18-19 January 2014, Malaysia Sepang International Karting Circuit
Jon kick-started his 2014 racing campaign with the Rotax Invitational Race Malaysia on 18-19 January. Unfortunately, he had to give his school's "Year 3 Edge Leadership Camp" a miss as it coincide with the race.
A total of 27 drivers from eight countries competed in the Junior category. Turning 15 this year, it will be Jon's last year of racing in the Junior category before he moves up to the Senior category next year.
Using a new engine (which his younger brother, Josh won at the Rotax Asia 2013 lucky draw) on Saturday, Jon can only manage to qualify in 14th position. Even during Friday practice, the team was not able to find the proper set-up. In Heat 1, he was able to make his way up and finished in 10th position.
On Sunday morning, Jon narrowed the gap with the front pack when he finished in 11th position in Heat 2. Combining the two heats results, the total points moved Jon up to 7th position for the Pre-Final starting grid.
With so many young and hot headed drivers on the track, crashes and pile-ups were inevitable, especially at the first few turns. You could see karts flying into the air, climbing onto each other, pushing racers out from behind, and coming head-on to each other - it was just madness! Just take a look at the photos on Facebook.
It was not the kind of start that Jon anticipated. During the rolling lap, even before he crosses the starting line, Jon was pushed from the back and spun sideways thus dropping him to the very back of the grid. From there, with sheer determination, Jon worked hard to overtake one driver at a time, lap after lap, and finished the race in 18th position.
In the Final, Lady Luck was on Jon's side. He made up a few places after turn one pile up. After overtaking another few drivers, he was lining himself up to take 7th position. Jon made his move on the last lap with a clean overtaking drive at turn 1 but the overtaken driver pushed him out on the next turn. This caused Jon to drop a few positions and he eventually finished the race at 10th.
On the bright side, it was another great experience and lesson for Jon. Better luck next time!
Round 1 of Rotax Asia will take place from 8-9 March at the Malaysia Sepang International Karting Circuit.
All pictures courtesy of Auntie Karen.