Too Hot to
Handle! Karting's Fastest Female on How it Feels to Beat the Worlds
Best at Suzuka
Terence Dove interviews Asian
ICA sensation Michelle Bumgarner -30 November 2005
Michele Bumgarner has exploded onto
the world karting scene this year. Having won the Asian karter
of the year two years running she decided to throw herself
into the lion's den and compete against the best in Europe
for 2005. And after facing a baptism of fire in Europe she
has emerged as as one of the world's best karters, as she
proved at Suzuka this month. So the guys at karting1 tracked
Michele down in Manila to find out why she is so bloody
You won a heat from grid 11 at the Asia Pacific
ICA Championship in Suzuka, and took the fastest lap! What’s
it like to win a heat against some of the best ICA drivers in the
' I couldn’t believe it at first to tell you the truth,
for last year, I couldn’t even get to top 10. While I was
driving in that last heat, in my mind, I counted the guys in front
of me; I was third at that time. Then I was able to pass
them guys at the last lap. After the race, at the parc ferme,
everyone shook my hand, signs of respect, which is good for me.
When I went up the hill to seeTerry, he gave me a big hug, started
dancing and kept on telling me that it was a really good race to
watch. I then sat down beside him with shock and excitement, he
then asked me what was wrong, then I told him that that was probably
my best race ever, and he agreed.'
In case you are wondering, her coach Terry is
in fact the world famous karting legend Terry Fullerton!
Wow, so I asked how has working with Terry improved your
' Working with Terry has made my driving improve a lot.
Without his teachings, I wouldn’t be where I am right now.
He knows exactly what he’s doing, and it shows from my driving
skills. He has improved me a lot as a racer and as a person.'
So is having a good coach something you think
drivers need 'I think that it’s really important to
have help from the best. There are a lot of coaches out there who
have good backgrounds, but when they teach, they don’t really
know how to explain this and that. I’m really blessed to have
Terry as my karting coach to
tell you the truth, for he tells you what your doing wrong, how
to fix fit, how to improve it better, when to do this and that.
He’s the total package as a driving coach.
I wondered what it is about her driving that sets
her apart from other drivers. She didn't give much away! '
I'm not that different from any other driver, I drive on the same
tracks, brake almost the same places, turn here, turn there. A lot
of people told me the thing that separates me from other drivers
is that I'm a smooth kart driver,
if you want to be good you HAVE to be smooth. I'm patient, well
at least I TRY to be. And the last but not the least, I'm consistent,
that of course is the most important thing. Without consistency,
you wont be able to get anywhere'
Well, seemingly she did't give much away, but
from my point of view she has told us she knows exactly where she
brakes, exactly where the other
guys brake and exactly where
she turns into corners. So I asked her how she goes about learning
a new track. 'before going to the tracks, I look at the
specific track that I will race on next, so that I would prepare
myself even more. Then when I get there, would walk the whole track.
See where all of the black marks are coming from, where people break
and stuff like that. Of course I ask tips from Terry or my dad.'
I would say it's was a very brave decision to
leave behind the Asian karting scene to go race against the world's
toughest drivers. Michele has a very nice situation in Asia and
could easily stay there with her celebrity status, and would probably
be able to carve out a career as a profesional race driver from
there- However Michele is a proper kart racer and wants to race
the best drivers in the world!
On karting in europe Michele says 'there
is no comparison between Asian karting and European karting. In
Europe, they have everything, they have the best tracks, and best
teams, best engine tuners, and of course, best drivers. If you win
a championship in Europe, then you’re good, oh wait no, that’s
not the word, you’re the BEST'
I want to climb up to F1 the right way,
karting first, then up to cars such as FBMW’s, and others.'
'The thing that I enjoy most about karting
that you cant get in cars, is that you can get wheel to wheel battle,
bumping here and there, it doesn’t matter. Karting is the
best way to learn how and where to get your driving skills. If you’re
not good in karting, then you wont be good in cars.'
So what is the secret to success for you? 'I
don’t think there’s a secret to my success throughout
the year, maybe I’ve just improved a lot as a driver. I’ve
been working harder than ever, which is important. And LUCK, luck
is the key to win, without luck I wouldn’t have done my achievements
that I achieved this year'
So what did I learn about Michele's secrets to
sucess? Well first of all she is very smart! She has secured the
services of the best people in the industry, ie Terry Fullerton.
Next, she is methodical about her approach to driving, she knows
where to brake, where to turn into corners and what clues to look
for on circuits to get round them quickly.
As a person she is really impressive. From the
moment I requested this interview she replied immediately with thorough
and enthusiastic answers. She is very approachable and has a great
website, where she tells us everything about her racing www.michelebumgarnerracing.com.
That site is constantly updated so sponsors
and fans can follow her closely.
And speaking of sponsors she has a whole list
- Malaysian airlines
- Prive hair salon
- Cream silk hair products
- M & M kart racing team
- Tillett racing seats
- Alfano timing system
Michele now will compete in Macau for the final
round of the Asian Open karting Championships December 15-18 where
she is leading in overall points for the ICA class championship,
and don't forget to check out her
karting website to keep up to date with her progress. I wish
all the luck with her future because she's a great driver, and puts
in the maximum possible effort into karting!
Check out our latest article on data-logging