Interview: Daniel Rochford

Victorian karter Daniel Rochford has been competing in the super competitive Senior Rotax class in the European Rotax MAX Challenge Series. KartSportNews spoke with the 16 year old to find out some behind the scenes news of his efforts.

daniel rochford euro max series

KSN - How much of a relief was it for you to get into the top 20 in Sosnova considering that last round you didn't transfer to the Final?
DR - Yes it was a much better result in Sosnova, although I am still looking to improve each round to make It into a top 10 finish.

What would you put the improvement in performance down to?
I would put the improvement down to the preparation and experience. I have been training to be a lot more race fit. I've also been looking at the technical side of a couple of things to improve my knowledge of the kart setup.

How comfortable are you now with the front brakes and the Mojo wet tyre?
I am comfortable with the front brakes now that I have had a little bit of practice with it at the previous rounds. But I am still learning little things like, how hard to push it in certain corners etc. I still have a lot of work to get comfortable with it in the wet though as there are still improvements for me to make.

The mojo wet is a grippier wet weather tyre than what I am used to (Dunlop KT6) so I am still looking at and taking on advice from my more experienced team mates on how to drive on it.

How often do you use the front brakes - at all corners, or just hard straight-line stops?
The front brakes I tend not to use that much, usually only corners leading off long straights that are very tight. If you use the front brakes in faster sections of the race track, it can upset the balance and slow down your exit off corners.

Do you use the same chassis at each round, or does the team always use a new kart?
The karts that Intrepid Force Rotax supply aren't always new, but are very well presented and in top condition. We use the intrepid Cruiser '08 model, the same as I use here in Australia.

Have you had to make any major setup changes, such as moving the seat as you have become taller?
Actually, I have learnt that the biggest changes are to the driver, and the style and way you drive the track. Unless the kart is poorly setup there are not many setup changes to make. Overseas I have run the same position as I do back home in my own intrepid kart.

How busy is Peter Cathcart at the Euro race meets? He seems a pretty high stress guy at times!
From the first practice session to the last race on Sunday Peter doesn't stop. He is always making sure the kart is perfect, or explaining and giving me advice about the track or the driving. We are a great team as mechanic and driver.

Does the team have regular group debriefs, or are you and Pete left to do your own thing most of the time?
During the race meet everyone helps each other to get the best possible result for the team. Peter usually knows what changes we could make to the kart or myself and we always discuss the learnings from team members and their thoughts also on the setup, track etc. At the end of each day everyone discusses where each kart is at, and the improvements that could be made.

Do you enjoy all the travel, or are the long flights a pain?
Yes the flights are very long, tiring and boring but I try to sleep as much as I can to keep fresh for the week ahead.

What would you say are the main differences between racing a Euro Rotax round and, say, Rotax Light at the Vic Open or Nationals?
The level of competition at the Euros is amazing. You could pick any 15 to 20 drivers with a chance of making the podium. Where as a big event in Australia is still very competitive, but there are not as many drivers that are as quick as each other at the one meeting.

Tell us a little about the Sosnova track, and which, if any, Australian track would you compare it to?
The Sosnova track was a very well presented track. It had fast free flowing corners but also a couple of very hard braking tight sections. Lap times were around 44.5 seconds with a top speed of Approximately 116km/h at the end of the main straight. I would compare the Sosnova track with Geelong because of the fast sections, but also very slow points on the track.

Anything else?
I would like to thank the team for all their support and advice they are giving me each time we meet up with them in Europe. Their encouragement is helping me to always strive for better results.