Congratulations to Charlie Eastwood in Year 14 who added the European Kart Racing Championship to his World title crown. This is a fantastic achievement for Charlie who travels extensively to compete against the best in the world. Charlie won his European title in France just last weekend and the school is delighted for Charlie and his family. The extract below is a press release given to media:

“Belfast’s Charlie Eastwood has completed a historic quadruple by adding the Euro Max Challenge title to his World, Irish and American crowns.

In the space of just nine months, the 18-year karting ace from Four Winds in Belfast, has built a glittering reputation following an unprecedented run of success.

Prior to heading to Salbris in central France for the last round of the prestigious European Rotax championship (7/8 September), Charlie had claimed World Number One status with his Grand Finals victory at Portimao in Portugal last December, before winning the three-round Florida Winter Tour in March.

As a warm-up for the crucial Euro title-decider, he had entered the Irish Karting Grand Prix, held at his home circuit at Nutts Corner, and duly won it, to further boost his confidence prior to heading to the Loire region.

Once there, the Irishman’s greatest challenge came from inside his own team, Strawberry Racing. Team-mates Harry Webb and Kyle Fowlie both stood strong chances of snatching the overall victory from Eastwood, should the Aquinas Grammar School A-level student stumble at the final hurdle.

“Salbris proved to be very exciting, as my closest rivals were all Strawberry drivers”, Charlie explained. “It was also very tense and competitive, but we were team-mates after all so you needed to remain professional and focused on delivering the right result for the team, as well as for yourself.”

Eastwood struck an early psychological blow by setting the fastest lap during timed-qualifying and went on to claim pole position for the first of Sunday’s two finals. However, with Webb and Fowlie close behind him on the starting grid, in 4th and 6th respectively, everything had to go to plan.

“At this point, Harry was my closest rival and I knew I had to do well in both races. If I won the two finals and Harry was 2nd, that would be enough for me to win it. However, in the first final, he was black-flagged and in those circumstances, the rules state that a driver cannot contest the main final.”

He put one hand on the trophy, after taking third place in the Pre-Final, but still couldn’t afford to relax. Fowlie had won and with victory came a good haul of championship points. This meant the Scot had a chance of causing a major shock should Eastwood falter in the title-deciding showdown. “In some ways [Webb’s disqualification] took the pressure off and yet put it right back on,” Charlie explained.

Some frantic number-crunching showed what needed to be done; in order for Charlie to achieve his goal he had to finish second, or higher: “I didn’t want to risk an accident with Kyle and undo all our hard work,” he said. “So my plan was to stay calm and push away from the chasing pack with him. We both knew that if he crossed the line first and I was second, then I would be champion and he would move up to second in the points table. Initially, I pushed Kyle hard through the opening stages but once I saw that the rest of the field was too busy fighting each other to trouble us, we eased up and made sure it was a calm run to the chequered flag.” He added: It’s a great feeling. The world championship is held over just one race meeting but the Euro is a multi-round championship, so winning it shows that I can both rise to the big, single occasion events and perform consistently over a season.”

Eastwood now has his sights set on the finale of the British Super One championship. He is currently fourth after two mechanical failures earlier in the season all but put-paid to his chances of claiming yet another major triumph: “I’ve had some misfortunes previously, so I’m out of the frame to win overall. However, a top three is very much a reality and, given the circumstances and what I’ve achieved so far, I’d be happy with that.”