While other 10-year-olds are busy honing their football, rugby and cricket skills, Mildenhall’s Aaron O’Toole has thrown himself head first into karting, writes Liam Apicella.
In what was his first competitive season behind the wheel in 2017, O’Toole won a total of nine trophies, including the Red Lodge Wild Tracks Racing League.
Grandad Melvin Almond has been with the St Mary’s School pupil all of the way, not only as a supporter, but also as his mechanic.
He said: “Aaron has been driving since he was six but this was his first full year.
“He is very competitive and likes being up the front.
“When he is able to get his nose in front, and he has a great instinct for doing that, he is so hard to catch.
“He wants to go as far as he can and has a lot of people behind him giving support.
“Karting is his major passion — he loves it.”
Such is the level of O’Toole’s commitment to the sport, there was only four weekends out of 52 in 2017 when he was not out on the track.
It will be similar again this year, with Almond in the process of converting a van to give the two of them somewhere to stay at meetings.
“As well as Red Lodge, he will be racing in the likes of Fulback and Leicestershire,” added Almond.
“What we are doing to the van will allow us to keep doing things properly.
“With some of the tracks being so far away and the expense of hotels, this will help him a lot.”
As well as producing the goods out on the track, O’Toole has also started to take a keen interest in what happens behind the scenes.
His grandad looks after the mechanics, but O’Toole has not been shy to put across his opinion.
“For someone that only turned 10 late last year his knowledge is quite incredible,” added Almond.
“He has reached the stage where he is able to tell me what he wants in the set-up and how we should change things — nine times out of 10 he is right as well.
“It shows how serious he is about the sport and the passion he has for it as well.”