Triple C, but will it be C for Champion? - 400 Lee Kingsnorth Interview
Lee Kingsnorth is a driver that has quietly gone about his business over recent years, but in that time has been making big movements in becoming one of the sports’ leading names, and heading into a month of World Finals, with the Unlimited & 1600 Bangers, the Triple C man from Suffolk is surely one of the favourites for both titles on his local track.
Like many, Lee’s pathway into racing began via his family tree, with Lee’s father, Tony, being a regular on the EA rookie banger scene, as well as a stint in the Lightning Rods, however, the passion for racing wasn’t always there as Lee informs us. ‘I used to be at Arena Essex every weekend, as my uncle and dads cousin raced for the Gladiators. When I was 11, I went into Ministox for half a season but I just didn’t get into them. I had a time away from racing and then when I was 16, my cousin Martin (Team Reem man, Martin Kent 307) got me back into it and I raced a banger at Mildenhall.’
Lee recalls his first outing as not very successful, but reflects on it in positive light, joking ‘my first ever meeting in a banger was the DD meeting at Mildenhall. I had a Vectra against Mondeos and luckily the oil pump went as I drove out of the pit gate.’ Lee’s first proper outing was once again at Mildenhall where he had a Mk3 Vauxhall Astra, and the day went a lot smoother than the DD meeting. ‘The track was the wettest I’ve ever seen it; sloppy as you like! I had a good day and enjoyed it.’ From there, Lee has never really looked back! Initially racing with his cousins, taking on the Team Reem colours before making movements as a solo driver. Lee has worked his way up to be one of the key competitors on the Spedeworth scene, and can certainly mix it with the best having come through to the domestic ranks to now a full time National Banger man.
‘I enjoy all my racing but you can’t beat the unlimiteds. It’s a completely different ball game. I didn’t realise until I did it how different it would be.’ No matter what the class of bangers though, Lee is very quick at adapting to his car and the track, which was evident at the ‘lockdown meeting’ at Aldershot back in July where he gained results all day, with three wins across both the Unlimiteds and 1600s, including the Wildcard final in the latter. Lee is paramount proof that consistency is key, but he insists it’s just a basis of going out and enjoying yourself, and trying to keep out of trouble! Lee’s prolific season saw him top the 1600 Spedeworth Points, and claimed second in the National Banger Points too, which shows why he is tipped as one of the favourites, but again, these were not part of his goals at the start of the year, so how does he tip his own chances come the two big events?
‘It really is anyone’s race; luck of the draw, luck on the night and a good car always helps!’ Lee is part way there, having prepared a stunning Ford Scorpio for the Unlimited World, a car in which he typically goes well in. ‘World Finals are always the best buzz,’ Lee expands, ‘but there is plenty of drivers in both World races than more than deserve to win; too many to name in fact!’ It just shows Lee’s character, that if it isn’t him taking gold then he will be pleased for whomever does take the honour.
Touching on the comment of the World Final being the best buzz, we discussed what other meetings have been standout across Lee’s career. ‘This year’s Northampton BWS has been my favourite, and the lockdown meeting was also good with the good results on the day.’ Considering his time in bangers, could Lee picture himself in another formula? ‘Good question. I’m not really sure, I’d like ago in a Saloon but I couldn’t see me taking them up full time. I’d love to have a go 2L Hot Rod and a Superstox also. I think I’d have to try a few and see what I liked.’
We always like to conclude our interviews by asking the driver who they’d like to thank for their help over the years, and Lee has already touched upon the fact that he wouldn’t be able to compete nowhere near as much as if it wasn’t for his team. ‘ Of course, all the lads who help me building my cars, SMR Fabrications. My family and my girlfriend for the support and my old man, there would be no racing if it wasn’t for him.’