Callum Bradshaw (GBR) RMCGF 2022, the winners of the last edition

Columns: Stories
While waiting to get into the heart of the 2023 competition, let's relive, together with the protagonists, the outcome of the last edition, held in Portimao, as reported in Vroom Magazine

Rotax MAX Challenge Grand Finals
KARTODRÓMO INTERNACIONAL ALGARVE, Portimao (Portugal), November 19th-26th 2022 

Missing out on the victory in 2021 amidst the controversy in the final, leading British driver Callum Bradshaw arrived with one goal in Portimao. He had been successful at two other events on this very same circuit, notably taking both titles, so the confidence was there to win. Last year’s vice champion Kai Hunter matched him with two wins in the heats, while podium place-getter Sean Butcher and 2021 Rotax Junior #3 Kai Rillaerts took race honours. Although it was Ethan Pharamond (FRA) on pole from qualifying to the Pre-finals, with India, Hungary and Finland also running in top 3. The front row for the final was Hunter and Bradshaw, who would dice and clash in the closing stages. Hunter’s victory was short-lived as a result, as was Butcher’s thereafter with a front fairing penalty. Bradshaw won the title and led Team UK to a podium lock-out. The lone Scottish entry Lewis Gilbert was awarded the vice champion’s trophy over Pre-final B winner Brandon Carr. Rillaerts was P4 ahead of RMCGF rookie and F3 driver, Eduardo Barrichello (BRA), Winter Trophy USA champion.

Callum Bradshaw  (GBR)

I came into the week with pretty much the same approach as any weekend – going out to win. The speed in the practice was good, but we had a few issues so limited dry running with the weather. We were a bit on the back foot, but it didn’t really change much. Obviously there’s not much you can do with the set-up, it’s purely based on talent, as the engines and everything are really quite similar now. It was a great final, a great dice with me, Kai [Hunter], Sean [Butcher], and Lewis [Gilbert], all at the front. I took the lead and felt really strong. The slipstream was so big, Kai got around the outside of me down the straight, which was a bit unlucky because I thought I was in charge at that point in the race, defending in the right places, but I couldn’t even do anything. When I was behind Kai, I saw there was one opportunity where he sort of left the door open; I caught him knapping a little bit. I managed to get up the inside, but then I think he realised too late and squeezed me onto the grass. From that point, it was disappointing because the title hope sort of slipped away, but I managed to stay strong. I knew the higher up I finished, the better chance I had… maybe Kai might get a penalty and I saw that Sean’s bumper was loose, so I thought if I could get into third there’s a chance I can win. It was incredible to win and a very nice feeling. Portimao has been a very good track for me, winning the IAME Games and FIA World Championship, and now the Rotax Worlds. For me to hear the national anthem for what may be the last big race in my career in Britain or Europe was an emotional feeling to be honest, and to end on a win and being Rotax World [#1] Champion. It’s another title to add to my incredible CV. There are many titles now with many I can be proud of, and thank everyone for helping me achieve them.


Created by: cggiuliano - 07/12/23

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