This past weekend I worked with a young driver (11) from Trinidad to compete at the Caribbean Islands Karting Academy run by the FIA. The race brought drivers from all the local islands including Jamaica, Barbados, Trinidad.
All the karts were supplied and were OTK/Vortex OK Engines. I believe they were the karts from the FIA Junior Karting Academy in 2018.
It was a four day racing event. Thursday was practice, and from Friday on was racing. Everyday the track layout changed giving the drivers a new challenge. It really was something I enjoyed and it definitely challenges each driver to adapt and learn. What I really like about this concept is the fast drivers were still at the front.
Christian who I was working with and coaching was competing against drivers up to 17 years old. It was a bit of a challenge for him. But he did an awesome job pushing forward and trying to improve. Coming from Briggs cadet it was a big jump to the OK and Bushy Park was a pretty fast track so I think that was a challenge for any young driver. Unfortunately he was involved in a big accident which shock him up a bit. But the whole weeked he was so posative and a mechanics dream he loved to work on his kart which was awesome. (Take note kids)
The Trinidad team managed by Flatout Motorsports I was with we had a great time. Everyone was very nice. How can you not have a nice time in beautiful sunny warm weather, beautiful beaches, good restaurants and just an overall great atmosphere. I met many nice people and made new friends. It really was an enjoyable experience.
The racing was exceptional. The competition was very close. For heat two they did reverse grid for the top 10. Lots of battles and excitement. Everyday engines were switched around making it a true drivers championship. We could not change engine specs and only had the option of two sprockets.
When I reflect upon the event it just makes me realize how cool our sport is and what a wonderful opportunity for young talented drivers to showcase their abilities. From the organizers, Bushy Park, FIA, Paul Carr, track officials it was really a pleasure. Yes, there were a few issues and items that if possible I would like to change, but hopefully in time they will iron out the kinks. Everyone was helping and supporting each other. It wasn’t just a competition, it was karting communities coming together to support, cheer on their drivers as well as each other.
I feel like after experiencing this event somewhere along the road we have lost sight of what karting is and should be. I myself am guilty of it and I think others are too. At the National/International level sometimes we take the mindsets of what we see in F1. There will always be politics and competition between teams/drivers/families but I think too often we work against each other vs with. In Western Canada clubs need to work together and not against. Clubs need to work with Series and promote karting. Teams should not be in competition but support growth and each other. Drivers should be competitors on track but friends off. Let’s face it we all love a sport, we probably all have similar passions and interests so why are we not connecting.
This past weekend was a breath of fresh air and I hope moving forward I can take this experience and use it in the future. Thank you for the wonderful experience this past weekend and giving a vision into what karting can be. The Rotax Gand Finals is a race that I get similar vibes from and is a race and series that I really believe is a unbelievable experience for a driver.