NORTHALLERTON racing driver Ethan Hammerton is enjoying a season to remember – and the 16-year-old is hoping it gets even better when he tackles his “home” race at Croft Circuit this weekend.

Having won the opening two rounds of this year’s Junior Saloon Car Championships, Hammerton has followed up with a podium finish in every race bar one.

He heads to Croft for round six of the championship this weekend looking to defend his lead at the top of the rankings, and is guaranteed plenty of local support at the North Yorkshire circuit.

“I’m really looking forward to racing at my home circuit and I’m sure my family and friends will be there to support me,” said Hammerton.

“There are four rounds of the championship left, so there’s still plenty of racing to go and I’m looking forward to continue battling for the title. There have been some tough races so far and I’m learning all the time.”

Having won at the first two rounds, Hammerton was under pressure in round three of the championship when he could only qualify fourth at Wales’ Anglesey circuit. However, he stormed to second and third-place finishes to keep the momentum of his title challenge going.

Round four was at Snetterton, and, having been forced wide off the track in race one, he battled his way through the pack to finish a creditable third. He spent much of race two chasing down the leader, but despite closing the gap lap after lap, eventually had to settle for second.

The latest round – at Knockhill in Scotland earlier this month – produced plenty of drama and another victory. The Juniors were supporting the Super Touring Cars, so there was a large crowd to watch the action.

Qualifying was difficult, with a dry start which turned to a heavy downpour of rain, and Hammerton could only manage to qualify in fifth. However, he converted this to third place in race one, while also setting a new lap record.

He had incurred a two-place penalty for race two, but nevertheless cut through the field to take the win, beating his previous lap record as he reclaimed the championship lead.

This season’s success follows last year’s achievements, when Hammerton made the step up from karting to the JSCC circuit and finished the season in fourth position overall. He was also the JSCC’s highest-ranked rookie. He hopes to progress into either the UK Clio Cup, which supports British Touring Cars, or JCW Minis, that support the British GT, and has just finished sitting his GCSE exams at Northallerton School and Sixth Form College.