Boy battles for karting title
THIS weekend marks the start of Brock Plumb’s ambition to go one better than last year and win the CIK Stars of Karting Pro Junior series.
The series begins at the Ipswich Grammar student’s home track at Willowbank where a first-up win could be crucial to his season prospects.
“I was disappointed not to win,” he said of last year’s series. “Hopefully I’ve got an older head this time, which might give me an advantage.
“Last year I was learning the ropes, getting used to the power and tyres.”
It was only by the end of the season he had it sussed, but was unable to overtake series leader and eventual champion Pierce Lehane.
“I’m just getting used to it now,” the 14-year-old said.
The only problem this season is he will again be up against Lehane. All of which makes the opening round at Plumb’s home track more crucial, though he thinks it will be more about driving than local knowledge that secures the chequered flag.
“Pierce and Joseph (dual Australian champ Joseph Mawson) pick up tracks pretty quickly,” he said.
Helping Plumb is the services of his engine provider Graham Armstrong, who will ensure his motor is running to full potential, and pit crewman Pete Crossington, who will have the chassis set up precisely.
Last year Lehane earned himself a trip to Portugal to compete in the world junior championships as reward for winning the Australian series.
Plumb hopes something similar is on offer this year.
Getting seen by European teams is one of the few ways he can progress in his sport without huge financial backing.
“Hopefully I can try and get picked up by a team over there,” he said.
Next year he is likely to move up to the senior kart series because he does not have the budget to compete in Formula Ford.
“Sponsors or your dad’s got a fat wallet,” were the two means of climbing the motor racing ladder, according to Plumb, unless you are winning everything in sight.
Plumb will again campaign aboard a European-made Birel kart in the CIK Stars of Karting Series with the support of local businesses Champions Way Kart Supplies and Coach Concepts. However, it is a big step from karting to Formula Ford.
Plumb estimated it costs $30,000 to run a kart team and $240,000 to compete in Formula Ford. Further down the track, Plumb hopes to get the chance to race V8s in Australia or NASCARs in the US.
They are more realistic goals than Formula One.
“Formula one cars are all so different, NASCARs are all built pretty evenly,” he said.
While money is a vital ingredient, it doesn’t last long if you are not winning. So Plumb will leave nothing to chance this weekend.
Today marks the practice rounds for the CIK Stars or Karting (Pro Light, Pro Gearbox and Pro Junior) at the Ipswich kart track, Champions Way Willowbank.
Racing is tomorrow and Sunday.
Began driving: When my dad bought me a kart for my ninth birthday.
Sporting heroes: Drivers Craig Lowndes and Chaz Mostert.
Best advice: “Just relax” and “just have fun”.
When not at school or behind the wheel, I’ll be: Playing tennis.
Favourite movie: Talladega Nights.
Favourite TV show: Modern Family.
Favourite meal: My own lasagne, with mum’s help.
The night before a race I: Go to bed pretty early.