Autism in Motorsport fundraiser is first step in paving the way for autistic children to get into motorsports
A father, who has supported his autistic son’s rise through the ranks of a local karting league, has founded a non-profit charity to help less privileged children with autism, ADHD, and similar conditions.
Paul Ward, of Saxon Street near Newmarket, launched the charity a year ago after seeing the positive impact kart racing has had on his son, Anthony.
“Despite being a bit wary, we let him have a go on a small kart some years ago and he loved it,” he said. “Once he started participating at Wild Tracks he did brilliantly, finishing fourth in the league in his first season, despite missing some races, and then finishing second the following year.
“Aside from the enjoyment it brings, karting has also helped Anthony to improve his social interactions and given him more confidence,” he added. “He learned a lot outside of the kart as well as racing in one.
“I set up Autism In Motorsport (AIM) in the hope that other children who are less privileged and who have autism can enjoy the same benefits karting has brought for Anthony.”
AIM is now looking to achieve its first goal of securing two karts which are specially adapted to give autistic children the chance to try out karting.
A fund-raising event, which is open to all, has been scheduled for August 14 and August 15 at Wild Tracks outdoor activity park.
It will include a mini race day from 9.30am on Saturday using Wild Tracks rental karts, five minute practice, qualifying, and a 15 lap sprint race.
A barbecue will also be running on both days, along with a bouncy castle, and a raffle with prizes, including a signed Lewis Hamilton cap, a signed George Russell poster, and a signed Haas cap. Sunday will be a race day from 8am for drivers who own their karts.
The winner from each age and kart category will received the `O` plate in memory of Ollie Card, a 12-year-old karter who died of a brain tumour last October.
The event will raise money for AIM and charities Momentum and Shooting Stars Hospice, which were chosen by the parents of Ollie.
Mr Ward hopes that the fund-raiser will be a stepping stone for AIM to reach its ultimate goal, which extends beyond opportunities and awareness to building a track and training centre for children to learn about engines and life skills.
“The two karts we’re hoping to secure are the first step, and they cost more than £4,000 each. But with the help of our director, Mark Firmin, who has been essential to helping us carry AIM forward, and has been a rock of support to my family - we’ll get there,” said Paul.
“I also want to thank our sponsor PBF Drainage and Supreme Motorsports who give us mechanical and setup help.”
Any businesses wishing to sponsor the charity and its events can email email@example.com to find out more.