partners to teach young people basic mechanics, driving skills and teamwork, was formed in 2014 at Pontefract's Raceway Karting Track on Skinner Lane. 

It was set up as an offshoot of a youth club at Raceway karting formed by the Pontefract Neighbourhood Policing Team and the Monkhill & Ladybalk Tenants and Residents Association for children on the Monkhill estate in Pontefract. 

The badgers proved so popular they eventually attracted over 50 teenagers aged 13-18 and have entered teams in the British Schools Karting Championships over the past two years. 

RacewaykartingLast year senior officers from Wakefield Police took on the teens on their own track as part of a visit to see the achievements of the police supported project.

Chief Superintendent Mabs Hussain, District Commander of Wakefield Police, said: "We've been deeply impressed with the commitment of everyone involved in the Pontefract Badgers which has been a real example of the benefits a passionately supported community project can bring for young people. 

"The teenagers taking part have learned real skills and uncovered talents they didn't know they had. We know some of the drivers coming through their ranks are of genuine national class and this is reflected in their performances in competitions. 

"Myself and other senior officers at Wakefield Police enjoyed racing with them last year, and are really pleased to play our part in helping fund an outdoor racing kart they can be proud of. 

"Given it's in police livery, I think a few of us will be seeing if our driving permits entitle us to have a go!" 

West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner Mark Burns Williamson, said: "Proceeds of Crime Act funding was created to support projects like this which make life better for residents and can make a real difference in local communities. 

"In this case we have been able to use criminal's cash to directly benefit young people in the Pontefract area and teach them skills such as teamwork, road craft and basic mechanics which will benefit them throughout their lives. 

"I wish to extend my congratulations to the Badgers and everyone involved in their success and this is another example of how utilising Proceeds of Crime funding is having a very positive impact in our communities." 

PC Ian Heaslip of Pontefract Neighbourhood Policing team said "It's a brilliant result to have two teams qualify for the National Finals for the second year running and we want to say well done to everyone involved. We want to thank Andy Hirst of Raceway Karting Pontefract, Special Constable Senior Section Officer Alan Studd, Martin Coleman of MALTRA and Roger Newbould, Team manager for the Badgers for their continuing support."

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