Thomas Raldorf, a 35 year old Dane resident in Thailand, was officially installed January 17 as Thai Go-kart Champion for 2005.
Amazingly, this is the fourth time that the racing Dane has managed to maintain the leading position in this class.
Now he and two other drivers will attack the world record in 24-hour non-stop distance driving, equivalent to driving the go-kart from Copenhagen to Istanbul! The attempt will take place in Pattaya at the Bira International Racing Circuit in April.
When the Danish karting champion is not racing the circuits of Thailand, he is the Procurement Manager of Mermaid Maritime in Laem Chabang 150 km South of Bangkok.
Thomas moved to Thailand in 1997 after years of working as a travel guide. Today he is married and the proud father of a baby daughter, Angelina.
His love for the speedy little go-karts started when he was a kid back in Roskilde in Denmark, where his father was also a famous rally driver. He began competing from the age of 10-years-old together with famous drivers like Jan Magnussen and Jason Watt. He competed around the world and even after he started work as a travel guide travelling and living in many different places in the world, he never stopped competing and in championships in Cyprus and Spain he came in 2nd and 3rd and won his first championship in Thailand in 1998.
“Well, at that time the Thais were maybe not so hard to beat,” Thomas admits. At the time, go-kart racing was still a relatively new sport here. But that has changed. Today the competition is fierce, so it is a very proud Thomas who won again in 2002, 2004 and now 2005.
The Thai Championships are open to all nationalities but at the age of 35 years, is that not a bit old for an elite sportsman?
“Not at all,” Thomas says. “The oldest driver here is a Swede and he is 74-years-old!”
World Record Attempt
The attempt to beat the current world record in 24 hours driving with a three or four-man team is up next. The existing record was until recently held by a team from Northern Ireland. Back in 1997 they drove 1.709,9 kilometres on a track in England and this is the record that Thomas and his co-drivers plan to beat. But bad news. In December 2005 an American team, led by Gray Kannegiesser, 58, broke the record, driving 2,532,5 kilometres within 24 hours.
“We had figured out, that we would be able to drive around 2,400 kilometres”, Thomas explains.
“That would have been more than enough to break the record. Now it looks much more difficult.”
The Bira International Racing track is 2.4 kilometres long so that means that Thomas and his Norwegian and Thai fellow drivers will have to do more than 1050 laps. The team expects to have two hours of repair/maintenance all together.
“That means we have less than 1 minute and 16 seconds per lap”, Thomas says.
“It’s going to be very tough for the material and for we drivers.”
Thomas thinks that it’s all going to depend on the material. If they use less than two hours in the pit, their chances of breaking he record will grow.
“It’s like driving from Copenhagen to Istanbul in a go-kart in 24 hours,” Thomas explains smiling.
“With one big difference! It’s not a straight highway, but a road with turns and hills. We will need good luck.”
Thomas is a very enthusiastic person and this year he will start racing production cars, starting with a Toyota Vios One Maker.
“But I will never stop driving go-kart,” he promises.