Success can be hard to come by but for 14 year-old kart racer Philip Rawson success is coming just as quickly as his 70mph Mini Max kart.
Worksop based Philip is enjoying the most successful season of his young career to date and following his most recent victory in the penultimate round of the ABkC British Super One Mini Max Championship at the PF International circuit in Lincolnshire the Retford Oaks Academy student has a chance of securing the most prestigious karting title in Britain.
Philip arrived at the world renowned PF International circuit for the sixth round of the S1 Championship hot on the heels of victory in the 2012 Rotax Cup at the Three Sisters circuit in Wigan and a thrilling win in the MSA British Kartmasters Grand Prix, which was also held at PF.
Showing that he had lost none of his pace at PFI since his Kartmasters triumph Philip quickly put the rest of the field on notice as he set the fastest time in qualifying to ensure he started his two heat races from pole position.
“I was very pleased as it was my first pole position of the year in Super One,” exclaimed Philip, who finished the session more than three-tenths of a second faster than his nearest rival, a huge margin in the ultra competitive world of kart racing. “The kart was on rails and I didn’t feel any pressure about starting from pole position I just knew I had to keep my head on the opening lap.”
True to his word Philip kept his nose ahead of the snarling pack until three corners from the end, when a rival shoved him wide and demoted him to second. However a post race penalty was applied for contact driving, elevating the AIM Motorsport driver back into top spot.
A second place finish in his second heat meant that Philip would start the first of two point scoring finals from pole position, where he admitted to feeling a bit of pressure.
“Before the race I had a few nerves but I just kept thinking that I had to go for the win as I needed the championship points,” added Philip. “It turned into a very eventful race.”
Eventful was something of an understatement as the top five drivers battled furiously throughout. Controversy reared its head on the final lap when, heading into the Fullerton Esses Philip defended his lead, unknowingly leading to second place driver Harrison Thomas taking to the grass.
Crossing the finish line first for his maiden Super One victory, Philip’s joy was initially short-lived when the officials handed him a ten-second penalty but, when the onboard cameras were reviewed the decision was overturned and the Worksop Wonder could celebrate victory at last.
“I felt relieved as it is my first final win in Super One,” remarked Philip, who would also start from pole position for the second point scoring final. “I was pleased when they looked at the camera footage because there was no contact and even Harrison [Thomas] told the officials that I had done nothing wrong.”
Rain before the start of the second final threw a major spanner in the works but, having won the Grand Prix title in similar conditions, Philip was unfazed.
“I was quite pleased with the rain as it was wet all day during testing on Friday and we were fast,” commented Philip, who splashed away into a comfortable lead until the red flags were waved after five laps to retrieve a fellow competitor’s stranded kart, totally wiping away Philip’s hard fought advantage.
“I thought ‘Oh No’ because all my rivals were right back with me when the race was restarted I couldn’t break away,” said Philip, who became embroiled in a tense battle with Connor Mills and Connor Hall for top spot as the race headed towards its conclusion.
Dropping to third on the penultimate lap Philip pulled off an audacious move coming out of the final chicane onto the main straight as the last lap began to move from third to first in one fell swoop only to watch as Mills came back at him as they crossed PF’s unique bridge half a lap later.
As Mills held on for the win Philip was left to reflect on a strong second place, although emotions were mixed.
“I was devastated with second place as I had been so fast all weekend but on the other hand I’m really pleased as I’ve scored lots of championship points.”
Philip’s points haul from the weekend puts him in third place in the championship, a mere 18 markers behind arch rival Mills with one round, and two point scoring finals remaining. And Philip has good reason to be confident heading into the final round, to be held at the Shenington circuit near Banbury after he won the recent Super One Shakedown meeting there against all his main rivals.
“I feel confident ahead of Shenington after my shakedown win,” concluded Philip. “Its going to be really tough to take the championship so all I can do is go out and win both finals and just see what happens from there.”