The name Stephen Megarry may not be well known in Tyrone, but the Cookstown man is basking in the glory that is associated with being a successful racing kart technician in the world of international karting throughout Europe.
Stephen is working at the highest level of international karting competition where a driver’s weekend budget can be as high as five figures. He now resides in Lowestoft where he is employed by the internationally renowned kart racing team owned by former World Karting Champion Oliver Oakes.
At the recent end of season meeting for the Italian Winning Series Karting championship held over the first weekend in October at the Castelletto circuit 30 miles south of Milan Stephen’s preparation helped his driver Callum Ilott record a magnificent victory.
Forty eight competitors entered Callum’s race with entries drawn from across the globe. There were drivers from Brazil, Venezuela, USA, Canada, Singapore, Switzerland, Thailand, Finland, Denmark, Romania, Poland, Germany, Czech Republic, China, Italy, France, and Great Britain.
Stephen has been with the Oliver Oakes organisation for just over a year. In that time he has been trusted with the preparation of Callum’s karts. This means that if a tyre should deflate or worst still a wheel come loose, or a chain break, or the brakes fail, or the exhaust fall off, or something comes slack then the responsibility for such failures rests with Stephen. Thankfully the engine preparation is entrusted to the manufacturer of the unit and Stephen just has to make sure that it stays on the chassis. One final important check that Stephen makes before Callum takes to the circuit ensures that the minimum weight will be attained at the end of the race.
There’s also the job of transporting the team equipment form venue to venue. Stephen says that he is very comfortable driving throughout Europe. Most trips start on a Wednesday from Stanstead Airport to a convenient city where the team van has been parked up from a previous trip. Then it’s on to the motorway and you just follow the satnav instructions. It’s not as glamorous an existence as some would think; there’s the waiting at the airport, it’s lots of motorway driving, working at the track to late, then back to the hotel for food and sleep, then up early in the morning and back to the track. You also have to be a bit of a Psychologist and try to instil confidence in your driver on the days when things are not going to plan on the circuit.
Stephen considers himself to be privileged to have an association with such a talented young driver as Callum. Soon they will be off to France for the final round of the French championship. Because there are double points at stake there is a chance that Callum could add another victory to his recent Italian win.
Stephen , ‘You don’t have to be the star in the big picture, there’s always room for a good support act’.