Nate Wood is only eight and faces more challenges than many others his age – but on the speedway go-karting track he's a natural.
The youngster from Woody Point has never finished outside the top three - a remarkable record having never been coached how to drive, says his father Ben.
Not only is Nate one of the youngest in most Speedway Karting Association of Australasia (SKAA) Sub Junior races, he also suffers from Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) and has development difficulties.
“I am surprised at how he’s taken to go-karts,” says his father Ben, “he listens to ‘go’ and ‘stop’ but never had any coaching.
“No-one tells him how to race and I want to keep it that way. Nate is the only one who leaves his racing suit and helmet on all day because he loves it.”
Nate had his sights on the Victorian, South Australian and Australian championships last year, but COVID-19 forced the cancellation of all three.
“His dreams were shattered as all racing ceased for six months,” says Ben, “so now we are back to where we started.”
In the youngster’s sights now are the SKAA national titles in Tamworth on April 23-25 (accommodation already booked) and the Queensland titles at Cairns mid-2021 (dates to be confirmed).
The Southern Cross Catholic College student is currently ranked second in his division of speedway go-karts in Queensland. His aim is to become number one.
That would be quite an achievement for the family in which two of Nate’s siblings also suffer disorders.
Nate is also part of Racing with Autism Australia which supports families who have children, teenagers or adults on the Autism Spectrum with their racing.
“We do everything ourselves. The mechanics, everything,” says Ben, “if we can’t afford something, we don’t do it.”
Nate’s career started aged five in Junior Quarter Midgets. After 18 months he won the club championship and made the switch to SKAA Sub Junior Speedway Karts.
In just a year - racing at times against 12-year-olds - he has always finished in the top three and often hits speeds of 80km/h.
He has now won more 60 Speedway go-kart trophies and his next step would be up into Junior Sedans for those aged 10-17.
“The more seat time you get, the better you get,” says Ben, “Nate likes to see what he can achieve. He wants to go fast but can work his way up and down a field.
“I hope Nate will go as far as he can in the sport. He has made really good mates from all over Queensland.
“Racing for us has proved to be like another family. We have made life-long friendships, everyone is there to support and help one another.
“We race as a team with father, son and often mum (Kelly) joining the action.”
Nate’s other love is rugby league playing for the Redcliffe Dolphins’ juniors.
Nate is looking for sponsorship to help him with gear and getting to the titles, He has received tools to help him at the track from Trade Tools and Repco.
Check out his Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/natejamesracing/
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