Poulton race ace on fast-track to the top

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Poulton’s teenage sensation Adam Smalley is relishing a “life-changing” opportunity to race to the top in motorsport after being crowned the 2017 Ginetta Junior Scholarship winner.

The 15-year-old Baines School pupil follows in the footsteps of 2015 British GT4 champion Jamie Chadwick, 2016 Ginetta Junior vice-champion Stuart Middleton and 2016 Rookie Cup champion Daniel Harper in winning the scholarship, which gives him a fully-funded season in next year’s Ginetta Junior Championship.

The Championship is the UK’s leading race series for drivers aged 14-17, providing the first step on the ladder for these who aspire to reach the top of the sport It is a one-make competition, featuring only cars produced by Yorkshire-based Ginetta.

Adam won the scholarship after by claiming first place after three days of intense competition at Blyton Park, Lincolnshire.

He said: “I just can’t believe I’ve won. There was such a high calibre of drivers throughout the whole competition that to be chosen as the person out of 54 to win this life-changing prize is absolutely incredible.

“Thank you to all the staff who have made me feel welcome and to the instructors who have turned me from a complete novice into the 2017 Ginetta Junior Scholar.

“I cannot wait to put everything I’ve learned into practice and continue my development as a driver.”

Smalley only began racing in Go-Karts five years ago and went on to pick up a host of honours, including the MBKC Cadet Champion title in 2012, Top Rookie in the British Championship in 2013 and English Champion last year.

The competitors at Blyton had to take part in media and fitness assessments as well as driving before the top 23 were taken through to the next stage.

After long deliberations, a shortlist of three was drawn up, including Smalley, British Schools Karting Championship winner Matt Luff and EasyKart Junior champion Toby Goodman, who had one final run each to convince the panel.

Judging the competition was current British Touring Car Championship drivers Mike Epps, Jake Hill and Tom Ingram, the latter a three-time Ginetta champion, as well as British GT racer Jody Fannin. Outgoing Scholarship winner Harper was also on hand to offer advice on the final day.

Judge Ingram said: “It was another fantastic event.

“The standard was incredibly high once again. The final three were incredibly strong contenders and impressed us all.

“In the end, I think Adam is a very worthy winner and I look forward to watching his first race in the Ginetta Championships at Brands Hatch next year.”

Ginetta championships manager Ashley Gallagher added: “It has been another great year for the Ginetta Scholarship. We have again unearthed a whole host of new driving talent from a range of motorsport backgrounds, with drivers travelling from around Europe to fight for this brilliant prize.”