For the past two years Arnside-based kart racer Josh Smith has marked himself out as a potential star of the future thanks to a glittering array of awards and trophies in the ultra competitive world of Cadet karting.
Following his most successful season to date in 2012, the 13-year-old Dallam High School pupil has been selected to join the prestigious Racing Steps Foundation programme in 2013.
Josh, known throughout the karting paddock as ‘The Joker,’ is one of only a handful of drivers in the country who will receive support from RSF who, since 2007 have supported young British drivers with the talent, but not the budget, to succeed at the highest levels of British motorsport.
Josh is one of only three new recruits to the RSF karting programme in 2013 and one of only five kart racers in the UK who receive RSF backing.
As part of the Racing Steps Foundation programme, Josh will race for the world renowned Zip Young Guns team, the same team that helped guide Formula One superstar Lewis Hamilton through his junior karting career.
“I’m delighted to be part of the RSF programme,” beamed Josh, who will compete in the Super One Junior Rotax Championship and the British Junior Karting Championship in the fearsome KF3 class in 2013. “All the hard work my family and I have put in over the last two years has paid off and this is a major stepping stone towards my goal of becoming a professional racing driver.”
After being crowned ‘Rookie of the Year’ in the 2011 Super One Cadet Championship, the Cumbrian Cannonball scored multiple victories in 2012 en-route to a runner-up finish in Super One and a close third place finish in the Bernie Ecclestone backed Formula Kart Stars MSA British Cadet Championship.
Josh was also given the once in a lifetime opportunity to travel to the Bahamas last winter as part of the Bahamas Speed Week Revival, where he became the first driver to win a kart race in the Bahamas in more than 40 years as part of the first Formula Kart Stars transatlantic Challenge in Nassau.
“Being invited to the Bahamas was one of the best experiences of my life,” said Josh, who spent time visiting local schools in Nassau and raced his Cadet kart in front of the Governor General of the Bahamas and racing legend Sir Stirling Moss.
“It was incredible to be able to show the people of the Bahamas what we do and I don’t think I’ll ever be able to race my kart down the main street of Nassau with the sea on one side of me and Sir Stirling Moss watching on the other.”
Having concluded his Cadet career in the sun of the Bahamas Josh now looks ahead to the next phase of his career, where he will be competing against drivers much older than him in equipment far more powerful than he has been used to so far.
“Junior Rotax and KF3 are both a huge step up from Cadets and I’ll be racing against people who can drive themselves to and from the race track,” added the diminutive driver, who stands at 4 feet 8 inches tall.
“In my first Junior Rotax briefing I was standing next to a lad who was 6ft 3ins and who has passed his driving test.
“It is a bit of a shock going from 50mph to nearly 90mph and the drivers are really aggressive but I’m really looking forward to the new season and I know the support from RSF and Zip Young Guns will be a massive help.”