Meet Joel: Winter Cadet Champion 2021-2022

Adriana Dzalbe

Marketing & Sales Manager | Total Karting Motorsport

Meet your Cadet winner of the 2021-2022 Winter Championship: Joel Dixon-Coen!

Joel took some time to speak to the TKZ team last week about his 2nd winning season, the upcoming season, and how he started in racing. Keep reading to find out how you can become a champion… or suss out your competition?

How Joel started racing

With mum being a former racing driver, Joel had always been around motorsport and at age 2 he received a wooden go-kart made by his grandad!

Joel had raced at indoor tracks for 2 years, where he won 4 championships in Corby. It was the fairness of equal equipment and electric power that attracted Joel and Tracy to the Total Karting Zero series. Joel also took part in the British Indoor Kart Championships but retired from the championship early to focus on his move to outdoor racing.

Image: Joel (2), with mum Tracy. Joel later used this helmet in his first races!

"The electric race karts are lighter and more powerful, so you have to re-learn braking points”

Joel’s advice to other indoor drivers is to “keep persevering… The first few races are most difficult to adapt to. The electric race karts are lighter and more powerful, so you have to re-learn braking points”.

He recalls starting in 7th on his first outdoor season, but quickly adapting his driving style to be challenging for podiums at the end of the season. Tracy gives credit to other TKZ drivers and parents for sharing their tips with Joel during this.

Joel recommends indoor championships such as BIKC for their tight tracks, “it’s good for learning overtaking technique before moving to outdoor”.

The Champion-winning Season

When asked about his best/worst rounds he mentioned “Ellough Park and Whilton Mill because I was able to earn maximum points on those”, the latter also being his favourite to race on. His mum, Tracy, agreed about Ellough Park, mentioning “it was particularly tricky conditions with rain, sleet and some snow in the winter dark” – Joel even impressed other parents with his control and speed in the conditions.

Joel mentions all the circuits were challenging for different reasons. At Bayford Meadows for example, there was terrible weather and it was a home circuit for many of the drivers. Harvey’s crash also shook a lot of the drivers – luckily he walked away from it and is now back and racing.

Looking back at his development between the 2 Cadet titles, Joel mentions he’s “learnt to deal with pressure better, keeping my head down and putting the work in”. Tracy adds “there’s a noticeable difference in his on-track skills too, we’ve seen him make race moves he wouldn’t have the confidence for in the last season”.

Images by Car Scene UK Media

I asked Joel which of his peers he’s noticed to be impressive, Joel named Ellis Garrett who he raced in most of the rounds for being a “fair, consistent and clean racer”. Joel mentions that the luck of the draw saw Ellis usually in a hard group meaning “he had to really work for his points”. Joel also gives credit to Jack Collinson for most improved this season, and Max Winfield as someone who is “always an impressive driver”.

Achievements and dealing with pressure

Joel named his greatest achievement this season as “being consistent throughout, and a full house of points at Whilton Mill which my sponsors were visiting”. Discussing the pressure that comes with racing and sponsors to impress, Joel said “there’s pressure in every round, I just have to deal with it a round at a time”.

In Rounds 4 and 5, Joel recalls being ahead of the points, “but I still needed to push myself and perform well in every race”.

“there’s pressure in every round, I just have to deal with it a round at a time”.

Joel gets his down time in between the session playing backgammon with his grandad. Both mum and Joel admit they get very competitive, but the games conserve his energy for the track.

Around the paddock, Joel usually looks cool as a cucumber, which led me to wonder if he ever feels nervous. In response to this, Joel said “not really, only when I’m on the grid and the lights come on before the start of the race”. Joel uses the electric silence to listen to the tyres but also admits to talking to himself while he’s on track for concentration – something he couldn’t do when he raced petrol karts!

Joel's Future

From May, Joel will be stepping up to the Junior class at Total Karting Zero. His favourite thing about the series is “the fairness, everyone has the same kart”. He’s started preparations by practicing on the simulator every day, working on his fitness and learning from Ivor Bourne, a driver development expert who’s spent time with Lewis Hamilton and the Mercedes Formula 1 team. Joel sees the move up to Juniors a challenge: “it will be fun to see how the Junior karts are and race with new drivers joining from petrol karting”.

Image: Joel on-track at Thruxton, by Car Scene UK Media

With ambitions to learn from the older and potentially more experienced new Junior drivers, Joel claims that “as long as I’m learning, I’m happy”. The ultimate dream for Joel is Formula 1, and he has a plan to get there: “when I turn 14, I would like to race the Junior Ginetta, before moving into Formula 4 and climbing the ladder”.

A big thank you to Joel’s sponsors for supporting a faster, fairer, cheaper and cleaner motorsport and the next generation of racing talent: The Caravan Company, Travis Perkins, Elsby & Co Accountants, Talako Therapies, TowriteXtreme VanCasa NostraPinewood Property Newmarket Ltd

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