Dubai: Dubai schoolboy Tom Bale, who grew up racing at the Dubai Kartdrome, embarks on the first race of an intensive 2013 international karting campaign in Europe this weekend.
The youngster impressed last year in the junior ranks, his first full year of racing at the top tier of European junior karting, and crowned his season with a sensational win in the 2012 CIK-FIA Karting Academy Trophy world finals in Bahrain.
Bale returns to the international scene to compete in the 2013 WSK Masters KF Junior class, with Ricky Flynn Motorsport team, where he will be taking on the cream of the karting world’s junior drivers including the sons of Michael Schumacher and Jean Alesi.
The KF junior categories have an impressive list of former champions including Sebastian Vettel, Lewis Hamilton and Sebastien Buemi, while karting is the acknowledged first rung on the road to Formula 1. All the current Formula 1 drivers have junior karting on their CVs.
The first round of the 2013 WSK Masters Series will take place from Thursday until Sunday at the famous La Conca international karting circuit in Otranto, Italy. More than 60 drivers are confirmed for the KF Junior category alone, which caters for drivers aged 13-16 years of age and is considered the pinnacle international karting class for young drivers.
This is the first race of the 2013 international karting season for the Dubai 14-year-old, who will compete in a further nine international races this season, including the European and World Championships.
Bale, who is originally from Wales, moved to Dubai in 2004 and started karting at the age of seven at Dubai Kartdrome, racing in the UAE national championship Cadet Class where he won two UAE titles.
The teenager has competed in the UAE Rotax Junior Max races since November, as part of his training for the European season, signing off with a win earlier this month at Dubai Kartdrome. Should his busy international schedule permit, he will make cameo appearances in the local series during the remainder of the UAE season.
Last year Bale competed in the Silver Cup at La Conca and claimed third place.
Ahead of this weekend he said, “I go back to Italy knowing what to expect. I feel fresh and ready. Winning at the Kartdrome in the Max Juniors earlier this month is a good confidence-booster, but very different to what I can expect in Europe where the best guys in the world, of my age group, will be competing. The goal is to bring home to Dubai the biggest trophy.”