Powell hits podium on senior karting debutTuesday, November 23, 2021
BY SHERDON COWAN
It was only recently that Alex Powell expressed an eagerness to rub shoulders with and by extension hone his skills among the proverbial big boys, as he transitioned from OK-Junior to the senior category.
Fast forward just over a week later in his first taste of OK competition, the young Jamaican karting sensation duly announced himself to the new level with a third-place finish at the WSK Final Cup in Italy on Sunday.
Approximately 275 drivers from 45 nations flocked Adria Karting Raceway to contest the 10th edition of the event, which brought the curtains down on this year's karting calendar.
Of the 34 drivers that contested the OK final, only two, Britain's Arvid Lindblad of KR Motorsport and Bulgaria's Nikola Tsolov of DPK Racing/KR-Iame finished ahead of the 14-year-old Powell, who was one of the youngest participants in the event, if not the youngest.
The American-born driver won his first heat from pole and then overcame an awful result in a later heat to make it back into the top five by the 20-lap final, where he paraded great skill to make the podium.
While admitting that the trophy-winning performance came as a bit of a surprise, Powell said he knew it wasn't far-fetched.
“Initially, I had my mind set on it but when the heats started and I saw how difficult it was managing certain things, I started thinking the podium is not possible, but I will push for a top-five finish. In the end, I managed to achieve my podium goal which is a very good start in the new category,” Powell told the Jamaica Observer from his base in Italy.
“I am very happy because it was not easy at all. I don't think I have ever celebrated a third-place finish as much as I did yesterday (Sunday). I was fist-bumping across the line and beaming with pride because I believe it was reward for quite alot of hard work and so I was extremely happy,” he added.
Having now whetted his appetite from competition in the category, Powell, who boasts a stubborn determination and willpower to achieve what he sets his mind to, pointed out that the aim is now to apply the lessons learnt from his more experienced counterparts.
“It is the most positive way to start in a new category and a really nice feeling to end the European season on a high. I learnt a lot over the weekend and I think I even earned some of the drivers' respect.
“This is just a hint of what can be achieved, but I still have a long way to go to really make a mark in the category, so despite what I accomplished this weekend, I still need to keep working twice as hard to ensure that we build on this performance to get better results,” said Powell, the cousin of former 100m record holder Asafa Powell.
With improvement being big on his agenda, the Mercedes-AMG F1 protege now has sights set on his final race of the season in Las Vegas next month.
There, he hopes to flesh out a few more kinks with the kart and his skills around the steering ahead of what is expected to be a busy 2022 season, filled with opportunities to rewrite the history books.
“I'm eagerly looking forward to that as well, it's a different race and different competition but I'm excited to go out there and do my best to end the season on a high and then start preparing for January,” Powell noted.
“I think yesterday proved that we are already competitive since we moved up the ladder and the team and I know how and where we need to improve. So I intend to use the next race and the winter period to work on those areas and to work on myself personally to make sure we have more positive results next year,” the Kart Republic Motorsport representative shared.
Meanwhile, Powell's father John, who has been a tower of strength behind the scenes, was over the moon about the accomplishment.
“I'm feeling so proud and I'm very happy for him. I don't think this has ever been done before where a driver moving up to senior got onto the podium in his first race.
“The WSK events are a big thing and he just left the junior class and two weeks later he is on the podium in seniors. So this is a good way to start and I know going forward he will continue to put in the work to ensure he has a chance of getting even better results,” the senior Powell, a former Rally driver, said.