An emotional Oran is congratulated by a team mate.

Oran on track to retain Karting crown

A Leaving Cert student swapped his books for a crash helmet to take part in the 2022 International Karting Final late last month in France, writes Michelle Taite.

Oran England from Virginia competed in the renowned IAME International Final with the top kart drivers from each country.

“To race over there was mad,” says Oran, still excited by the experience. “I was loving it, looking around, you're racing against people you would have been watching. They’re racing in Europe the whole time. You’re used to watching them and then you’re racing against them, which is very cool. The competition was so hard.”

A total of 160 karters from around the world competed in the event. While he made it past the qualifying round, in the second round of three, Oran was stopped in his tracks.

“It didn't go amazing, I got taken out on about the third lap.”

Oran was one of only five Irish karters to make it into the competition, qualifying after his fantastic win in the national championship.

He is the son of Damien and Patricia England, Patricia being well known as the proprietor of the popular Mason's Apron.

"A few weeks ago I won the Irish Championship. I was racing in the X30 senior class, that’s the ultimate class in Ireland, it’s the highest class you can race in Ireland in karts," revealed Oran.

As one of the youngest entrants in the competition, the Virginia College student was thrilled to bring home the gold.

“The feeling was pretty surreal as everyone congratulated me on the way into the pits. My whole team stood at the fence congratulating me.

“At the start of the year we were hoping to do well in it. I could have won it with one round to go, only I had a mechanical problem.”

Oran was well in the lead in his third lap in Athboy, the second last heat in the competition. When his confidence was at its height, his kart began to slow down due to a mechanical issue.

As time went on, other karters began catching up with him and passing him out. Oran still managed to claim fifth place, securing him top place on the overall leaderboard.

His fantastic scores meant that Oran would only have to finish the final round of the competition in order to win the championship, regardless of his placement. However, other karters had different plans for the Virginia native with a couple of incidents threatening to take him out of the race.

"I managed to keep going and bring it home across the line to become something I always dreamed of, I won the x30 senior Irish championship.”

Oran now has his sights set on retaining his title in next year's event.

“I’ll probably try and win it again next year. That’s the plan.”