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It is nice to highlight success in any field of motoring.

So, this week, for a complete change, the focus is on a wonderful young driver about whom you can expect to hear a lot over the coming years.

It hasn’t been easy for him, but his example may inspire young people – not necessarily drivers – to stick at what they are doing to achieve their goals.

Mark Herbert has the story:

James Roe Jr is just 19 years old. He is from Naas, Co Kildare, and he was born to be a racing driver.

He comes from a family steeped in the motorsport industry.

James started racing in Ireland and the UK four years ago.

After four highly successful seasons with wins, podiums and lap records in each class he raced in, he decided to move his focus to the US earlier this year to pursue his ultimate ambition of racing professionally there.

He decided to compete in the highly competitive F2000 series after the Wisconsin-based racing team ArmsUp Motorsports asked if he’d be interested in competing with them in a Mazda-powered Elan F2000 race car.

He made an instant impact, winning at the famous Watkins Glen circuit in New York.

He racked up further wins at Virginia International Raceway and at New Jersey Motorsport Park, along with a stunning podium finish at every race track he competed at during his time in the series.

Last August he gave another demonstration of his ability when competing at Summit Point, West Virginia.

When he arrived, he was told the car he previously raced in was overheating.

The series owner offered another car. After starting last on the grid as a result of switching vehicles, he finished third. In doing so, James broke the seven-year-old lap record.

He finished the season in style in September at the 13-turn, 2.25 mile New Jersey Motorsports Park.

Driving his Mazda-powered Elan car, he won race one and got a podium finish in race two, which meant he was crowned rookie champion for 2018.

He also finished second in the championship overall.

It was a stunning result for James Jr in his first year competing at this level.

Twice nominated by the Irish Motorsport Association for the Irish Young Driver of the Year award, he is again up for the gong this year.

A lot more accolades will certainly come his way.

He told us: “Overall it was a great year for me.

“It was a huge task in moving to the US on my own and getting everything in place to ensure I was with the right people to get the job done.

“Thankfully, it all worked out. Only for my sponsors and partners, I wouldn’t have been able to do it.

“Every race result is down to them getting me there.”


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