What’s so special in UK? Part 1

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The recent full haul of the English team at the Rotax Finals, a race that - especially in the RMCGFF - rewards the driver with equal machines, once again underlines the quality of the British karting nursery. (fm)

A country where the Rotax movement is highly developed, but which in recent years has expressed a large number of talents who have landed in FIA competitions and, several of them, in the coveted goal of Formula 1: Lando Norris and George Russell to name a few couple, in a long list that dates back to the times when Mike Wilson and Terry Fullerton monopolized the international karting scene. Joe Turney, Kean Nakamura Berta or even Freddie Slater, Callum Bradshaw, Nathan Tye: in single-speed karting "God Save the King" is an anthem that is always played a lot on Sunday afternoons, but there is a movement in excellent health beyond the Channel that starts from clubs and small circuits, in a country where karting has a long tradition. We spoke to Tina Alsat, Rotax distributor for Great Britain about:

-Are britons the best?
«Of course, Karting has been a very popular sport in the UK since it first came to Europe from America in 1959. As soon as there were international competition British drivers have been very competitive, winning Championships in all disciplines. Mike Wilson, Terry Fullerton & Martin Hines are names that come to mind.»

- We'd like you to offer your vision on how karting is made upthere: - success factors - good skills of the drivers - grassroots more developed than elsewhere in Europe.
«British people always look for good quality & a competitive environment. We have some old circuits, but these are very good for learning close racing & driving skills. Most of our circuits still use the heats & finals system without timed qualifying, this mixes the quality throughout the drivers on the grid & teaches good overtaking techniques as well as avoiding contact to keep speed up. We also have the British weather which teaches our drivers to drive in all weather conditions.»

- Speaking of grassroots you, Tina, as a Rotax historic partner in that country, can surely describe better than anyone what factors have made grassroots so alive there – elsewhere karting is not the same. Many amateurs left the sport because bored, but mainly because they considered that too expensive. What does that mean a strong presence of Rotax for the grassroots drivers: explain us.
«The first Senior Rotax Max engines arrived here in the UK at the end of 1997. The product was an immediate success due to its ease of use, long service intervals & consistent performance. In other European countries the Max engine was only accepted as a leisure product, here we were racing very competitively within that first year of it’s introduction, by the end of 1998 there were already championship plans in place for 1999. With the successful introduction of the senior Rotax max we requested Rotax to manufacture a restricted version for the junior Rotax the rest of it as they say is history. We are very fortunate to have such a strong market, we have been careful to nurture that with a strong force of Approved Service Centres who are also our Sales & Marketing experts.»

- On the other hand, you also have an excellent breeding ground for young talents. British drivers are in front not just locally, but in FIA, WSK and other top competitions like in the Rotax Grand Finals, where it’s just about driving – all machines are the same. You have drivers who won RMCGF in three different categories during the years, and getting the Teams victory for UK is just a piece of cake for you guys: is there a secret recipe?
«I believe the “secret recipe” is covered above, British people have a reputation for being determined and tough opponents, some of those elements produce world class sports people. It is no surprise that so many of the top Formula 1 teams are based in the UK. The list of World Class drivers in Motorsport generally that come from the UK would Include Stirling Moss, Graham, Hill, Nigel Mansell, Jenson Button, Lewis Hamilton & Lando Norris…All of whom have raced Karts successfully, there are many others not listed here but the thread illustrates that there must be something special about British people that makes them so successful on the World stage of Motorsport.»

Created by: fmarangon2 - 03/02/23

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