HK Magazine: What’s harder: solving math and science problems or navigating hairpin bends at 80 km/h with twenty other drivers? Matthew Solomon : I’d rather be racing into that corner to be honest —I feel very comfortable on the track and I know what I’m doing. It just comes naturally. My school’s been really supportive though in helping me pursue my ambitions. Typically, I’m away two weekends a month during the racing season so there’s some catching up I have to do, but I’ve managed to strike a good balance. HK: How did you get started in karting? MS : When I first started I was racing with the adults and one or two junior drivers, and they’d put us in the back for safety reasons, but I’d usually get up to second or third. In my second year I did the full season in Hong Kong and a few rounds in the Philippines, as well as the Mini-ROK junior series. HK: How does it feel to now be representing Hong Kong at international events? MS : Only the top driver from each country gets to race in the World Championships, so it’s pretty cool to be the junior driver representing Hong Kong. I hope I can help raise the profile of the sport locally so that more junior drivers will get involved. Many parents seem to think it’s a dangerous sport, but it’s very safe and highly regulated, with benefits like improved reflexes, discipline and focus, which gives you confidence in your abilities. HK: How do you prepare for a race? Do you have any odd rituals or lucky underpants? MS : No not really, but there’s a lot of training. You need to put the required time in the gym to get your fitness levels up otherwise your body won’t be able to take the strain. I eat a lot of meat, potatoes and vegetables while I’m training, then toward race day I’ll switch to lighter meals and stop working out to concentrate on the race. HK: What races have you got coming up? MS : The first weekend of November is the final round of the Asian Karting Championships held in Thailand, but before that there’s also the World ROK Finals, a knockout style competition, so from about 140 drivers it’ll come down to the last 16. I’m also racing in the final round of the Philippine National Championships—this year is my first full season there and I’m currently leading. The reason I’m racing in the Philippines is to gain valuable competition experience as they have six or seven great tracks around Manila, and a competitive field of drivers my age, compared to the one [Diamond Coast] in Hong Kong.