Future is bright for talented Callum
Following on from my recent piece on former Skerries resident Callum O'Brien, the talented teenager set off for his challenge in Italy, and his dad Stephen takes up the story:
'It is important to understand the motorsport culture in Italy before you can appreciate what Callum achieved. Racing is not a hobby in Italy, it is both a passion and obsession. Anything that can be raced gets given 100% commitment from those involved. The action on track is world level and so is the support in the paddock.
'What would seem like MotoGP technology to us is the norm for teams in the CIV Championship, as Callum was about to find out. After spending the weekend with fellow Aussie racer Matt Price and his team (KRT) at the Misano World Circuit, it was clear to us that this is the place to be.
'Due to a licensing issue that was not discovered until the day before Callum's test, he was not able to ride the Misano World Circuit on Monday morning.
'What seemed like a massive blow turned out to be one of the best learning experiences possible for him. The King Racing Team (KRT) took no time to act on this dilemma and hired Adria International Raceway, a track further north, for Callum to test SK Racing's World Supersport 300 machine.
'He would spend an entire day on track with only one other rider who helped Callum with race lines and on track information to get him up to speed as quickly as possible. With on-track help, two mechanics to prepare the bike, a data acquisition engineer and his coach, there could not be a more perfect situation for Callum to shine.
'The team discussed with Callum's coach what was expected of the rider - not just lap times but how he rode the bike. As Callum discovered, mistakes, no matter how small, can't be hidden from all the data-collecting sensors and keen eyes on track. Every time Callum returned to the pits, his coach and data engineer had something for him to try, based on what they saw on track and electronically.
'Even though Callum took to the new circuit like a duck to water, every improvement he could make would help lower his lap time to what the team were chasing. After nearly three hours of riding in 36-degree heat, with short breaks to rehydrate and eat, Callum achieved the target set by the team.'
Data engineer Alex Scaglioni summed it up thus: 'We are happy with Callum's lap time and even more so with his control input. These were impressive and a great base to work from to develop the young rider.
There are multiple championships Callum could ride in to pursue his racing career and we look forward to working with him if he chooses to race in Italy.'
Project officer Mark Gill added: 'No matter what his decision, not many 15-year-olds get an opportunity like this, and we appreciate the valued help from JET CAMP, as these types of opportunities don't come to often. We also appreciate the huge contribution from Banhams WA Plumbing, Gas and Fire Services as we could not make it a reality without them.'
Now, with all these options for Callum to consider, it will be interesting to see what his plans are for 2018. For more information and photos from the test, follow him on his Facebook page.