A young racer from Launceston has been proving his need for speed in competitive minibiking.
Kai Hawken, aged 9, attends Lifton Primary School however, when he’s not preparing for his SAT’s, Kai is pushing himself to the limit on the race track, as he competes on his minibike.
Growing up, Kai has always loved motorcycle racing, being brought up around bikes and a family mad on bike racing, even regularly going to watch British superbikes, Moto GP and the Isle of Man TT, it was only natural for Kai to want a bike of his own.
After watching legends on the track, Kai got his first race bike for his eighth birthday, before joining the ‘M4 Mini Moto Academy’ in Chippenham. While this meant a serious commitment, getting up at 4.30am every Sunday morning, Kai showed a natural talent and skill for the discipline.
From there, Kai got better and better, and in 2022, he had his first race.
Leigh Hawken, Kai’s father explained: “This was a learning year for all of us. I’m chief mechanic so I have a lot of pressure to get the bike ready and work with Kai regarding the feel of the bike gearing setup and tyres for different tracks.
“Kai’s first year was a learning year, learning the tracks and race craft. Kai finished 11th in the championship in his 1st year out of 30 riders. He had a lot of top ten finishes and best result being fifth place.”
Kai has pushed himself, improving his riding and eventually finishing third in this year’s championship, meaning 2024 will see him move up to the ‘PRO’ class.
While Kai has done plenty of winning, the sport has also given him the chance to make friends and gain new experiences.
Leigh added: “He loves speed! Once he puts his helmet on he’s in race mode. He loves a fast track. Kai’s always determined to get the best results he can. He’s made some great friends and loves the paddock life, fighting and battling on track, and playing off track after the races.”
With the new season around the corner, Kai has already started winter training on his new bike and is ready to work hard over the winter getting as much track time as possible around various tracks in the UK. In March, he and his family will travel to Spain for a full week testing at Finestrat Circuit before the season starts in April.
Getting to race in a high speed sport isn’t only exciting for Kai, his friends also get the chance to see their classmate compete in adrenaline filled races.
“Kai’s friends are very supportive,” Leigh told the Post.
“As all his races are streamed live on YouTube and shown on Sky so he gets a lot of support from his friends watching from home. And his whole school are very supportive of sharing his achievements.”
However, as a parent, the sport isn’t always the most enjoyable to watch.
“As a parent it’s very nerve racking to watch your child speed around a track hitting speeds of 60mph but it’s something I’ve gotten used to watching now and he so passionate about his racing so as a family we support him 100 per cent.”
As the new season approaches, friends, family and Launceston residents will be cheering Kai on while he battles for a podium position.
Follow Kai’s journey on his social media: @kaihawkenracing