A Rising Star

Make Room, Aces!

Our native, and now also world, motor sport, is witnessing wonders worthy of being entered into the Guinness’ book of records. These are worked by 15-year-old Moscow schoolboy Mikhail Alyoshin. In appreciation of his outstanding achievements, the Goskomsport of Russia has conferred on the young race-driver the title of Master of Sport, International Class. Only recently added to his surname in competitions’ minutes were the words: “Candidate Master of Sport”, and now, all of a sudden, we see him “classed” among top international athletes.

But could it be otherwise if only a year ago the International Motor Sport Federation issued or, to be more exact, had to issue an adult “A” racing licence to Mikhail. And now, on a par with motor sport aces, he takes part in F-3 and F-Renault “formula” international competitions, which is a step forward on the road to the elite F-1.

What did our young hero do to earn such distinction? When he was 10, Mikhail took part in a junior carting championship, winning his first victory and this ahead of time, into the bargain. At the age of 12 he came out on top, driving his Oka  midget car in a motor race, and captured the Cup of the Moscow Government. Two years later he took first place in one of the most prestigious carting races – the Viking Trophy – during an open championship of Scandinavia. After that he took a pilot’s place in big racing cars and became a prizewinner at national championships of Russia in F-1600 and F-3, representing the LUKOIL Racing team. This was followed by dozens of major and minor victories scored in carting and other classes. Small wonder that at the close of 2002 Mikhail was invited to Monte Carlo to take part in the traditional ball held by the International Motor Sport Federation. Together with several other well-known racing drivers of the world he got a special prize of this federation. Moreover, following the 2002 season, as a result of the opinion poll conducted by popular magazine Za Rulyom (At the Wheel) he ranked third in Russia in a stiff competition with experienced racing motorists.

I asked Mikhail when he was going to appear in competitions in the top motor racing league.

“I’m dreaming of Formula-1,” he said in reply. “But it is still too early to talk about it in earnest. I think I’ll manage to pass the required tests in this highest class of circuit race not earlier than in four or five years at the best. But now I have to work and work, demonstrating stable driving.”

Mikhail was about three years old when he had his first “steering” experience. His grandfather had a Zaporozhets small-displacement car. Once he put his grandson on his lap; the little boy immediately got hold of the steering wheel and wouldn’t let it go until he had a “drive”.

At seven Mikhail took his first carting lessons. It was in the Canary Islands where his family was holiday-making at that time. He managed to persuade the grown-ups to allow him to have a drive in a cart, and this was along a professional route. Since that moment he took to motor racing.

Vladimir PIMENOV.

Vek sporta (The Age of Sport) – specially for Moscow Life.