MENTAL STRENGTH IS THE KEY, SAYS GO-KARTING WORLD CHAMPION

By: Ashok Purohit

Sean Babington, the 2014 Rotax Max DD2 world go-karting champion who made his Oman debut on Friday, believes mental strength is a key quality a driver should possess in order to achieve success.

Speaking to Muscat Daily, the 21 year old Babington said, “I am mentally strong and it helped me achieve the world title [in Valencia, Spain last November]. I feel that in today’s ultra-competitive world of racing, one needs to be mentally strong besides being good in his race craft.”

Babington had arrived in Oman with Energy Kart Team from UAE to take part in the UAE Rotax Max Championship double-header that was held on Friday and Saturday. The world champion was impressed with the go-kart track at the Oman Automobile Association’s (OAA) Muscat Speedway.

“It is a wonderful and beautiful track with some fast corners and a nice loop. The facilities offered are also good,” said the youngster.

A familiar winner on UAE’s karting scene, the UK-born Babington considers Dubai as his ‘hometown’ and the Dubai Kartdrome his home track.

Babington, who hails from Kent in the UK, was a class act at the Rotax Max World Finals in Valencia. He hardly put a foot wrong during a highly-competitive event, claiming his maiden go-karting world title on November 29.

“It was a sweet victory as the conditions were quite tough. To beat some of the best drivers from across the world was quite a task,” said Babington. A total of 72 DD2 drivers from 46 countries were in action at the worlds.

Babington recalled, “The final was run on a damp track, but I was unfazed by the tricky conditions. I won by more than two seconds over former champion Ben Cooper of Canada.”

The former European and British go-karting champion added, “It was an amazing feeling, to have won my first world title. The competition in Valencia was of a very high standard and the racing was tough. But I think I was a bit lucky as well. I was able to control the race and I enjoyed the conditions.”

Coming from a family of go-karting drivers – his father Simon was a top racer on the European circuit – it’s no wonder the youngster credited his father for supporting and grooming him into a world champion.

“I began following the sport very early, watching my dad compete,” the young Babington said. “Later on, he was my mentor and my mechanic as well. He helped me develop my race craft and also grow mentally strong. Today, I enjoy tough and adverse conditions as it brings the best out of me.”

‘SANAD IS ON THE RIGHT TRACK’

The world champion, who has competed alongside Oman’s top racer Sanad al Rawahi in numerous races, including the world finals in Valencia, was all praise for his Muscat-based opponent.

“Sanad is a very good driver,” Babington said. “He is doing the right thing by competing in Europe where the competition is very tough. The go-karting benchmark in Europe is high and I think he is on the right track. He has a matured look and appears calm during racing, which is a good sign.”

‘ENDURANCE RACING IS MY NEXT TARGET’

Having moved to UAE, Babington is keen to graduate into endurance racing in the future.

“Last year, I took part in the 24-hrs Le Mans karting race [in France] and it was a wonderful experience. Of course, all plans in motor sports are heavily dependent on one’s budget. I hope to save some money while racing and competing in Dubai before making my next move,” said the world champion.

Babington admitted that he still has certain areas to develop. “I need to grow in confidence and approach other teams for new challenges. The ability to market my talent and potential is something I need to improve,” he said.

In UAE, Babington races for Energy UAE Kart Team and also coaches young drivers regularly. He represents Energy UAE in the UAE Rotax Max Championship.

“I love Dubai,” he said. “It is a fantastic and modern city, I am enjoying a good lifestyle. The Energy UAE Kart Team has close to 25 drivers in action at the UAE Rotax Max Championship series. Of course, not many [of my teammates] have come to Muscat. But in UAE, the team has a good pool of talented drivers.”

He aims to retain the UAE DD2 title later this year that will help him attempt to defend his world title.

SOURCE: Muscat Daily