NOT many students can claim to be the current Northern Ireland and Ulster Karting Championship holder, let alone having raced against the 2009 World Formula One Champion Jenson Button, but Daniel Conlon is the rare exception.
18-year-old Daniel is currently studying for his A-level’s at Lismore Comprehensive School but still manages to find time to race all over the country.
Daniel lives in Dollingstown and is the holder of both the NI and Ulster Championship’s. He also came second in the Ulster Cup and third in the Irish Grand Prix in 2010.
“It all started through my Dad, he took me down to a race when I was younger and I really wanted to give it a go,” said Daniel.
“The races take place all over Northern Ireland, places like Nutts Corner and Bishopscourt. It keeps me busy over the weekend anyway.
“Winning the two Championships last year felt brilliant and it was a really good feeling to do so well.”
Racing against Formula One driver Jenson Button is many a car lover’s and racing driver’s dream. Last December Daniel was invited to a karting race in Milton Keynes and did just that.
“I got an email from the Race Drivers Incorporated team, inviting me to race in England and when I turned up Jenson Button was there.
“It was really exciting. When you’re on the track and you look behind you and you see Jenson Button it feels great.”
Daniel also plays Gaelic football with St Michael’s and hopes to go on to Jordanstown University after his A-level exams finish in May but we could be looking at our first ever local Formula One driver.
This year’s Karting Championship has already got underway and Daniel has gotten off to a great start with three wins so far.
“The season lasts from March until October and there are 20 races in a season, so I’m glad I’ve got three wins already. I feel pretty confident about this year’s Championship and I think I can stay up with the big boys.”