Callum Bradshaw got his season off to a dream start in the IAME Euro Series after taking the win in Senior X30 at Mariembourg. Making his debut in the championship, Callum entered as one to watch after teaming up with Fusion Motorsport for the 2019 season. Now many will be labelling Callum as a title favourite after he took a comfortable victory in a sell-out grid of almost 80 drivers!
The IAME Euro Series has become a seriously competitive championship in the last couple of years, so much so that Callum’s move from racing in the FIA Karting European Championship can be considered a sideways step rather than a step down. The grid featured several World, European and domestic champions leaving it almost an impossibility when it comes to predeciting a winner.
The size of the grid meant qualifying would be done in three groups with Callum part of the group to take to the track first. A solid time of 56.380 seconds was enough to put him sixth in group which would eventually result in eighteenth overall once the groups were put together giving Callum a fourth row start for all of his heats.
Callum took advantage of his strong grid position moving forward in all but one of his four heats where he took three top three place finishes. It was great progress and showed the Fusion’s drivers impressive race pace. However, it more importantly set him up nicely for finals day with Callum now due to start fifth on the grid for the Pre-Final. As well as setting the grid for the Final, it would also be the first points scoring race of the season.
As the Pre-Final got underway Callum was in no mood to wait around and dived straight down the inside of pole sitter Lewis Gilbert, amongst others, at turn one to emerge in second place. From there he immediately began to put the pressure on race leader Jordan Brown-Nutley and took the lead of the race just half a lap in with a fantastic move at turn fifteen.
So, it would be Callum who lead the karts across the line at the start of the fourteen-lap race, but he would have Gilbert for company with the pair breaking clear from the rest of the field. Gilbert made his first attempts to retake the lead at the end of lap three going into turn 21, but as the pair headed onto the main straight Callum was straight back down the inside sending a clear statement that he was not going down without a fight.
Round three in the fight between Callum and Gilbert would commence on lap six as he took back the lead leaving Callum to deal with the likes of Niels Koolen and Mark Kimber who had now joined the party. Unfortunately for Callum that would lead to him dropping to fourth and the battles had caused a break up in proceedings with the top two now away and clear and Callum fighting for what looked to be third at best.
With just a few laps remaining Callum would reclaim that third and despite challenges from Kimber, Mathilda Olsson and Elie Goldstien, Callum would hold on to secure an inside row two start for the Final.
That inside row start was put to immediate good use at the start of the race with Callum charging straight up to second at the opening corner. Similar to the Pre-Final Callum’s tactics were to get into the lead as quickly as possible and he found space to make his move on Gilbert going into turn two on just the second lap of the final.
It was a clinical move which gave Callum some breathing space as he began to settle into the final. Over the first half of the race Koolen and Gilbert would begin to put pressure back on Callum who was making no mistakes leaving the pair no chances to make any moves. Halfway through the race and now Callum had a further driver to deal with in Ravenscroft, but this made no differences to his attitude as he kept cool and let the laps tick by.
Eventually patience would wear thin behind and Gilbert and Ravenscroft began to battle amongst themselves leaving Koolen the sole remaining threat to Callum. But as the Fusion driver began to up his pace more and more the Dutch driver was struggling to respond and eventually lost the tow leaving Callum to drive off into the distance.
Callum eventually opened a gap of 1.5 seconds going onto the final lap giving him enough space to take things easy before coming across the line to take an emphatic victory! It was a flawless performance from the Brit who took the lead of the championship with it.
Callum Bradshaw: “I am very happy to win on my debut with Fusion Motorsport! Considering they haven’t had much experience in the Senior X30 category it is impressive that we were able to compete for the win. We will carry this momentum forward into the rest of the season!”
It’s fair to say the IAME Euro Series couldn’t have started much better for Callum who is now the man to beat going into the remaining three rounds. The series will be back in action at the end of May for round two at Castelletto.