Go-karting prodigy Brandon Abraham’s track record suggests he has a bright future ahead
Most parents are able to wait until their children are 17 years old before seeing them get behind the wheel and reach speeds of 60 to 70mph.
But, for Paul Abraham, that unnerving moment has come a little earlier than expected – his son, 13-year-old Brandon, is a prodigious outdoor go-karting driver who has his sights set on Formula One.
The youngster, who lives on The Avenue in Wood Green and attends Highgate Wood School, has skills which were obvious at an early age.
“I took him to the Excel Car Show and he was on a Ferrari simulator,” Paul recalls. “A gentleman came over to me and said ‘is that your son? He’s scored the highest of anybody all day’. That kind of ticked something in my head. Then on his 10th birthday we went to Southend and we went on the go-karts.”
“I lapped you five times,” Brandon chips in with a grin.
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Since then, Brandon has won the indoor London League – beating adults as well as children – and is now competing in the Mini Max (11-15) age group of the Super One British Karting Championships, where Lewis Hamilton, Jenson Button and David Coulthard also developed their talents.
In his last race, at Buckmore Park in Chatham, Brandon was first out of the five rookies who are new to the competition this year – despite a nasty collision where a rival kart reared up on top of him.
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“He turned into me, hitting my helmet and landing on my hand,” he says. “My hand was hurting for the whole of the race.”
There is no time for fear on the track, though. “When you’re racing you get into the zone where you’re not thinking about anything - you just drive and you have no fear so you can just get on with it,” says Brandon.
“If you think about it, often you’ll be like ‘should I go here, should I go there?’ It’s too late then, you just have to get on with it and see what happens.
“I’ve crashed at 70mph flat into a barrier before. Recently a guy span right in front of me and I went flat out into him.”
“My wallet remembers!” Paul adds. “I’ve watched with my heart in my mouth sometimes but now it’s calming to watch him. You look at him and think ‘you know what you’re doing’ so it makes me feel better - I don’t sit there thinking ‘get this race over with, get him out of there’.
“I’m a 60mph dad and he complains when I’m driving. He’s back-seat driving all the time. I drive at 60mph and he’s always feeling that I’m a tortoise.
“It’s very exciting though. Some parents go and watch football but it’s quite exhilarating that you’re competing a bit as a family.
“We try to do the best with our finances. It’s not just focused 100 per cent on what he’s doing, the background manoeuvres are also important so I enjoy it from that perspective.”
The financial aspect can, in fact, be career-defining. Racing with Litchfield Sports – Brandon’s new team – and the costs of the kart, facilities, tyres, fuel and race entry can cost around £1,300 for each weekend of competition.
Paul says: “Unfortunately for me Brandon’s very good and he can compete with these people, but my wallet’s not the same - so when I say we can’t do something it’s not because he can’t compete or even win, it’s because we can’t afford to do it, and that’s quite difficult sometimes.
“Our plan is for Brandon to get to a level where he can be picked up, even if it’s a scholarship, or be noticed.
“Super One is a series of seven races throughout the year and if Brandon is successful in winning the rookie championship then next year we don’t have to pay for our entry, so that means a lot to us – it’s something we want to achieve.”
Brandon adds: “I always think of the future but the thing is, with me, if I find out there’s not enough money to race then it kind of hinders my opinion of what I can do.
“My other friends who are racing have set plans - they know they have the money so they have a set plan of what they’re going to do, unless they have an injury or something.
“But with me, it’s ‘are we going to get sponsorship?’. I know what I want to do - be in cars in the future and be in the best situation and race as much as I can - but we’ll have to wait and see.”
Brandon is currently sponsored by Castles estate agents, Palace Motors in Crouch End, Outsider and Nomad – but accidents and crashes are paid for out of Paul’s pocket. So does Brandon ever consider the possible cost when he is weighing up a risky manoeuvre?
“I can say never,” Paul interjects. Never, not one thought!” Brandon adds: “I used to but that kind of held me back, so now I just forget it.”
The immediate focus is on the fourth round of the Super One Championships at Fulbeck this weekend, but Brandon could get an even bigger opportunity to impress when the Kartmasters British Grand Prix is held on the first Sunday in August.
“That’s where most people get picked up, but because of that it’s really expensive compared to all the other events,” says Brandon. “It’s about £2,000 more expensive but you’ve got more chance of being picked up by sponsors.
“That’s where Kiern Jewiss got picked up by Mark Blundell [who runs a Young Drivers Management programme as part of a company involving Dragons Den business Theo Paphitis]. He was 13 at the time.”
The Kartmasters Grand Prix will be fiercely competitive, even if the Abrahams can afford to be on the start line. But those who believe in fate might just be encouraged by one little detail – the racing circuit is located in a village in Lincolnshire called… Brandon.
To sponsor Brandon, email Paul Abraham at firstname.lastname@example.org