Belfast Telegraph

Brands Hatch champion Boyd on course for birthday treat

By Sammy Hamill

Wayne Boyd will celebrate his 18th birthday tomorrow with two important 'presents' already unwrapped.

A fortnight ago he clinched one of the most important competitions in British motor racing, the UK Formula Ford championship, and then last Sunday he added his name to a roll of honour that includes Johnny Herbert, Jenson Button and fellow Ulsterman Eddie Irvine, by winning the Formula Ford Festival at Brands Hatch.

Such is Boyd's stature at such an early age, he was the overwhelming favourite to win at the Festival and although it nearly didn't go according to plan with a poor qualifying performance, he fought his way through to the final where he swept the opposition aside with another assured drive.

And, potentially, there is an even bigger present still waiting to be opened.

Boyd is one of six drivers nominated for the prestigious 2008 McLaren/Autosport Young Driver of the Year Award which carries a prize of £50,000 as well as a test session in a McLaren-Mercedes Formula One car like Lewis Hamilton drives.

The amazing thing is that Boyd, an A-level student at Antrim Grammar School, is arguably more successful at this stage of his career that golden boy Hamilton.

He has just finished a season, only his second in cars after developing his skills - like Hamilton - in karts, in which he won an astonishing 14 out of 28 races with 13 pole positions, 13 fastest laps and 21 podiums in one of the most competitive categories of racing anywhere in the world.

In his debut season in 2007, aged just 16, he won the Northern Ireland Formula Ford championship against drivers sometimes double his age.

That success took him to England to join the top-rated Jamun team and he totally dominated the British championship with a string of victories in a French-built Mygale against aspiring drivers from all around the globe including his team-mates, Australian champion Tim Blanchard and Brazilian Victor Correa, a protégé of Felipe Massa.

And immediately after tying up the British title in the final series of races at Donington earlier this month, Boyd took time out before the Brands Hatch Festival to secure another big prize, the Racing Steps Foundation award which will see him contest the Formula Renault Winter Series before a full Renault championship season in 2009 with Fortec Racing.

Boyd says: "The McLaren Autosport Award is one of the most important awards that a young driver can win and I'm really honoured to be selected as one of the six finalists.

"But winning the Festival and the Championship in the same year is just mega and I have to say a big thanks to my team, my managers, my sponsors and especially my dad for making it possible. It's a team effort and they've all done a great job."

A typical teenager, Wayne isn't usually so formal in his replies.

Asked how he drives a racing car so fast he quipped: "You've got to drive it like you stole it!"

And why has he got such a winning record? "Second," he says, "is first of the losers."

Belfast Telegraph


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