A YOUNG motocross racer from Garelochhead is riding high after winning the first round of a national championship.

Hermitage Academy pupil Gregor Campbell was first in his class in the opening stage of the Scottish Auto Cycle Union (SACU) MX Championship in Tain.

The 17-year-old only started competing in 2015 but has risen up the rankings and already has his sights set on further success.

Dad Peter said he was delighted with his son’s progress.

“We’re very proud,” he said. “He has been doing well.

“It’s a tough sport – it’s not very big or well-known.

“I raced for fun years ago and Gregor and his wee brother had bikes but I didn’t let him race too young.

“When we started doing it properly he did all right but nothing special. Then he wanted to try out racing in the British Championships and that was a bit into the unknown.

“We were out of preparation, to be honest and he didn’t qualify, many young boys at that stage would’ve given up, but he kept going.”

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Gregor has had to overcome many challenges on his way to the top as a breakthrough star in the sport – and Peter admits that it has been anything but plain sailing for the youngster.

He said: “There have been lots of breakdowns along the way and it’s been quite a struggle, but Gregor has just kept going.

“Two years ago, my wife and daughter were quite badly injured in a road accident, so, obviously, racing was put on the backburner.

“Then in 2017 Gregor scored enough points for an international competition. He was totally out of his depth but it was a great experience.

“He’s been training hard but he’s up against tough racers and he has to face people to whom money is no object.

“It’s hard going but we are realistic about what we can achieve.”

Despite being up against racers and teams with far superior resources, Peter says the plan for the rest of 2019 and beyond is to continue getting results and upsetting the odds.

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The Scottish Championships are contested over four rounds with an overall winner crowned in September.

Gregor is also due to compete in England and in Belgium, the home of motocross, later this year.

Peter added: “Up until this year we only had one bike and we were putting a lot of hours on it, they’re expensive machines. This year we’ve got a second bike so we use one for practice and one for racing.

“Motorsport can be quite glamorous at the top end but we’re in a wee van sleeping and working out of it. We just get on with it and don’t let it put us off.

“You’ve got to be determined and he’s not intimidated by anyone.

“He’s quite a quiet wee boy but when he puts that crash helmet on he becomes quite the racer.

“We would love to win the Scottish Championships as it’s his last year competing in that class. We’ll just try and build on that and see where we can finish. Anywhere in the top 10 would be a good achievement.”

Gregor is heading to Doncaster this weekend to compete in the first round of the Acerbis Amateur Nationals.