A young , local motorsport enthusiast is making a name for himself in the world of karting.
Paul Baillie, aged 11, has just won a season long championship, and now he has his sights firmly set on next year when he steps up to a higher class.
Paul, who lives with his parents at Donaldson’s Lodge near Cornhill, won the Cadet category in the ten-round club championship at Larkhall near Hamilton.
The trophy he received carries the name of F1 star Paul Di Resta, who lifted it in 1995 and 1996, and that has fuelled the youngster’s ambition to go on to bigger and better things.
Dad, Paul senior, who acts as his chauffeur and mechanic, says his son is ‘switched on’ when it comes to all things karting.
He says he has the talent, but the financial imposition could prove to be a stumbling block.
“I have certainly had my eyes opened since coming into the sport,” said Paul senior.
“Sometimes we are competing against teams with big, big budgets, and it is difficult.
“For example, we are using a 2008 chassis, which needs to be modified. It’s second hand kit, whilst others are driving brand new machines.”
Paul junior has been racing since he was eight years old. He developed a liking for it on circuits around Sunderland and Teesside and it was only after he showed promise in hire karts that Paul senior decided to buy him one of his own.
“He is making progress year on year,” said dad, “and next year he will be running in the Minimax class.
“The season lasts from February through to November so it is a big commitment.”
Paul junior, who is a pupil at Berwick Middle School, also plays cricket for Tillside Juniors, but karting is his passion.
“He is totally switched on when it comes to the mechanical side of things,” said Paul senior.
“He isn’t afraid to get his hands dirty and can change an engine or alter the set-up.
“But he realises it is an expensive sport and that sacrifices need to be made. He has even set up his own stall a couple of times to sell toys to raise some cash.
“Ultimately he would like a drive in a one-seater, but he realises he has to serve his apprenticeship first.”