Rotax: Aussie racers head to Europe

THREE AUSSIE KARTERS TO TAKE ON THE EUROPEANS IN 2007 Three of Australia's aspiring motorsport stars will tackle one of the toughest karting series' in the world, the Rotax Max Euro Challenge, throughout 2007. The Australian contingent will be...


Three of Australia's aspiring motorsport stars will tackle one of the toughest karting series' in the world, the Rotax Max Euro Challenge, throughout 2007.

The Australian contingent will be made up of current Australian Rotax Champion Hayden McBride, multiple Australian Champion David Sera and rising junior star Luigi Catanese. The trio's entry in the prestigious series marks the first time more than one Aussie will be competing on the European karting scene for several years.

The trio will be aiming to follow in the footsteps of Tasmanian Ben George. Since moving to Europe several years ago George has become a multiple Austrian Champion and last year won the World Rotax Challenge in the DD2 class.

McBride, who hails from Newcastle, made his debut on the European karting debut in the Netherlands last year by contesting the final round of the Dutch Rotax Series at the Bergham Circuit.

The Novocastrian will be supported in his quest throughout the four-round Euro Challenge by Australian Gillard importer Paul Gallo. Gillard Racing Karts have been one of the top European manufacturers for many years and this culminated in the winning of the 2005 World Championship by Oliver Oakes driving for the Peter de Bruijn Racing Team.

"Europe is the home of world karting and after getting a feel for the racing last year I can't wait to get back over there next month," said McBride.

"Over the past few months I don't think there has been too many days when I haven't thought about racing in Europe. I'm really excited about racing against the best drivers from across the world but without the support of Paul Gallo of Gillard Karts Australia none of this would be possible. I can't thank him enough for his support.

"It's going to be very tough over there but hopefully I can achieve some good results and fly the Aussie flag high."

Over the past ten years Melbourne-based Sera has risen the steps of stardom in Australian karting. After becoming a multiple Australian junior champion in the late 90's he has now cemented his place as one of the elite senior drivers in the country.

The 19-year-old made his international debut in Japan in 2005 when he defeated some of the best drivers in the Asian region in the Yamaha Cup. He was the first Australian to win the event in 29 years.

A month later he represented Australian in Malaysia in the World Rotax Challenge. He was running second until mechanical failure forced him out of the event. Sera will contest the Euro Challenge aboard an Australian made Arrow kart.

"Since I raced in Japan and Malaysia my dream has always to been to race in Europe and this year I'm going to be living out my dream," said Sera.

"All of this wouldn't be possible without the support of Drew Price Engineering, Pioneer Electrics Australia, Highway Tractor Spares and Russell Symes and Co. All of these companies have supported me over the past few years and I'm looking forward to doing them proud overseas.

"With 65 top level drivers entered for the Euro Series it is going to be the toughest challenge of my racing career but I can't wait to get over to Europe."

Sera flies out of Australia on March 18 to prepare for the opening round in France on March 21-25.

McBride and Sera will be joined in Europe throughout the year by Shepparton junior driver Luigi Catanese who will compete in the Junior Rotax Max category aboard a PCR kart.

Catanese has spent the last few years competing in Junior National Light and Junior Clubman before trying his hand at the new Junior Max category last year.

The 15-year-old started his karting career in 2002 racing mainly throughout Victoria before traveling further to compete in various state titles across Australia during the past couple of years. In 2006 he claimed a state championship and also finished fifth at the National Championships in South Australia.

Last December Catanese traveled to Macau as a mechanic for Australian Formula A driver Glenn Powles.

"Macau was a real eye opener for me, it was a great experience and provided me with an insight into what to expect when I get over to Europe next month," said Catanese.

Catanese will fly to Europe on March 15 where he will visit the PCR factory before completing two days of testing prior to the opening round of the Euro Challenge. He will be assisted in his European campaign by well-known karting mechanic Chris Dallianus. Dallinus crewed for Sera when he contested the World Rotax Challenge in 2005.

The Victorian, who's motor racing idol is the great Ayrton Senna, is supported by Varca Brothers and Sons, Visy-board, Mercuri Bros and Southern Cross Produce.

The four-round Rotax Max Euro Challenge is expected to attract up to 180 drivers across the four categories (Rotax Max Junior, Rotax Max Senior, Rotax Max Master and Rotax DD2) from 30 nationalities and five continents.

-credit: bam media

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Series Kart
Drivers Oliver Oakes