The local kart-racing season is scheduled to start only at the end of April, but some Singaporean karters were already fulfilling their need for speed at the Rotax Max Challenge and Asia Max Challenge series last weekend.
Eight of them competed at the race at PLUS Speedway in Subang, Malaysia, and 13-year-old Daim Hishammudin did Singapore proud with a second-place finish in the Junior category of both series.
Daim qualified sixth out of the 34 drivers, 0.164 seconds behind the fastest qualifier, before finishing third in Heat One and second in Heat Two to start in second spot for the Rotax Max pre-final.
After botched chances at finishing at the top of the podium for the two pre-season invitational races last month, he bounced back to win the pre-final and earnthe front seat for the final.
However, he lost the lead at the start and spent the rest of the 20-lap race chasing the leader, Syazwan Mohd Noor, eventually taking the chequered flag 0.361 seconds after the Malaysian.
Said the BHPetrol Racing driver after the final: “This is my second year in the Junior category and after building quite a solid foundation last season, I am looking forward to a better season with the team.
“There was a chance for me to win, but the race leader was quicker, especially on the straights. Nonetheless, finishing second is a good start to the season and there are five more rounds to go. The key is to be consistent throughout.”
Also competing in the Junior category were two-time national Cadet champion Jon Lee, and two-time national Junior champion Amin Noorzilan.
Progressing to the Junior season this year, it was a tough first race for Jon, as he finished 22nd in the final.
Still, the Secondary 1 Victoria School student said: “The kart is faster and heavier to drive, so I need to work on my stamina and endurance. This is my first year in Juniors and I know that I have to work harder in order to win.”
Indeed, despite the inconvenience of seeking racing opportunities outside Singapore, the local kart-racers displayed a high level of commitment for the sport.
For example, Senior karters Julien Fong and Sean Hudspeth had to rush to the race circuit last Friday evening, barely hours before the race, owing to army and school commitments respectively. They had to forgo practice sessions last Thursday and Friday.
All the karters, along with their families, also had to fly home on Sunday night to make it back to the classroom, to camp or to the office on Monday morning.
*This was first published in My Paper.