YOUNG Helensburgh scooter ace Oliver Hood surpassed all expectations on the biggest stage he’s seen in his short time in the sport.

Hoping for a place in the top 20 of his age group at the ScootGB national championships in Corby, Oliver put on a superb performance to be ranked in fifth place in a field of 40 competitors from all across the UK.

Oliver, 11, a pupil at Lomond School in Helensburgh, qualified by winning his age group in the Unit 23 Skatepark Scottish Scooter Championship in Dumbarton in the summer – but despite finding himself up against the strongest field he’s ever faced, he rose to the challenge in style.

Mum Jackie told the Advertiser: “He completely smashed it on his first run. He landed every trick on a smooth, flowing run, and the judges loved it.

“He was the top Scot, and fifth overall, which is amazing. The room was full of people, the music was pumping and the MC was calling out all the names over the PA – it was a really intimidating atmosphere.

“But he said ‘I’m really prepared, I’ve had a good night’s sleep, I’m looking forward to it’ – and he absolutely stormed it.”

Jackie, who accompanied Oliver to the event, admitted that before Oliver entered the arena she was “a little bit worried” at how he might perform in a hall full of competitors and their families and friends.

“Even Oliver said the standard was so high that if he finished in the top 20 he’d be really happy,” Jackie continued.

“He came up to me after his first run and said ‘I’m really happy with that – I went really well and I landed everything perfectly’.

“In his second run he was trying other tricks and he didn’t score quite so highly. But that didn’t matter because he already had a really good run in the bag.

“When you know someone is filming you and photographing you, and all those people are watching you, it must feel incredibly intimidating.

“But it says a lot for Oliver that he didn’t buckle. He was delighted.

“He’s improved massively since qualifying from the competition in Dumbarton – he’s practising at every chance he gets.

When we arrived at the venue, all the top professionals in Britain and the world were there.

“And they were riding alongside the likes of Oliver and telling the younger competitors ‘keep trying and you’ll land it’ – it was an amazing experience for him to ride alongside the best in the world.”

Oliver is now looking ahead to his move up to the ‘novice’ category, for riders aged between 12 and 15, which will see him face a stiffer challenge against older children.

“We didn’t make it home until the Monday night after the competition,” Jackie added. “Having ridden all weekend at the championships, he just wanted to ride some more at the outdoor park. He really is improving every week.”