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Teen karting sensation has his future in doubt

A family-run racing team fears they may have to put the brakes on their youngest driver’s career if they can’t find sponsorship.

Joe Wood, 15, from Lonsdale Drive, Gillingham, has had his foot on the accelerator ever since he took up kart racing five years ago, and this year the Gillingham teenager recorded his first win in the Junior Subaru Karting Championship.

Grandad Colin, who also races along with his son - Joe’s dad - James, said it was a massive achievement for the family team JB Racing, but they are now desperately seeking sponsorship as Joe steps up to the Senior Club Max Championship next year.

Kart racer Joe Wood is looking for sponsorship (4509821)
Kart racer Joe Wood is looking for sponsorship (4509821)

Although planning retirement, Colin - a construction project manager - has had to work harder than ever to keep Joe on the karting track but the costs of racing in the senior class will more than double their expenses.

He said putting the stops on Joe’s career would be a bitter blow, as racing had helped turn his life around and give him confidence.

“Joe was quite frail when he was young and we looked for a sport for him to get involved in,” he said. We got him into go-karts and he’s very good at it.

“He was very lightweight but as soon as he put the crash helmet on it was like he was in an enclosed safe space.

Kart racer Joe Wood(4510110)
Kart racer Joe Wood(4510110)

“Years down the line he’s now going into the senior class but the costs of running it have quadrupled - it’s costing around a £8,000 a year and it’s going up to £17,000so we’re looking for sponsorship.

“This is really a plea for help - to see if there’s a business that wants to advertise their business on a go-kart.”

The family team is well known around the Kent circuit and the three of them are hoping to remain a fixture on the Kent scene, and push Joe’s career as far as they can.

“We’re all on the same team and we’re the only team with three generations of drivers,” added Colin, who taught himself to build and race karts before passing on the knowledge to his son and grandson. “It’s been fantastic seeing them all come through, but Joe’s racing career will come to an end if we don’t get any help.”

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