A Fylde coast teenager zoomed to victory at an international competition to find the world’s best young go-kart drivers.
Adam Smalley, from Poulton, won top honours at the Rotax Max Challenge winter cup in Valencia, Spain, on Sunday.
He soared into first place ahead of 32 other young go-kart enthusiasts, who had travelled from Germany, France, Italy and even Finland to compete for a place at the European Championships in the summer.
The 15-year-old said: “It was really difficult.
“It was definitely the hardest competition I’ve been in, with all the best drivers from all over the world.
“Most people, when they think of go-karting they think of the little karts you get going up and down the Promenade, but it’s really hard and a lot of effort has to be put into it.
“The karts we drive range between 75 and 80 miles-per-hour. I have to train most nights every single week. It takes over my whole life really.”
Adam, who is a Year 10 pupil at Baines School in Poulton, first got behind the wheel of a go-kart at the age of eight while on a day trip out with his family.
His passion for racing led to him winning the title of Manchester Buxton Kart Club champion at the age of just 11, before advancing to the ‘minimax’ go-karting class and being named the fourth-best young driver in the country.
He is supported by his dad, Darren, who works as his mechanic and put together the kart Adam won first prize in.
Darren said: “Adam works extremely hard. We live in a motorhome most weekends travelling around the country competing and training.
“I knew he would do well. I get more nervous that Adam watching him. He’s a shy kid but put him in a go kart and he’s extremely confident.
“It can be a bit scary at times thinking he might crash or wondering if he’s going to win, but he really loves it. He’s just great.”
Adam said: “I do get nervous at the start of a race but once the adrenaline kicks in I get excited and I want to do the best that I can.
“I feel ecstatic and I’m really pleased that I won.”
Adam is now keeping his fingers crossed for new sponsors to step forward in light of his latest victory, as he hopes to make the jump from go-kart champion to motor racing star.
He said: “I can get started racing cars now but it’s really expensive. I wish I could do it but first I need some sponsors to take me through. I really think I can be the next Lewis Hamilton – as long as I’ve got a great team behind me.”