If we tell the story as is, this would simply be about Axel Nocom winning a 3rd consecutive MiniRok title at the 27th AAP Annual Motorsports Awards. As impressive as that sounds, there’s quite a number of details that trophies do not tell. Because this is not your typical tale of ‘practice makes perfect’ or ‘a student is only as good as his teacher’ sort of thing.
Axel’s case is actually quite the opposite.
For starters, despite not missing a single race since 2019, would you believe that this 11-year-old has not participated in any track practice sessions in the last 2 years. For reasons such as pandemic restrictions, school schedules, or simply due to clashing family activities, Axel has only been able to show up on track during the race weekend itself.
To make up for lost ground, he spends A LOT of time in the sim. He also competes in both local and international events against some of the best drivers in the world, which helps him sharpen his race craft. And he’s able to do it at any time of day, unaffected by weather conditions, and at a fraction of the cost as compared to driving in real life.
Though shocking to most, Axel also doesn’t really have a ‘coach’ in the traditional sense. He simply learns by himself, testing different lines and using different techniques, to improve on his times. What’s important though is that he stays true to the fundamentals of driving and understands what he’s doing right and what he’s doing wrong.
This is where WSK international tuner Richard Peek comes into play. Axel learned early on how to give proper feedback to Richard who then sets up his kart as needed. In return, he also knows how to listen to the subtle inputs from the team’s tuner and apply accordingly.
All these allow the Mercedes Young Driver Development Philippines karter to adapt to any race situation, condition, and track layout in as little time as possible and perform at the top level straightaway, be it at the Carmona Race Track in Cavite or KF1 Karting Circuit in Singapore.
But what really makes Axel’s circumstance special is that he’s not pressured to win at all. His father Mike simply sees the sport as a pastime and puts more emphasis on having fun. This frees up Axel’s mind to simply enjoy what he loves doing.
During the 27th AAP Annual Motorsports Awards, Axel would take home 2 accolades for his achievements in 2022 for being the MiniRok Champion in the Rok GP National Karting Series and National Karting Series.
Axel Nocom is supported by Mercedes Young Driver Academy Philippines, Motul Infiniteserv International, Alpinestars, Alaska Milk Corporation, Recaro Philippines, DENSO, and Skratch Energy Bar.
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[Photo by Jerald Valdez and Bong Boado]