Impressing a dad like 10-time American Rally Champion David Higgins is no mean feat – but 15-year-old Matthew Higgins has managed it in 2020.
Higgins Jr has enjoyed his strongest karting season yet, with a podium on 10 of his 13 British Rotax Max series races.
“It’s been a good season,” the teenager told DirtFish, modestly. “I started the year winning the senior class in Belgium. That was cool, I was the youngest winner and took all the heats and finals. Here [in Britain] I took the Junior Rotax Max title and the last round was a lot of fun.”
A lot of fun to the Team Dan Holland Racing driver was a nine-second win in mixed conditions.
Higgins Sr was impressed.
He said: “When you have those kind of mixed conditions you are relying a lot on natural feel for the grip and an understanding of what the kart and tire are doing. Matt really showed he’s a bit of a rally boy at that last one!”
Beyond the full-time step up to senior-level racing and potentially more European kart outings, another target for next year is the step from karts to cars.
“It could be racing or rallying,” said David. “What concerns me most is the financial aspect – the cost of going from karts into rallying is huge. He wants to go and do some testing, maybe some rally cars and some single-seater stuff, then we’ll see.
“One of the problems we’ve had is that, because of coronavirus, I haven’t been able to work since March. Really we’ve run this year on the good will of our sponsors – including DirtFish, ManagedWay Global CrossKart, Arai Helmets and Minus 273. He couldn’t have achieved what he’s achieved this year without them.”
Impressive as Matthew’s 2020 has been, he’s still got a way to go to outshine his father: five years ago David Higgins won eight from eight Rally America rounds with Subaru USA. Through the 2014 and ’15 seasons, Higgins won 14 events on the bounce.
Despite massive success in rallying – including wins and titles on three continents (America, Europe and Asia) – Higgins Sr says nothing compares to the feeling of seeing Matthew winning.
“It’s true,” he added. “I was fortunate enough to enjoy a lot of wins in rallying – and who knows, there may be more to come – but watching Matthew this year really has topped all of that. We’re a real family team with his mum and sister Lissy coming on all the weekends away racing. Through all the difficulties with COVID this year, it’s been a very special one for us.”
Higgins’ first task next year will come at the karting Rotax (MAX) Challenge Grand Final next month. His British title netted him a place on the Team GB team, where the best in the world come together in Portugal.