|18 January 2017|
Further 'Best Of 2016' as published by the CIK-FIA:
As the 2016 grand winner of the CIK-FIA Karting Academy Trophy, the Briton Callum Bradshaw was invited to participate in the CIK-FIA World Junior Championship in Bahrain by OTK Kart Group, the official supplier of Exprit chassis and Vortex engines to the Academy Trophy.
Without special knowledge of the OK-Junior category, or prior testing, Callum demonstrated great potential within the 97 Drivers present. The young Englishman started in the last group in Qualifying Practice, the one that was most disrupted by extreme strategies. His 9th time sent him back to 59th overall with the consequence of starting from the 10th row in every Qualifying Heat.
The first went very well with a 6th position at the end of a 13-place climb. He continued to gain ground in three of the four remaining races and eventually moved up to 34th in the intermediate standings. Callum continued on his way to reach the top 10 of Prefinal 2 after a further gain of seven places. His exploits ended unfortunately on the first lap of the Final, an incident causing his retirement.
Callum, are you aware of the chance you have of racing in Bahrain with Tony Kart?
Definitely! I know the value of this prize. It was a dream that I never expected to see realised. I sincerely thank OTK Kart Group for inviting me. What a great experience for me to be able to participate in the World Championship with a team as renowned as the Tony Kart Racing Team!
What differences did you see with the CIK-FIA Karting Academy Trophy?
The standard of the CIK-FIA World Junior Championship is of course much higher than that of the CIK-FIA Karting Academy Trophy. The engine has a little more low end speed, but the difference is not fundamental. Technically, it may be useful to know how to adjust the carburettor. It is especially the competitiveness of the Drivers and the teams that makes a big difference.
How did your Competition go?
I'm happy to have progressed at every opportunity, I have been able to significantly improve my performance over a lap. I overtook competitors in almostevery race. Giving up at the very beginning of Final remains a disappointment because I am sure I could still have gained places without this incident.
Has your program for 2017 changed?
I am still planning on X30 Senior, but I hope to be able to race a little more in OK in the British Championship. We are fortunate to have the 2017 CIK-FIA World Championship at PFI (GBR). It is difficult to resist the temptation!
Victor Martins' meteoric progress at the international level from the start of the season has attracted a lot of attention. On a perfect debut in OK-Junior, the Frenchman was quick to mingle with the best then stole the show with his series of three consecutive CIK-FIA victories.
He started by winning the CIK-FIA European Championship Competition at Portimao (PRT), before repeating it at Genk (BEL), which opened the doors to the top three in the overall standings. This accomplished athlete completed the most important achievement in Bahrain by winning the CIK-FIA World Junior Championship with a renowned private team, VDK Racing.
Victor, what has happened during your career in Karting?
I discovered Karting belatedly for fun on holiday at the age of 11. Until then, I had competed in gymnastics and I was even French Champion. Karting got to me from my first laps. The professionals immediately saw I had a good shot, so I started racing. I am lucky to be supported by my elder brother, Nicolas, who follows me as a mechanic, and especially advises me constantly.
Did you continue to practice sport?
I have always considered Karting to be a sport in its own right, which means that I train physically and mentally all year round with competent coaching. This preparation has contributed to my success in OK-Junior this year. I saw some drivers who suffered from the heat in Bahrain or injured their ribs while I felt perfectly fit throughout the Competition.
What were the important points of this World Championship?
First of all the circuit of Bahrain is magnificent, it is the best of the year, although it is difficult to master well. It was not easy to make my place in the Junior field. After the surprise of my first wins, I felt that my competitors were determined not to let me win the World Championship. The Qualifying Heats were pretty tough, but I never got discouraged. I was totally determined to win the Final and I fought for that title. Thanks to VDK Racing, I had the machine for it!
What is your future as a Driver?
Nothing is yet decided, because winning a World Champion title changes the situation. I want to race in single-seaters, that's for sure, but I don't want to rush. I have progressed well in Karting this year and I know I still have to develop. I would love to be able to take part in a good season in OK next year before preparing my move to cars.