Rookie racer Josh is roaring success

STOWMARKET's Josh Webster has been flying the English flag in style this season in karting's Rotax Max European Junior Challenge.

Stuart Watson

STOWMARKET's Josh Webster has been flying the English flag in style this season in karting's Rotax Max European Junior Challenge.

The 14-year-old - who is the only Brit in a field of 50 - has belied his age against many older and more experienced karters in his debut season of European racing.

After three of the competition's four rounds, the rookie is remarkably second place in the overall table - only Estonia's former world champion Kevin Korjus keeps him off the top spot.

The RL Race Team now heads into the final round of the competition at Belgium's Genk on September 24 looking to overhaul a 19 point deficit and become European champion at his first attempt.

Webster's main goal however will be to remain in the top three of the championship - warding off competition from Holland's Peter Hoevenaars and Japan's Ryuya Fujie - in order to qualify for November's World Finals in Italy's La Conca.

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The world finals are the pinnacle of junior karting and see the cream of the world's various continental championships go head-to-head in a one off race in order to crown a champion of champions.

Webster said: “It's very close at the top, but I'll be going over to Belgium in the coming weeks to do a lot of testing at the track and hopefully will be able to go there, dominate, and win the championship.

“Being the only English driver in the championship can mean a lot of pressure, the commentators constantly remind you of it, but when you do well it feels really good to be flying the flag.

“I don't really pay much attention to the age thing. Because of my height most people assume I'm 16 like everyone else. If anything, being younger is a bonus because it means I have got longer to improve. I don't really think about it that much though, I just get on with it.”

Webster started the championship as he meant to go on with a second place finish at Salbrais, France. The Thomas Mills High School pupil then had a slight set-back in Germany's Wackersdorf where, after spinning off, he battled bravely back up the field to finish 12th.

At the most recent round, in the Czech Republic's Sosnova, Webster finished battled some sever handling problems to finish eighth to set up a tense finale to the championship.

“Racing with different people has given me so much more experience this year,” said Webster. “Everything in British racing is a lot different to European racing. In Europe racing is more about race craft and working your way up the field, whereas in Britain it is more about staying out of trouble and bringing the kart home.”

Meanwhile, domestically, Webster is 14th overall in the British Super One Championships and chasing the top ten spot which will give him seeding for next year.

In addition, Webster also impressed at the recent Kartmaster Grand Prix - the blue riband event on the UK karting calendar - at PS International near Grantham.

Racing in front of 3000 spectators, Webster did well in qualifying, finishing first, third and tenth from random grid positions. He then went on claim fourth place in the first final and eight in the grand final.

Josh Webster is currently sponsored by Long Melford based company Melbek Technology. Their Managing Director Darren Ilston said: “Melbek Technology are very pleased to be sponsoring Josh and we wish him all the best in his efforts. I would encourage other likeminded businesses to consider sponsorship as it is a positive step in encouraging talented young people.”

If you would like to sponsor Josh, please contact Pam or Mick Webster on: 07917 780502.