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MACLEAY ISLAND’S OSCAR GILROY HAS HIS SIGHT SET ON DRIVING IN THE ‘FAST LANE’ Young 11-year-old Macleay Island lad, Oscar Gilroy, could have an exciting career ahead of him, as a racing driver no less! Oscar is the son of Jake and Ayumi Gilroy and brother to sisters Isla and Mia. The family have lived on Macleay Island for four years, with Oscar attending Macleay Island State School. Oscar’s interest in karting started some time ago, but it all came to fruition when dad, Jake, presented Oscar with his first Go Kart for his 11th birthday in February of this year. Little did Jake and the family know where Oscar would finish up in a very short space of time! Jake told the Friendly Bay Islander: “I got Oscar a few laps at Kingston Park Raceway where he caught the desire to drive, fast! “On his first race that day he got the hang of the kart. “The next race he beat everyone including adults and teenagers. “The track manager told me that the ‘boy’s got talent’. We have raced there multiple times since, and already Oscar has got to within 500th sec. of the track record,” Jake said. The next step was to research pro junior karting and join Karting Australia, where Oscar sat a test to get his full karting licence. “Together we sourced a top-line kart and trailer. “I (dad) had to sell my beloved boat to fund the purchase of his first kart.” So now Oscar races in the Cadet 12 category, under the strict rules imposed by Karting Australia and the FIA. His ‘home’ race track is the Warwick Kart Club. Oscar, dad and the family often make the trip over the ranges for race meets during the racing calendar year. When not racing at Warwick, they head to a ‘local’ track to practice. Oscar Gilroy has come a long way in a short space of time. He has won all races he competes in at Kingston Park and has recently stepped up to the ‘professional’ level. This is a totally new ‘ball game’ and Oscar’s immediate goal is to finish Top 10 for the 2023 season. It does not surprise that the young 11-year-old has set his heights really high, and he hopes one day to reach the ‘ultimate’ in driving, Formula One! Ironically, such an achievement is possible, given that many F1 drivers got their start in Kart racing; notably multiple world champions Lewis Hamilton. Karting and driving as a sport is not only very competitive; it is also very expensive. To help Oscar achieve his goals, he has recently obtained his first ‘official sponsor’. The Bay Islands Golf Club are going to help Oscar and his career out for the next three years. He is most appreciative of the support. Dad Jake Gilroy says they will now be constantly seeking sponsors and “we would welcome any other support we can get”. To keep the Kart on track for the season is costs around $6000-$7000 a year. This season they had sponsorship from a start-up IT company Digital Door, and are hoping to re-sign a deal with them again for next season. You never know, Macleay Island and the local sponsors might be able to say they provided a start for a future F1 World Champion!

• Oscar and Jake Gilroy on the ‘grid’ at the Bay Islands Golf Club!