SPEEDING along the track at up to 80mph, 14-year-old James Hall from Witney spends his weekends in a slightly different way to his school friends.

The Henry Box pupil discovered his love of racing at the age of eight, after going along to watch his father, Robert, in a rally car.

Despite being too young to actually drive, James was keen to get involved and his dad decided go karts would be a great first step.

His grandfather, Tim Hall, was also a rally car driver and the love of motors runs in the family.

James, who lives in Windrush Valley Road, Witney, with his mum Sandra, said: “When Dad stopped racing in 2007, we decided it was my turn. But at the age of eight, it’s pretty limited so we gave go karting a go. I spent about four years in go karts.

“I wanted to move into cars again, when I was 11, but my options were still limited so we started oval track racing. I drove in a one-litre Mini Production Saloon.”

Racing in the Mini, James quickly became a proficient and successful driver and racer, winning two championships in his first season.

Hall Motorsport, the family business, is based at garage TJ Hall & Son in Sandford-on-Thames, where James helps prepare the car for competion. The Yaris he drives was built by Hall Motorsport to compete in the 2015 British Junior Rally Championship.

James admitted that racing from a young age gave him a much-needed head start in rallying, which he began as soon as he turned 14 last March.

He added: “I really enjoy it. It’s good to have so many friends and all the good relationships that I’ve built up.

“I’d like to stay in it until I’m older. When I’m 17 I want to go to Europe, and then take part in world rallying. You need a lot of funding and sponsorship. You have to try to get yourself noticed.”

Rallying is a form of car racing that takes place on public or private roads with specially built road-legal cars.

James and his dad, who lives in Sandford-on-Thames, spend their weekends together finding test venues up and down the country where they can practise.

They also spend a lot of time together in the garage, with James’s navigator, 53-year-old Simon Bradley.

Since James turned 14, he has taken part in five rallying events already in the championship. He said: “I finished three out of the five. The first one went quite well, I finished mid-pack. The second one we decided to push harder and got to the top three. It’s a marathon, not a sprint. There are eight stages to the race in one day.

“This year was more of an experience gainer. We didn’t expect to be in the top three already, but I hope next year it will help us take a big step and hopefully get somewhere.

“I’m the only one in my school who does this. My other friends mainly do football, cricket, and golf.

“We have spoken to the school about it though and they are always very interested.”

James’ dad, Robert, said it was absolutely great to see his son competing in rallying.

He said: “He is the third generation of the Hall family to do so. What he has achieved in a short space of time is an eye-opener, especially the results he gained on the Short Circuit Ovals.

“The step up to rallying was always going to be a big one and this year he has learned a lot and I hope we can move forward in 2016.

“The help and support he has received has been overwhelming.”