9-year-old Axel Nocom is conquering life, one lap at a time

What were you doing when you were 9? I remember I was more into outdoor activities at the time, playing basketball and riding my bike mostly. It was all casual though, and not for any serious competition—which pales in comparison to what Axel Nocom has done so far.

At just 9 years old, Axel already has a sizable amount of trophies in his room, on top of the toy cars he has. At the recently concluded 17th Golden Wheel Awards, he received trophies for being the 2019 Petron Karting Academy Overall Champion, 2019 Honda Cadet Novice Overall 1st Runner-Up, 2019 Honda Cadet Karter of the Year, and the 2020 Minirok Overall Champion. Note that in all competitions, he’s usually racing against other junior drivers that are older than him.

His father, Mike Nocom, said Axel has liked Lightning McQueen, the lead character of the animated Pixar movie Cars, since he was 1 year old. He also has other cars in his collection but his interest quickly progressed into racing and his father saw it. This led Mike to give a bambino kart to Axel as a gift for his fifth birthday.

“I was never a racer but I loved watching people race, so might as well watch my own son,” Mike said.

Soon after his debut, Axel was featured in ABS-CBN’s Little Big Shots and despite his young age, he has already shown maturity and composure around the track. He even broke his own lap record in City Kart in Circuit Makati by 8 seconds during his exhibition for the show.

Apart from karting, Axel is also into other kinds of racing as he used to ride on dirt and won the PW50 Nationals for kids aged 5-6, only stopping with motocross because of the pandemic. Axel is also the youngest sim racer in Asia, placing 5th in the Bronze Class of ERacing GP that’s headed by former F1 driver Alex Yoong.

Mike wants Axel to improve more and race with other drivers, but for the long term he remains realistic. They are not thinking of venturing into F1. Instead, he wants his son to develop traits that can help him in life and would be with him when he grows up.

Grit, hard work, determination, preparation, quick decision-making – these are some characteristics of high-performance drivers. Young Axel is clearly polishing these traits as he goes faster in every track or even on sim-racing. With his level of natural talent on the steering wheel and passion for driving, who knows, maybe he can make his way into higher tiers of open-wheel formula racing.

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