Axel Nocom bitten (but not beaten) by ants in Palawan en route to MiniRok victory


11-year-old Axel Nocom remains undefeated in the MiniRok XCS Series after the 2023 championship visited the Palawan International Circuit (PIC) in April. The only real threat to his dominance so far have been, would you be believe, an army of ants.

With education being his family’s top priority and clashing school schedules, Axel only arrived at the track on Friday morning before the race weekend. Although this limited his practice runs, it was of little concern for team Mercedes Young Driver Development Philippines. We’ve been told that Axel is being conditioned to adapt to any track, in any condition in the shortest time possible. This is to prepare him for regional or international events where jam-packed schedules are common, giving drivers only a handful of sessions to find the limit.

What’s even more remarkable is that this young talent does not rely on a personal lap timer to improve on pace. Instead, he relies on pure driving feel and other reference points, such as his gap to other karters on track, to determine how quick (or slow) he really is.

Axel would top the time sheets right from the get go, setting the fastest lap of any MiniRok driver all weekend with a 1:08.171 during the Warm Up session on Saturday. He was also quickest during the Time Trials, 1st in Qualifying Heat 1, and also in Heat 2.

The 3x MiniRok champion was so far ahead of the competition that he had no real threat on track… that was until the Finals on Sunday. While still in the lead, he was seen to be in great discomfort as he franticly reached into his race suit collar. Something was clearly upsetting Axel enough to slow him down and let his competitors to catch up. It was just fortunate that he had built such a big gap that he still crossed the finish line 4.138 secs ahead of 2nd place.

Records show that Axel has always won the Finals every time he races at the Palawan International Circuit. It’s only this year that he was almost beaten by, of all things, an army of ants that was biting on his neck during the race. Though still in pain and a bit swollen, Axel took the top step on the podium in MiniRok to further extend his championship lead.

It’s going to be a long 2-month break until the season resumes on July 29/30 with the Clark International Speedway Kart Track hosting Rounds 3 and 4 of an 8-round championship.

Axel Nocom is supported by Mercedes Young Driver Academy Philippines, Motul Infiniteserv International, Alpinestars, Alaska Milk Corporation, Recaro Philippines, DENSO, and SKRATCH LABS Energy Bar.

For more info and the latest updates, follow the Axel Motorsports page on Facebook.

[Photos by Jerald Valdez]