It’s already prestigious enough whenever a Filipino driver gets to represent his (or her) country in a motorsport event overseas. Even more so if they get to finish on the podium, on multiple occasions, and win a world championship event no less. To karter William John Riley Go, that was simply a summary of his 2022 season.
Born and raised in Cebu, William got into karting at the age of 6 after some mild persuasion from one of his dad’s friends. He then entered his first local race a year later, picked up his first national win soon after that, and was awarded Cadet Karter of the Year by 2018. Things then started to pick up the pace when raced internationally, racking up a fine collection of championship trophies from the IAME Series Asia, ROK Cup Singapore, and Asian Karting Open Championship (AKOC) in 2019.
His winning streak, however, was briefly cut off by the pandemic as it forced him to take a 2-year hiatus from motorsports. But when he eventually returned in 2022, it was as if he had never left and was just as quick around the track as before.
Now switching his focus to Europe, the WSK Super Master Series, IAME Euro Series, and FIA Karting Championships filled his calendar as he competed full time.
“Ever since I was 7 I had to get used to being away from my family due to racing. Although I have been doing it for a number of years already, it does not get easy. Being miles away from home has and will always be a struggle since I have to be away from home for long durations. Racing indeed entails sacrifice,” he commented about being away for a year.
But based on what the 14-year-old achieved, it was all worth the sacrifice.
William secured his first milestone back in May when he became the first ever Filipino to deliver a podium in the FIA Karting Academy. He was classified 2nd during the Finals out of an ultra-competitive 34-kart grid at Karting Genk in Belgium during the series’ 2nd event. The young Cebuano would later finish the season 6th overall in the championship.
He quickly followed this up with a Top 3 finish at the WSK Euro Series in July. Competing at the Circuito South Garda Karting in Italy, William fought his way up the standings and improved 4 places during the 17-lap Finals to cross the finish line in 3rd.
Ending the year with a bang, William accomplished his best result to date at the 2022 ROK Superfinals, again at Lonato in Italy. He was consistently one of the front runners in the new Super ROK category and qualified P3 for the Finals. Getting up to P2 was a clean pass on the opening lap, but taking the lead proved to be more difficult. He spent 15 laps hounding the leader and was running out of time to make a move. But at last, an opportunity opened up that allowed him to take 1st place with only 5 laps to go. William then put his head down to widen his lead to 5.119 secs by the time the chequered flag dropped, earning him his first race victory at a world championship event.
“There was a surreal amount of joy from myself and everyone who supported me. This one of a kind milestone would not have been possible without my family, my team,” he shared. “[It was] truly a one of a kind experience that motivates me to keep moving forward to reach my dreams despite how ambitious it may seem!”
So, what’s next for William Go? After finishing 2022 strong, he’s now back in Europe with confirmed entries in the FIA Karting European Championship, WSK Euro Series, and Super Master Series, again with the goal of delivering wins and podium finishes, while bringing pride to the Philippines.