Seven-year-old boy 'flying the flag' for the Black Country through mini-motorbike races
A seven-year-old boy with a need for speed is flying the Black Country flag "all over the country" by competing in a motorbike racing championship.
Caelan Ratcliffe, riding his Blata Mini-moto 49cc which can travel up to 40mph, has taken the Coolfab British Mini-Moto Championship by storm.
It is his first year the youngster is competing in the competition but he is seemingly improving with each round, with his next race being on Saturday.
His parents Tom Ratcliffe and Claire, who both live in the Sedgley area, have been left "so proud" with his progression – and his dedication to the sport.
Claire, aged 39, said: "Caelan's dad Tom builds and rides motorbikes, he did a couple of years in racing before Caelan started so he would watch his dad on the track. We've got a motorbike in our kitchen, motorbikes are everywhere so he's been brought up around them.
"His older brother Roman (aged 10) started riding and did a couple of races and motocross and when Caelan turned five he asked if he could get on his brother's motorbike. And then his brother decided he was happy to be part of pit crew and Caelan continued riding and went from there really, at the age of five.
"He started in the championship this year and we expected him to be at the back, because there's about 25 kids on the grid. We said 'it's his first race year, let him play around to get used to it' and he went from 16 to 15 to eighth and to fifth – and last round he was battling with the championship leader.
"It's held all over the country, his last round was in Cumbria and next round is in Suffolk. There's a round in Wales, another in Kent, and the closest one to us is in Northampton so it's all over. And he literally does fly the Black Country flag all over the country."
Caelan's school – The Manor School in Wolverhampton – have been very supportive of his exploits, with his parents submitting the schedule to them before it is agreed he can take a day off to race.
He trains either at M4 Karting, near to Chippenham, or at Kinsham Raceway near Presteigne in Powys, Wales, every Sunday with the competition running between April and October – with the last race due next Saturday in Suffolk.
And he will be hoping for another fantastic performance riding on his bike, which has the number 69 on it. It's a number he didn't originally want, having set his eyes on the 93 originally due to be it being the number used by one of his father's racing friends, but has soon started to warm to – with the number doing him proud this year.
And for his proud parents, they have been left amazed at how quickly he has adapted to the track. His mother Claire added: "It's amazing, we just didn't expect it. We expected he would just be getting used to things this year, but he listens intensely to what his dad and the other members of the paddock – your elites and professionals – tell him, so they take him and show him where to break and stuff and he listens to what they're saying and puts it into practice. We're really proud, not just of his achievements but also the dedication he's shown for such a young age."
The youngster is looking for sponsorship to help him continue his exploits on the track, with anyone interested being asked to contact: email@example.com