Xavier Harris is back in Italy for his second entry into the Rok Cup Super Final and this time he has gone all-in. With his 2018 performance helping break the ground, he is returing to South Garda Karting with a much better understanding of how the event works and what his competition will be like.
That previous experience will be very important.
Harris will contend in Senior Rok after defending his title at the ASN Canadian Karting Championships. If there was one race Harris has circled on his calendar in 2019 it was the Canadian Championships at Mosport, knowing that a repeat victory would send him back to Italy. After a wild race for the win for the second year in a row, and with his ticket in hand, Harris formed an agreement with the Lennox Racing Team, the official OTK Exprit Kart program, and brought Kevin Glover with him to turn the wrenches. Also racing under the Lennox tent is Dale Curran in Junior and American Emma Delattre in Senior Rok.
His personal expectations are a little higher this time around, as they should be. Harris will use this weekend’s Trofeo D’Autunno to get acquainted with his new team and turn some laps of the circuit so that when the Rok Cup Super Final begins, he will hit the ground running.
Here’s what Xavier had to say to CKN in our conversation leading up to the big trip to Italy.
I want to lead off with the Canadian Championships at Mosport. What were your thoughts when you found out that the initial winner had a penalty and you had won the National title for the second year in a row?
Disbelief. I was in line at scales when I was told to get out of the go-kart and ‘go over there’, where the winner was supposed to be, and that I had unofficially won pending tech. I came back for the 2019 season with the main goal of defending my title from 2018 and with the way things played out, I was able to accomplish my goal.
This will be your second year in a row competing the Rok Cup Super Final, what did you endure last year that may have changed your mindset going this time?
Last year we were simply unprepared for all the requirements necessary to succeed. Some of these requirements are literal preparations such as team, engine and chassis, while others are emotional, such as being in Italy as a tourist and happy to be attending the event, rather than being there to do well and compete.
Do you think the use of an Exprit chassis will be better for you in Italy instead of the Intrepid you drove last year? You will race with Lennox Racing Team, a program supported by the OTK factory, tell me about the opportunity that presents to you.
I am delighted to have the opportunity to race with an OTK factory team at an OTK sponsored event. This can only assist me in improving my results from last year. This includes having access to significant data, OTK tuning and setup techniques and having Kevin Glover, the owner of KGR, an Exprit racing team as well as my Rok engine builder for the past two years, as my mechanic. I am thoroughly excited by the opportunity that this experienced and professional support system represents for me.
I know you cut back on your racing in 2019 but does winning the Nationals twice gives you the motivation to come back next year and go for a three-peat?
To be honest, we might have been done racing for the time being at the end of 2018. My dad was the one who suggested that I should have the opportunity to defend my National title. Similar to last year, who knows what the future will bring?
I’ve asked everyone else, so I’ll ask you too, what in Italy, not karting related, are you looking forward to most when you go back?
Everyone loves the food, I’m no different. However, the thing I really loved about Italy and this region is how amazing the people are. The vibe of Desenzano and how enjoyable and lively the locals are is truly heartwarming.
Finally, is there anyone you need to thank for helping you achieve this opportunity to represent your karting country at the Super Final?
There are a couple of people I need to thank. Michael Sputore who was my mechanic on race days, Wrex Roth for all the practice days and testing, Kevin Glover for his engine development and support, Marco and Daniel Di Leo for their continuous belief in me and my girlfriend for always being there, supporting and cheering for me. Finally the last thanks I’d like to give it to my Dad, Randy. He is my biggest supporter and always believes in me, even when I doubt myself. None of this would be possible without him.