Muizzuddin Musyaffa has a light moment with Gamoto Racing team principal Silvatore Gatto at the Sepang International Circuit go-kart track in 2012. - Filepic
IT WAS only three years ago when Muizzuddin Musyaffa Abdul Ghafar took his first bold step to venture into go-karting in Europe.
Muizzuddin, who was only nine at that time, saw an advertisement to race in Portugal during the Rotax Max Malaysia series in Shah Alam.
Armed with two years of experience, Muizz, as he calls himself, wanted to gauge his capability with the best in the world.
The local karting scene was less appealing then with limited races and short on quality drivers.
“I remembered it was an international Micro Max Invitation in Porto where top karters from Europe were taking part.
“It was an opportunity and my father shared my excitement. So, off we went for my very first race outside Malaysia.
“I did not win but managed fourth place. My father was impressed and he spoke to some people from Italy’s Gamoto Racing on getting me to compete a full season in Europe.
“They helped us to compete in the CSAI Italian Championship, which I was told is the most prestigious and competitive karting series in the world with top international karters,” said Muizzuddin, who currently stays in a rented apartment in Sicily with his mother Siti Rohanah Hussein.
Muizzuddin, who competes in the 60 mini class for Under-13 karters, said that competition in Italy was not only stiff but also aggressive, and at times, brutal.
Standing only 148cm and weighing 41kgs, Muizzuddin is also a big fan of comic hero Ironman. And like the character, he is showing steely determination by competing against rivals who are not just older but also physically bigger.
“Unlike in Malaysia, we compete in bigger and crowded grid. The Italian championship pulls in more than 50 karters from all over the world. And most of them are very, very aggressive drivers. It’s definitely very different from Malaysia but it suits me fine as I drive aggressive as well.
“I have always loved karting since the first time I had the opportunity to drive. It is an amazing feeling and I always like to push myself,” he added.
Muizzuddin, whose passion for go-karting stemmed from a visit to a local circuit in 2009, is determined to make a name for himself to repay his father, Abdul Gafar Abdul Rahiman’s faith.
“Many people told him that it would be a waste of money to send me to compete in Europe.
“But my father was firm with his decision. He told me that he was giving me three years and then he will re-assess his decision whether I can continue. I want to do well at the championship this year. I will turn 13 next year and will have to move to a more senior class.”
Muizzuddin dropped to 11th overall on 36 points after a disappointing outing in the third round at Siena last month.
His kart was hit from behind in the opening race and Muizzuddin had to be rushed to the hospital for scans and treatment for a back injury.