From grass to tar, West Norfolk scrum-half is living life in the fast lane

West Norfolk Rugby v Wymondham
West Norfolk Rugby v Wymondham

Ollie Ridout is used to the physical and mental demands of the rugby field, but during the summer the West Norfolk player swaps grass for tar to compete on the karting scene.

The West Norfolk scrum-half is living life in the fast lane by competing in the British Superkart Championship.

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While he is used to driving for success with his team-mates at Gatehouse Lane, Ridout has taken the saying to another level as he reaches speeds in excess of 110 miles-per-hour on the race track.

Ridout said: “I was very late to the karting scene. The normal age to start a motor racing career is about six-years-old.

“Most competitors grow through the ranks of direct drive karting up the categories into either car racing or long circuit Superkart racing.

“It was only when I met my fiancée Izzy Keen when I became interested.

West Norfolk Rugby v Wisbech

West Norfolk Rugby v Wisbech

“I was around the age of 20 and, after 18 months of dating, we took a trip to watch her dad race at Woodthorpe kart club in Lincolnshire and I instantly fell in love with the sport.

“I bought my first kart and quickly moved onto a second and then into long circuit karting. After passing my ARKS test, I received my licence.

“I threw myself in at the deep end and entered the British Superkart Grand Prix at Donington Park and managed to finish in the top 20.”

Luckily for Ridout, his two sporting loves don’t intefere with each other.

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“I’m very fortunate that the two seasons very rarely clash,” said Ridout.

“In my off season of racing, I play my rugby on a Saturday and then do my rebuilding and maintenance on a Sunday.

“Rugby training is during the week whilst I am away with karting at the weekends, so they work very well together.”

Since getting behind the wheel, Ridout has competed regularly in a number of championships.

Last season saw him record his first-ever victories in long circuit racing. Ridout claimed the King of Cadwell title and finished on the podium (third) at the coveted Stars at Darley Moor meeting in October, which was attended by a host of big names in Superbikes.

Working closely with his future father-in-law John Faulkner on a shoe-string budget, Ollie’s own dad Chris has become a vital member of his background team, helping him with maintenance.

As the 2018 season approaches, Ridout, who will compete with a TM powered Anderson chassis in the F125 Open class, is looking for sponsorship as he prepares to race at Snetterton and Donnington Park, among others, during 16 rounds of action.

“Any sponsorship would enable the team to continue competing at the highest level,” admitted Ridout, who starts the new karting season at Snetterton on March 17.

Sponsors will receive varying benefits over the duration of the season according to level of support.

Anyone who may be able to help Ridout in his quest for karting glory can contact him on: