Tom Harvey proved to be head-and-shoulders above his adversaries in the blue riband Wigan Rotax Cup at Three Sisters, and so dominant was his form, that not even a litany of misfortunes in his heat races was able to prevent the talented young South Wales speed demon from storming to glory in the all-important final.
As with any one-off meeting, the majority of the 45 Junior Rotax class contenders at Three Sisters had only one aim – victory – but Tom confessed that for him, of more importance was getting in some practice and preparing as best he could for the national Super 1 Series outing around the same circuit towards the end of August.
“It was a really high-calibre field, with many of the top British runners there including the Super 1 championship leader and last year’s Mini Max Champion,” affirmed the highly-rated Bonvilston-based hotshot, backed by RB Supplies, All Print Supplies, Vehicle Integration Products and THR Graphics. “The standard of the grid was awesome, to be honest, but I was feeling positive about my chances.
“I hadn’t competed at Three Sisters since 2010, and I’d never been there before in Junior Rotax. It’s a fast-and-flowing track with some tight sections in-between, and going down the valley there’s a steep incline which is pretty nerve-wracking. You have to be as smooth as possible, and it’s tough to get the set-up right – you really need to give good feedback to your mechanic.”
Judging by his lap times, Tom palpably got the set-up of his KR-Sport kart spot-on during practice, but in his heats, Lady Luck stubbornly refused to smile upon him. Thirteenth on the starting grid for the opening encounter transpired to be unfortunate indeed, as he was unceremoniously shunted off the circuit on the opening lap and spent the rest of the race fighting doggedly back through the order to 11th at the chequered flag, with a fastest lap to his credit three tenths better than anybody else and a full second out-of-reach of most.
A nine-place improvement on his grid slot in heat two yielded tenth position – lapping third-quickest along the way – before the Cowbridge Comprehensive School pupil again found himself a first lap victim in heat three. Once on the recovery trail, he fairly reeled in the leaders and closed down a deficit of more than five seconds to latch right onto the back of them by the end, setting fastest lap to the tune of almost half-a-second as he ultimately wound up fifth, a mere seven tenths adrift of the winner. A lap or two more, and the race would almost certainly have had a different outcome…
From there, Tom entered the final placed ninth on the grid, but having displayed such scintillating raw pace during the heats, the 14-year-old Vale of Glamorgan ace was adamant that nothing and nobody was going to stop him.
“Even though the race was shortened to only eight laps, I was still confident of being able to come through the pack,” he asserted. “I knew it would be crucial to make up some ground at the start – and I had a cracking first lap and came out of the first couple of corners in fourth. Better still, I knew the three drivers ahead of me hadn’t been as quick as me in the heats.
“The front four of us broke away from the others, and by the time I had worked my way up to second, the leader had established a one-second advantage – but I reduced that to nothing in just two laps. I overtook him halfway through the race at the end of the main straight, where my kart had been set up to be particularly strong, and after that, we had so much pace that I was able to chill out a bit and just control the gap. There was no fastest lap this time, but that was because I didn’t need to push.
“It was a great feeling when the chequered flag came down. The Wigan Rotax Cup is a prestigious meeting to win, especially being up against such a strong field. It has given me a lot of confidence, and now we need to make sure we take this momentum on with us to Super 1 – because I know that when we get there, we’ve got the speed and the set-up to win.”