Cole Parker is cool, calm and collected and that has earned him a trip to Italy for the Rok Cup International Finals, Oct. 14 – 16.
Parker, 17, earned the trip to Italy with a second-place finish in the western Canada Rok go-kart series of six races this summer, three in Chilliwack and three in Regina.
“I’m really excited to be going to Italy,” Parker said.
A Grade 12 student at Correlieu senior high school, Parker took up go-kart racing, “because it’s fun.”
“I just like the racing and the competition,” he admitted.
Although Parker is going to Italy to participate in a Rok event, he also races in the regular four-stroke go-karts that top out at about 72 km/h.
But it is the Rok that averages 85 – 90 km/h that has grabbed his interest.
“I prefer the Rok because it goes faster,” Parker said with a subdued grin.
Faster indeed, Parker’s fastest lap at Cariboo Raceway is 45 sec. in his nine hp regular go-kart, but travels the same distance in a snappy 39.2 with his 29 hp Rok cart.
To handle the extra speed, Parker explained, the Rok has bigger tires that add five inches to the base of the kart and thus add much needed stability rounding corners. Also, the line, the preferred path racers take through a racetrack, also changes to accommodate for the higher speeds.
Maintaining a perfect line is key in the slower nine hp karts because there is little power to help make up for mistakes and Parker’s ability to finding the line and keep it, gives him an advantage in racing Rok karts, where most drivers rely on speed, Parker’s grandfather, Cam Hadfield, explained.
The invitation, based on Parker’s second-place finish, marks a big step in his development as a kart racer, Hadfield said.
“He’s matured quite a bit in the last little while,” Hadfield said.
“He’s patient and he can focus.
“That’s his main attribute, he can go lap after lap and rip off the same time every lap, that is very difficult to do.”
That focus also allows Parker to see opportunities develop and to position himself to take advantage of those opportunities when they arise, Hadfield added.
Parker’s ability to focus and to race is all the more impressive, Hadfield said, considering he is only 17-years old.
“He’s a bit young to be doing this [achieving success],” Hadfield explained.
At the world finals, Parker will be just one of more than 300 racers, from 30 different countries, all vying for a piece of the checkered flag.
With just three days to settle matters, Parker anticipates a tight schedule and said he will prepare both physically and mentally for what he expects will be a hectic three days.
Although unfamiliar with the track at Lonato del Garda and the other drivers he will be facing, Parker has just one thing on his mind.
“I’m looking forward to racing against drivers from around the world,” he said.