Nickolas (Nick) Ellis is nicknamed by his family as “the comeback kid” because when his sailing career was cut short after representing the IOM in the RS Tera world championship and winning the title, the door to his sailing career was unfortunately closed. However, through his determination, hard work and perseverance, he opened another door, developing his other passion, karting. Nickolas has gone “full speed” ever since.
Most of the drivers at the top of karting (in Juniors) will have been karting from age eight or earlier, having 4-6 years of racing under their belts
I came comparatively late to the karting scene, starting at 14 years old in junior Rotax, so I have had a lot to catch up on. However, my achievement in sailing representing my country and winning first in my fleet in the world championships is my biggest achievement to date, giving me faith that I can achieve similar, if not greater, success in karting.
In 2021 Nick’s rookie year, he caught the eye of karting Veteran and race team owner Alan Crankshaw. Alan’s team Kartal Motorsport has been a contending club, national and British championships for 30 years. Alan has his own longer family legacy as a driver narrowly missing a British Championship title, a brother who won a British championship and a father in the British Kart Team.
Kartal drivers have gone on to race Ginetta’s, GT Series, Formula Four and Porsche Cup. Nickolas was fortunate to be offered a seat with Kartal Motorsport in 2022 to compete in the Junior Kart Championship, a national 8 round competition. Nick receives team support on set-up and coaching at all the JKC events from Alan Crankshaw, the Kartal Team and Thomas Iken, formula four-driver, who rose through karting.
2022 saw Nickolas progress as a Junior Rotax team driver for Alan’s team; Kartal Motorsport. During his debut competitive campaign, Nickolas achieved podiums at rounds and a podium finish in the Championship. His 2022 campaign culminated in the prestigious accolade of Driver of the Year, earning the respect of the awarding judges by driving to his best potential despite suffering broken ribs.
Karting is a way of life; the serious drivers are on the circuit nearly every weekend of the year. This is made more challenging if you live on an Island! The cost of travel and time is difficult; it is almost impossible to compete at the same level without serious dedication and financial support. However, “I am so thankful that I can pursue my career with the support of Thornton Chartered Financial Planners sponsorship.
2023 will see Nickolas in an exciting transition with his debut car-racing season in the prestigious Ginetta Junior Championship. Nickolas will contest three rounds of the series and continue to work with the team during numerous test days to further advance his race craft on and off the circuit. Ginetta Junior has been a permanent and popular fixture of BTCC events since 2008, now, Ginetta Junior will join the SRO British GT package. For an ambitious young driver like Nickolas, it is the perfect place to be, and he knows he’s got a challenging –and exciting – season ahead.
Nicks’s determination and passion also caught the eye of the media, and he has been selected to feature in the “Driven Dreams” a documentary that will follow Nickolas and other selected competitors through the eight rounds of the Junior and Cadet Kart Championship throughout 2022. The “Driven Dreams” project will produce a multi-episode documentary of grassroots karting along the lines of formula one’s drive to survive. This is still to be aired, hopefully in 2023. Nick plans to represent the Isle of Man with all the passion the island deserves. We can’t wait to watch it!
Julian Sutton says;
Sponsoring Nickolas is an opportunity to give some help to a young sports person who is showing determination, tenacity, hard work and talent.
A brief interview with Nick Ellis by Driven Dreams
WHY DO YOU LOVE KARTING?
I love karting because it is when I feel most alive. When I enter the track, it feels like its myself and my kart against the world. The battle of racing is like no other, I feel so empowered in my kart driving fast at 70 mph while surrounded by competition. It is both my battlefield and my happy place. It is the only activity where I face no other distractions because nothing else feels as good as the present moment.
Driving is my life so when I am not karting, I am on my simulator, begging to park my parent’s car in the garage or sitting on a tractor mowing the lawn for pocket money. I watch Formula 1 with my dad and live in Nigel Mansell’s old house. It is in the history of my house, it is in the history of the Isle of Man, it is on the TV playing in the background as I write this, and it is the only direction I see my future going in.
HAVE YOU MADE ANY SACRIFICES?
My biggest sacrifices have become my hobbies and my social life. I enjoy sailing with my dad, as it became a hobby we shared together. I got pretty good at sailing too, representing the IOM in the dinghy Worlds Championships and winning top of my fleet. However, once I stepped into a kart my future in racing became clear. I was happy to sell my dinghy to pay for my kart because I knew that my priority was karting. However, I think the biggest sacrifice was actually made by my dad who also sold his dinghy to support my karting career. My dad has sacrificed a lot for my future, so
I am thankful to him. Sure, I also miss a party or two, but I am driven to make something out of myself in the world of karting.
WHAT ARE YOUR BEST MOMENTS?
If I were to pick my top 3 best moments, the first would have to be when I collected my first kart in October 2020, which I am still using. The second is when I qualified 3rd at Glan-y-Gors JKC last year in junior Rotax, in only my third competition away I was up there with the best of my group which made me believe that anything is possible. The third is of course when I became signed to Kartal Motorsports in the JKC, which is the best thing that has happened to me so far! In 2022 I will have the privilege to drive for Kartal Motorsports in the JKC, having privateered through 2021
I faced challenges that helped me grow as a driver both on and off track. I am very grateful to have the support of Alan Crankshaw and will be getting additional coaching from Thomas Ikin. Thank you Kartal Motorsports for making my dreams come true.
WHAT ARE YOUR WORST MOMENTS?
The JKC final at Clay Pigeon was when I first properly faced adversity karting. I only completed half of the qualifying, not making heat 1 or the final due to electrical problems, fuel issues and everything in between. I was so frustrated that nothing was going my way and embarrassed because my family gathered from all parts of England to watch me. It was after that experience I learned that not everything will always go my way no matter how hard I want it to and sometimes it really is ‘just one of those days.
What I know now that I didn’t know then is that these things happen all the time in the professional world of racing and that my choice of reaction is what defines me as a racer. I find that even when I lose on paper I win as a racer because every adversity on the track gives me an opportunity to become a more skilled and proactive racer. I am constantly learning to not let my emotions get the better of me and to respond more rationally to challenges. My dad always repeats the Charlie Mike mantra “Continue Mission,” which is to adapt, overcome, move on, which I live by.
DO YOU HAVE ANY HIDDEN TALENTS?
I think my hidden talents most applicable to karting were developed during my sailing career, and my ability to adapt to changing circumstances with appropriate strategies and tactics in high-adrenaline situations. Otherwise, I am good at assembling the information in a methodical manner, creating Lego is a relaxation of mine. I enjoy keeping fit by going to the gym and I am getting good at long-distance running. I am naturally hypermobile, which above all I enjoy freaking my sister out with.
I would have loved to have started karting at the age of eight or earlier if I had been more aware of the sport, so I enjoy promoting sportsmanship in karting and greater awareness of the sport. I have never enjoyed something more than karting and any chance to be more involved in the world of racing motorsports is an opportunity worth taking.
I would love to share my story and passion for karting in the hope that it may inspire another kid like me to get involved too because the feeling of karting is an unmatched experience everyone should get an opportunity to try at least once!