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Monday, Sep 16, 2019

Doohan jr bids to build on Schumacher’s birthday present

Son of Australia’s five-time MotoGP world champion Mick Doohan, Jack is not interested in two-wheelers where his father won five consecutive world titles, from 1994 to 1998. His passion is four-wheels

other-sports Updated: Feb 11, 2019 17:07 IST
Sandip Sikdar
Sandip Sikdar
Chennai
Jack and Mick Doohan.
Jack and Mick Doohan.
         

Following in father’s footsteps is common in various spheres of life, and sports, especially motorsport is famous for that. Graham and Damon Hill, Gilles and Jacques Villeneuve, Keke and Nico Rosberg, Michael and Mick Schumacher are some of the famous instances where the son has carried forward the legacy in Formula One.

Jack Doohan is doing the same, albeit a bit differently. Son of Australia’s five-time MotoGP world champion Mick Doohan, Jack is not interested in two-wheelers where his father won five consecutive world titles, from 1994 to 1998. His passion is four-wheels.

“Racing was in the blood, wasn’t it? With my dad on the bikes, I grew up around something rolling; doesn’t matter whether it was two or four-wheelers,” says Jack.

Jack isn’t bothered about emulating the Kenny Roberts father-son act. The Americans are the only father and son duo to have both won World Championships in MotoGP.

Jack Doohan’s love for four-wheelers has a strong reason -- Michael Schumacher gifted him a go-kart on his fifth birthday. In awe of the Ferrari seven-time F1 champion, the 16-year-old has started entering single-seater racing.

“There’s a small track at the back of our house where my mates would go-kart. Then Michael Schumacher bought me a go-kart and I was always going around on that and (my career) really took off from there,” said Jack, who is here to take part in the final round of the 2018-19 MRF Challenge.

“I want to race in Formula 1 like Schumacher. My dad is also a big inspiration. I have in him someone to give me advice and he knows the key to succeed in motor racing.”

Jack started out on dirt bikes, which he still rides when at home during the off-season. But some serious injuries at a young age led Mick to persuade his son to take up the ‘safer’ option.

“It wasn’t a conscious decision. He hurt himself on a dirt bike when he was young. To learn to be good on a motorcycle, you have to make a lot of mistakes, and every mistake on a bike means you crash. As a father you are always a little bit concerned. Then Schumacher gave him and his sister go-karts. Since then, he has enjoyed competition on four-wheelers,” says Mick, whose son finished third on the podium in his debut MRF Formula 2000 race on Saturday.

Requested by the organisers if the 53-year-old great would like to take a bike of his choice for a spin on the Madras Motor Race Track (MMRT), the Gold Coast-born Mick politely declined.

“Jack just turned 16 in January. I am just here to take care (of my son), see that everything is alright, prepare his mind; then it is up to him (on the track). He needs race miles before the European season and that’s why we are here,” said Mick.

First Published: Feb 11, 2019 17:07 IST