WITH Hamilton as his middle name in tribute to multiple world champion Lewis, perhaps it was inevitable Hyde lad Neo Clarke should become a racer.
Just like Hamilton, Nico Rosberg and so many of the Formula One stars, the 14-year-old is cutting his teeth in karting.
And Neo has already achieved success as he has qualified to compete on the world stage in the Rotax MAX Challenge Grand Finals in Bahrain between December 11-18.
Dad Dave explained it a great opportunity for Neo, though it means the cost for flights and accommodation to the Middle East.
He said: “It is something Neo cannot miss and will be great to have on his CV.
“There is a Formula One race in Saudia Arabia the week before and one in Abu Dhabi the week we are there so who knows what doors could open.
“The karts are provided so we only have to pay for flights and accommodation.”
Dave added that the event takes place over six days – usually he competes over a week – and there is also the heat to contend with.
To ensure he is in peak physical shape, Neo is training, both cycling and swimming.
And to keep sharp racing – the British championships finished in October – Neo has been competing in Trent Valley Karting Club’s Championship achieving one victory and two second places.
Neo, a pupil at Alder Community High School, qualified for Bahrain by finishing fifth in the junior Rotax section of this year’s British Karting Championship
It was a great achievement for Neo who is in his rookie year racing as a junior in a class for youngsters aged between 13 and 16.There are six rounds in the championship and Neo, who lives in Godley, was in the top two for much of the year.
Dave, who has an avid interest in Formula One, revealed Neo was given Hamilton as his middle name.
“Neo was born in 2007, Lewis’s breakthrough season in Formula One,” he explained.
It was a debut season in which Hamilton finished runner-up to Kimi Raikkonen in the drivers’ championship.
Neo, who is with Tooley Motorsport whose former racers includes Formula One rising star George Russell, began karting on his eighth birthday while on holiday in Marbella and became hooked on the sport.
He gained his racing licence in 2017 and initially competed in novice races.
Neo became a member of Sam Pollitt Racing in 2019 when he stepped up to the Little Green Man (LGM) series.And in 2020, Neo moved up to the Junior Rotax class in bigger 125cc karts.
Karting is expensive and Neo, a former pupil at Godley Primary, relies on help from sponsors.
Dave estimates £25,000 is needed each season to compete with the chassis costing £3,500, two engines required, a new set of tyres for each race and spare parts and repairing accident damage.
On top of that, there is accommodation and travel with the nearest race circuit is in North Wales and furthest at Exeter, Yeovil and Sunderland.