Oram-Jones scores against odds at Glan-Y-Gors
7 July 2010
Samuel Oram-Jones came away from rounds five and six of the Formula Kart Stars (FKS) meeting at Glan-Y-Gors last weekend having scored good points and having got some words of advice from Red Bull Racing's F1 chief technical officer, Adrian Newey.
Sammy, who competes in the FKS MiniMax class for 11-16 year olds, went into the weekend determined to build on what he had achieved at Whilton Mill back in May, when he won the Lewis Hamilton 'true grit' award.
In practice on Friday he was right on the pace and the signs looked promising. However a sizeable shunt in the first heat on Saturday left him on the back foot. The incident occurred on lap 8, when one of his rivals went into the back of his KR-Sport Racing Team-run kart and launched it five foot into the air. The chassis was badly bent as a result, and with no time to fix it before the second heat, he had to limp through, eventually finishing 13th.
He also had to nurse it through the round 5 finale of the Lewis Hamilton and Bernie Ecclestone Formula One Management-backed series, battling his way back to 18th after losing some places at the start.
"We got hit from behind in the first heat today and then went into someone in front," Samuel explained. "After that the chassis was bent. It's a shame as I was about seventh on the timesheets on Friday in practice. The kart felt good then. But at least we still scored."
Prior to Sunday, a replacement kart was acquired from another competitor, and while unfortunately it wasn't quite ready for qualifying, relegating Sammy to the back of the pack for both of the heats, he was at least back in action.
Indeed he took advantage of the wet weather conditions to charge back up the order, and despite the fact the kart was not really configured to his liking, impressively gained nine places in each race to finish 17th and 15th.
With conditions dry for the round six finale, it was always going to be tough for the Milton Keynes-based youngster, but he battled on and was right in the thick of a good twelve kart battle for P11, eventually taking 14th.
"It didn't go as well as we thought it would this weekend," Samuel continued. "We did okay in the wet today and we wanted to go forward in the final, but didn't get as far up the order as we thought we would. We messed up the set-up a bit and got the sprocket wrong and lost a bit of time.
"But at least we still scored good points. We are pretty happy with that, especially after what happened on Saturday. My rivals have probably pulled away a bit. But we are still close enough to pull it back."
Samuel will get a chance to try and claw back some ground in the Formula Kart Stars (FKS) series next month, when he heads to Genk in Belgium for rounds seven and eight (August 12-15). Before that though, he will also take in the next round in the Super One Rotax Series at Larkhall (July 24-25).
"We are hoping we will do well at Larkhall," Samuel added. "We had a good event there last year and were fast. We hope to do the same this time."
In the meantime, this week, he will attend the F1 2010 British Grand Prix at Silverstone to meet a few of the teams, and having already met Red Bull's Adrian Newey at Glan-Y-Gors, Samuel is looking forward to getting a glimpse of an arena he one day aspires to be part of.
"It has not been the easiest of weekends, but it is not the end of the world either," summed-up Samuel's father, Emil. "We were only one point away from fifth in the standings prior to rounds five and six and I think we will only drop one or two places. We still have enough in the bag, in terms of dropped scores, to actually climb back up the table.
"We just need a couple of good results at Genk now and we can pull it back. We can still aim for a top three or top four placing in the standings. That would be extremely respectable.
"Sammy is not going to give up. It's not in his character. He drove through all of it this weekend and I couldn't fault him. In terms of the driving equipment he had, he did his absolute best.
"We are now looking forward to going to the British Grand Prix. We had a good chat with Adrian Newey on Sunday and it was very nice of him to take some time out to do that. He is already a huge fan of Sammy and that means a lot."