from FIA Karting
Martin Reuvers, who has been based at the Campillos Karting circuit in southern Spain for more than 15 years, took on the challenge of organising the 2021 FIA Karting World Championship – OK and Junior. The 39-year-old Dutchman looks back on this memorable event.
CAN YOU RETRACE YOUR CAREER AS A DRIVER?
I raced for a few years in Spain in the 90s, with several top 10 finishes, but mainly as an amateur. I was in a small family team with my father. I took part in a few European Intercontinental A Championships, in Angerville, Valencia and Sarno in particular. My height was not an advantage, unfortunately! The passion for karting was ingrained in me, so when I stopped driving, I went to the other side of the fence. I started working as a mechanic at international level.
DID YOU WORK WITH ANY OF THE TOP DRIVERS?
I worked with the official CRG, Formula K and Intrepid teams, with whom I had a great year in 2010 with Bas Lammers when he won the European Championship and the World Cup in KZ. I also had the opportunity to set up my own team in Spain. One year, the father of a driver had come up with the idea of creating a circuit near the town of Campillos and asked us to follow him to run it. The project was born in 2004 and the first race took place a year later. In 2009, RGMMC and the Geidel family – Lynn, Roland and James – trusted us to host the Rotax Winter Cup, which allowed us to get involved at international level. I knew James Geidel from watching him race in karting events in Spain.
ARE YOU SATISFIED WITH THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE CAMPILLOS COMPLEX?
It hasn’t been easy. Just over 10 years ago we had to face the economic crisis that lasted for a few years in Spain. My father and I worked hard to develop the site. Over the years, he gradually let me manage the company. I focused on rental karting, investing in quality equipment, improving the reception of customers and renovating the snack bar. My wife is in charge of the restaurant business. We are lucky enough to be in a tourist region and it is imperative to be very well organised to face the summer period.
HOW DID YOU REACT TO THE PROPOSAL TO HOST THE FIA KARTING WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP IN 2021?
As the event could not take place in Brazil due to the pandemic, the CIK-FIA was looking for a new circuit, if possible in the southern part of Europe due to the late date in the season. I must admit that my first answer was negative. Hosting such an event is a lot of pressure. I wondered whether our infrastructure would be up to the task. I am always quite critical of myself, I always want to do well and it was impossible for me to imagine that this mission could fail. Accepting to organise the World Championship is one thing, making it a success is another. I didn’t want to receive bad feedback and see people disappointed. I also had to take into account the cost of organising it. I thought long and hard before agreeing, knowing that it would mean five weeks of intensive work to be ready on the day.
IN THE END, ARE YOU SATISFIED WITH THE RESULT?
Yes, the anxiety has been replaced by relief. It wasn’t until Sunday evening that the pressure was really off. I was sensitive to the positive comments I received from the drivers and teams. Right up to the end I was afraid that something unexpected would happen! I would like to thank the promoter James Geidel for his expertise and the advice I received in advance. I had to review a lot of things: track safety, paddock capacity, site electricity, parc ferme, etc. Organising an event before the World Championship was very useful to discover that we still had some problems to solve.
HOW MANY PEOPLE WERE YOU ABLE TO RELY ON TO CARRY OUT YOUR MISSION?
About 70 in total! I had a lot of support from volunteers who regularly work at the Jerez de la Frontera circuit, which is about two hours from Campillos. The marshals and the people I placed in the parc ferme came from there, with the support of other volunteers from the Ascari circuit, which is about 50 km from us. These collaborations were needed, because there are not enough of us in the local club to meet the CIK-FIA’s specifications.
DO YOU THINK THAT THE CAMPILLOS CIRCUIT IS NOW BETTER KNOWN?
Yes, of course. Now, when people talk about Campillos, they will know where it is and that it is a circuit with international standards capable of hosting major events. For us, it was a great opportunity to improve our infrastructure, even though the work undertaken represented a significant cost. We were also able to show our organisational skills. However, I know that we can still improve, so that we are ready to accept new requests, whether from a federation or a private promoter. Our doors are open, anything can happen in the next few years.
The weather on Sunday, which was not what we usually experience in this part of Spain! I would have preferred to be spared the rain, which forced us to cancel the motorbike show planned before the Finals and to shorten the drivers presentation. We also expected more people, within the limits of what was imposed on us by the local authorities and the health situation. In any case, despite the stress and the fatigue, this World Championship will remain an unforgettable memory.