If you were playing racing car video games when you were a kid and never thought you would be able to race around a track at 100km/hr in real life, well you were wrong.
Nic Reid from Newcastle is just 13 years old and he is a licenced go-kart racer.
“I played Forza Horizon on X-Box and that was when I started liking cars. Then I learnt more about them and decided I wanted to race.
“I went to the go-kart track at Broadmeadow and I instantly fell in love with it.”
This is the second year that Nic has competed in go-kart racing on a national scale. In 2022, he raced in the Australian Karting Championships in Newcastle at Cameron Park.
2023 has seen Nic travel to compete in the state titles in Canberra, club rounds at Port Macquarie, Manning and Newcastle, and the Australian Karting Championships at Cameron Park again.
The Cameron Park go-karting track is one of the best in the country, with people traveling from as far as Brisbane and Victoria to race.
Nic’s parents bought him the biggest go-kart money could buy when he turned 13 this year, a Lando Norris cart with a 100cc engine.
And he can go faster than a 16-year-old on their ‘L’ plates.
“You can go as fast as you can make it go, legally! At Cameron Park, I go around 105km/hr but if you go to Melbourne you could probably reach 115km/hr.
“Racing is never boring! When there are heaps of people on the track there is always something happening.”
Racing doesn’t come without its dangers of course and Nic has already had one bad smash as a young competitor.
“When I got my second go-kart there’s this really fast bit coming off the back straight and someone tried to overtake someone else and then I ended up caught up in it and went right into the barrier at around 70km/hr.”
When Nic told his parents he wanted to give go-karting a red hot crack, his dad Hugh didn’t even question it – his first response was ‘How do we make that happen’?
“I had a go-kart when I was little. We bought it from someone who had made it out of a motorcycle engine, an old 1960s Bantam 125cc and we would scream around the spare block near my mate’s place – it was fantastic!
“Nic always loved cars so I didn’t think too much of it,” said Hugh.
“You learn so much about individual responsibility. Motorsport is a dangerous sport so to a certain degree you are exposing yourself to risk so he learns what is sensible and what is not.
“Lots of things that are fun are dangerous, but Nic was riding a motorbike as a 2-year-old with training wheels on it so we knew he’d thrive in the sport.”
A sport so fun doesn’t come cheap either. But Nic has taken some responsibility for that too and has had a job delivering pamphlets for nearly a year now.
He’s earned about $2,000 so far and has been able to help pay for things he needs for racing as well as fun things for home.
Nic is also lucky enough to be getting mentored by one of the most successful go-karters in Australia – Troy Hunt.
Troy is a four-time Australian Karting Champion, and 13-time State Karting Champion, he came 8th in the World Championship in 2000 and was a European factory driver alongside Sir Lewis Hamilton.
So, with a mentor like that and supportive parents, the racing world is at Nic’s feet.