Speedster on the right track

by Kent Caddick

Selwyn’s rising motorsport star, 12-year-old Jacob Douglas from Lincoln, jets off to Las Vegas this week as his drive for success steps up a gear.

This year has been a globetrotting one for the karting youngster with two successful campaigns in the United States and Italy already under his belt.

Following his winning performance at the New Zealand Kart Sprint Championships in Invercargill earlier this year, Jacob won the right to represent New Zealand at the Rok International Finals in South Garda, Italy in October, and he did so with style.

After eight days of solid testing Jacob posted a time good enough to put him 8th fastest over the 165 drivers from 48 countries. After the heats he had done enough to place him 15th on the grid for the Vortex International Final but mechanical problems plagued his final race.

Before the youngster had even arrived in Italy he was invited by Aluminos Racing USA to take part in the annual Streets of Lancaster street race in California.

Jacob had never raced a street race before but qualified 14th on the grid. During the race he moved his way through the field into 9th position before he was caught up in a huge crash which saw him flip his race machine and he was thrown from his seat.

The final saw him starting off the back of the grid, but with skill and determination he drove through the pack to finish the final in 9th overall.

Returning to New Zealand Jacob only had two days to recover before he had to travel to Nelson to contest the South Island Karting Championship.

Here his international experience shone through. Jacob qualified in pole position, won all three heats, and then the final by over three seconds, setting a new lap record in the process.

Jacob said his experience in Italy and the USA was challenging but it taught him a lot.

“Getting to grips with their driving style and aggression was hard. They turn into you and drive you off the track any chance they get,” Jacob said.

“It was a lot different to racing in New Zealand where I am used to racing in fields of 25 karts but in Italy I was racing 185 people.”

He said overall he was pleased with his result in Italy despite the mechanical issues and his ninth place in California was also pleasing.

“I learnt so much about race craft from the trip especially with regard to late braking and being more aggressive. If you wait to pass, someone else is going to pass you.”

Jacob said he was able to use what he had learnt overseas in the South Island Championships
But the young gun’s year has not come to an end, and with only two weeks to prepare, he is this week heading back to the USA to again race for Team Aluminos USA against the world best in Las Vegas, Nevada at the SKUSA Supernats 17. He will be contesting the Mini Swift Championship.

Jacob is trained by the successful duo of Matthew Hamilton and Tiffany Chittenden and runs out of the WKS Kartstore Team, the same team which successfully guided another rising Kiwi motorsport star, Marcus Armstrong, who recently won the Italian F4 Championship.

“I want to follow what Marcus did in Europe and race there full-time and one day I dream of racing Formula 1 with Brendon Hartley,” Jacob said.