Jordan Cane (Interview – Mike Hayden, May 2014)
Chasing the dream…
As the main part of the season is now fast approaching, with the various Championships Jordan has plans to compete in, a review of his career to date helped to show just how he got involved in the karting scene.
“We were at the Festival of Speed at Goodwood and there was a pit bike track, so I asked my dad if I could get a pit bike. He said no, but I then thought about ‘go-karts’. I said I would like to try one, so my dad booked an introduction onto a karting course at Thruxton.
“My first time in a go-kart was August 2012 at Thruxton, which were 100cc Honda’s, and there was twelve of us on the course. In the first session I was the slowest on track, but by the fourth session I had broken the lap record. The instructor, Des Rhys Lewis, told my Dad about MSA racing and that I had potential. A week later I took my ARKS test on the bigger track in a 160cc Honda Cadet and again I broke the lap record. Des still follows my progress and we speak after every race.”
This was only 18 months ago and there is little doubt Jordan’s rise during the intervening period has been meteoric. The class of competition he is racing against in 2014 is the strongest in the UK, most if not all of whom will be competing in this year’s Super One British Championship, so to be on the top pace so soon in his Junior karting career really is an amazing achievement. From his recent observations, leading race engineer, Mark Rose, who was also a former British Kart Champion in Formula 100A in back in 1994, has already described Jordan as “the real deal!”
Jordan and father Grant though need to make sure they follow a harmonious family balance, which is not an unusual happening in the racing world. “Mum doesn’t like missing me race, but my brother Mitchell plays Competitive football, so she has to go with him. When I am racing though Dad has to keep her updated throughout the day.”
Following on from his ARKS test though it as time to race seriously for the first time. “My first race as a novice was at Buckmore Park with Project One Racing in Honda Cadet. I can’t remember where I finished, but I really enjoyed it. The next month I won my first trophy as best novice and came 4th overall. I then went on to win the Winter Championship at Buckmore Park dropping just one point.”
Karting is an art form and learning from life’s experiences is all part of the development curve. And being involved in incidents is granted as being part of the course. Jordan was quick to acknowledge this. “Crashes are part of karting and very often are just accidents, but getting smashed off at Buckmore annoyed me because (sometimes )it was deliberate. I was in the lead and much quicker than anyone, and the only way this kid could beat me was by taking me out. It did make me determined though and after re-joining in 30th I overtook 17 karts in the next seven laps.“ Speaking from experience that ‘blood rush’ can be an amazing motivator…
Jordan is quick to confirm though that the move to Chris Rogers Motorsport for 2014 has been an exciting one for him. “The move to CRM has been great for me and I have progressed very quickly. The team has a great atmosphere; we all get on very well and are very good friends. Chris pushes me hard to be the best, but we have a lot of fun too. He has changed the way I drive, especially the way I brake through the corners. I really enjoy it when Chris is on track with him chasing me or pushing me round.”
Over-driving a kart can often be slow, and many a potentially talented driver has fallen by the way-side when they have been unable to adapt. Hooking a kart sideways can be spectacular, but it is rarely fast, and more often than not will just destroy tyre grip before the end of a race. Jordan, however, has developed a deft touch, which has already been noted. “Ever since I started karting everyone has said how smooth my driving is, often saying I’m like Jenson Button. I have only been karting 18 months, but I’ve always driven like that.” It is for Jordan one less thing to worry about, and this allows him to concentrate on developing his race-craft under the Rogers’ watchful eye. Amusingly “Chris tells me I’m too fast for my time in a go kart.” Talented drivers usually are! “I don’t mind if it’s wet or dry, but I’m probably too smooth in the wet and need to work the kart more, but on dry tracks with a lot of grip I am very fast.”
Years of reporting for Karting Magazine have generally shown that once a British driver competes in Europe, his rise up the learning curve quickens, and that potential for winning a major championship arrives on the doorstep. So besides the British championship scene in 2014, Jordan also has his sights set on racing internationally. “I am looking forward to Zuera in October, and then doing Euromax next year, because everyone tells me that my style of driving will be very good in Europe.”
Driving a kart well is no longer sufficient though, and a quick driver at the start who is slow towards the end is never going to be a winner. Fitness is so important now, even novice F1 Grand Prix drivers have to be super-fit, otherwise the teams would not even look at employing them. This has filtered down to the kart scene and the young drivers who want to make a name for themselves, now know what they need to do to receive full recognition. “I now work very hard on my fitness and train two or three times a week depending on racing. Dan Williams of Pro-performance is my personal trainer and since I started with him a month or so ago I have seen a big improvement of my performance. Dan used to be Heikki Kovalainen’s (Finnish F1 driver and GP winner) personal trainer at Lotus.”
As his first season at top level, 2014 is important for Jordan. He understands this and his goals are realistic. “My main aim this year is firstly, a podium, and then a win at Super One. We have set a target of finishing in the top 10 at the end of the year in Super One, but I’m getting better every week so anything is possible. I probably need a bit more experience, but I want to win Super One next year, and also do well in Europe. I know its going to be hard, but eventually I want to be an F1 driver. In karting we will stay in Mini-Max next year in the UK, but race Juniors in Europe. After karting I’d like to do single-seaters.”
The goals for this young racer are modest, but Mark Rose’s words still come back. The “Real Deal” has the potential to surpass his goals very quickly indeed.