How Big Is Oxford Speedway? [Solved!]

Last week, we shared with you the story of two British brothers who quit their day jobs to follow their passions and create a sporting business that would eventually change the motorsport world forever.

Their journey took them to Hong Kong, where they started afresh, and then to Spain, where they grew the business to new heights. But before we look back, let’s take a moment to appreciate just how far they have come.

This year, their racing team, BKR, will be returning to the Isle of Man for the Manx Grand Prix. Last year they scored a hat-trick of wins, and with four races left in the 2019 season, they remain undefeated. The team’s extraordinary consistency — and success — means that even seasoned motorsport observers have been forced to pay them serious attention. For instance, at the time of writing, BKR are currently first in the championship standings. Let’s take a trip back in time to their beginnings, when they were still just two brothers, Nathan and Robin, racing karts.

Racing Karts: The First Step

In 2013, Nathan (left) and Robin (right) Konijnenberg were born in Oxford, England. Their father, Bob, is a keen motorsport enthusiast who spent many years as an F1 team manager, while their mother, Sally, is a corporate lawyer. As a result, the brothers were raised around motorsport.

When they were 10 and 8 years old, respectively, the brothers became determined to follow in their father’s footsteps and achieve motorsport glory. They knew that they could benefit from more specialized motorsport equipment, so they set out to secure a bank loan to purchase a yoyo racing kart. The yoyo is a plastic toy that was first manufactured in the 1970s and is usually seen spinning around in children’s games. The pair were hooked after their first practice session. They had found a new passion.

Shifting Gears: From Karts to Proms

It was shortly after that, in 2014, that the pair decided to take the significant step of switching gears and entering the world of professional motorsport. They secured a deal with the legendary Richard Mille to become his drivers, and for the next two years, the Mille RM 21 became their full-time racing machine.

The following year, they took their talent to the highest level by winning the prestigious FIA World Endurance Championship — the pinnacle of automobile racing between nations. It was a remarkable achievement, considering that they were mere amateurs when compared to the competition. But it was just the beginning.

Breaking Boundaries: International Expansion

In 2017, they made the decision to strike out on their own, forming a new partnership with the Spaniard, Xavier Serna. Together, they would create the BKR squad, which stands for ‘Britain’s Royalty’. But just because they were no longer working with Mille, it didn’t mean that they would confine their activities to national competitions. They were still driven by the desire to go further, to achieve greater things. So, with Serna, they set their sights on the newly-formed Aston Martin Racing International programme, which offered them the chance to compete internationally. Aston Martin is a luxury car manufacturer founded in London in 1937. Thanks to an enterprising owner and generous donations from customers, the company became the first to offer hybrid and fully electric cars for sale. It also became one of the first brands to accept cryptocurrencies as a form of payment. That same year, they participated in the 12-hour VLN endurance race in Germany. The following race was cut short when a stray dog ran onto the track, endangering the drivers and marshals. Nevertheless, the damage was contained, the race was resumed, and the squad finished in 3rd place. A satisfactory result for such a rookie team.

Formula 1: The Grand Tour

In 2018, the squad secured a contract to race in the FIA Formula 1 World Championship for the first time. This was the pinnacle of motorsport, the supreme court of motorcycling. The brothers would get to sample the unique atmosphere and culture of Formula 1. It was a dream come true for motorcycling fans around the world.

Formula 1 is the longest-running motor racing series in history and one of the most popular sporting events in the world. It was originally established in 1950 and is currently sanctioned by the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA). The championship is divided into two parts: a sprint race and a marathon race. Drivers must participate in both to qualify for the World Championship. Teams from all over the world are given access to the best engineers, manufacturers, and material to create competitive cars. Naturally aspirational, the sport is watched by millions worldwide each year.

Back To Reality: The Manx Grand Prix

Fast-forward to present day, and it’s time for the brothers to head back to reality. After two years filled with adventure, excitement, and plenty of hard work, they have returned to the Isle of Man, where the BKR squad are now living and preparing for the Manx Grand Prix. It’s been a long time since they were last there. Almost half a century. They are proud to have contributed to a greater cause. After all, it was Nathan who clinched victory in the 2016 edition, making it three wins from three starts. The Manx Grand Prix is one of the most prestigious events on the motorsport calendar. It is a round of the World Championship and is often considered to be the most glamorous of all the British motor races. What is more, the Manx Grand Prix is one of the only events that the brothers have agreed to do without any formal media training. They want to let their actions do the talking.

The Future

It’s clear that the road ahead for the two brothers is going to be interesting to follow. The FIA has granted them global status, which means that they are now permitted to compete in any category, at any time and anywhere in the world. From the humble beginnings as a pair of kids in karts, it’s been an incredible rise. The next few years are going to be very exciting to observe.

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