Teenager Dexter Patterson has a new addition to his bedroom. But ,while other 14-year-olds, would be happy with a Playstation or flatscreen TV, the schoolboy from Bothwell has the CIK-FIA World Karting Championship trophy.
Patterson, who earlier this year received tips from Red Bull Formula One ace and former karting champ Max Verstappen, became the first-ever Scottish world karting champion when he outpaced 92 rivals from 30 countries in the final in Lincoln.
But his performance – which already outshines the achievements of fellow Scots David Coulthard, Dario Franchitti, Allan McNish and Paul di Resta, none of whom lifted the world karting title – has left the youngster slightly bewildered.
“I was a bit overwhelmed immediately after the final,” Patterson said after returning home from school at Hamilton Academy. “I knew it was a big deal, but I didn’t really realise it at the time.
“It wasn’t till I got home and had the trophy with me, and saw the reaction on social media that it began to sink in.
“Waking up on Monday morning with the trophy at the end of my bed was special. It’s really big. I didn’t expect the trophy to be as big as that. It’s massive.”
Piloting his 80mph Forza Racing 125cc two-stroke kart, Patterson started from third on the grid, and had eased himself into the lead by the end of the opening lap, before dropping back to fourth.
But a series of impressive laps, including the fastest of the race, saw him head the pack again and the talented young Scot controlled the race ahead of his team-mate Chris Lulham.
Patterson added: “I could see he was quite fast, but once I managed to get ahead of him, I knew I had the pace and race craft to keep him behind me to the chequered flag.”
“Being world champion is something I’ve always dreamed about
“After the heats, I knew I had a good chance, so I just made sure I kept my head under control and went out and delivered.”
Patterson, a former British Champion and winner of the Formula Kart Stars, began karting aged six.
His father Roddy Patterson said: “Dexter’s been something of a natural since he jumped into a kart for the first time when he was six.
“I bought a kart for myself from Paul di Resta’s dad, Louis. I’d only been on track in it twice before I offered Dexter a chance to drive it. That was the last time I ever sat in a kart.
“Since then it’s been about doing everything to maximise Dexter’s chances of becoming world champion.”
Now, with his first world title under his belt, Patterson revealed his link to F1 grand prix winner Verstappen.
The young Scot said: “I first met Max a couple of years ago at the Autosport Awards in London. Then, at the start of this year, he came to watch me in a race at Adria in Italy.
“We had a chat with him and his father. He gave me some advice about the race. He knows my engine builder very well, so that’s how we knew each other.”
The man who built the engines for the two karting world champs is fellow Scot Gordon Finlayson. The boss of GFR Engines in Larkhall said Patterson’s win was a dream come true for him as well.
“For me, Dexter is the fastest Junior karting racer in the world at the moment,” said Finlayson, whose company has built kart engines for a number of racers who have graduated to F1.
“There’s something about him. He’s exceptionally fast, plus he’s very technically-minded, especially for someone just 14.
“Dexter’s win was the proudest moment of what I’ve built over the last 15 years. To take a little Scottish lad — who lives 15 minutes away from my own house and win the World Championship, against the best drivers in the world — was amazing. I still feel emotional now when I think about it. It’s a dream.”