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Classic car fan, five, wins first race

By Surrey Mirror  |  Posted: October 25, 2012

Theo Banton, 5, by the mini Austin Pathfinder after winning his pedal car race and best in class awards

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A FIVE-YEAR-OLD classic car fan has won the first race he's ever entered.

Schoolboy Theo Banton, who had never driven his classic Austin Pathfinder until race day, was first to finish in the pedal race and also claimed victory in the "Best Pathfinder Pedal Car Class".

The car, which was restored from a wreck to race car, was bought by his dad, Chris, who is himself a classic car fan who owns an Austin Healey.

Mr Banton, of Horne near Outwood, said Theo had been hoping for a few test drives before the race on October 7 at The Bus Museum in Birmingham, but when he arrived at the event, the first practice he got was the race itself.

He added: "We literally got there on the Friday night and he didn't get a chance to drive it [the car] until the race.

"But he's a child that just does everything; he can swim, he climbs, he's just one of those children that likes doing anything. He's not scared of anything."

According to Mr Banton, his son had been itching to get behind the wheel of a car since last month after an event in Guildford, when Theo could only stand and watch, and was very excited to finally be able to enter a race himself.

"He's been into cars from a young age," said Mr Banton, "but he's not had the strength to get behind the wheel until now. He was over the moon when he won and he's been driving the car around the yard all the time now. He really enjoys it."

Theo, who is in Year 1 at The Hawthorns School in Pendell Court, Bletchingley, said: "The best part was the racing around. It's the first time I've been there. At first my daddy got me the car and it had a puncture and we had to get it fixed."

He is hoping to get more practice in before the next race.

He said: "I'm going to try and find a space before the winter so I can drive it, like Reigate park."

Horley based classic car restorer Ian Taylor spent six weeks bringing the car back to its former glory.

He said: "It was emotional handing the Pathfinder to the family and seeing how pleased and amazed they were with the results.

"It took a lot of blood, sweat and tears, but the result was worth it.

"I am absolutely thrilled that Theo's car took first prize with best in class."

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