How one lucky coincidence led to this student fulfilling his kart racing dreams
Grade 11 student Liam Crystal was crowned the 2019 Senior IAME X30 Champion at the prestigious Dubai O Plate Karting event in January. The event pitted 130 leading kart racers from the GCC and beyond against each other, with 32 competing for the number one spot.
The UAE’s premier event for professional kart racing, the Dubai O Plate’s 1.2km-long circuit boasts 17 corners, a tunnel and a bridge – to test the full range of a driver’s skills. As the most coveted title at the Dubai O Plate event, the senior category is also the most hotly contested. As such, the championship win didn’t come easy for Liam, who struggled to hit peak performance in the qualifying round, where he finished fourth,
a full tenth of a second slower than the winner.
But Liam never gives up and went on to win two of the three heats as well as the Pre-Final – in which he beat his nearest contender by 1.427 seconds. His performance in the subsequent championship race confirmed his undeniable racing instincts, when he beat the driver in second by more than nine seconds!
Up for the challenge
Liam’s date with destiny can be traced back to a happy coincidence. His parents booked the indoor track at the Dubai Kartdrome for his birthday. His performance attracted the attention of the manager, who convinced him to take up kart racing seriously, which eventually led to him racing for a professional team. “Racing makes me feel awesome, it’s something that I have worked hard towards,” Liam explains. “I think my mindset is what makes me a good racer. If a racer has one bad race and gets disheartened, they will never be successful. I think my perseverance and resilience contribute to my success.”
Yet Liam also attributes his success to his school, GEMS World Academy – Dubai (GWA). “I love a lot of things about my school,” he says. “In other schools I have attended, it was sometimes difficult to fit in, but I’ve always felt a positive and welcoming environment at GWA. My teachers are friendly and their enthusiasm is infectious. I also like the collaborative and student-centered approach to education.”
As one of his prizes for winning the senior category at the Dubai O Plate, Liam also won a F4 test drive. Practical enough to realise the uncertainty of a career in racing, Liam wants to study Motor Sport Engineering, complementing his aspirations as a competitive driver. “I think it is important that I do well in my studies, but I want to remain in touch with my passion. Whatever facet of racing I am involved in; I will be happy.”