Samuel Oram-Jones displayed remarkable speed again last weekend in the opening round of the 2011 British Super One Rotax Series at Whilton Mill and was third fastest overall in the second final.

Sammy, who races in the Super One MiniMax class for 11-15 years - and who will also contest the same category in the Lewis Hamilton and Bernie Ecclestone Formula One Management-backed Formula Kart Stars (FKS) series this year - started the weekend by posting a very respectable top-ten time in qualifying, ninth overall in a highly competitive field that included over 30 runners.

The 13-year-old, who was also juggling his on-track commitments by doing some filming for a programme about him to be screened on the launch night for new HD TV Channel TRACE Sports, then finished eighth in his first heat in his RL Racing Department Ltd-run kart, despite problems with the set-up.

"It had started raining [before the start of the heat] and we had to change everything," Sammy recalled. "But then it stopped and we had to change everything back again! That meant the tracking was out and the pressures were wrong. I also had a bent track rod, but I still managed to stay in the top ten. So it wasn't too bad."

Sammy then had further back luck in his second heat and was handicapped by brake problems leaving him down in 18th at the chequered flag.

"At the start we got hit off and pushed wide," he lamented, "and then the brakes got stuck on halfway through. We couldn't brake properly and so just dropped to dead last."

Sammy stayed positive however, and fought his way back up to twelfth in the first final from 20th on the grid. He then looked set for seventh in the second final, but was hit on the last lap and demoted one place to eighth. His speed though was of real encouragement, and in addition to being third fastest overall in that last race, he was also impressively quicker than all seven runners that finished ahead of him.

"I thought by the end of the weekend we were very quick and we reached our goal," Sammy reflected. "The kart was set-up the best it could have been. It was perfect and regardless of the problems I had in the heats, I was happy.

"I was third fastest overall in the [second] final and I know for a fact with a slipstream and a few more laps I could have easily come through the pack.

"We are lying tenth in the [Super One Rotax MiniMax championship] standings [after round one] and even with the problems in both of the heats, which set me back in the finals, I still managed to catch-up with my team-mate Josh [White], who had started third [in the second final]. I was really pleased with that."

Sammy's focus now shifts to the second round of the Super One Rotax Series, which will take place at Shenington early next month (April 9-10). He will also face the first round of the 2011 Formula Kart Stars (FKS) series next month, with that championship kicking off at Rowrah on April 23-24. Prior to that though, he will get in some extra practice at Shenington this coming weekend when he takes in a Club event at the Banbury-based track.

RL Racing Department Ltd team owner Steven Armstrong meanwhile was impressed by Sammy's speed and spirit at Whilton Mill.

"We had to overcome some gremlins and Sammy got caught in a couple of incidents in the heats. But he did very well in the finals to come through to eighth from the back," Steven added.

"The speed was there throughout though and he was quite resilient. In the end it was a good result to cap off a difficult weekend."

Sammy's father and manager, Emil, was similarly buoyed by his son's speed: "The individual lap times themselves show that he had the raw pace," Emil continued, "and while it was a bit of an indifferent weekend, what was encouraging was that Sammy drove extremely well. The pace is certainly there.

"I think it is also good that we are only a few points away from the top-five in the [Super One Rotax Mini-Max] championship. That is encouraging. There is a lot to play for over the remaining six rounds."



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