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Young karting sensation Alex Powell vows

BY SHERDON COWAN
Observer staff reporter
cowans@jamaicaobserver.com

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Alex Powell has been driving at his best, but his immense potential was always overshadowed by a series of unfortunate events.

For the past month or so, the young Jamaican karting sensation had been rocked by engine problems, broken rim and bumper penalties or he got caught in traffic, which later ended in a crash, resulting in his failing to finish a race.

All those misfortunes thwarted Powell's progress towards an historic podium finish at the OK-Junior FIA Karting European Championships in Germany, as well as South Garda Karting in Italy, and again at the FIA Karting World Championship in Portimao, Portugal, recently.

Still, the young American-born driver confidently backed himself to recover from those performance dips and come back stronger each race, with hopes of producing a flawless showing.

Powell stood true to his word and finally delivered the perfect exhibition in a post-to-post performance at the 31st edition of the Trofeo Andrea Margutti in Castelletto Di Branduzzo, Italy on Sunday.

By virtue of topping the field of 29 drivers, Powell handed Jamaica and the Caribbean a first OK-Junior win.

Though the Trofeo Andrea Margutti was not as massive in comparison to the World Championships or other FIA meets, for Powell and those in his circle, the win was long in coming.

“I was definitely hoping for a win all year so it is a very special feeling to finally achieve it and be the first from Jamaica and the Caribbean to accomplish something like this. And it is very special as well to have the opportunity to represent Jamaica,” Powell told the Jamaica Observer shortly after collecting his trophy.

Having now overcome the disappointment of those misfortunes, Powell believes those experiences strengthened his resolve, and served as stepping stones in the build up to the historic win in the 18-lap final.

“The misfortunes this year have definitely been a learning experience, we had good finishes in some races and then other races things didn't go our way. But the speed was always there, it's just sometimes you need a lot of luck.

“Sometimes you just have to think about what you can do differently if it was a mistake on your part and what you can learn from that mistake or if it is not your mistake you just have to pick yourself up and move on. So it was definitely tough but there is not much you can do, you just have to refocus and think about the next tournament,” Powell noted.

“So that's what I did coming into this weekend, it was a smaller event but it was still as challenging, with a number of good and strong competitors on the drivers' list. So it was definitely a tough weekend in all, but in the end we came out on top and I am happy with that,” the AKM Racing representative added.

Powell, who is still in his rookie season, placed himself in the reckoning in the junior category with his historic pole position achievement at the European championship in Germany and from there, his expectation for future success soared.

As such, this win will add impetus to the 12-year-old's charge, as he continues his push to realise his dream of joining the professional ranks.

With his father, John, being a veteran rally driver and cousin Asafa, the “Sub-10 King” and former World record holder in the 100m, it could be said that Powell was bred for speed and so it came as no surprise when he told the Observer that the celebrations will be short-lived.

“I have just about three days to be happy and then I refocus for the new weekend coming. So I will definitely celebrate with my whole team, my parents, unfortunately I can't see all my family because of COVID restrictions, but I will maximise my happiness for these three days and then refocus and reset for the weekend coming,” Powell, dubbed 'Jamaican Rocket' by competitors, said while heading back to his base in Italy.

That weekend he is already focused on is the WSK Open Cup to be held at the Adria Karting raceway in Italy, from November 24-29.

“It's a whole week so we start on Monday and finish on Sunday, its two weekends made into one whole week, so that one will be a long and hard, but we definitely need to push through it because it should be the last race in Europe until next year at least for me. So I really am hoping for a good result and I will be pushing for a good result,” declared Powell.

The SPARCO Ambassador and member of the Mercedes-AMG junior team also expressed gratitude to the Jamaica Karting Association (JKA) and others for their continued support.