In six short years James Calado has moved from being a nine year old novice Cadet karter to the point where, at the time of writing, he is knocking on the door of being crowned as the 2005 ICA European Champion.
As the top qualifier from the Western Region qualifier at Salbris in France earlier this year, Calado went on to finish in 2nd place in the main Final at La Conca in Italy in August. He was beaten by Nathanaël Berthon, who had raced under appeal after finishing the Pre-Final underweight. The Italian National Court of Appeal ruled in Berthon’s favour on the 21st September but the FIA lodged an appeal against that decision, subsequently heard by the FIA International Court of Appeal on the 7th November. The findings of the court went against the Frenchman, resulting in Berthon’s exclusion from the Pre-Final and most likely handing Calado the European ICA title in the process.
The technicalities appear to be straightforward enough, with Berthon weighing in at 149.7kg twice and then at 150.1kg, after having allegedly drunk some water and pocketed a mobile telephone passed to him by his mechanic. Berthon’s kart had lost all its water (said to be 1.8 litres) during the race and was presumably the argument put forward as to why he came in underweight during the Pre-Final. Although the International Court of
Appeal stated that Berthon must be excluded from the Pre-Final, the final decision of who will be champion will be taken on the 9th December, after this magazine had gone to press. So who is James Calado? Because of his mainstream European forays, his name is not as widely known on this side of the Channel, although his string of karting successes certainly mark him out as one of the hottest rising British stars in Europe.
James made his mark rather quickly. In only his second year of karting in 2000 he raced for England in the Internations Cadet team, as well as becoming the Shenington club champion. One year later and he raced again for the championship winning English team. Perhaps more importantly however it was a year that saw him crowned as the MSA British Cadet Champion. Moving up to the Super 1 Junior TKM championships for 2002, he finished 5th overall, before moving into Europe for 2003 and ending the year as the European JICA Vice-Champion. In 2004 he took 3rd place in the same European Finals, before ending 2005 perhaps as ICA European Champion as well as taking 3rd place in the Italian Open Championships.
Away from the British limelight in recent years, James has had the support and experience of some very influential people. So much so that he was taken under the wing of Pi Research’s Tony Purnell (later to become the boss of the Jaguar F1 team) for the 2002 Super 1 TKM series. This in turn led to him being managed by Pi Research Director George Lendrum, who needs little introduction to karting aficionados. Between them Tony and George put James in the trust of none other than exworld champion, Peter De Bruijn, and from that point on James has not looked back. An outstanding first year in European JICA proved to be an exciting learning cur ve but it was the hard work and belief from the crack PDB team that led to James being crowned the European Vice-Champion at his first attempt. The following year he again contested the European series. this time with the Tonykart Racing Team and, with another European podium, moving into the Senior ICA ranks was an exciting prospect.
With Tonykart, expectations were always realistic, but by winning the opening rounds in both the Italian and French Championships, it was clear that James had some serious Senior level potential. The Qualifier at Salbris in 2005 was certainly a high point for the Calado entourage, as James won four of the five heats and then took convincing victories in both Finals.
At the time of writing, official confirmation of the European title was still outstanding but, realistically, the outcome should just be a formality. Subject to a satisfying decision from the CIK/FIA, James has a right to be pleased with his effor ts. “It’s great to win this championship, not just for me but for the Tonykart Racing Team. Taking both the Formula A and ICA titles has been a special event for us all. My thanks go out to them, my manager George and the support of Pi Research and finally for the support of my family and friends.” James Calado, 2005 European Formula ICA Champion? It has a nice ring to it!