Bowyer warns rivals he’s ‘only going to get stronger’ – as he sets sights on British crown

Bowyer warns rivals he’s ‘only going to get stronger’ – as he sets sights on British crown

01.01.2010: Given his family’s modest economic means, Peterborough karting star Callum Bowyer is used to having to battle against the odds in order to achieve on-track success – but his performance and results in 2009

Given his family’s modest economic means, Peterborough karting star Callum Bowyer is used to having to battle against the odds in order to achieve on-track success – but his performance and results in 2009 defied all reasonable expectations, leaving him feeling positive indeed about the prospect of reclaiming his British crown in 2010.

After expertly seeing off all comers to sweep to triple title glory in Mini Max in 2008, Callum graduated to the more powerful and more physical KF3 class in 2009 – and wasted little time in hauling himself onto the leading pace.

 



Not remotely fazed by his new surroundings, the 15-year-old notched up a brace of rostrum finishes and was never outside the top four in the opening four rounds of Formula Kart Stars (FKS) – the same series that first set Lewis Hamilton, no less, on the fast track to superstardom, and one that now boasts the prestigious official backing of both the ten-time grand prix-winner and influential F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone – and a mid-season move to join the outfit run by former double British Formula A Champion Chris Rogers was the catalyst that cemented his status as a consistent threat for victory.

“It’s been a year of mixed feelings and emotions, really,” he reflected, looking back. “I obviously wasn’t expecting to be right up there on the money straightaway, but we were – and I think that came as a bit of a shock to some people, as well as to us! Things got a bit rocky after that, but midway through we changed team, kart and engine and managed to pull it all together by the end.

“It was a risk to make such a wholesale change mid-season, particularly with the championship still at stake; it was a choice between staying put and knowing we might or might not finish inside the top five, or taking the risk in the hope for better and seeing how it turned out – and that’s what we did. As soon as we changed I could feel the difference – the kart immediately felt so much better.

“That made me a lot more confident in the equipment I had underneath me, and though it took us the first couple of weekends to really get used to how each other worked, after that there was no looking back. My only regret is that we didn’t make the switch earlier on – if we had I think we would have had a much better chance of fighting for the championship.”

As it was, Callum wound up a superb second in FKS and fourth in fellow national championship Super 1, with three rostrum finishes to conclude the campaign. Given that many of his adversaries failed to make it up onto the podium at all and considering the limited budget at his disposal and poor reliability he suffered – “If we’d had just a bit more luck and a bit more money, things could definitely have been very different,” acknowledged the Gunthorpe ace – it was a magnificent accomplishment, and proved that the risk had been one well worth taking.

His fortunes were perhaps crystallized by FKS’ annual overseas trip to Genk in Belgium, a weekend that would turn out to be a high and a low all in one go. Quickest throughout, an electrical failure on the Saturday and an accident not of his own making on the Sunday left Callum to return home again empty-handed – but he had nevertheless been able to prove just what he was capable of if only Lady Luck chose to smile upon him, leaving nobody in any doubt at all as to his outright talent and potential.

“We had so much raw pace at Genk,” he recounted, “and if we’d just had a bit of luck to go with it we would have wrapped the whole meeting up – but you can’t dwell on the bad things. You just have to keep focussing on the positives.”

One thing that was missing from Callum’s CV heading towards season’s end, for all of his podium finishes and near-misses, was his breakthrough KF3 triumph, but in a classic case of saving the best ‘til last, the Ken Stimpson School pupil dominated the Super 1 curtain call at Fulbeck from lights out to chequered flag, his final appearance in the class. He might have been narrowly pipped to pole position in qualifying, but from thereon in none of his rivals would see him for dust.



“It was just brilliant!” he enthused. “Everything went almost perfectly to plan that weekend; we only just missed pole in qualifying, won both heat races and then won both finals. It could scarcely have gone any better, and it was a fantastic end to the year! I want to say a big ‘thank you’ to Chris Rogers, everyone at Carbon for all of their hard work and dedication, Vortex for great engines, Dan Holland Racing and my parents for all the sacrifices they have made to keep me on the grid.”

Having since stepped on up again to KF2, Callum’s next target is to claim the coveted ‘O’ Plate – the prize for the 2009/10 Winter Series Champion, and an achievement that he admits would be ‘phenomenal’ were he to successfully pull it off. Beyond that, he has a top five finish in Super 1 in his sights, but his form so far – having taken to his new class like the proverbial duck to water – suggests he might do rather better than that.

“I’ve surprised myself with how quickly I’ve got onto the pace,” he revealed. “It only took me a couple of days to get used to it all, particularly the front brakes, which are very different to anything I’ve ever encountered before. We’ve not had much luck again in the first two rounds of the Winter Series – I’ve been sitting in second place in both finals so far, closing on the leader, when something has broken – but we are well on our way and overall it’s been a really encouraging start.

“I’m one of the very youngest drivers out there – I’m racing against adults now, with no age limit – and the competition will be faster, fiercer and a lot more wheel-to-wheel. There are no bad drivers in KF2 – some of them have years of experience behind them – but I don’t feel intimidated in the slightest and I can’t wait for the main season to start! I’m only going to get stronger and more confident, so things are looking good.”

Callum is still seeking sponsorship for the 2010 season, and if you are interested in backing him please contact Tracey Bowyer on 01733 701099 or 07960 400731, or e-mail: callumkf3@hotmail.com

- RA -  photo Chris Walker kartpix.net

Permanent-URL: http://www.automobilsport.com/karting-callum-bowyer-rivals-british-crown-mini-max-2008-fks-bernie-ecclestone---74269.html

01.01.2010 / MaP

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