Nelson’s Lochy McGregor had a tough initiation against the world’s best young karters in the opening round of the 2022 FIA Karting Academy Trophy in Genk, Belgium.
Lochy was one of 54 drivers aged 12-14 years taking part in the three-round series in identical world-leading equipment supplied by the OTK Kart Group.
The Nelson karter was nominated by KartSport NZ to represent the country in the three-round series with rounds to come in Italy and France.
Lochy had some promising lap times, where half a second covered front to back, and was closing in on the top-10 lap times in free practice around the 1360m circuit.
However, his lack of experience meant that small mistakes proved the difference between a competitive grid and further back, where he had to battle with less experienced competitors, and where crashes were almost common-place.
He moved from 27th to 21st in the first heat. In the second heat he was shunted from behind and took out two other karts resulting in a DNF and penalty to be classified 27th.
He started 28th in the final heat, moving to 19th but overall, he did not finish in the top 36 after the heats to make the grid for the final which was won by France’s Arthur Dorison.
His coach and KartSport NZ Academy Director, Tiffany Chittenden said it had been a tough but invaluable learning curve.
“If qualifying had gone his way, then he would’ve been in the right pack to enable him to continue his progress through the heats,” she said.
“I told Lochy before it started that on Sunday he would get out of the kart and tell me that he gets it – everything that our mechanic Claudio and I been instilling in him. That’s exactly what happened!
“We have already been putting a few things in place to make sure that for the next round in Italy, Lochy is far better prepared and having experienced it now, he will be starting off on a much better footing.
“Racing in Europe is the toughest level of experience, aggression and talent. It’s hard but will make a better driver of Lochy both on good days and bad.”
Lochy has returned home this week and will head back to Italy next month.
Lochy and his family are continuing to fundraise for the remaining two trips to Europe and while he has received fantastic support from several sponsors, is still in need of assistance to complete this outstanding opportunity.