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Young Shipdham kart racer's success

PUBLISHED: 13:45 22 October 2008 | UPDATED: 14:46 07 July 2010

Seven-year-old mid-Norfolk schoolboy James Hillery has been celebrating after being invited to join Toftwood-based HW Racing kart team as its new apprentice.

Seven-year-old mid-Norfolk schoolboy James Hillery has been celebrating after being invited to join Toftwood-based HW Racing kart team as its new apprentice.

James, from Shipdham, has been practising in his own kart for the past year at race tracks around East Anglia.

HW Racing took their new prodigy to one of the country's fastest tracks, in Dorset, so that James could test-drive the latest Honda engine.

Its chief engineer, Roger Wilkin, said: “When such young drivers get to the big tracks they

usually get nervous and don't perform, but James showed

us that he has got what it takes to be a future championship contender. It was the first time for him at the track and in an unfamiliar kart, but he still put in very impressive lap times.”

James's father and former racing driver Terry Hillery, said: “The Hillery family has 25 years experience in motor racing, so it was not a shock to see that James would want to race.

“We just didn't think he would shine at such a young age.

“HW Racing have been so good to James, taking him to race tracks around the country, and to give him a private test drive in Dorset was amazing. He had the track to himself so he and the team could work together”.

James, a pupil at Thomas Bullock School, Shipdham, has also joined Kart Racing Academy TopKatz at Red Lodge, in Suffolk, who will also be working with him to help his progress to his first championship race in June next year.

James can't start racing at national level until he is eight, so there are nine months of testing to go before the big day.

At the moment, James is on the track four hours a week putting in around 130 laps. He is putting in lots of hard work which will, he hopes, allow him one day to emulate his heroes, Michael Schumacher and Lewis Hamilton, pictured left, both of whom started their racing careers in karting.

As a reward for such a good test day in Dorset, his family took James for dinner at Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's restaurant, River Cottage Garden Canteen, where he met the celebrity chef and obtained his autograph.

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