Well known and respected Canadian racecar driver Ron Fellows has for years been hosting a kart racing championship at his home track, which he partly owns, at the Canadian Tire Motorsports Park (Mosport Karting Centre). The Ron Fellows Karting Championship is one of the most well known karting series in Canada (largely because he’s the title sponsor) and the top series where kids, teens, and young adults cut their teeth in motorsports.
Most karting tracks have their own club race series but this is a step up from that with proper sponsors, and professional level teams in attendance. This is also sometimes a stepping stone to move up into real cars like the highly competitive Formula 1600 series.
My purpose for being there was to provide some further coaching to 12 year old Ryder Brown. I first met him and his father a couple weeks prior and offered to provide some coaching as an add-on to the sponsorship he received from the ILR Car Control School. This young man may present a calm and quiet demeanor off-track but once he dons his helmet, he’s as focused as a cruise missile.
Once again the weather was miserable and constantly changing from drizzle to rain and back. Throughout the day Ryder consistently ranked 2nd in his practice, qualifier, and pre-final race. Although, it was in his final race where he would really shine in these wet conditions.
He started 2nd and started well (this was an area where he needed improvement but this time he delivered), but unfortunately he was blind-sided and taken out from behind, in the 2nd corner, by another kid and he dropped all the way to the back of the pack. Fortunately this was as scenario that we had discussed prior to the race after watching it happen to another racer from another group. We had discussed the very normal emotions that all racers face when things go horribly wrong (especially when they aren’t your fault) and how to deal with them on the track.
This came in handy as he was able to find the mental strength to keep pressing hard and carry on. Ryder demonstrated his talent in very challenging conditions as the track became very slippery. In the end he was able to fight his way back up to 2nd place. Unfortunately, 1st place had amassed far too much of an advantage for Ryder to catch up but he was on fire and established a five second advantage over his 3rd place rival.
Over just a few days of working with him, I’ve seen a dramatic change in his driving skill, and his emotional maturity when things don’t go his way on the track. He certainly has the potential to make his racing dreams of racing in ALMS, WEC, and LeMans come true. I just hope that the funding and sponsorships present themselves to continue coaching, practice days, and further advancement in the sport.
A huge congratulations Ryder! I look forward to seeing you again soon. This is a driver we should keep an eye on. He may be the next Ron Fellows.