Kyle Crosland, just 13, a student of British School – a leading International School in Colombo, says confidently that he loves cars and more importantly ‘fast cars’ and indeed anything to do with ‘speed’ –it all started when he was just four years of age when his dad showed him the movie ‘Fast & the Furious’ and from then on he was hooked on speed! When was has eight he went to UK on holiday with his mum; when they visited a ‘Go-Kart’ Track, he had pestered his mum so much that he wanted to drive that she had finally relented and let him drive! “That was such an unforgettable experience – seated so low to the ground and the thrill of speed and cornering fast” he recalls. From then on, all holidays – whether in Thailand or UK had to include ‘Go-Karting’ on numerous dedicated Go-Kart Tracks. And soon Kyle had got to know of the ‘Speed Drome’ Karting Track at Battaramulla; he hasn’t looked back since!
Dyan: When did you start ‘proper’ Go-Kart racing at Speed Drome Battaramulla and how old were you?
Kyle: It was in 2009 when I was 9 years – after purchasing a new helmet, gloves and all; I was ready to go
Dyan: How’d it go Kyle? Were you nervous at the start? How were you placed in that first Go-Kart race?
Kyle: [smiles] Yes, I was pretty nervous – so nervous that I stalled the Go-Kart at the start itself as I had not done any competitive Go-Kart racing before. Anyway I finally managed to secure a third place but I did not stop. I kept on participating at all possible ‘Go-Kart’ track racing at Speed Drome. So much so that by 2011 & 2012 I emerged as ‘All Island Go-Kart Champion’ for 2011 and joint champion in 2012.
Dyan: Kyle, your persistence has finally paid off! That’s the trademark of a dogged, determined athlete!
Kyle: In mid 2012, Mr. Dinesh Jayawardene, the renowned racing car driver who observed my go-karting exploits at Battaramulla told me that I should seek stiffer competition elsewhere and he suggested Malaysia. Accordingly I was put through to another motor racing personality, Mr. Romani De Silva. And so I was sent to Malaysia. I trained at the Sepang International Racing Track. The competition there was of another league. Initially I could qualify only around the 20th out of a field of some 25! The competition was that tough! I started off in a Yamaha 100cc and then moved over to the KF3 before competing in the much sought after Rotax Asia Championship. I did only two rounds back in 2012. But in 2013 I ran a full season in Malaysia. I gained so much of experience running such races in Malaysia – it was unbelievable!
Dyan: Kyle, in a typical Rotax Championship Go-Karting Event, how many Go-Karts are at the grid? 10 or 20?
Kyle: A full 36 competitors are at the starting grid! And when ‘Invitation Races’ are staged there are even more competitors! During the entirety of 2013 when I ran the ‘full-season’, it was a huge learning curve, and along the way I improved my lap timing by a full one and a half seconds, which is significant as at the Grid when qualifying there’s only one second that separates the 1st from the 36th!
Then in January 2014, I went again to Malaysia to compete in the Rotax International Invitation Event. I must say that the racing tracks in Malaysia are the best one could find in Asia! Incidentally, when I first started my lap timing it was 51 secs, when the race hardened chaps where doing late 49 seconds. I am now doing 49.6 which is 0.3 seconds below the very best! So my timing now is within the top ten of Asia!
Dyan: Great stuff Kyle – congratulations! So how do you compare when you run here on local tracks?
Kyle: Sadly there’s no competition here. The machines, tracks and speeds they get up to in Malaysia is almost double that of the speeds attained in SL. For instance the Go-Kart Track at Bandaragama is no doubt pretty good. However the machines one finds there are 4-stroke Go-Karts commonly known as ‘Fun Carts’ – these four-stroke Go-Karts could get up to a max speed of only around 70 km/hr whilst the two-stroke Go-Karts one races in Malaysia – we speed up to 120-125km/hr in the 125cc Rotax Carts!
Dyan: Don’t we in Sri Lanka have these faster Go-Karting Machines? Surely, is it so difficult to get a few?
Kyle [smiles] Well we do have a few Yamaha 100cc Go-Karts which are still slower than Rotax 125cc. So even if one buys a 125cc the tracks in Sri Lanka do not afford such sheer racing experiences as one finds abroad. Of course I would still race in Sri Lanka, but my focus would be to race abroad. Here I must record my gratitude to Mr. Dinesh Jayawardene and Mr. Romani De Silva for being instrumental, re Malaysia and of course my dad who always supports me and accompanies me for all my races; my mum too likes the idea that I race but she’s scared to watch me race! Most of my friends in school are not on to racing and frankly don’t know that I race, perhaps, excepting for just two of them - two school friends Liam and Amir – both are on to motor racing. In fact Amir won his Formula Class in the Colombo Night Race. Liam unfortunately had a bad accident at the Night Race. Amir, Liam & I work together as a closely knit team; we travel to the track together; we discuss lap times and different racing strategies to apply etc.
Dyan: Kyle, you are still a 13 year old school boy! What about your studies and school life in general?
Kyle [seriously] Studies are my first priority. In fact if ever any grades go down, my father would promptly tell me to forgo a race or two either in Sri Lanka or even in Malaysia – no question there!
Dyan: What are the subjects you’re good at; what you love studying & doing, you know creative stuff
Kyle: I am not into ‘heavy studies’! I love creating and doing things – so Art & Drama I simply enjoy – having said that I also like Science and English – two subjects I am good at. I love everything about school life. I realize that at the end of the day, motor sports only would not take me far! I need to qualify in academic stuff too. Yes, I am a typical school boy; have a great time about everything that school has – you know the interesting classes and of course, enjoy the company of some great friends too!
Dyan: Kyle, what’s your dream? You are a pretty good Go-Karting guy, even in Sepang – what’s next?
Kyle: [smiles] My dream is to be another Lewis Hamilton – he too started with Go-Karts, I have too.
Dyan: Wonderful to have such goals at such a young age, Kyle – you’ll no doubt go far! On behalf of MOTOR mag let me wish you all success in the years ahead – we’ll be watching intently – so go for it!
Kyle: Thank you to you and MOTOR for giving me this wonderful opportunity of being interviewed.
Name : Kyle Crosland
Age : 13
Date of Birth :2nd of April 2000
Race Debut (Year) : 2008
No of Races : 30+
No of Podium wins: : 15+
Accomplishments in Formula Racing
1. Speed championship 2013 round 1 race 1- 3rd
2. Speed championship round 1 race 2- 3rd
3. Speed championship round 2 race 1- 4th
4. Speed championship round 3 race 1- 4th
5. Speed championship round 3 race 2- 4th
5. Colombo night races 2013- 4th place in formula mcalrens carb, 9th place overall
Other accomplishments in Motor Sports / Karting
• Thank god its raceday round 1,2,3- first place
• All island karting championship 2011 round 1- first place
• All island karting championship 2011 round 2-first place
• All island karting championship 2011 round 3- 2011 championship winner
• All island karting championship round 2- first place
• All island karting championship round 3- first place
• Speedrome VS staffers Annual race- winners
• Speedrome endurance kart race 1st leg- winners
• Speedrome endurance kart race 2nd leg- winners
• Rotax max challenge asia 2012 round 3- 15th out of 36 starters
• Rotax max challenge asia 2012 round 6-17th out of 34 startes
• Formula mclarens1300 training- 1st out of 24
• Speedrome face off knockout challenge- 2nd place
• Speedrome all island karting championship 2013 round 1- 3rd place
• ue sports management karting championship- 2nd place
• Rotax max challenge asia 2013 17th overall in championship out of 50 championship participants.Over 6 rounds of racing on 3 different tracks.
Rotax max challenge invitational race 2014- 18th out of 34 starters.