Jorja Thomas knows she will have a tough fight on her hands to retain her Tag Junior title with at least two talented drivers stepping up from the Cadet class next season.
Thomas emerged victorious in her season-long battle with Ashley Horseman to secure her maiden Tag Junior championship in the Bermuda Karting Club race series.
Although the championship race will step up a gear with the additions of Nile Bean, the Cadet champion, and Nathan DeCosta, next season, Thomas is confident she will be equal to the task.
Bean, 11, has won back-to-back titles in the Cadet class and has Tag Junior experience competing in Thomas and Horseman’s karts this season.
“I can do another season in the Tag Juniors,” the 14-year-old said.
“Nile raced my kart [when Thomas was unavailable] and got three wins for me; he also raced Ashley’s kart and didn’t get around me. He has more experience as he’s raced overseas, but it all depends on your equipment and what type of kart you have.”
Thomas, who won the title with a race day to spare, said her close friend and main rival Horseman pushed her all of the way.
“The lead alternated between me and Ashley; I then held on to it for a few months,” added Thomas, a Saltus Grammar School pupil. “My goal every race day was to keep Ashley behind me.”
Thomas has attributed much of her success to mechanic Mikey Lopes and acknowledges that her road to the title would have been far bumpier had it not been for his expertise.
“My mechanic is a big reason my for title,” said Thomas, who has been racing for five years.
Lopes, however, believes Thomas was more than deserving of championship in what is regarded as the club’s most competitive class.
“She’s a really good driver; it’s a 50-50 partnership,” said Lopes, whose son Ryan races in the Shifters. “There weren’t any easy wins and we just stayed consistent and kept pushing. It’s been a good season for the whole Tag Junior class. They have all shown good sportsmanship.”
Thomas, whose favourite driver is Haillie Deegan, 17, who races in the Nascar K&N Pro Series West, said she hopes to become the first female to win the local Shifter class. “She’s coming for Scott Barnes in two years!” Lopes added.
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