MOTOR SPORT: PAUL Turner, a virtual newcomer to motorcycling, is about to claim his first title.
The 32-year-old Castle-based rider is on the verge of clinching the East Midlands RA Championship in his first season of serious competition.
Flushed with success, Turner has already decided to step up to national level next season.
The EMRA Championship is based at Mallory Park and after five meetings, Turner is in front having won four out of eight races and has a lead of 16 points in the 28-rider event going into the final meet.
'I've done better than expected,' he said, after finishing second and third in rounds seven and eight.
If he wins one of the final two races he is uncatchable, but lesser results may suffice depending on the performance of his rivals.
'Last year was my first year and while I wasn't exactly playing at it, I did not really believe in myself.
'This time I went into my first race saying I can win - and did. I have improved my mental attitude, though I don't know how.'
It was a change of job that led to Turner's change of fortunes.
An auto electrician, he switched from a Potteries company to manage the bike repair centre of Carol Nash Insurance Brokers at Altrincham.
With a new post came sponsorship, both technical and cash.
He mainly rides a Kawasaki ZXR 400 but also has a Yamaha FZR 400, which he is likely to change to soon.
'I entered the first rounds of the EMRA as a trial and won them both.
'It was a hard decision then to enter the championship, but two wins stand you in good stead.
'I have ridden bikes since I was 15, but it is an expensive sport to get into and it is only since moving to Carole Nash I have been able to afford it.
'Mind you, there are riders who've spent up to £4,000 just on their engines, while I've hardly spent that on my whole bike!'
Turner also contests the New Era Super-club Championships, a national contest, but with little luck so far.
'In the first race at Cadwell Park, I was leading from the start until the last corner when I got collected by a back marker. It is a competition where you need to contest and score every round.
'I don't know which is tougher, because the EMRA has track specialists who know every inch of the course, whereas in the Superclub it is difficult to acquire that knowledge. But I do need to pull my socks up in it.'
Turner, who is also sponsored by Frod-sham company Maxton Engineering, plans to tackle the televised MRO Championship next year.