This past weekend, young racing driver Tate Bishop headed north to take on the Annual African Open where drivers have a one off shot at winning a ticket to compete in the Rotax World Finals later this year.
Tate tackled the somewhat mini national on the Saturday with a number of traveling drivers taking part in the 4th Round of the Northern Regions Championship. Things didn’t get off to a great start when an incorrect spark plug in qualifying saw Tate relegated to the back of the grid for the 1st heat. With heat 2 starting positions being decided by finishing order in race 1 it was always going to be a tough day at the races, but by heat 3, Tate had found some great pace lapping 2nd fastest overall and finishing in P5 despite some hefty competition at the sharp end of the field. Good momentum none the less going into Sunday’s winner takes all scenario.
Come qualifying on Sunday morning an unfortunate spark related electrical issue meant Tate was down on raw power but still managed to muscle on and qualify 15th. An uphill battle lay ahead, but as we have come to know, Tate revels at such opportunities. In the first pre-final he climbed quite magnificently, making no less than 9 overtakes, to finish in P6. Another solid performance in the 2nd pre-final saw Tate starting the all or nothing final from the 3rd row. Having started sensibly Tate was unfortunately turned around twice during the 20 lap affair to find himself right at the back of the field. He fought back quite valiantly in what was a great yet disappointing drive to 13th.
“It could have gone better, we had the pace, but I will learn from it and will drive a little smarter next time when we are here again for the final round of the Nationals” commented a determined young Tate after the day’s racing.