It’s not every day a karter is awarded the top gong for best young driver during a season, but in the case of Nicholas Schembri, it was a matter of when he won, not if.
The 17-year-old enjoyed a brilliant season last year in both Australia and overseas where he claimed multiple race wins, podiums and some silverware to cap off a title winning 2019.
He was so busy last year, he even managed to win two karting titles on the same day – making him a worthy recipient of the 2019 Victorian Burson Future Star Award at the Motorsport Australia Victorian State Awards Dinner, presented by Burson Auto Parts earlier this year.
“To get that recognition and to win this award is pretty cool. I am wrapped,” Schembri said.
“Being only 17 and not having heaps of racing under my belt is a great feeling. It’s cool to know people are watching me and are impressed by me.
“It (Victorian State Awards) was a really cool night to be part of. Listening to when they were talking about my achievements, bringing up things I hadn’t really thought about anymore. It brought back good memories.
“Also being in a room full of people who have had up to 40 years of experience and multiple championships between them was pretty cool.”
Schembri’s journey to his 2019 success was no fluke either. After starting with sprint kart racing many moons ago, he made the transition to Superkart racing at just 14-years-old.
In just his first full season in Superkarts, Schembri claimed a national and state title and in 2018, he had that magical weekend where he won the Victorian Superkart Club 125cc Gearbox and 125cc Non Gearbox State Series titles – becoming the first driver to win two titles in one weekend.
His efforts in the Victorian Superkart Club’s series saw him rewarded with their 'Driver of the Year' award, before heading overseas and racing in the British Superkart GP where came within six inches of winning the title.
Off track, he was just as influential with Schembri constantly mentoring other young drivers with their progress and helping them transition into the category.
It must just be the start of his racing journey, but Schembri was hopeful in following the footsteps of those individuals celebrated at the Victorian State Awards and forging a long and prosperous career behind the wheel.
“I can see myself doing this for a fair while and hopefully still winning championships when I am older. Whether it’s as a hobby or as a career, I just want to keep racing,” Schembri added.
“I am not too sure about what I am going to do now but I will be running in the Superkarts again and hopefully get over to the British Grand Prix and have another crack.
“Karting is pretty cool at the moment. Still being able to race on world-class tracks like The Bend Motorsport Park and Phillip Island on a Superkart is great. We are doing lap times as quick as MotoGP guys.
“I did have a round in Formula Ford last year and I quite enjoyed it so hopefully this year I will try and do a few rounds in those cars again or even a Porsche. I just would like to just to have time in the car.