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Will Stevens Interview with Karting Magazine

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The contract with 2MB was announced at Autosport International

Imagine, you’re a talented young kart racer at a European race meeting and you’ve just won the Final. You’re standing in the paddock, chatting with friends when a message is passed to you that a rival team’s boss would like a word. This is no ordinary team owner. This is Ronni Sala of Birel and, before long, you’re on a plane to Milan. It’s a dream come true but it doesn’t just stop there. A few weeks later the phone rings and you’re invited to another meeting, this time with a British former-Formula 1 driver. Things are moving quickly. While competing in Rome, our ex-Grand Prix racer shows up again, this time with his mate, and they both ask you to sign for them. None of this is a fantasy, this is how Will Stevens said ‘Si’ to Ronni Sala and ‘Yes’ to a contract with Martin Brundle and Mark Blundell’s 2MB management company. Using Autosport International as a backdrop, 2MB announced the launch of their management deal with the 2005 British Junior champion and I used it as the opportunity to catch up with Will to find out more.

Karting magazine: You’ve just signed with 2MB, why did you do that?
Will Stevens: Well, because they’re the best people to go with for the future and they’re going to direct me in the right way in cars, so it’s a step in the right direction for my career.
KM: And how did it come about, did they approach you?
WS: Yes, they approached us and it went from there really.
KM: And how did that happen?
WS: Just through talking and then they made the approach.
KM: What, so an ex-motor racing legend just walks up to you in the paddock and says, ‘Can we have a chat?’
WS: Yeah. That was pretty much it.
KM: And who was it? Brundle or Blundell?
WS: Both of them.
KM: And am I right in thinking that you’re the first karter that they’ve signed?
WS: Yes, I’m the first one.
KM: So, if they’d been looking for a kart racer (to sign) had they been going to Super 1 races or going abroad?
WS: Well first of all, after we first started speaking to them, they came out to the Champions Cup in Rome, watched me and it
went from there.
KM: So how do you see 2MB benefiting your driving career?
WS: They know a lot of people in the Formula 1 paddock and that means I can get my name around. They’re the best two people I can think of to guide me in my career in the later stage.
KM: So F1’s the long term ambition?
WS: Yeah, definitely.
KM: And how did the Birel deal come about?
WS: After the Val Vibrata race I was approached by Birel and so we had a couple of meetings with them over in Italy and it all
went from there.
KM: How does it feel to have two ex-F1 drivers and then one of the most important people in karting, Ronni Sala, identify you as
someone they want to work with?
WS: It’s definitely great to be known and for them to come up to you and say that, so it’s a privilege to be working with such great people.
KM: Did you have to pinch yourself? Or did you think, ‘this is a wind-up’?
WS: (Laughs) No, hopefully it’ll all end up in the right way, where I hope it’s going to.
KM: And where is that?
WS: Formula 1 of course is the goal but anything at the top level of motorsport will do.
KM: What is the deal with Birel?
WS: Basically I’m going to get factory support from them for the whole year round and then we’ll go from there when I move into ICA. It depends on how this year folds out.
KM: So effectively you’re semi-works with a view to going full-works?
WS: We’ll run as a satellite team under JRP’s awning. Mark Berryman’s building a relationship with Birel and is moving to Italy
to run the team from there.
KM: And do you think you’ll get equal equipment to the works boys?
WS: Yeah, definitely.
KM: Tell me about your race programme for this year, it looks packed.
WS: (Chuckles) I’ve not got many weekends off this year! Virtually every single race is in Europe. I think I’ve got a couple of races in England but my main objectives really are the Italian Open and European races.
KM: I’ve heard you’re going to be racing over 11 months.
WS: Yes, starting from the 5th of February.
KM: That’s going to be really, really tough. How are you going to keep in peak condition and stay focused? Have you had to change
anything?
WS: I’ve got a personal trainer and we’re working flat-out at the moment, every single day I’ve got to do something. Basically I’m getting my fitness up and I’ll always do stuff when I’m racing, when I’m out in Italy I’ll still train.
KM: What about your education, how does that fit in?
WS: I’m going to be privately tutored. I’ll have a tutor at my house and they’ll be with me most of the time when I’m at home and then I’ve got stuff to do on the internet when I’m away.

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Will’s performances abroad brought him to the attention of Birel’s Ronni Sala

KM: And when do you find time to do that?
WS: I’ve always got time. When I’m in the hotel at night, on the plane when you’re flying out to a race, you just find time to do it.
KM: And when do you do your exams?
WS: In June, next year.
KM: And you’ll sit them at a kart track?
WS: No I’ll have to go back to my old school, Thorpe Hall, and take them there hopefully.
KM: What are your ambitions this year?
WS: To become European champion and the Italian Open Masters champion as well. And to hopefully win a few of the single race
events as well.
KM: Like Kartmasters?
WS: Yeah that’d be nice to come back to England and win.
KM: And have Birel given you a brief, like ‘we want you to win this race and that’?
WS: Not really, they don’t want to put too much pressure on my shoulders, so it’s more relaxed and I’ve just got to go out there and do what I can.
KM: But do you feel under pressure now that these deals have come about?
WS: I’ve got to perform but it’s all quite easy going really.
KM: And how are you getting on with the Birel camp? Have they been welcoming to you?
WS: They’ve been very helpful so far.
KM: And do you get advice from Cesetti and Lancaster?
WS: I’m good friends with Jon, so yeah, he helps me where he can.
KM: And how’s your Italian?
WS: It’s come along well actually and when I start my private tutoring I’ll be learning Italian as well.
KM: So when you sit down with Italian mechanics, is the debrief in Italian?
WS: Not at the moment but that’s certainly the plan for the future.
KM: In five years time Will, where are you going to be?
WS: Hopefully on the fringes of Euro Formula 3. That’s the plan.
KM: Let’s go back to the early days. How did you get into karting?
WS: I got introduced to karting by a friend who was racing already, we went along and watched them and it looked like he really
enjoyed it. So we bought a kart and did a few club meetings around England and from there we joined JRP and started the British
championship and realised I was good enough to be at the top level.
KM: And this was in Cadet, what year did you start?

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At the MSA Awards in January with his parents Richard and Karen

WS: 2002
KM: And what were the early results like?
WS: I won every novice race bar one, so that was quite good. And then I didn’t do too many club meetings but we tested quite a lot and did Super 1 and Stars of Tomorrow.
KM: Being that good in Cadets, and it’s where Jenson Button started to make a name for himself, have there been any comparisons made that you’ve become aware of?
WS: Not so far really and I hope no one starts. I don’t want to be compared to anyone because I don’t want to follow their footsteps, I just want to go my own way.
KM: Does that mean that you don’t really have any heroes in motor racing?
WS: I don’t really have a hero, more a benchmark. So Fernando Alonso is definitely the benchmark right now.
KM: Well he’ll be an old stager by the time you’re in Formula 1 so you should be able to whup him by then.
WS: (Laughs) Yeah, hopefully!
KM: And right now in JICA, who’s your most respected rival?
WS: As I’m now racing in Europe there’s Arthur Pic, he’s very good, Peter Antonfeld, the factory driver for Birel as well and Felix
Da Costa for CRG, they’re the main European rivals.
KM: How do you stay focused?
WS: To stay focused you mustn’t get sidetracked or let things bother you. If you feel you’ve got too much pressure on your
shoulders then you start worrying, you’ve got to try and stay calm.
KM: How do you do that?
WS: Chill out at weekends, just don’t do anything too strenuous.
KM: Do you listen to a lot of music?
WS: I find music does chill me out quite a lot, James Blunt’s album is the best by far.
KM: (In disbelief) James Blunt! So that’s the tip, if you want to win in karting buy ‘Back To Bedlam’?
WS: Absolutely.
KM: You say that Birel are very relaxed in their expectations but what do you expect from them?
WS: To give us the best equipment they’ve got and to help us as much as they can.
KM: Now, what’s your favourite circuit?
WS: I don’t really have a favourite circuit because there’s a lot of technical ones and physical tracks, long and short circuits as
well. But I do prefer the long and flowing ones, so La Conca I really like. Val Vibrata’s really good as well.
KM: Do you have any pre-race rituals?
WS: No not really, there’s nothing I have to do. Let’s say I forget to do something, then when I’m out on track I remember it. It’s best to not having anything to do before a race, just jump in and go!
KM: Now I said to my wife that you have great hair, arguably the best hair in karting. We want to know, who does it?
WS: There’s a salon in Essex called Strangeways and they style it there
KM: And just in closing Will, describe your perfect day for me.
WS: Well, winning the European Championship wouldn’t be a bad one!

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Will has now got “two surrogate fathers” according to former F1 driver Mark Blundell

A few days after interviewing Will, I caught up with former Grand Prix star, Mark Blundell of 2MB, to find out what he thought
about his latest signing
Karting magazine: Mark, it’s a new company, tell me about 2MB, what exactly do you do?
Mark Blundell: 2MB, as it says in the name, is made up of myself and Martin Brundle, two former F1 guys. It came about when we were involved in the British Racing Drivers Club. We were on the panel distributing funding for young guys and we almost always wondered that, once we’d signed a cheque, what future was going to be ahead of them? So we said that at some point we’d quite like to get into supporting young drivers in a way where we could help them build their futures.
KM: Now, obviously you’ve got a stable of Tim Bridgeman and Mike Conway. Will Stevens is your first karter, why him?
MB: We always wanted to have somebody at the early stages, in karting. It’s taken us nearly ten months of research to find the right person and that person is Will. There are several people we looked at but Will’s got the right balance; talent, marketability, the right temperament and the right family environment. There’s a professionalism surrounding everything which we feel in tune with and are comfortable with to take on to the next step. We’ll take the reins and from this point onwards, Will Stevens has got two surrogate fathers.
KM: So what are the specific qualities you expect from Will now and in the future?
MB: That’s a tough question to try and answer. I don’t know if you’ll ever look at somebody, even champions in Formula 1, and say  it’s that actual quality that stood out.’ Normally you find it’s a package. It’s all the ingredients that make a good cake, leave one out and your souffle doesn’t rise and it’s no different in sport. We feel that at this stage, all of Will’s ingredients are already there. We’ve just got to improve the quality of them as we go along. We need to make sure he’s on the top shelf and not the bottom where all the rejects are. His outright qualities are that he’s a winner, you can’t beat that. But when he doesn’t win you’ve got to understand why and look into the reasons for that and then speak with everyone concerned, Will included, and find what their thoughts are. Do they understand why it did or didn’t work and do they measure that to say ‘right, that’s in the memory now, let’s make the next step and go forward?’
KM: What are you going to bring to Will’s career? How are you going to help him?
MB: His karting career is pretty much mapped out and he has good people to take

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Mark Berryman will continue to run Will but now on Birel rather than Intrepid

him forward. Mark Berryman (of JRP) and his team are all good people. Will’s got good associations now with Birel but there’s things we can bring to the table. We’ve more than thirty combined years of experience at the high end of motorsport, I certainly would’ve liked to have drawn on that when I was a youngster. When he goes into racing cars, then we’ll take the pain out of everything. We’ll start to plan out his future, we’ve already got an air of confidence of where we know where we need to be in four years time. Can we open doors? Yeah, you know if there’s more than eight or nine people down an F1 pit lane and we can get an audience with all of them in a management role, that’s as good as it gets.
KM: What advice would you give to people who want to be in Will’s position?
MB: First and foremost, you’ve got to be dedicated. You’ve got to have self belief. If he (pointing at Will) turns round to us and says ‘I don’t think I can get this job done’, that’s of no use to us whatsoever. We can’t make it happen. He’s got to want to make it happen. Anyone who’s got that self belief will get out of bed every day, whether you’re ten years old or thirty years old, and make the best of what’s ahead of them. Yeah, you’re going to have some hard knocks and some difficulties but it doesn’t matter whether you’ve got funding or not, it’s all about knocking on the door and keep knocking. It’s always an easy get out to say ‘if only’. ‘If’ is a little word with a big meaning, it’s F1 backwards! If you believe in yourself, you’ll make it happen.

 

Martin Pierce

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Photo: Chris Walker

How far would you be willing to travel to pursue your kart racing hobby? Your local track obviously, and probably some circuits elsewhere in the vicinity. Maybe you regularly travel over 100 miles to race, perhaps even going into Europe from time to time. But what about real globe-trotting inter-continental kart racing? That’s probably something else altogether.

Martin Pierce is an amiable, easy going guy born in middle England but now living in Dublin, Ireland. He’s been on the domestic kart racing scene for several years now. Yet when he won the Red White Sangari Kart Prix at Sepang F1 Circuit, Malaysia in November 2009, it was, astonishingly, the 3rd time he had stood on a podium in Malaysia, a country which but for karting, he would probably never have visited in his lifetime.

Yet, this was not his first inter-continental success. In 20xx he had won the famous and prestigious Rock Island Grand Prix in Illinois, USA as well as having been a member of a kart winning team in the glamour capital of world karting, Monte Carlo. The globe-trotting continues. His 2010 campaign began in Japan at their inaugural Winter Cup.

So how has this world wide success come about? Well Martin’s first forays into kart racing followed a familiar enough pattern. He takes up the story.

‘I was very fortunate that my father is not only a mechanic by trade but also raced Stock Cars in the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s with a lot of success. Although we were both new to karting he was able to help me with my driving and setting up the kart. His favourite trick to get me to brake later was to follow me round and then drive into the back of me if I braked too early. I guess that was a down side to the fact he did stock car racing. Having said that, with the new style rear bumpers, he would fit in perfectly now!’

I should point out that Martin is a very modest guy, and that modesty extends to talking about his dad as well as himself. Dave Pierce was more than just a successful Stock Car racer, he was twice World Champion, in 19xx and 19xx. So there was certainly a competitive edge to the Pierce motor racing family of the 60s, 70s & 80s.

Martin’s first contributions to winning ways were at a couple of tracks in the south of England. ‘My first 2 years of karting were spent only at Tilbury and Blackbushe racing Junior Britain. Tilbury was good place to learn as it isn’t much bigger than a football pitch and I was told that if you could overtake there, everywhere else would be a piece of cake. In my 2nd year I won the Junior club championship at Tilbury so we then ventured further afield to Rissington, Shenington and Clay.

Those early years have caused Martin to reflect on the success of British racing drivers both in that era and subsequently.

‘I think the reason why the UK has so many good drivers is that the circuits are fairly tough. Button started at Clay and Hamilton at Rye House. PF is a technical circuit where it is difficult to be consistently quick’.

Martin stayed in club racing for quite a few years, and he is very candid about why. ‘The main reason was money but also I probably wasn’t good enough to enter Super 1. Back then S1 was restricted to 46 entries and only the top drivers who had made it through pre qualifiers could race the series. I eventually entered Super One when I became a senior, racing in Senior Britain/ICA. I had a few good years and eventually in 1997 I won my first ICA race at Rissington and ended up 5th in the championship.

2During these years the racing was getting harder with high entry costs, bigger teams, more testing, more engines and more money. Dad and myself were still slumming it in the caravan, an old transit van, testing on old rubber and hiring one good engine for the weekend. In my last year in ICA I was around 23 years old and I finished 6th  in the series despite ending up in hospital and on crutches for 2 months after the last round at Shenington.

The following year the rules would be changed again to introduce softer more expensive Bridgestone tyres so I thought that would be the end of karting and I could start spending my money on going out drinking and getting fat!

The only other option was Rotax Max which was starting in Super One the following year, but I wasn’t seriously interested as it was nothing like ICA and looked to me like a fun kart with a push button start. Half the fun of 100cc was when bump starting the kart, not knowing if the throttle would jam open and you would get dragged halfway down the track!

But after I was off my crutches I had go on a friend’s Rotax Max at Lydd. I ended up as quick as the previous year on an ICA. I was also told you only needed one motor as it lasted for 20 hours between rebuilds and had a warranty. I figured I would enter the Rotax Super One qualifiers and see how I got on.

Things didn’t start well. We ran the engine in at the qualifier then on my first quick lap it seized. Fortunately Dave Griffiths lent me a spare and we ended up making it to the main series.

I won 2 out of the 6 rounds but I remember the racing being harder than I thought it would be. I won the championship at the last round without having to go out for the final due to heavy rain. I think Dad was the most nervous I had ever seen him that weekend so we were both delighted after all the years of effort’.

So much for the domestic racing, but how did the inter-continental racing begin?

‘During the year I also won the qualifier for the Rotax Max Grand Finals in Langkawi, Malaysia. It was slightly surreal as I had never raced abroad before but there I was on a tropical island in 30 degrees of heat. It was probably the closest I came to winning the outright world final but I had an accident when going for the lead on the penultimate lap.

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I should count myself lucky for being able to race at all as the night before timed practice myself and James Mills had a coming together on our rented mo-peds. I slid a long way down the road in just shorts and tee shirt trying to keep my head off the ground to protect my crash helmet!’

After this I started to race with Simon Frost and we had some good years racing in the Euro Max series which again made a change from racing in the UK.’

In fact that was the cue for more international succeses.  A regular top three finisher in the Euro Challenge, he has stood on 4 podiums in the 10 years of the Rotax World Challenge Grand Finals, a record, and his world title was won at La Conca, Italy when he became the 2008 Rotax Masters World Champion.

I have had the privilege of seeing several of Martin’s successes in places like Monte Carlo, both Sepang and Langkawi in Malaysia and his world championship in La Conca. But I have never been to the Rock Island GP in the USA. Even the name fascinates me. What was that all about? Martin takes up the story.

‘During the 2006 season I was asked by Martin Collard from Dartford Karting, who I had known for some years, if I would like to compete using a WildKart running out of the American WildKart importers tent.

I remember Martin and I arriving in Rock Island wondering what we were doing as there was no sign of a circuit or any karting and the streets were fairly empty! However, the next morning the circuit had appeared – and so had several thousand people!

As it was a TAG event there was a mixture of engines and not many Rotax Max which is what I had. The Max had the smallest horse power out of all the motors allowed in TAG but had a lighter weight limit. It worked out well in the end as I got pole and won the final. It’s the first time I had more money at the end of a meeting than at the beginning!

I suppose the other differences other than the fact it was street circuit was the large crowd and the amount of sponsorship and prize money. The organisers said after the event it generates around ½ million dollars for the local economy so the event is very popular with the locals’.

Fascinating stuff, and I wondered where that victory, and his Rotax world championship podiums and title stood in Martin’s overall assessment of his finest achievement in karting. I was very surprised at his answer, because it was’nt at any of those glamorous locations but back home on the domestic scene.

MaxHt_MPierce1‘Probably winning the Super One with Dad as it took such a long time and hard work to get there.’ Yeah, I could understand that sentiment, but I was determined to root out his views on his international success.

‘I was probably fortunate Rotax came along when it did and it has been a worldwide success. I would have stopped racing a long time ago otherwise’ was his considered response.  I was only partly satisfied. There must have been more he could tell me about what I see as the glamorous side of his racing. Then it dawned on me. Martin is a genuinely modest guy, and I wondered if my prodding and cajoling for views on these successes was beginning to embarrass him.

Indeed the old saying Let the Results do the Talking was probably never more relevant than with Martin Pierce. He never was one for crowing about his victories. And anyway, the record books are there to confirm how good he is.

But there was one last topic I was determined to press home. Having now turned 30 years of age, might 2010 be the year when Martin and the lovely Elizabeth tie the knot?

‘Yes’ was the unequivocal answer, ‘and that is also the reason why I shall not be racing so much this year. The wedding is going to be the focus. It has to be. Most of Ireland seems to be coming!’ He later tried to kid me that he had spotted a couple of Super KF races he could take in if they postponed the wedding, but I recognised his mischievous sense of humour and didn’t buy into that.

After all my questions to him, Martin finally had one for me. ‘Is it possible to add at the end that I would like to thank my dad, Simon Frost, Martin Collard and Bonze Billings for all their help and support over the years?’ Yes, of course Martin, and typical of you to want to acknowledge their contribution to your illustrious career.

Tyler Chesterton: an interview

Tyler Chesterton

“When it rains on your parade look up rather than down. Without the rain there would be no rainbow.” (G K Chesterton 1874-1936)

The newspaper headline caught my eye. “CHESTERTON FOR SAINTHOOD!” it loudly proclaimed”. I thought it may have been a sarcastic comment from one of Tyler Chesterton’s disgruntled karting rivals.

Upon reading further, however, I realised that this was a story about the famous author. Gilbert Keith Chesterton was renowned, amongst other things, for writing the well known Father Brown novels. Last month the Bishop of Northampton launched an inquiry into whether or not he ought to be made a Saint.

Gilbert stood over 6ft 4 inches tall and tipped the scales at 24 stones. 12 year old Tyler, on the other hand, is a slender youth perfectly sized for cadet karting. He currently lies 9th in the Little Green Man Championships and has now jumped into a top 15 slot in Super One (IAME). You might think that there’s nothing particularly outstanding in these positions. What makes Tyler’s performance rather special, though, is that he is competing as a privateer taking on the might of well organised teams.

While other drivers arrive at major meetings in expensive motorhomes before making their way to large team awnings, Tyler and his dad, Anthony, have to make do with a caravan towed by their Ford Transit. This is his first season of competition at national championship level and Tyler admits that he’s experienced quite a few rainy days. However, there have also been several rainbows, not least of which was the LGM round at Buckmore Park in July.

“I definitely think that was my best race to date,” he claims. “I’d never been to this track before but my pace was good straight away. I completed my three heats with a win and two 2nd places, so that gave me pole position for the Final. I had a really good battle with Alex Quinn and Kiern Jewiss for 1st place and went into the lead late on in this race. Because there was a mistake with the lap boards I thought we still had another lap to go but, in fact, it turned out to be the last one. I didn’t try to defend my position around the final bend and Alex nipped past me. I was a little bit disappointed for it to end that way but still very happy with my own performance.”

Tyler’s first introduction to karting was at the Sutton circuit not far from his Leicestershire home when he tried out one of their corporate karts. He was just six years old at the time but enjoyed his experience nevertheless. After lots of pressure his parents finally succumbed and bought a Comer powered kart for him in 2010. “I don’t think either of us quite realised what we were letting ourselves in for,” his mum Vicky confesses. “Apart from the financial costs Anthony spends just about every spare hour working on the kart. I don’t go to all that many races because Tyler’s 14 year old sister, Ella, is now into horse riding and quite a lot of weekends are tied up with her hobby.”

After a good season in 2012 when he won at Whilton Mill and Rissington, Tyler began looking towards national championships such as Super One and the Little Green Man. Apart from anything else that meant buying a couple of new IAME motors to go alongside his eight Comers.”We have eight Comers but only two of them are really quick enough to race,” says Anthony. “Both of our IAME engines are prepared by John Davies from Force while Lee Kellett maintains the carburettors for us. Lee’s son James currently races Ginettas and they’ve both helped us out a lot. Tyler prefers the IAME to his Comers and from my point of view they are certainly easier to set up.”

Anthony admits that he and Tyler have been very tempted to join one of the top teams currently operating at S1 level. “As a matter of fact when the season started we’d already decided to run with David Bellchambers, hence the Next-Gen stickers which you can see on Tyler’s kart,” he points out. “By the time we were ready to commit ourselves, though there was no longer a spare place in David’s team and so we decided to race throughout 2013 under our own steam. That decision has definitely paid off for Tyler so far as the Little Green Man series is concerned, although it’s placed him at a disadvantage in S1.”

Tyler and his dad both acknowledge that they’ve had some outside assistance. ”Back in 2011 Tyler had a driver coaching session with Dan Hazlewood of Fusion and he definitely benefitted from the experience,” says Anthony. “Occasionally I’ll ask Dan about the gearing for a particular circuit and he’ll provide me with a ball park figure. He’s not too thrilled about the Next-Gen stickers, though, especially now that Tyler’s competing up at the front. I’ve got to know several other team bosses this year. Some will give me free advice and others are understandably more reluctant. Luke Hines, in particular, has been really helpful and we’re very grateful for the advice he’s given.”

Tyler’s championship season began in April when he raced in the S1 round for Comers at 3 Sisters. It wasn’t a particularly auspicious start as he finished 13th and 13th in the two finals. With one round remaining he lies half way up the championship table in 13th place “My Comer engines are OK for racing at club level but they’re not brilliant and I’ve struggled for pace against the top drivers,” he concedes. “The IAME engines are much more closely matched and I can compete on equal terms in this category. I enjoy racing in S1 rounds but the Little Green Man format with three heats and a Final suits me best of all. It’s also nice to come home with a trophy and I’ve been fortunate to come away with 13 prizes from six rounds so far this season.”

He does have a small niggle over the LGM Series. “I wish they’d stuck with the original calendar and held the opening round at Whilton Mill rather than Larkhall,” he says. “I’ve raced a lot at Whilton and it’s my favourite circuit whereas I wasn’t familiar with Larkhall.” Even so, he came away from the Scottish circuit with three large trophies. Apart from picking up a prize for finishing 9th overall, he shared the Best Pairs Award with Oliver York and won the Privateer’s Cup ahead of Toby Stephenson. He failed to make the top ten at Rowrah but still lifted a trophy as top Privateer.

Two more cups followed at PFI where he finished as the top Privateer and 6th overall. By his high standards the Glan-Y-Gors round was a disappointment when he retired from the A Final after just a couple of laps. Merely qualifying for this Final, however, was sufficient to secure a trophy for 2nd place in the Privateers’ Cup. After his superb showing at Buckmore, collecting no less than four trophies, he claimed 6th place at Shenington and finished, once more, as the highest placed Privateer.

So far his performances in IAME S1 haven’t been rewarded by any trophies. The opening round at Rowrah was one he’d want to forget despite winning the B Final. At Glan-Y-Gors Tyler found himself qualifying once again via the Repercharge but he took a superb 10th place in Final 1, followed by 21st spot next time out. Round 3 at Larkhall provided him with a good points haul when he finished 7th and 9th in his two Finals. A good pair of heats at Clay Pigeon placed him 3rd on the grid for Final 1 and he survived one or two “moments” before finishing 9th in this race. A faulty carburettor dropped him down to 19th spot in the next one. Nevertheless, his combined score elevated him to 14th in the championships with two rounds still remaining.

“Our S1 results haven’t quite matched those in the Little Green Man series,” Anthony concedes. “One possible answer could be that the LGM awards have provided more incentive for Tyler to do well. Personally, though, I think it’s more to do with the format of each championship. I believe that Timed Qualifying favours the teams rather more because they can quickly find an optimum set-up that produces fast laps. There’s also a certain amount of working together in these sessions by members of the same team and that also helps. I know that Tyler prefers having three heats and a Final, as overtaking skills are then brought into the equation. We’ve had that format in all of the LGM rounds apart from Glan-Y-Gors where their computer wasn’t set up for such a system.”

Some day Tyler hopes to emulate his two heroes Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button by moving into F1, although he accepts that the chances of doing so are quite remote. Of the drivers he’s raced against this year Tyler admires Alex Quinn most of all. “Alex is quick but also very clean and I think he makes a good role model. In other classes I’ve watched the Junior TKM driver Alex McRoberts and I like his style. Next year I’d prefer to do Junior TKM although my dad fancies a season in Minimax. He’s been able to negotiate a deal with one of the Rotax suppliers. We don’t have sponsorship as such. Dad went on Radio Leicester recently to appeal for backers but so far there’s been no response. Without some form of financial support I think that next year will be quite hard.”

Unlike many of his rivals Tyler spends hardly any time testing. “I think racing takes up enough of our time already,” says Anthony whose work as a land drainage contractor is fairly demanding. As it is, Tyler has had to give up playing football, his other favourite sport. Until this season he was a regular member of the Ibstock United U11 team that won the Leicestershire League. He also had trials with two professional clubs, Leicester City and Nottingham Forest. Giving up all of that has been a big sacrifice. “I prefer to do karting,” he says with a shrug. Hopefully he’ll be doing it for some years and many more rainbows ahead.

Lando Norris: Climbing to the top step

 

Lando Norris

It’s always exciting when a bright new British talent emerges on to the international karting stage.

Here at Karting we have been proud to report some excellent performances by home-grown talent in the last 12 months. Jordon Lennox-Lamb won the CIK KZ2 World Cup and Lee Harpham became the CIK European Champion in Division One Superkarts. In Rotax, Sean Babington won the Euro Challenge in the senior class, Harry Webb took both the European and World Challenge titles in juniors while Northern Irishman Charlie Eastwood won the 2012 Rotax World Challenge senior class and followed this up with a championship victory on the 2013 Florida Winter Tour.

Yet, maybe all of these guys could find themselves eclipsed in the near future – and by a much younger driver. Diminutive Lando Norris is only 13 years-old but at the time of writing has won the 2013 WSK Euro series (with a round to spare!) and this in his first year of KF racing. He also stands in 2nd place in the WSK Masters series. He had opened his 2013 Rotax Euro Challenge season with victory in round 1 at Genk, Belgium to lead that championship despite not having raced, or even tested, in Rotax since December last year.

Lando’s first karting experience was as a spectator at Clay Pigeon at the age of 5 when his dad took him along with his brother Oliver. It was here that he first practised in a kart when he was 7. Oliver was 10 and they both started racing at the same time. They progressed together – but not as rivals. One raced in Comer Cadet and one in WTP so never against each other. It was only later that they became track opponents, but things developed in a mutually supportive way rather than as rivals in fierce competition against each other.

Progress was quick for both boys and their dad Adam recalls that period. “I was very proud of them” he said, though quickly adding “but it cost a lot of money!” I asked Lando why he raced both KF and Rotax but dad immediately interjected. “That was my idea” he acknowledged. “I wanted to get him used to racing on different tyres, in different racing conditions, and to extend his karting education as much as possible”.

It seemed logical to ask Lando which class he preferred but “I’m happy racing both” was his only response. However he was a lot more forthcoming when I asked him about so much success coming so quickly. “I admit I was quite surprised” he said. “In my first KF race in Italy it went a lot better than I expected even after a good year in England in Minimax.”

How do the two classes compare in his view? “Well there’s a lot more grip in KF on the softer tyres. I think that gives really good racing but I was quite surprised that I won so many races so soon.”

What about his ambitions for 2013? “Well I’ve already won the WSK Euro Series. I can’t win the WSK Masters but I want to be at least 2nd or 3rd in that championship. I would also like to win the Rotax Euro Challenge.” Then, with the hint of a smile and perhaps an excusable daydreaming moment, he continued “…and then go on to win the Rotax World Challenge. Some World and European titles would be great”. Then, immediately coming back to earth, he concluded “…but there’s a long way to go”.
How about ambitions for 2014? “There is nothing settled but we shall probably have a look at KF2. In fact it’s more than likely” he added. Dad nodded his head. ‘It is the logical way forward’ he said.

There was no mention of anything beyond that, so I threw in the obvious carrot to a successful young kart racer. “F1 in due course” I tentatively enquired. “Mmm that would be nice! Yes I suppose my aim is to get to F1 but that’s a long way away for now” – another example of Lando keeping things in perspective and his feet on the ground.

It’s worth mentioning that big brother Oliver has been no slouch on the international kart racing stage either. He was 3rd in the senior Final in round 1 of the 2013 Rotax Euro Challenge at Genk in Belgium, but unfortunately exams prevented him going to the second round in Italy.

Lando was certainly very small in physical stature as his impressive run began, and it was sometimes a bit of a scramble to get on to the top step of the podium. It made me recall the last diminutive size driver I saw struggling to climb the podium. That was Nyck de Vries. Look what happened to him – twice karting world champion!

ADD Motorsports : Hamilton rival aids young drivers

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If you are like the thousands of Formula One fans to have looked up footage of Lewis Hamilton racing in his younger years, chances are you will have come across the name Fraser Sheader.

In 1998, when Hamilton was just 13, karting stars Hamilton and Sheader went head-to-head over a season in the hugely popular Champions of the Future series, with Sheader coming out as champion. And now, YouTube clips that show Hamilton’s rare championship defeat (kartingm.ag/10bi7A6) have left racing fans scratching their heads and asking each other in the comments section:
“Whatever happened to Fraser Sheader?” The answer is, he never went away. And now his influence on tomorrow’s latest batch of stars is growing by the day.

Sheader has put his many years’ driving experience back into the sport by setting up ADD Motorsports with business partner Mark Berryman.

And while many young British karting stars attempt to rise through the ranks and onto cars through a mixture of talent and luck, their company’s philosophy is centred around ‘preparation’ – and encouraging its young drivers to do just as much off the track as on it to give them a much better chance of succeeding.

“After beating Lewis I carried on karting and had some success at British level, but when it came to making the step up to cars we didn’t realise quite how much money it was going to cost,” said Sheader. “We were under-prepared.

“But it wasn’t just the money, we were under-prepared in many areas, there’s so much more you need to be doing years before making the move up to cars. It’s something many drivers and their families are just are not aware of.
“There are a lot of teenagers doing well in karting who just aren’t ready for what a big step up cars is going to be and that’s why we started this, to help bridge that big gap.”

ADD Motorsports differs from many other management teams by putting an emphasis on preparing their drivers from a young age so the transition to cars doesn’t seem such a big step when they are eventually ready. And it’s already paying dividends, with the team looking after drivers from around the world including F3’s rising stars Mitchell Gilbert and John Bryant-Meisener and karting brothers Oli and Lando Norris. British F3 2012 champion Jack Harvey also benefitted from their expertise.

In encouraging a more scientific approach, in body, mind and mechanics, they are watching the drivers they manage come on in huge leaps and bounds.

Lando Norris is one who has blossomed under their tutelage and won the Formula Kart Stars championship title last year, at 12-years-old. He has started this season with two victories from two rounds in the WSK Euro Series. But few outside close family and friends realise the work he is putting in behind the scenes.
An ADD nutritionist has Lando on a tailor-made diet, teaching him how important the right fuel is for the body – not just the engine – even at his tender age; a sports psychologist is on hand to help with his personal development; a gym program focusing on building up parts of the body that are seen as weaker than others has been put together; the list goes on, and is the same for all the other drivers also.

Even areas such as media training are not forgotten, ensuring drivers are at ease with talking to the press and media from a young age meaning they have one less thing to worry about when they move up to cars.
That’s not to mention a host of technical and driving issues ADD measure and adjust regularly with their drivers that they would prefer not to talk about for fear of giving too much away!

“It’s the little things that may go unchecked or unchallenged by others, or technical issues that aren’t addressed, that we concentrate on with the drivers,” said Berryman. “Better eating habits, a better mindset and strength conditioning at a young age can boost the driver’s performances by a few percent at a time, which translates to a lot more on the track and is the difference between a podium place and an also-ran.”

ADD believe sports psychology and driving go hand-in-hand and have embraced the science where others have dismissed it. “Most drivers massively under-estimate how difficult the step up is going to be” commented Sheader. “They step into a Formula car and it can be very demoralising for them. Don’t forget, these can be teenagers who are used to winning all the time, and now they get in the car and everything is alien to them. You have to prepare them early for this, make them realise it’s not going to be all plain sailing and prepare them for losses early on in that step up as well. If they are not prepared in this manner, the losses can seem even bigger.”

Berryman added: “We are pretty much the only team out there doing what we’re doing. It’s important that the transition is done at the right time and early enough so the drivers understand that the work we are making them do is for the future, not just the present. When they begin to see this, they are a lot more ready to get on board with what we do for them.

“We’ve just taken Lando and Oli surfing and, although some may be surprised, it’s great strength work and a lot of fun as well. But they know why we are doing it and the areas of their body we are trying to strengthen and it gives them something different to look forward to than gym work.”

ADD has had no problem finding up and coming or established brands that want to be associated with them, such is their rising stock. They recently tied up deals with headphone and gaming headset brand Skullcandy, fashion brand 7/9/13, action camera company Drift and motorsports clothing outfit Freem, to name a few. It’s exciting times for the company that is certainly on the way up. But as for Sheader, does he ever get a pang of jealousy when he sees Hamilton standing on a podium? “Not at all, he took his chances and is an amazing driver,” he said.

“He has earned his reputation, but it’s funny looking back at those videos, they were amazing times. But now it’s about helping other young drivers reach their potential. Maybe we can be lucky enough help find and nurture the next Lewis Hamilton?”

COMPETITION Now, Karting magazine is giving one lucky reader the chance to win a two-day training session with ADD Motorsports!

The winner will be given an insight into the varied things their drivers get up to in order to squeeze those vital extra seconds out of them on the track.

The brilliant prize will be split across two days, starting on day one with a half-day nutrition and fitness programme and followed by a half-day simulator session and driver preparation workshop.
The second day will see the winner get a day’s testing in KF2 or KF3 with Ricky Flynn Motorsport – the team behind Lando Norris. ADD Motorsports will be on hand to guide them through the same processes that have helped Lando and other drivers become so successful.

To be in with the chance of winning, all you have to do is answer the following question. In which year did Lewis Hamilton and Fraser Sheader go head-to head in the Champions of the Future series?
Send your answer, along with your name, age, address and phone number by email to ADDcompetition@kartingmagazine.com or by post to ADD Competition, Karting magazine, Unit 2A Willow Walk Business Centre, 10 Willow Walk, Orpington, Kent BR6 7AA. Only one entry per household and entrants must be aged between 14 and 18. The lucky winner will be the first correct entry drawn out after the closing date of May 8 2013. Good luck!

Jack Partridge: Champion Going Places

Written By Mike Hayden

Jack Partridge

“From the age of four years when I used to get pushed around by the marshals, at my Dads and Grandad’s local Indoor Kart Circuit (Anglia Indoor Karting), I have always found a love for motorsport.”

Jack Partridge dug deep in 2012, and undoubtedly found a new love for the sport, when he was crowned as a junior British kart champion. For Jack he started though he started a little later than some, not having his first race until 2007 when he was 9 years of age. As he summarised his career it soon became evident he was a quick learner.

“I started racing competitively in Honda Cadets at Red Lodge,” he recalled when asked to outline his career build-up towards his latest title. “I took fastest laps and race wins all year and ended up finishing the championship in 3rd place. During the end of 2007 and beginning of 2008 I got my MSA license and competed in Super 1 throughout 2008. I took wins and fastest laps at club level during the season and had fastest laps at Super One. I finished the championship in 8th.”

One of the highlights for Jack in 2008 was a strong performance in the O Plate. He remembers his heats were not what he had been aiming for, with a set of results that had left him on a lowly grid 24 for the Final, but after that? “I worked my way through the field and ended up 6th at the end of the race with the second fastest lap.”

At the start of 2009 though the young racer chose to remain in Honda Cadets, but after two bad rounds in the opening races of the Super One championship, a new plan was formulated that encouraged him to make an earlier than anticipated graduation into Junior TKM. It was to be a big learning year for him in preparation for the following season.

“2010 turned out to be quite a successful first full year in TKM. I started off racing for Snakebite Racing, but then changed from a Tal-Ko chassis to a Jade chassis with Jade Karts. I missed the first round of Super One so I didn’t manage to get seeded, but I took my first podium in Super One and had fastest laps in the championship throughout the season! “

Away from the Super One Series, Partridge continued to develop his skills and won the Kimbolton Club Championship, taking “plenty of wins and fastest laps throughout the year. I had a 4th at the Kartmasters, and then 3rd at the TKM Festival. 2011 then brought me more podiums in the Super One season, before I took my first Final win in Super One, with two back to back pole positions, as well as fastest laps throughout the Series,” proving Jack was quickly learning his craft as he prepared for 2012. Before then though he recalled how he had again taken more “wins and fastest laps at club level, and 4th at Kartmasters. I finished Super One in 4th place.”

What he remembers most about 2012 though was a much better season than he could ever have imagined. “I started the season strong with two wins at PFI, the first Super One round. Throughout the season there were 14 rounds and I competed in 13 of them. In ten of the finals I was on the podium. I was also 4th in another round due to a time penalty (after finishing on the podium).” It was a minor set-back for him, however, as he still ended the year as British champion. “I won the Super One championship a round early – that is why I did not compete in one of the finals.

“The TKM Festival is the race that all the TKM’s in the country come together and race in. I missed Friday’s practice due to other commitments, but I went straight into Saturday and qualified 2nd overall. I ended up winning the final and collecting the Bernie Turney Memorial Trophy. I also had my first single seater test in a Formula BMW Talent Cup test, in the summer of 2012 at Brands Hatch, which went very well. I have won plenty of club races, had plenty of fastest laps, and a pole position by over 0.2s at Super One.”

Having the equipment for the job is the most important part of any decision making process, and with Jade karts Partridge feels they made the right choice. “I race with Jade Karts as I think it was the best chassis on the grid this year, and they have done a great job with drivers in previous years. I was struggling on the weight limit this year, so the team worked hard to lighten the kart, and to ensure I always had the best equipment.”

Winning though at this level is not the work of a few minutes on track, and Jack is willing to give credit to his main rivals. “Winning the Junior TKM championship,” he admits, “was not an easy journey! I was pushed hard throughout the season and got consistent results, and I believe that is why I am champion. My main rivals this year were probably Daniel Baybutt and Jake Campbell-Mills. Other drivers such as Sam Randon and Stephen Letts were competitors for the championship in the early stages of the year as well. Jake Walker did not do Super One, but was a main rival at other races such as the O Plate and TKM Festival.”

Most wise drivers will say that it is not always what you know, but who you know. And advise from the hallowed heights of Formula One cannot be overlooked. “The ex-Formula 1 boss Alex Hawkridge has been a huge influence on my racing career so far! He has mentored me for roughly four years now and I don’t believe I could have achieved what I have to date without Alex’s help! Alex has a lot of knowledge and I am very grateful of him sharing experience with me. I have also had lots of sponsors help me in 2012, to ensure I had a competitive budget, and I would like to thank them all.”

His thanks also went to iZone Driver Performance who he said “have been a huge help to me in 2012. They have backed me throughout the last season providing state of the art simulator coaching. We had a very small budget in comparison to some of my competitors and so I did not get the chance to do much testing before the season started. Using the iZone facilities helped me to hone my driving skills! Before the season started I focused on developing the skills needed to maintain and defend a lead position. The iZone training really paid off in round 1 and I pulled away at the front of the field in both Finals! Arden Motorsport have recently started to back me and guide me in the decisions I make in my future career. And Anglia Indoor Kart racing, where I started racing, have also backed me in the form of sponsorship. I cannot forget to mention my parents as well!” he said with a laugh

Jack mentioned how he was prompted to take part in the Super One championship, as he knew people who have competed in the Series in previous years. His team recognised that the Junior TKM class was a lot less expensive to compete in, than in another classes such as Junior Rotax and KF3. “I believe the class is very competitive as well, which means there is some great racing!”

Now with a British karting title to his name, what about 2013 and beyond? “I do not have any plans to stay on in TKM in 2013. I believe I have achieved nearly all I can in this class and it is time to move on! My main ambition in motorsport though is to become a multiple Formula One World Champion. I am motivated by the thought of winning and reaching that goal! If I wasn’t to make it to Formula One I would be grateful to have a professional, successful career in motorsport and get paid to race, whether that be cars or karts!

“Advice from me to newcomers in the sport would be to keep believing in your self! Do the best job you can and work the hardest you can away from the track, to try and ensure that you have a bright future. If you do this then no-one can say ‘You didn’t try hard enough’. Also I’d advise young drivers to be cheeky (ask for sponsorship), and leap on every opportunity as it comes!”

Jack Partridge is a courteous young racer and wanted to finish by giving thanks for the support he has received, with “a big thank you to everyone who has believed in me and helped me over the past few years. I couldn’t have got where I have today without the support I have received from Alex Hawkridge, iZone Driver Performance, my parents and my sister, Jade Karts, Alex Burrows (a top mechanic!), my friends, Terence and Alan Dove, Graham Taffs, Paul Scothern/MRM Performance engineering, and anyone else that I might have forgotten. (Sorry if I did)! I hope I can carry on to do you all proud in the future, (because) I am now 15 years old and seeking support for future years.”

Jack has recently announced that he will be competing in the Formula KGP Super One in 2013 with the Jade Karts team as team-mate to Danny Keirle.

Lucas Orrock: Make it Three

Written By Mike Hayden

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Standfirst: Sebastian Vettel made the headlines for three consecutive F1 championships. In Super One the Formula Rotax 177 class had a similar champion to promote.

To my knowledge Lucas Orrock kept the single digit thrusting skyward to himself, but he delivered in spades during 2012. He has an unspoken motto: “To make sure I win the race!”

The early bug bit “while on holiday in Spain when I had a go on some rental karts,” Orrock recalled recently. “My dad could see how much I loved it, so he said when we got home we would have a look into it just for some fun. We found a club called ‘Topkatz’ karting at the Red Lodge kart track. After a few goes at Red Lodge I knew this is what I wanted to focus all my energy on and, if I had my way at the time, I would have been in a kart every day of the week! My dad decided to further our involvement in the sport and bought a Max kart for me in the Christmas of 2005. It was a complete surprise – it was a day that would change my life.”

“Karting brought us closer together and I think this is one of the best things I could get out of the sport. Unlike a lot of other British Champions, my father had no experience whatsoever in motorsport, so it was safe to say we knew absolutely nothing when we started. The whole thing has been a long and hard journey for both of us, with many triumphs and set-backs, but that is what sport is all about. It teaches you about life and about yourself, and I’m very proud that karting played a big part in shaping the person I am today. I am very lucky my whole family supports me, like my mum turning up to watch, or always having dinner ready for us when we get home. Since 2008 we raced with the Paul Carr Racing team, a great group of people, and a lot of my success is due to the things I learnt racing with that team.”

Winning one British title is a major achievement, and two is quite something else, but three? “I am very proud to have won three British titles in (Rotax) 177, and even though it isn’t the most competitive class of karting, often with only 20 competitors, I believe the standard at the top is still very good.” And Orrock is aware of how he must have raised opinions of the 177 class, by taking five podiums abroad in the very competitive Rotax DD2. He also races in the normal weight Max class at club level, and despite being a few kilos overweight on a fully stripped down kart, is still capable of a podium position. “It’s great fun,” he said, “and something I want to keep doing.

In 2012 Orrock’s main competition came from Tom Holland, whom he believed had stepped up his game in 2012. “I’d like to congratulate Tom and his dad Cliff for keeping the father son spirit alive and having a great year! We also had some newcomers to 177, which was something we supported for the last two years.” Despite the competitions’ best efforts, Orrock had his best year to date, to successfully defend his third title with eight final wins and a round to spare.

Orrock reckons they initially spent around £5,000 starting with a second hand Trulli JT3 chassis, and one engine, with a small van, trailer and Easy-Up awning. Races at Kimbolton and Whilton every other weekend followed, costing about £250 a weekend, “whilst building a nice collection of bent track rods and stub axles.” After two years the Orrocks decided to move further afield onto different tracks. “We went to PFi for a weekend, and then our first overnight trip to Rowrah for a pre-Super One clubby. As we increased the racing and travelling the budget increased too, with hotels and travel, and a £250 weekend became a £400 weekend. As the podiums started to come we started to think about Super One. By then we had switched to a second-hand Kosmic, and this in turn led to Paul Carr.

Orrock wanted to make it clear though that money was not everything. “I know people complain about the “rich kids” racing, but I am lucky that my father works hard. We are very lucky that our budget can accommodate our passion. I want to stress though to anyone reading this, how you can get just as much enjoyment out of the sport by racing at local club events. I still enjoy turning up to club events, and I often go along to watch on my weekends off, or to help out some old friends.”

After signing with Paul Carr, the Orrocks’ knew they needed a new chassis, so after an initial outlay of £2,500 for the chassis and the Super One entries, the cost of attending a meeting was around £1,000, with an estimated annual budget of around £12,000.

“Chassis’ have become more expensive, whilst Unilogger and parc ferme tyres have increased entry costs, but to be honest that was not our biggest increase in spend. We realised that to compete we needed to do laps, and so for the first three years in Super One we raced about 40 weekends a year. As you can imagine racing 40 weekends a year, with constant testing of kit was expensive. We would buy exhausts, engines and carbs, often from eBay or UK Karting, and then move them on if not better. If we heard of a good engine was for sale we would try to buy it, which was necessary as the top 10 in European Qualifying can be separated by less than 0.3s, so being competitive is essential. “We often found some of the biggest difference in speed came from ancillary components (carbs, power valves, exhaust, etc.), which require a small outlay to buy off the Internet, and then test. We go to PFi on a Friday and put in plenty of laps. It needs an investment of time and money if you want to see better results.”

New chassis? More expense? Not necessary. “In my third championship year (2012) I raced, tested, and won all year on the kart I used for the last three races of 2011. You don’t have to have a new kart every three meetings as some people suggest. Sometimes I hear people say I’m not going to race this year because I can’t afford a new kart – just get out there and race what you’ve got!”

So here you have it in a champion’s words: “I competed and won in Super One for £15k a year, but I’m confident it could be done for less! I would like to highlight I do not take these numbers lightly and will always be eternally grateful for the chance I have been given to compete in this sport.”

2013 will see Orrock focusing almost entirely on the DD2 Euro Max Challenge, keen to make up for his 2012 battery failure at Salbris, with his sights set on a top three Series finish, and a first win in the class. If I don’t win, I want to know I gave it my absolute best shot. For me, I love the sport of karting and I don’t see it as a stepping stone into so called “higher” forms of motorsport – I see it as a sport in its own right.” Orrock thinks if he ever moved on in motorsport, it would not be a “next step” thing, but just his time in karting had ended and it was time to move on. And this was a concern close to his heart, as he often feels karting has lost its way. His comments are in line with mine, and I have written about this issue before.

“In my opinion we shouldn’t advertise our national championships as “the road to F1”. We should instead focus on the fact that to be a British karting champion is something special in its own right, which I think is something pretty special. I can understand the view point that by labelling it as a pathway to F1 it may attract some younger drivers into the series, who have aspirations of being a Formula 1 star, and that’s great! However what I’m seeing more and more is that although we may attract some more drivers in at a young age, by giving them this idea that karting is a stepping stone, they are all the more eager to jump into a car as soon as they get the chance. We lose a lot of karter’s’ before they even sit in a senior kart! I think to protect our sport we need to try and keep people in the sport of karting for longer before they venture into cars.”

Orrock recalls old 70s and 80s Karting magazines and reading about all the past champions like Terry Fullerton, Mike Wilson, and Peter de Bruijn, when it wasn’t all about getting into car racing. “Those guys stayed in karting well into their adult lives and achieved great karting success at an age when now most people would have moved out of karting. They stayed because being World karting champion was a great achievement and something to be proud of in its own right.

“I think the best piece of advice I can give to any one in the sport of karting is to be honest. You must understand how to extract the best out of your equipment and make it all work as best as possible. So often all you can hear are people talking about how “we moved the fronts in by 5mm and it made it understeer, that’s why we came 25th, or “he only won the race because he’s got the best engine.” I accept the fact that changes made to the chassis make a small difference or that some engines are better than others, but to say they are the entire reason for the outcome of a race makes no sense.

“I myself know that I am not perfect as a driver, but if we were to blank all of those mistakes out, how can I learn from them and better myself as a driver? I’ve had many races where I’ve won or had a great result, but I still made some mistakes, and always the first thing we talk about is those mistakes and how I can stop them happening again.“

As he said earlier Orrock used the same chassis for all Super One races in 2012, with three different engines. “If I took someone who had never sat in a kart before and put them in my Championship winning kart, even if they were naturally quite good, they would probably be over 4s off the pace. So what really makes the difference? The equipment hasn’t changed, but yet the time has changed by an amount which would be the difference between winning a race or probably getting lapped.

“I hear so many times of a driver complaining about his equipment after a poor result, but in truth unless they are one of the worlds best drivers, they will have made many mistakes during the race/practice session, like taking to the outside at the start, or not going past another driver when they easily could have, or hitting a kerb wrong and losing places. If that driver came in and was honest he would highlight those mistakes, and between them they would could try and give the driver advice to stop it happening again. But instead they lay the blame on the equipment, or on other drivers, and forget the fact that if they had made some better racing decisions the outcome could be different.

“I’m very lucky to have achieved some great things in the sport; I’ve got to go to some great places in the world. I’ve got to meet some wonderful people and share a lot of great memories. The sport has opened a lot of doors for me and has undoubtedly changed my life for the better, so my final words to anyone involved with karting would be to enjoy the sport and strive for success, no matter what your own definition of success may be.”