In 2016, the CIK-FIA Karting Academy Trophy added several interesting innovations to its programme. The new technical partner OTK Kart Group won the tender for Exprit chassis and Vortex engines of the OK-Junior type, while Vega provided the tyres. For the first time, important prizes were offered to the top drivers. The winner was invited to participate for free in the CIK-FIA World Junior Championship in Bahrain within one of the factory teams of the OTK Kart Group. The CIK-FIA has also assured the top five overall in the Academy Trophy in 2016 of free of entry to the 2017 CIK-FIA Championship of their choice.
Applications were numerous and the Trophy was full of participants with 51 Drivers entered from 39 nations from five continents. The 2016 season was structured around three Competitions, integrated with the most prestigious Karting Championships. The balance sheet was revealed to be very positive with excellent sporting fairness, guaranteed notably by frequent engine swaps between the drivers in each Competition.
The Briton Callum Bradshaw took the Trophy lead in the first Competition in France and held on until the conclusion in Sweden. Behind him the battle for the places of honour was tight before the Alfred Nilsson Swede won 2nd place at home ahead of the Dutchman Kas Haverkort, followed by the Belgians Xavier Handsaeme and Elie Goldstein in the top five.
Bradshaw already the leader at Essay (FRA)
Callum Bradshaw (GBR) could hardly have achieved a better score. With 2nd in Qualifying Practice, he then monopolised the lead until the Final. Alfred Nilsson (SWE) gave him some opposition in the Qualifying Heats, but Mads Eielso Hansen (DNK) finished 2nd in the Final ahead of Thomas Mialane (FRA), Oliver Clarke (GBR) took 4th place ahead of the very quick Jagger Jones (USA), who made the best gains.
Handsaeme animates the Trophy at Portimao (PRT)
Xavier Handsaeme (BEL) was soon at the front in Qualifying Practice and continued his momentum in the Qualifying Heats. But Bradshaw confirmed he was back with his victory in the Prefinal, with Rubén Sabater Saura (ESP) taking 3rd place behind Handsaeme. Kasparas Vaskelis (LTU) sprang ahead of the Final while Bradshaw was relegated to 7th and Handsaeme returned to the lead from 4th position. The leader before halfway, Handsaeme continued to widen the gap to cross the finish line 3.2 seconds ahead, which prevented him from losing the victory because of the penalty of 3'' imposed because of his start. Bradshaw climbed to 2nd position at the finish from Vaskelis.
Kristianstad (SWE): victory for Haverkort, the Trophy for Bradshaw
Nilsson clearly dominated the Qualifying Phases and his home Prefinal ahead of Kas Haverkort (NLD) and Elie Goldstein (BEL) managed to outperform him in the Final. Starting a distant 16th after Qualifying, Bradshaw fought to the end to clinch 4th position, although the Trophy itself could not escape him. Only Handsaeme could possibly upset the triumphal march of the Briton, but he was behind in the heats and had to go through the Repechage to reach the Final at the back of the pack.
Info CIK-FIA / © Photo KSP
While 2017 started just a couple of weeks ago, Baby Race already started their preparations for the upcoming karting season at their Italian headquarters near Brescia. The team, led by Sandro Lorandi, will kick-off their 2017 assault at the WSK Championship Cup scheduled from January 26th to 29th at Adria. Baby Race will run in four classes (60 Mini, OK Junior, OK and KZ2), sporting many new additions.
The smallest displacement class will feature six drivers: Rashid Al Dhaheri, Brando Badoer (the son of former F.1 racer Luca Badoer), Nikita Bedrin, Alessandro Cenedese, Ruslan Fomin and, for the first time with Baby Race, Nikita Johnson.
Five drivers will join the OK Junior category. Making their debut in the series from the Baby Race Mini roster, Paul Aron, Luca Bosco and Nicolò Cuman will join new additions Aleksey Brizhan and Andrea Rosso.
Marzio Moretti and Edoardo Morricone will be up for a class change as they ran with Baby Race in OKJ in 2016. The two young Italians will move up to the OK category at Adria. Last but not least, Baby Race will field brothers Alessio and Leonardo Lorandi in the KZ2 class as they train in kart racing before the start of their 2017 single seaters season.
Rashid Al Dhaheri (UAE)
Brando Badoer (ITA)
Nikita Bedrin (RUS)
Alessandro Cenedese (ITA)
Ruslan Fomin (RUS)
Nikita Johnson (USA)
Paul Aron (EST)
Luca Bosco (ITA)
Aleksey Brizhan (RUS)
Nicolò Cuman (ITA)
Andrea Rosso (ITA)
Marzio Moretti (ITA)
Edoardo Morricone (ITA)
Alessio Lorandi (ITA)
Leonardo Lorandi (ITA)
Info & Photo Baby Race
A double European Champion, Paolo De Conto had long dreamed of adding a world title to his record. He almost did it in 2015 at Le Mans (FRA) where he led the Final until the last lap where the ultimate battle deprived him of the title he hoped for. The Italian took sweet revenge this year at Kristianstad (SWE). His happiness was palpable on the podium and in the moments that followed he was overwhelmed by a very moving and deep joy, while congratulations for his performance came from everywhere.
Paolo, when did you start karting?
- Very young! I come from a family of motorsports fans. My father was even a rally driver along with his brother. One day, he took my sister and I go karting. I must have been 4 or 5 years old, I don't know exactly. Obviously it was fun and I immediately wanted to go further. My father bought me a kart and that's how it all started. I was already fast in baby kart, I won the regional championship twice, then three times in junior. I made my international debut in 2007, in the KF2 category for two seasons, to discover the next level and to learn the circuits. I've always been attracted 125cc gearbox and as soon as I could, I raced in KZ2, from 2009.
Did success happen easily?
- In a way, yes. I had a good period to start with Energy Corse. I especially won European KZ2 then then KZ1 titles in 2010 and 2011. Then, it was a little complicated before returning gradually with CRG in 2015.
How did the Worlds go this year?
- We knew that the equipment was very effective before arriving in Sweden. The European race at Genk confirmed this. We were confident from the first running on the Kristianstad track. I secured pole position in Qualifying and I won everything afterwards. But the Final wasn't easy because I didn't have a very good start. Marco Ardigo, Lorenzo Camplese and Anthony Abbasse started better than me. It is not particularly easy to overtake at Kristianstad. But I knew that and I never expected to do it. As soon as I was catching an opponent, I was pushing. It was the only solution. I ended up joining Anthony who was leading the race and I managed to go past as well. The worst was over, I could outrun them and win the race with the fastest time.
It's a nice revenge for me after the disappointment of last year. Now I can say I'm World Champion and it will change the situation!
Info CIK-FIA / © Photo KSP