Deaf Sports Stars16th July 2014

Karter Caleb is Living the High Life

6 year old deaf kart racer Caleb McDuff has been rubbing shoulders with some of the biggest names in motor sport

by Peter Hughes - Sports Writer

Six year old kart racer Caleb McDuff has been taking a closer look in recent weeks at the glamorous lifestyle of a top racing driver.

While there has been a break in the Bambino Kart Tour in which Caleb, who is profoundly deaf, competes, he has been invited as a VIP guest to some high profile motorsport events. The first of these was the British Grand Prix at Silverstone, to which he went as a guest of the Santander bank, generously taking Dad Ian along with him.

“He loved every minute of it”, said Ian, “The first race was for Porsches. He loves Porsches and as soon as he saw them he said I want to race one of those but once the Formula One cars came out he forgot all about that.”

“Caleb got all the VIP treatment with access to areas that the general public couldn’t get to, food and refreshments through the day and even a goody bag to take away”, explains Ian, adding, “He was even invited to spend some time with the Marussia Formula One team but we just couldn’t fit everything in.”

Caleb’s ambitions for the future always relate to when his is taller rather than when he is older and, as he watched the Grand Prix drivers do a parade lap on the back of a truck before the race, he told Ian, “I want to do that when I am taller.” “Be on the back of the lorry?” asked Ian. “No”, replied Caleb, “drive the lorry.”

The end of the race provided a double celebration for Caleb as he was not only able to watch his favourite driver, Jenson Button finish in a strong fourth place but also see Lewis Hamilton take his favourite car, the Mercedes Benz, to victory.

Soon after the Grand Prix, Caleb was invited to return to the Midlands and the Prodrive Performance Centre. Prodrive is the company behind many successful motorsport projects including the Subaru and Mini world rally teams and, currently, the Aston Martin Racing team and their Performance Centre houses a state of the art test track.

Ian takes up the story, “We were contacted via Facebook by Laura Turner who was organising an event there to raise money for Guide Dogs for the Blind. She asked if Caleb would like to be her guest there.” So Caleb found himself at the Atom 4 Eyes Blind Drive 2014 with the chance to take a ride in some of the fastest cars on the road.

“Caleb was a little bit shy at first”, says Ian, “but as soon as he saw ‘the Stig’ he wanted to ride in his car. Top Gear is one of his favourite television programmes and he loves ‘the Stig’.”

It seems the mysterious TV star made no concessions for Caleb when it came to the speed at which he covered the course but that didn’t worry his young passenger and after that he wanted to go out in as many cars as he could.

Those included a powerful, lightweight Westfield sports car and the unique Ariel Atom, a British built sports car with no doors, no roof and no windscreen. Event organiser Laura Turner put on her own, impressive, display of driving in that car as Ian explained, “Laura is a remarkable woman. She only has 5% vision but she drove the Atom around the circuit at over 100mph.”

Caleb was delighted with his experience but left the Prodrive circuit with one unanswered question. “He wanted to know why the Stig wouldn’t speak to him. I tried to explain that it was part of his image for Top Gear and he had to keep that air of mystery but Caleb still wanted to know why he wouldn’t speak to him.”

Caleb’s own high speed driving resumes on 9th/10th August when he and Ian will be at the Rowrah Circuit in Cumbria for the next round of the Bambino Tour. In the meantime, he will be busy testing at his local G-Force karting circuit in Monmouthshire, spurred on by his taste of the action packed world of the top line racing driver.

Article by Peter Hughes - Sports Writer

posted in Deaf Sport / Deaf Sports Stars

16th July 2014