For three seasons since the Rok Cup program arrived in Ontario, Nicholas Hornbostel has been chasing a ticket to the Rok Cup Super Final and he’s been painfully close on a number of occasions. Next week, he will finally get the opportunity to represent Canada and the global stage, as he will travel amongst a team of eight Canadians to South Garda Karting in Lonato, Italy to compete against the world’s best Rokkers.
2019 wasn’t an easy season for Hornbostel, but when the opportunity presented itself to compete in Italy, there was no hesitation he was going. As a third-year student at the University of Toronto studying in Kinesiology, being away will mean missing some very important classroom time. Right away he began getting ahead in his school work to help lighten the workload upon his return. He also kept his skills sharp, driving and coaching at Goodwood Kartways with the Racing Edge Motorsports racing team.
Hornbostel will be one of two Canadians competing in Rok Senior. In the MotoMaster Ron Fellows Karting Championship, it was one of the most competitive categories to hit the track, with constant battles at the front all season long. Hornbostel started the season with a win at Goodwood and finished on the podium six times to finish as vice-champion.
The Rok Cup Super Final will cap off a very budy season of Rok Cup racing for Hornbostel. He started the year at the Florida Winter Tour, finishing as the highest-ranked Canadian in fourth place amongst an internationally stacked field. After his MRFKC win at Goodwood, he joined his Racing Edge Motorsports team in Biloxi, Mississippi for the Rok Cup Battle at the Beach. He was very quick out of the box, winning a heat race and having a chance at the Final victory. The Canadian summer kept him active and he led laps early in the Canadian National Final as well.
Showing the speed and potential to win at every race has Hornostel confident heading to Italy. He knows it won’t be easy competing against the world’s best Rokkers, but like every race he enters, the focus is on getting to the front and battling for the win.
And as usual, he will have his Dad helping tune and prepare his kart, while REM’s Kevin Monteith will help oversee their program. It’s a trio that has worked well everywhere they’ve gone, now it’s time to show it off with the world watching.
Chatting with CKN between studying and getting ready to fly to Italy, here’s what Hornbostel had to say going into the Rok Cup Super Final.
After three long years of trying to earn your way to the Rok Cup Super Final, you’ve finally done it. How does it make you feel?
It’s a good feeling. We have been working hard to get to this point and I am really looking forward to representing Canada on a world stage.
Rok Senior was one of the most competitive classes of 2019, can you describe the intensity of the 2019 race season?
This season was pretty tough. Every race we went to there were a lot of fast drivers which meant there were always multiple drivers racing for that top spot. With all that competition, it required a lot of determination and hard work in order to be competing for the win.
You’ve raced with Racing Edge Motorsports the past few seasons and earned some great results. What is it about the REM program that helps you succeed?
I began racing with REM because I saw how dedicated they were and how much work they put into everything they did. So far I have not been let down by them. After working closely with Kevin Monteith over the last couple of seasons, we have been able to understand each other really well which is a crucial part of being successful at any race we go to. They also do a great job of improving drivers. At REM, there is a lot of emphasis on teamwork in order to ensure all the drivers are fast and properly prepared for when it is time to race.
At most races, your dad is your mechanic. Will he be travelling to Italy with you to help? How do you feel about being a father-son team on the grid?
My dad has been my mechanic ever since I first started karting. For the longest time, I did not even know to have a ‘mechanic’ was a thing as I was so used to working on the kart with my dad. I am so lucky to have my dad as my mechanic because to me, there is no one who wants me to succeed as much as he does, and with that, I know that I am getting his best efforts every time we go the track. We make a great team and I could not ask for anything more. He will be coming to Italy with me and will be working on the kart alongside Kevin.
Have you set any goals for the race? What are your expectations in Italy?
Like any race I go to, my intention is to win. I am not expecting this to be easy. I know it will take a lot of hard work in order to get up to speed and learn the style of European racing. As long as I do not make mistakes and luck is on my side, I really think I can make Canada proud with a good result.
What have you done to prepare for your first major international karting race?
As I was only rewarded the ticket to the Super Final in early September, it has been a pretty busy past few weeks. I have had to get ahead in University as I will be missing quite a few classes. I have also been working with REM and the Ali brothers [Daniel and Adam] at the past few club races to keep my mind fresh in terms of karting. Staying in shape and exercising has also been very important in the last few weeks. And finally, watching a lot of races from South Garda.
Finally, who would you like to thank for their support during 2019 to help get to this special karting event?
First off, I would like to thank Joey Gagne from Abrams Towing, Stephane Cohen from Bell Helmets, Michelle and Udo from Mantler Management, and Kevin Monteith from Racing Edge Motorsports. I also have to thank my parents for always being there to support me.