Sam Brabham faced the steepest learning curve of his young karting career when he tackled the opening Rotax Max Euro Challenge season rounds at Genk in Belgium, on March 31/April 1, in only his second outing competing in the senior Rotax Max category.
Racing against a massive 90-kart field of Europe’s elite, Sam managed to qualify in a respectable 61st place and 25th in his group despite not maximising his tyres for the session. The 17 year-old then experienced a tough time in the four heats and consequently found himself in the Consolation Race on Sunday.
Starting from 11th on the grid, Sam delivered his best drive of the weekend to pick his way through the pack and seize the lead with two laps to go. With a fierce five-way battle up the front, the Henley-on-Thames racer was forced to fiercely defend. He blocked well but the move cost him valuable momentum and allowed three karts to get past at the following turn, dropping the DHR driver down to fourth.
Never one to give-up, Sam held on to the now leading pack and quickly got back in the fray to recover third place before the chequered flag fell.
“My first Rotax Max Euro rounds have been a big learning curve, which is exactly what I expected them to be. It’s what I am there to experience and learn from,” said Sam.
“Saturday’s heat races didn’t go to plan but I refocused and sorted my mind-set for Sunday. I drove well in the Consolation Race, it’s just a shame I didn’t take the win. I feel it was a missed opportunity as I was certainly one of, if not the quickest of the group, but I defended a bit too hard and lost track position.
“I knew this event would be tough, but it’s been harder than I imagined with such a huge field of top racers. I gained pace throughout the weekend and improved by lines, however, getting used to front braking was like a whole different world to me and that will take time to master. But I hope to race in the series again, perhaps in the next rounds at Wackersdorf, Germany, in May.”