Awesome King crowned 2009 Asia-Pacific KF3 Champion Young Warwickshire karting star Jordan King did not so much win the 2009 Asia-Pacific KF3 Championship as thoroughly dominate it, as he overcame a crumbling track surface, torrential downpour...
Awesome King crowned 2009 Asia-Pacific KF3 Champion
Young Warwickshire karting star Jordan King did not so much win the 2009 Asia-Pacific KF3 Championship as thoroughly dominate it, as he overcame a crumbling track surface, torrential downpour and water-logged engine in Macau to quite literally rain on his rivals' parade.
Jordan travelled to the Far Eastern Portuguese enclave for the first time bidding to put a run of recent bad luck behind him - but well aware that in going up against drivers of the calibre of reigning World Cup winner Guiliano Niceta and a whole host of other leading protagonists from the hotly-contested WSK International Series, he would be facing no easy task.
Still, he wasted little time in rapidly getting to grips with a demanding circuit situated in what he described as a 'pretty amazing' place, and eased to pole position in qualifying by just over seven hundredths of a second - even if problems with the track surface were causing it to break up and rendered it slippery and dusty in the extreme.
"I was thinking I had as good a chance as anyone else, if everything went right," mused the 15-year-old, "but I never thought it would go quite as well as it actually did. Qualifying was quite tight, with only a tenth in it really - but the difference was that whilst I could do those times consistently every single lap, the others could only do it once every five laps or so.
"The circuit has a bit of everything really - a decent-length straight, a flat-out first corner followed by a tricky hairpin, then a flat-out right- hander followed by two hairpins which make up the most important part of the track, which it's really hard to get right lap-after-lap. Then there's a chicane, and in the last sector the kart felt really good and I was very quick. The problem was, with the way it was breaking up, if someone overtook you and you didn't give the position up and got forced off-line, you lost about 20 kart-lengths."
Luckily for Jordan, nobody was overtaking him very much at all, but racing was suspended before the KF3 heats had even got underway due to the ever- deteriorating state of the track. With a considerable degree of uncertainty regarding just what was likely to happen - and if the event would even be able to resume at all - the competitors endured a nervous wait before new concrete was hastily laid down for the following day.
Mentally draining as that may have been, the Harbury ace dealt with it all flawlessly, and he came out of the blocks fighting again on Sunday to seamlessly triumph in both of his heats, by a staggering four seconds in the first of them as he proved to be the only driver in the field capable of lapping beneath the 53-second barrier.
"We were thinking, 'what are we going to do if they change the track and we're not as fast anymore due to that?'" he confessed, "but I just concentrated on my driving and on doing the best job I could."
A similarly untouchable performance in the pre-final - winning by almost four seconds again - earned Jordan pole position for the all-important, 21- lap grand final, shortly before which the heavens opened with a real vengeance. With the rain invariably being a great leveller and encouraging true talent to really shine through, all the omens were looking good - but then an oversight that saw the carburettor on his Maranello kart wrongly set provided an unwelcome pre-race scare, led to the Repton School pupil having to manually adjust the jets himself as he drove around...and very nearly caused late heartbreak.
"At that point I thought it was going to be such a hard race," he acknowledged. "We hadn't been out in the one wet session we'd had during practice, but usually I'm very good in the wet, so I knew I was going to be there or thereabouts. The only thing I wasn't sure about was the lines, so just before the race I was thinking about that and trying to visualise the lap in my head.
"On the rolling-up lap I tried a couple of different lines and found out a bit more - it was a real trial-and-error approach - and really I worked it out from there. I just got my head down and put some really consistent laps in - after the race my mechanic Stu told me I had done three consecutive laps at exactly the same time.
"It was raining quite heavily to begin with, with a couple of puddles here and there, but halfway through it started really chucking it down and I was able to pull away even more. I was leading by seven seconds when water started to get into the engine with about five laps to go, so after that I just slowed down and cruised around to be safe - the engine was getting worse and worse throughout the race, and I was just thinking 'please don't break!' When the chequered flag came out it was quite a relief..."
Difficult enough to be so consistent in the dry, to produce the kind of performance he did in the wet was a superb effort, as Jordan pulled off another lights-to-flag success - and completed a full house of fastest laps - that allowed him to add to his Kartmasters glory from earlier in the year with another major karting trophy. Making a point of thanking his mechanic Stuart Wright, team owner Mark Berryman and engine-supplier GFR for all of their support, it was a truly magnificent way in which to banish his run of ill-fortune.
"Everything that could have been right over the weekend was right," he enthused in conclusion. "The chassis and engine were both perfect, and the whole package just felt really balanced.
"There are four big international karting events everyone wants to win during the year, and the Asia-Pacific is one of them. I can't really put into words how it feels to have done that - it's just amazing! Given the prestige of the event, it's definitely the biggest and best win I've ever had. It hasn't really sunk in yet to be honest..."