Milton Keynes-based youngster overcomes mechanical problems and illness to impress at the highest level in karting for 13-16 year old.
Samuel Oram-Jones proved fast and competitive in the opening round of the 2012 WSK Euro Series at Sarno in Italy last weekend and came through to take a stunning fifth place finish in the pre-final.
Sammy, who has graduated to KF3 this season, after shinning in the MiniMax class in the Lewis Hamilton and Bernie Ecclestone Formula One Management-backed Fomula Kart Stars Series and in the Super One Rotax Series, began the event strongly and he was right on the pace in practice in his Millennium Motorsport-run kart.
Indeed after setting the second best time in final practice, the Milton Keynes-based teenager, headed into qualifying on the crest of a wave. However, an electrical problem left him with a misfire and the youngster finished up 60th out of the 69 competitors and thus missed out on a place in the superpole.
“Although I have only been to this track once before, we were on the pace straight away and we were hopeful we could get into the superpole and try and do well there,” Sammy said. “Unfortunately though, we had a problem in qualifying with our engine. It started to rain and we think some water got in and that was why we ended up so far back.”
Never one to give up, however, Sammy fought back in the heats, storming his way through to a good eighth in heat 1 and an even better sixth in heat 3. Electrical issues meant he had to settle for 17th in heat 2 and he was 13th in heat 4, which left him 19th overall heading into the finals.
In the pre-final, the 14-year-old put in a great drive, and despite being violently sick moments before the start, he took an impressive fifth, showing that even though he is the new kid on the block, he can still mix it with his rivals, many of whom have been competing in KF3 for a number of years. Sammy then made a great start in the final and was running fifth initially, until being punted off. He eventually finished 25th.
“The heats went really well and I felt confident for the finals, although I was very ill on the Sunday. I thought I have to drive though, because it is a big weekend and we just cannot afford to miss it,” Sammy explained.
“It was wet for the pre-final and I am quick in the wet. I started tenth and finished just ahead of [George] Russell and just behind [Lance] Stroll. I was quite happy with that. It was a good result and got us some good points for the championship.
“We started ninth in the grand final, but we were hit going up to the top into the second corner. Once you are on the grass you have to wait for everyone else to go passed. I then had a few problems getting the kart back on the track. It was very unfortunate that we got hit from behind.
“Overall though, the weekend went very well. We were clearly on the pace with Millennium. Our speed has been good and I was happy with my performance. This is my first year in KF3, so I think I did well to finish where I did in the pre-final. I’d like to thank Millennium for doing a brilliant job and I’d also like to Simon [Allen-Wallace], who has been on the road with me over the last 21 days.”
Sammy now has a busy time ahead of him as he will be in action the next three weekends in succession, beginning with the first round in the Super One MSA TKM Series that commences at PF International this weekend (April 21-22). It is then back to Europe for the opening round of the CIK-FIA European Championship at Varennes in France (April 26-29), before taking in the second round of the WSK Euro Series at Val D’Arginton a week later (May 3-6).
“We have a lot on, but I am looking forward to it all very much,” Sammy continued. “I feel very confident going to PFI having just done well in WSK. It is going to be good to see where we are there. Hopefully we can get a win.”
Sammy’s father and manager, Emil, meanwhile is also looking forward to PFI and on the back of the weekend just gone he is quietly confident.
“During practice Sammy showed very good pace,” Emil added. “Qualifying was a disappointment, but these things happen and he made his way back up the grid in the heats. In a couple he got involved in some battles, which stopped him getting as far forward as we would have liked, but all-in-all he drove very well.
“The pre-final result was remarkable, especially given he was feeling really sick. The final didn’t go to plan and another driver was fired into him. That was a shame, but I enjoyed seeing him out there racing against the cream of the crop. We will now continue to work hard and hope to progress in the WSK Euro Series championship standings. At the moment Sammy is joint 14th out of 69 competitors, so it gives us something to really build on.
“The team were happy with Sammy’s performances and we are all determined to keep going forward.”