Speed merchant Cameron takes tips from the top

FALKIRK. Cameron McLauchlan (13) go-karter.

FALKIRK. Cameron McLauchlan (13) go-karter.

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Last year Cameron McLauchlan met Paul Di Resta. In a few years, he wants to BE him.

He’s on the road to glory too, as a go-karter - the same way Di Resta began his racing career which has lured him to the top of the sport and Formula One.

Cameron McLauchlan (13) go-karter with Force India Formula 1 driver Paul di Resta.

Cameron McLauchlan (13) go-karter with Force India Formula 1 driver Paul di Resta.

The Bathgate motorist met Falkirk’s karter at the Westerwood Hotel in Cumbernauld at an awards ceremony, but it was another top racer - Dario Franchetti - who held Cameron’s attention.

“Franchetti is in Indycar 500,” the St Mungo’s pupil explained. “He’s probably my favourite driver - but there are a lot of similarities with Paul Di Resta too.

“He’s local to Central Scotland, the same as me, and he’s in Formula One - where I want to be.

“Another thing he said was that he gets nervous before races - the same as me. I asked them both for tips on how to help with that - I was surprised they feel like that when they’re such good, experienced drivers.”

Cameron McLauchlan (13) go-karter.

Cameron McLauchlan (13) go-karter.

Franchetti and Di Resta suggested “channelling the nerves into some other feeling,”, according to Cameron, who has still to put their theory into practise during the off-season.

“I’ll try it when I go back to racing in March. When I do it takes over my weekends - I’m driving almost all the weekends in the summer,” he added.

The practice is making perfect.

McLauchlan began racing at Xtreme Karting in Larbert but recently racked up an array of trophies, urged on by dad Bill, who sacrificed another title in a bid to further his son’s potential. It’s a God-given talent, he says.

“Cameron’s found his niche I think. He’s built like a race-driver.

“Although he’s 13, he’s still incredibly light, and he’s fit. That’s what the drivers stressed to him when he met them, nutrition and diet and fitness are really important even for a racing driver.”

It’s important but forced Bill to pull him out a the pursuit for a trophy at Cameron’s club challenge - because he was too light.

“The cars have to be a certain weight - we had weighed Cameron’s kart down with lead to ensure they were heavy enough, but it ended up that his kart wouldn’t go.

“So we ditched the lead and entered a different competition six races into an eight race event and entered the Rotax class above - but he still came second.”

He was third too in the Scottish Northern Cup open, and picked up awards from the Scottish Open and the West of Scotland Open’s 50th anniversary at Summerlea.

The experience at the club championship cleared Bill’s mind that to be the best, and beat ‘di Resta’, Cameron had to enter the Rostox.

“He’ll be up a class next season - but that means going throughout England and challenging the best. There’s only one race in Scotland - at Larkhall in South Lanarkshire - the rest are in across the border.

“He’s already shown he is capable, not just in the Scottish races, but I took Cameron down to a international track, and the champion from this year was a second slower than him.

“The only problem is financing it. There are two karts out the back of the house - one for wet weather, one for dry - they cost more than a car.”

Finance is also an issue stopping Cameron racing with another champion Benji Russell, but his dad is mulling over the offer for another brush with greatness for his ambitious son, since meeting Franchetti, di Resta and Allan McNish last month.

“Meeting them made me want to be a racing driver even more,” Cameron said. “And I hope to use their tips when I’m back on the track.”