11-year-old Axel Nocom has made a habit out of winning on home soil. His talent has taken him to 3x MiniRok championships and is currently en route to a 4th. But he already knows that winning won’t come easy when takes on the best karters in the world at the T4 Nations Cup in Spain, happening later this September 2023.
That explains why, instead of blazing through the competition at the recent MiniRok XCS Series Night Race, Axel decided to hold back and sharpen his race craft by fighting wheel-to-wheel mid pack. It was also an opportunity for the Mercedes Young Driver Development Philippines karter to help his teammates to a podium lockout at the Clark International Speedway Kart Track last August 19/20.
The double-header weekend began with Round 5 on Saturday where Axel immediately set the early pace by Qualifying on pole. He then let fellow Mercedes YDDP drivers Kraige Berdos and TJ Santiago go by in Heat 1 to score a 1-2-3 finish for the team. Things just didn’t go as planned in Heat 2 where Axel was involved in a collision and dropped down to 9th.
But this was of little concern for the MiniRok Expert points leader who bounced back hard during the Finals. Axel surged from P6 at the start and take the lead after only 3 corners. Showing what he’s truly capable of, he proceeded to open up a commanding 6.996 secs gap by the time he took the chequered flag and left everyone in his wake.
Axel was simply untouchable over a single lap and set the fastest time of any MiniRok driver that weekend with a 54.688 secs run on Sunday to qualify on pole for Round 6. But it was business as usual come Heat 1 where he defended P4 spot profusely to allow his Mercedes YDDP teammates to secure a 1-2-3 finish. Heat 2 was a repeat with Axel simply practicing his lines to take an easy 3rd.
Keeping to his goal on improving through battles, Axel fended off attacks from rival teams during the Finals. His tactics proved to be successful over the course of 10 laps and would allow Mercedes YDDP to take the Top 3 spots on the podium with Axel in 2nd.
Despite not scoring full points, Axel gets to keep his MiniRok Expert lead with 455 points and still gain enough experience in preparation for the T4 Nations Cup.
Organized by Tillotson Racing, the T4 Series is a new cost-effect category into karting. It runs their own branded Tillotson chassis, Tillotson TPP-225RS engine, as well as specifically designed tires. This allows them to control costs while making racing fast, easy, and competitive.
Identical T4 Tillotson T4 machinery will be used throughout the 3-day event with Tillotson’s engineers providing track-side support. 5 categories will be run in total, segregated based on age, with Axel entering the T4 Mini category for drivers aged 8 to 12 years old. Taking place at the International Kartodromo Lucas Guerrero in Valencia, Spain, the event starts on the 21st of September with 2 day’s worth of practice, followed by the official event proper on the 23rd and 24.
Aside from Axel, Yuan Bugayong is also confirmed for the event whose outfit DRIFT MOTOR Racing Team is responsible for getting him an invite.
Axel Nocom is supported by Mercedes Young Driver Academy Philippines, Motul Infiniteserv International, Alpinestars, Alaska Milk Corporation, Recaro Philippines, DENSO, and Pocari Sweat.
For more info and the latest updates, follow the Axel Motorsports page on Facebook.
[Photos by Bong Boado]