Mawson Fifth In World Title Chase After Round 1

AKA Media

Australian driver Joseph Mawson is fifth in the points standings following the opening round of the CIK-FIA World Under 18 Karting Championships at Braga in Portugal on the weekend.

Competing in his first event on European soil, Mawson took the fight to eventual winner Henry Easthorpe throughout the weekend before an electrical issue forced him onto the sidelines in the reverse-grid second pre-final.

Above: Joseph Mawson on his way to eighth place in the final in Portugal
pic - KSP

Putting the disappointment behind him, Mawson charged from his 15th position on the grid for the final to cross line eighth – despite having to battle with a throttle that kept jamming on.

“After the heat races I was pretty confident going into the pre-final that I could finish on the podium as I had enough speed to win a heat and finish second in the other three,” said Mawson.

“In the first pre-final I was within two to five kart lengths of the lead during the entire race, I was just close enough to pressure him but any move for the lead would have been risky. As we had a decent gap to the rest of the field I didn’t want to taking the risk of not finishing.

Above: The Aussie trio at Braga, Portugal (L-R) Joseph Mawson, James Abela and Jacob Parsons
pic - KSP

“In the reverse grid pre-final I got a great start and avoided all the carnage at turns 1-2-3 then into turn four I got hit into another driver making it three-wide coming out of the corner and one of them turn across and ran over the top of me bending my steering badly. I passed a fair few people to be in 15th by lap three after starting from 32nd. Unfortunately the ignition on the engine blew up so I was sidelined. If I had of finished 10th I would have started the final of pole but motor racing can be cruel I guess.

“After starting 16th I got a bad start in the final and got stuck in crashes with nowhere to go. I was 14th after the first lap working my way through then I was in ninth and my throttle jammed so I went back to 11th partly fixing the throttle problem, but the throttle was jamming on a bit so I was riding the brake every corner from 12 laps left. I worked around the problem to finish eighth by the end.

“It was a bit of a disappointing end as I felt as though I was fast enough to finish on the podium, but I’m fifth in the championship now, 26 points behind the points leader and only three points behind 2nd in the championship.”

While a collision led to his chain coming adrift in the opening laps forcing him onto the sidelines in the final, Mawson’s fellow Sydneysider Jacob Parsons showed true potential across the weekend with some strong times and results in the heat races.

Above: Jacob Parsons showed true potential across the weekend at Braga
pic - KSP

“While the overall results wasn’t what I wanted, I feel as tough I learnt a lot from the weekend,” said Parsons.

“There are so many upsides from the weekend, racing at this level really accelerates your learning and I feel as though my race craft improved dramatically over the three days of the event.”

Also competing at the same event, but in the Academy Trophy for drivers between 13 and 15 years old, was James Abela.

After being caught up in an incident which lead to him failing to finish the opening heat race, Abela fought back gallantly to secure the 28th, and final, grid position for the main event.

In the opening final Abela was the big mover charging his way from 28th on the grid to eighth, which finished as seventh when a fellow competitor was excluded. He backed this up with another eighth place finish in the final.

Above: James Abela in action during his European debut in Portugal
pic - KSP

“The DNF in the opening heat put me back a bit in the points, I was lucky to have two strong runs in the other two heat races which allowed me to sneak into the top 28,” said Abela.

“After putting in a good time during Sunday morning’s warm-up I was confident going into the first final, but to go from 28th to eighth was great. This ended up becoming seventh when a guy in front of me was disqualified.

“In the second final I finished eighth, which could have been better but I ran out of brakes towards the end of the race. Overall, it has been a great weekend and I can’t wait for round two in France.”

The next round of the championship will be contested at Angerville in France on August 25/26. All three drivers will return home tomorrow before beginning preparations for round three of the CIK Stars of Karting Series presented by Castrol EDGE at their home track of Eastern Creek in Sydney on July 28/29.