Harrison Thomas is one of the youngest drivers competing in the OK class this year at just 15 years of age. With that in mind it’s no surprise to reveal he is also the youngest competing in Senior Rotax!
The KR Sport driver is currently 4th in both Super One championships with just one round remaining this weekend. We caught up with him to talk about 2016 so far and the support given to Harrison behind the scenes.
Harrison started karting in 2009 and his Dad had a part to play in his introduction to the sport…
“He was my inspiration to start karting and to one day be a Formula One driver. I first started racing in Comer Cadet in 2009 and I did club level races at Rissington, Shennington, Dunkswell and Clay Pigeon. I also become vice champion at Rissington.”
Harrison started Super One in 2011 in the Super Cadet class. He finished 2nd in the championship and finished 10th in Europe after doing the WSK Master Series. These were just the early signs of a bright future to come!
Harrison then moved in to Mini Max and in 2012 finished 12th overall before going on to finish 4th in 2013.
In 2014 Harrison made his move in to Junior Max, his first year didn’t see the results he wanted, but it was a different story last year. He became the 2015 British 0 plate champion, finished 3rd in Super One and also achieved 5th in the Rotax World Finals!
He was unlucky to miss out at the World’s in many ways. He qualified pole for the Pre Final, but dropped back to 4th and was affected from an outside row start. However, he fought back to eventually be in the battle for the lead but it wasn’t meant to be on this occasion and in the end he finished 5th which is still a fantastic achievement!
The move to KR Sport in 2014 had a big part to do with Harrison’s progress. It’s no surprise really, the team are British, World and more recently BNL Champions.
Harrison explained that the premature move to seniors this year was partly to do with how tall he is for his age. This of course affects weight limits and overall Harrison strongly felt he would have struggled had he done another year in Juniors.
Harrison has a lot support from his sponsors:
- Smerdon Tree services
- P&R Motors
- Thomas and Davies Citroen
who fund 75% of his racing.
“I wouldn’t be racing at super one if it wasn’t for my sponsors.”
Talking about why he decided to do the OK championship alongside Senior Rotax, Harrison explained:
“It was a brand new championship and it felt like it was ‘proper karting’. Especially the way it’s direct drive and the way strawberry advertised it made it appear to be a really good class. The speed was a massive attraction to me, also the thought of going to Bahrain at the end if I won the series.”
Reflecting on the season so far Harrison seemed to feel a bit hard done by on occasions and it’s those decisions that have perhaps caused him to be battling for 4th rather than 1st
“If I’m honest I expected to do better than I have this year, realistically I think I’ll only get 4th and I think I should have been competing for the win as I was in 2015. We have had quite a lot of bad luck, mainly with the new bumper rule. I think the rule has good parts to it but other parts can be really unfair and affect people’s championships when it shouldn’t need to. I was really hoping to become British champion this year – both in Rotax and in OK, however I do think I have done better in OK because the competition has been so close.”
When I asked him to pick his best round this year in Senior Rotax he said Shenington where he finished 3rd, even though he feels he could have done better! His worst round he believes was Buckmore Park after he finished 6th. He certianly sets his standards high!
Talking about the upcoming weekend, the last round of Super One 2016, at PFI, Harrison commented: “I’m only doing Senior Rotax and not the OK championship because I’ve been doing Rotax all year where as the OK is just three rounds and we didn’t want it to affect my results. There is a massive jump between the two classes, its not just a few tenths, its like three seconds a lap quicker and it could really affect my performance in either of the classes if I was to do both. I just want to focus on Rotax now it’s the end of the season.”
Harrison has no plans for next year at all, but he is planning on going to the Rotax Max International open in Italy, this October. It’s the last chance to win tickets to the Rotax Max Grand Finals, so there’s no doubt he’ll be going out there for nothing less than a win!
Harrison’s dad added: “I am happy with Harrison’s performance this year. Even though we expected to be a bit higher up this year in super one he has still been driving very well. And the work and effort KR – Sport and Cream engines put in is second to none.”
In my opinion I think Harrison has the potential to go far in his racing career, he has had some incredible results from such a young age and has the support and funding to keep pushing himself.
This year may just be the dress rehearsal to a 2017 filled with success at both National and maybe even World level…
5 words to describe yourself?
4 of your favourite tracks?
3 drivers that have inspired you?
- Tom Pryce
- Niki Lauda
- Daniel Ricciardo
2 memorable moments in your career?
- British open champion victory in 2015
- First win at Rissington in 2010
1 goal for the future?
- To be the first Welsh Formula One world champion.
Written by Bethanie Lawson
Images courtesy of Chris Walker, Kartpix & Stu Stretton
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