MOTOR SPORT: BOY racer James Appleton has made a flying start on the way to becoming the next Jenson Button.
The nine-year-old from Willaston, is already making his mark in the same junior karting championship which the BAR Honda ace won when he was a youngster.
James came 11th out of the best 45 racers of his age group in the first round of the Stars of Tomorrow Championship, organised by the British Racing Drivers Club and held over seven rounds in England, Scotland and Wales.
Now he is preparing to get more competition points to go towards his target of a top-15 finish in the second round at Shenington, Banbury this weekend.
His dad Mark said: 'It is very encouraging that James is doing so well because he is one of the youngest in the age group and many of the racers are up to three years older.'
James races in the cadet class and uses a 60cc cart which can reach speeds of over 90mph on the fastest circuits. He is sponsored by Honda, Castrol and Enterprise Car Rental, based at Macon Way, Crewe.
He receives technical help from Willaston youngster Douglas Crosbie, 14, who races karts himself and is the youngest mechanic in the championship.
James, who has two younger brothers, Stephane (six) and William (two), said: 'The competition in the Stars of Tomorrow is very high but I would love to finish in the top 15 because those drivers are allowed to use their finishing position as their racing number for next year.'
The St Anne's Primary School pupil also competes in the WTP Championship and notched a fourth place in the opening round at a track in Devon.
Mark added: 'I was especially pleased for James because in one of the heats he turned his kart over and wrote off his helmet. He was a bit shaken up but he bounced back and got a good result.'