SAMUEL Hawthorne defied inexperience to finish 12th in the British Karting International final at Le Mans.

The 14-year-old, who lives in Harwell and attends King Alfred’s Academy in Wantage, only started racing four years ago.

But after qualifying for the

nine-day event as one of the top ten British drivers, he produced a fine performance against rivals from China, Taiwan, Australia, Pakistan and Brazil among


Over three days of heats, Hawthorne made it through to the final in 31st place, with just 33 progressing.

A superb drive saw him finish 16th in the morning race, which set grid positions for the grand final.

And he again showed his talent to see off several vastly experienced rivals to claim 12th overall.