Thu, Nov 4, 2021 8:24 AM

Ollie feels the need for speed

Ollie Workman, 13, with his haul of racing trophies, certificates, and plaques. Photo: Jonty Dine.

Jonty Dine

From the moment Ollie Workman got behind the wheel, it was clear he was born to drive.

The 13-year-old has a penchant for speed which has seen him rack up a mountain of trophies in his short racing career.

The Waimea College student was the toast of KartSport Nelson after a dominant performance at the South Island Sprint Championships contested over Labour Weekend.

Competing in the biggest class, 125cc Rotax Max Junior, Ollie qualified fastest, won both heats and the prefinal, started the final on pole and steadily moved away from his 18 pursuers to win the 29-lap final by 2.313 seconds from Canterbury’s Blake Knowles.

Ollie was not passed once the entire weekend in a dominant performance, leaving drivers up to three years older than him in his dust.

“The track was fast because the weather was sunny, and I did have new tyres, so I managed to drive some personal bests.”

With the North Island Championships cancelled, several drivers opted to make their way south for last month’s meet.

“He was racing some real hotshots,” says father Andrew.

Ollie’s karting career kicked off shortly after moving to Nelson from Timaru.

“We were just driving past the track, and we thought we’d give him a go and there’s been no looking back,” says Andrew.

The family says they were completely new to karting but Ollie soon made a name for himself.

He still recalls his first victory at just seven-years-old in a race against no other drivers.

“I came first, but was only one racing, Nelson didn’t have many young drivers.”

With Ollie having racked up plenty of miles around the track, so too have his parents covered plenty of distance to ensure their son can get to as many competitions as possible.

He has been as far north as Whangarei and as south as Invercargill to race.

Despite being a bit nerve-wracking at times, Ollie’s parents say there is no better felling than seeing him cross the line for victory.

It hasn’t all been podium finishes and trophies for Ollie, however, who has experienced his fair share of nasty crashes.

His worst came at nationals when his kart was T-boned and threw him more than a metre in the air.

Ollie admits that it took a few races to properly get his mojo back.

“I lost some of my confidence but got it back after a month or so the more I drove.”

Trained by Matt and Tiffany Hamilton in Christchurch, Ollie belongs to WKS Racing and has already obtained numerous sponsors.

His next goal is nationals which is scheduled for Wellington in Easter 2022.

Ollie says he is eyeing a career as a V8 driver or potentially even a pilot.

Whether driving a supercar or a Boeing 747, as long as Ollie is going fast, he will be happy.