Milton Keynes-based youngster makes most of new kart and gets back on track in rounds seven and eight of the Lewis Hamilton and Bernie Ecclestone Formula One Management-backed Formula Kart Stars (FKS) series.
Samuel Oram-Jones showed impressive pace in rounds seven and eight of the Formula Kart Stars (FKS) meeting at Genk last weekend, despite having to get to grips with a new kart.
Sammy, who races in the FKS MiniMax class for 11-16 year olds, scored against the odds last time out at Glan-Y-Gors in June, but that event took its toll and the 12-year-old was forced to get a new machine for the trip to Belgium.
In practice on Thursday and Friday he made the most of the time and was never outside the top-four in his KR Sport Racing Team-run kart. That set him up well for Saturday’s action and after qualifying ninth he was on form in both of the heats and despite losing out at the start he fought his way back, and eventually took two very respectable 13th places.
He then came through to take eighth in the round seven final of the Lewis Hamilton and Bernie Ecclestone Formula One Management-backed series, showing impressive pace by setting the second quickest lap overall, the best time in sector 3 and the fastest theoretical lap of all 27 runners.
“It went very well today,” Sammy reflected. “We were quickest in the final, but we had to come from the middle to the front.
“We had two incidents in the heats where I was hit off at the start. In the first heat we bent one side of the bumper and the second heat was even worse because the person that hit me lifted the kart of the ground and put me up in the air. It damaged the kart a bit, but we still came back in both of those races.
“Then in the final we were really quick. I think we were about two tenths quicker than the guy that won. There was a train of about three or four people in front and we could have got ahead of all of them and taken P4 had there been a few more laps. We just didn’t have quite enough time. Overall though, I was still pleased and it was very positive.”
The next day however, was a tougher one for Sammy, and the weather changed dramatically, with torrential rain hitting the 1350 metre circuit – the longest on the FKS calendar – from around mid-day.
Prior to that though, Sammy was tenth in the second FKS MiniMax qualifying session and he then took a very strong sixth in the opening heat.
However, unfortunately he was later disqualified when it was discovered that his kart was ever so slightly under the minimum weight, a result of an additional rolling lap that proved extremely costly.
Then the heavens opened and with a wheel forced off the rim in the second heat and water getting into the carburettor for the round eight finale, he had to settle for 23rd and 24th respectively.
;”Sunday was frustrating,” Sammy recalled. “There was a false start in the first heat and we used a bit more fuel than we thought we would use. We ended up being 10 grams under weight and were excluded as a result. We finished sixth initially.
“Then after the first heat it started pouring down and it just didn’t stop at all for about three to four hours. It was just like a monsoon, absolutely terrible.
“In the second heat someone took off our tyre on the rolling-up lap and that meant I had to drive with a tyre off its rim. That was impossible. I had to put both hands on one side of the steering wheel to even keep it going in a straight line. It was crazy.
“In the final we started at the back and it was wet again. We were going very well at the start. We went from 24th to 15th in a couple of laps. But some water had got in the carburettor and it just got worse and worse. It completely messed up the race and really slowed me down.”
Despite missing out on points though on the second day, Sammy remains confident he can still achieve his target of finishing in the top-five in the 2010 FKS MiniMax Championship standings.
“We moved up in the standings on the Saturday, but I think we dropped back a bit again on the Sunday because of the bad luck we had,” Sammy explained. “But we can just drop those scores. We are still aiming for the top five. It is possible. There are four rounds left. It can be done.
“The person that I wanted to be closest too this weekend was the guy that won at the end of it, George Russell. He was at the front for the whole weekend and just had good luck. If we had been at the front we would have been just as quick as him, I’m sure of that.”
Sammy’s focus now shifts to Shenington for the next round of the Super One Rotax Series, which takes place from August 28-29. He will be doubly determined to do well there after having to sit out the Super One Rotax Series event at Larkhall in July while a new kart was acquired and he has already been testing to prepare.
“We were at Whilton on Tuesday and it went well,” Sammy continued. “The track was not at its best but we were still very fast.”
Beyond that Sammy will be back in action in the Formula Kart Stars (FKS) series next month (September 24-25), when he heads to the Three Sisters Race Circuit in Wigan.
Sammy’s father and manager, Emil, is hopeful things will go well there: “It was a challenging weekend for us in Genk,” he summed-up. “On Saturday Sammy was quickest in the final and clearly the pace was there.
“But on Sunday it was a bit disappointing. In the first heat we came in slightly underweight. Typically there is only one rolling lap. However, for that race, there was a couple and the fuel level burned. It was very, very unfortunate. We had finished sixth and he could have finished fourth. If we had been able to carry the points from that heat we would then have started a lot higher in the final and done better in that race. I partly blame myself for that.
“Then in the afternoon there was a massive downpour and water got into the carburettor. In fact one of the leaders, Oliver Myers, had the same issue, but worse, as he couldn’t even start the race.
“Overall I think we had a fair weekend, but we were just terribly unlucky. Really, really unlucky – and to be underweight by just such a small amount was just ridiculous. But that is just motor racing.
“Sammy put in a tremendous amount of work on the Thursday and Friday and certainly deserved to take a lot more out of the weekend. The pace was there during the races and in testing he was never outside the top four. We had the pace from the off and were very, very fast. It just didn’t reflect in the results.
“We are at Shenington in a couple of weeks time now and so we did some testing on Tuesday to get back into the feel of running on tarmac rather than the concrete we ran on in Genk.
“Sammy is going to have a break now and when he comes back we are straight to Shenington and then off to Wigan a few weeks later for more Formula Kart Stars action.”
Image courtesy of Chris Walker at www.kartpix.net