A SCHOOLBOY is one step closer to fulfilling his dream of becoming the next Lewis Hamilton.
Hartlepool youngster CJ Smith won third place overall in the North-East Karting Championships’ Mini-Max section after amassing the third-highest amount of points throughout last season from more than 100 competitors.
He has only been racing competitively for a year.
Following his success he is now preparing to race on the national track where he could potentially be spotted by talent scouts.
Eleven-year-old CJ, who attends Manor College of Technology and lives in the Fens area, hopes to go all the way and eventually become a Formula 1 racing driver, just like his hero Lewis Hamilton.
CJ and his family appealed in the Mail last year for help in fulfilling his ambition through sponsorship in exchange for advertising opportunities on CJ’s racing car, suit and the family’s haulage business wagon.
It costs between £12,000 and £14,000, including parts, fuel and other costs, to race competitively at regional level.
But this expense soars to £25,000 on the national track.
CJ’s dad, Chris, 45, who runs Karis Transport, said: “We had some interest from two regional firms, but they wanted to see his progress on the national circuit first.
“The thing is, he needs the backing to be able to get there.
“For him to come third in the North-East is amazing, now we are moving him on to be able to compete in the UK championships.
“We will still do the regional track and hopefully by the end of this year he will be aiming to be first-placed.
“This year will be a learning curve for him.
“He will be racing on different circuits including in Scotland and Wales.
“We believe he will get more noticed now.”
Mum Karyn, 44, who is secretary with the business and also mum to Samantha, 23, and Katy, 21, said: “The main problem is he is coming up against other drivers who have sponsorship money behind them. “But CJ really has the talent.”
CJ, who passed his ARDS test which is a licence that enables him to drive on the national arena, last Sunday, said: “It’s quite exciting now I’m going to be up there will all the professional guys who have been doing it for quite a while, but also nerve-wracking when you think I’m only brand-new to the championship.
“But it will be an experience.”
CJ featured in the Mail in April 1999 when he was just five-days-old as he was the family’s “little ray of hope” after Chris and Karyn lost their six-month-old daughter, Abby Jo, to a rare heart condition 16 months earlier.
Anyone who can help with sponsorship can call Chris on 07708136983.