eKartingNews.com Driver of the Month: July 2023 – Harley Keeble
British driver with Sodi Racing USA doubles up at SKUSA SummerNationals
In a continued effort to highlight the many outstanding performances by drivers around the country, eKartingNews.com is proud to introduce the ‘Driver of the Month’ program. Each month, the staff at EKN will determine the one driver who stood out above the rest and give the viewers a chance to know exactly what they accomplished and who they are.
For years, 100cc karting was the foundation of the sport not only in the USA but around the world. Many drivers made a name for themselves with the 100cc engines as their powerplant. The British invasion into USA karting recently has seen them at all levels. From Cadet and Junior racing, to now in 2023, at the Senior level with drivers like Joe Turney and Brandon Carr. Add in Harley Keeble to mix, joining Sodi Racing USA, as a new name that has put himself as a contender at any event he attends, especially in the 100cc division.
Keeble made his first 100cc start in the USA back in April at Challenge of the Americas, winning the Saturday round. His first SKUSA Pro Tour start in the KA100 Senior division came at the SKUSA SpringNationals at the Utah Motorsports Campus. A P14 in his maiden qualifying session was followed up with a fantastic drive in the Prefinal, gaining 11 spots to finish third with fast lap of the race. He translated that almost into victory, coming up just short in the Final to finish second. The following day, it was a sweep of the action to lead the way in qualifying, Prefinal and Final for his first SKUSA victory.
The Sodi Racing USA driver carried that momentum into the SKUSA SummerNationals, held at the New Castle Motorsports Park in New Castle, Indiana. Racing under the Piquet Sports USA tent on the weekend, Keeble put himself in contention early with a P4 in qualifying for Saturday’s round of racing. Unfortunately, Keeble was shuffled off track at the start and found himself back in 19th on the opening circuit. He fought forward, driving his way to 11th by the end of the nine-lap race. Harley made quick work of the drivers ahead of him at the start of the 18-lap Final. By lap four, Keeble was in the lead, advancing 11 spots. He led much of the race, securing the lead on the white flag lap after some battling, and drove to his second straight victory in the KA100 Senior class.
Keeble began where he left off on Sunday, setting fast time in qualifying and then winning the Prefinal. That was the last time he was challenged on the day as Harley put in a dominating wire-to-wire performance in the Final. He led all 18 laps of the main event, trailed early by Henry Wheeler, but stretched away to a 1.6-second margin of victory to claim his third straight victory in four starts at the SKUSA Pro Tour.
With his four podium results, Keeble ended up finishing fourth in the SKUSA Pro Tour championship standings for KA100 Senior, despite missing the opening two rounds in class at the SKUSA WinterNationals at Orlando Kart Center. Just two points short of the third spot. Keeble ran X30 Senior only in Florida before going double duty in both Utah and New Castle. He ended up placing sixth in the X30 Senior championship standings, earning two podium results over the six rounds.
The British driver will continue to compete here in North America, forgoing the opportunity to compete at the FIA Karting World Championship in October to keep focus on helping Sodi Racing USA. He will remain in the USA with closing out the United States Pro Kart Series program this month in Ohio and in October at Trackhouse Motorplex – the same weekend as the world championships. Keeble will compete at the ROK Vegas and SKUSA SuperNationals 26 events, along with joining Sodi Mexico and SH Karting in Canada for support and competition under the Sodi dealer network.
July 2023 EKN Driver of the Month – Harley Keeble
Born: April 2, 2007
Hometown: Grimsby, United Kingdom
Parents: Dean and Kate
Height/Weight: 166cm / 60kg
Job: Official Sodi Racing USA Factory Driver
Engine/Engine Builder: X30 / KA100 / KZ / OK
Sponsors: Sodi Racing USA
Series You Compete In: Superkarts! USA Pro Tour, United States Pro Kart Series, various others with Sodi Racing USA
Years Karting: 10
How did you get started in karting? I remember from as young as 3 years old watching my father race and I knew then that I wanted to race!
What has been the high point in your racing career? I’ve had many low and high points in my career. Obtaining my first factory drive with the Official Tony Kart factory team at just 12 years old was a big moment for me. However, going on to becoming WSK European Champion (2021 – OK Junior) was a huge achievement.
What are your goals in racing? Obviously I want to climb the ladder in the world of motorsport but I understand the implications on the way, so making decisions throughout my career is extremely crucial. Moving over to racing in the US has given me further experience and opportunities so my goal right now is to work hard and ensure I am helping Sodi Racing USA achieve as much as possible.
In a few words, how would you describe your driving style? Smooth, hard but fair, calculated
Funniest moment at the race track? One of the funniest moments I can remember was back in the Cadet. The studs on the rear hub had broken and I lost a wheel on the final lap. I lost some positions but I was still able to finish the race!
Favorite Track: Zeura International Circuit – Zuera, Spain
Favorite form of professional motorsports: F2, IndyCar
Favorite karting driver: Myself or Freddie Slater
Favorite professional driver:
Favorite website: YouTube
Favorite movie: Rush
Favorite actor/actress: Adam Sandler
Favorite music/group: R&B, Dance
Favorite vacation/activity spot: Florida
Favorite food: Steak
The Real Deal
What do you do when not at the track? I spend a lot of time at the track, coaching and driving. However, if I’m not at a track, I will be training in the gym or on the sim. I try to spend time with the family too.
What are your goals outside of karting? I try to keep focused on my goals so I don’t really think about much away from racing!
What type of street car do you drive? I don’t drive on the road yet
What type of street car would you like to drive? When I do I quite like the thought of a Mercedes-Benz C63!
What are your pet peeves or things that irritate you? Being cold! Racing in Europe and the US certainly suits me more than the UK! It gets pretty cold there sometimes!
What do you think could be done to improve the sport of karting? The professionalism in karting is growing more and more which is great, however this means the costs increase. It’s sad because there are many talented young drivers that don’t get to show their full potential because of rising costs. I’d like to see more opportunities given to these drivers at the highest level.
What are your favorite aspects about the sport of karting? Karting is the most purest of motorsports. The events, track time, close racing and race craft you can learn in karting cannot be beaten!
July 2023 Driver of the Month – Honorable Mention:
– John Crow: SKUSA Pro Tour SummerNationals – 2 Wins (Master Shifter)
– AJ Myers: SKUSA Pro Tour SummerNationals – 2 Wins (Pro Shifter)
– Landon Skinner: Texas Sprint Racing Series Amarillo – 1 Win (KA100 Junior)
– Joe Turney: SKUSA Pro Tour SummerNationals – 2 Wins (X30 Senior)
– Jesus Vasquez Jr.: California ProKart Challenge Santa Maria – 1 Win (KA100 Senior)