We caught up with OF Thomas Fleming (fac14-21) who is currently racing in the British Kart Championship. Thomas and DHR won the third round of the British Championship in Glan Y Gors, Northern Wales. They dominated the entire weekend, winning by a margin of 2+ seconds and are now leading the British Kart Championship on dropped scores.
- What did you learn from the 2021 season and what was your best moment?
One of the biggest lessons that I had learnt over the course of 2021 was to believe in my own ability, and that hard work will be rewarded. Of course over such a long season, racing nearly every week from January to December, you will always have your good moments, and your fair share of bad ones too. In such a mentally challenging sport, it is crucial to not only have faith in your abilities, but the teams and to persist with the large amounts of effort and time before and during the weekend.
With that mentality and persistence, I managed to clench 3rd in the British Kart Championships, seeding me as the 3rd best in Britain; a large highlight in itself. It has also been a good general life lesson to learn as well, as hard work and persistence can be used in so many aspects of life.
My best moment would have to have been grand slamming the 3rd and 4th round of the British Kart Championship, taking pole position in qualifying, and the win on both Saturday (round 3) and Sunday (round 4). In such a close and competitive sport, where tenths of a second can drop you down tens of positions, it was arguably the most dominant performance of the season.
- How do you balance your karting competitions with your studies at Reading University?
Although racing is a large commitment for me, education in my household will always take priority as it absolutely should do. As stated previously, racing does make my life extremely busy, with periods of 25 weekends on the bounce worth of racing with only a few days during the week to rest if I’m lucky. Whilst I am away racing, I will always bring along my laptop, pen and paper with me and go over recorded lectures as well as my own research during the evening after a day's worth of racing. It means that I can balance the time out whilst I am at University, as I don’t have to catch up as much as I would if I leave it. Being on top of my workload as well as putting out quality assignments is very important to me, so therefore working on my degree whilst away racing is a must!
- What advice would you give to anyone who is interested in giving Karting a try?
The most important thing when first giving karting a try is to enjoy it. If you start off with the goal of winning every race straight away and having super high aspirations from the get go, you will end up falling out of love with the sport fairly quickly, as the progression curve is a very long and steep one to overcome.
I have my own Youtube channel under my own name with onboard videos from the view of the side of my kart and inside my helmet, with the main goal of allowing lesser experienced people coming into the sport, with a insight into tracks they may have never been to before, or simply to take note and improve their own ability.
The most important thing is to go out and enjoy every moment, and that's usually when fortune comes your way in this sport. There are plenty of online tools and websites which can help you get into karting, and many of which can direct you to find your local kart track. Once you’ve found your local karting venue, visit their website and book a time to go have some fun with some friends.
- Where can people come and watch you in action?
The British Kart Championship takes us all over the UK, and to find the dates and the venues of these events, search up “Iame British Kart Championship Calendar”. This will give you a full list of my whereabouts if you want to come watch in person. All the British Kart Championship events are live streamed as well on Youtube by “Alpha Live”, so searching “Alpha Live British Kart Championship” on the dates mentioned above will show you the active live streams so you can keep up with the action.