Ryan Sy faced off a stacked grid of 104 karters, made up of champions from different parts of the globe, during the ROK Cup Superfinal 2023 at South Garda Karting in Lonato, Italy. The lone Junior ROK entry from the Philippines proved that he can hang with the best of the best and even made it all the way to the Levanto Trophy Finals on the last day of competition.
The annual ROK Cup Superfinal is their culminating event where champions from 20 national ROK Cups come together to settle the score on track. A tough challenge for the newly-crowned ROK GP Philippines Junior Champion as he has never raced in a competition of this scale and barely had 2 day’s worth of practice on an unfamiliar circuit.
Ryan shared his first impressions on such a competitive playing field expressing, “I was racing with champions from around the world, racers that basically live in the track, and racers with so much aggression they practically ‘die for racing’.”
Adding to the challenge was that Ryan entered as a privateer under Formula E Racing. Up against the karting giants of Europe, his modest team was comprised of his mom and dad, coach Elson Carpio, and Uncle Red serving as his mechanic.
However, things got off to a rocky start. Running on a handout engine, Ryan struggled during Free Practice and was well off the pace as he lacked power. This prompted the team to source another engine from local team Gamoto Racing and hurriedly install it on his #806 kart just in time for the last practice session. Immediately, the difference was evident as he was able to slash a full second off his time and was now lapping close to his rivals.
Ryan made his mark right from the get-go and delivered an outstanding performance on the very first Qualifying Heat. Starting from the 7th row on the grid, he maintained position in the opening sequence of corners, but spun out as he tried to make a pass and ended up dead last. That’s when he put in the drive of his life and made up 17 places over a span of 8 laps.
The Filipino karter steadily showed his strengths throughout the next Heats, finishing in 20th, 25th, 30th, and 19th. Ryan shared that his slow starts were his biggest struggles and required him to fight his way back up through the standings. After the dust settled, his results placed him in 70th position out of 104 participants, which was enough to secure him a slot in the Levanto Trophy finals.
But his excitement to compete in the Finals came to naught as Ryan unfortunately didn’t make it to the race start. Despite his team’s best efforts, his engine would not turn over even with a full battery and put a premature end to Ryan’s big race.
Despite the disappointing end to his ROK Cup Superfinal stint, the Formula E Racing prodigy is basking in the massive experience gained over the course of a few days in Italy. Sharing how he felt from the weekend, “It feels amazing to race the Philippine flag at Lonato. It definitely wasn’t easy going against the best ROK karters from around the world and adjusting to the very high grip levels, difficult track layout, and racing in the cold.”
“I would like to thank my parents for supporting me all the way in my racing journey, coach Elson, uncle Renato Merlin, and uncle Longlong for sharing their extensive experience and knowledge in racing in Lonato, uncle Red for going through the long process of finding the setup for the track, Gamoto Racing for providing us their top racing engine, kuya Jesse and William for sharing their experience and onboards that helped speed up the learning curve, and kuya Von for giving his tips and suggestions when he was driving with me. I also want to thank my school Domuschola International School, Mr. Gino, and Ms. Rosas for supporting me to balance my academic studies while letting me chase my racing dreams,” shared Ryan.