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Saturday December 4, 2010

Young driver aims for Europe

BETWEEN attending school at the Fairview International School and tuition classes, 15-year-old Weiron Tan also has time for his passion go-karting.

He also has to fit in gym sessions three to five times a week and testing at the race track at least once a week.

“I work out at the gym to maintain my stamina and to keep tabs on my weight. I even had to give up chocolates, which I love,” he said with a laugh.

Weiron: After winning several races in Malaysia,he is looking forward to competing in Europe next year.

Starting out two years ago in the junior category, Weiron ended up racing in the senior category meant for boys above 17 years old because of his weight.

“I was heavier than most of the boys in my age group so I had to race in the senior category. They are a lot more experienced than I am so I really have to concentrate during the race,” he said.

He admitted to being interested in extreme sports like snowboarding, which he does during annual family holidays to countries like China, Japan and Korea.

However, karting was not something that he had consciously decided to get into.

His father Raymond Tan, 50, said that he brought Weiron and his three other sons to a go-kart track about two years ago.

“I was really into motor racing but coming from a traditional Chinese family, I was not allowed to pursue that interest professionally.

“When the four of them drove at the track, I saw that Weiron had natural skills as a driver so I asked him if he would be interested to take it up seriously and he said yes,” said Raymond.

Weiron has since been competing in several races in Malaysia, Bangkok, Indonesia and the Phillippines.

After coming out tops in the senior category of the Plus Yamaha International Challenge 2010 recently, he would be ending the 2010 season at the Asian Karting Open Championships in Macau this month.

“I gained a lot of experience throughout the year and learned a lot from racing in the various circuit. I just tried not to give myself pressure since I was the underdog and focused on gaining as much experience as I can,” said Weiron of his recent win.

“My team and I worked very hard and more importantly I credit the win to my father for his unending support,” he said.

Besides the skills needed to drive the karts, Weiron learnt from the start that there he needed to know the technical know-hows of the karts.

“Our practice sessions are called testings because we basically test out how the different chassis works with different engines and parts. We also need to test out how which tyres work best on different tracks,” he said.

Working with a technical team, he learnt the ropes slowly by asking questions whenever he was in doubt.

“There are no stupid questions. Just stupid answers,” he said with a grin.

Looking forward, Raymond felt that his son was ready to take on bigger challenges and to head on to Europe next year.

“Initially, we wanted to start him out slowly. Most karters would have started driving at the age of eight but he only started at 13 so we didn’t want to send him out too early. Since he has been doing well, I think he’s ready,” said Raymond.

He had also set his sights on Formula 1 racing for his son if Weiron performed well in Europe.


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