Need for speed is wheely wheely fun

BEN Keyte has a need for speed.

Mr Keyte, who lives in Parramatta, joins a new generation of motorsports drivers who will compete in the newly established sport, Wheelchair Grand Prix (WGP).

Chris Quinlan created the sport more than a year ago after noticing a lack of motorsports available to people in a wheelchair.

"My whole life I've grown up racing and I have been racing carts all over Australia," Mr Quinlan said. "We thought there were wheelchair-accessible sports like soccer and hockey but nothing to do with motorsports.

"We put the idea together and found the track."

It started in a courtyard with participants driving their electronic wheelchairs around cones.

Now the sport has grown to include a rule book, track licensing and the potential for sponsorship.

Wheelchair Grand Prix includes two speed categories: WF1 and WZ2.

WF1 enforces a total speed limit of 14km/h and WZ2 has a total speed limit of 10km/h.

As in most motorsports, the overall aim of the race is to cross the finishing line first.

Speed isn't the only attraction.

The sport has its fair share of spills.

Omar Deeb, of Merrylands, has fallen out of his chair several times because of chair crashes or speed. But that hasn't fazed the young driver, who says he likes to go fast.

Others said the sport gave them the opportunity to try something new.

Jye Mokluk and his cousin, Dean Crane, share a love of V8 Supercar racing. Both agree the sport enables them to achieve a dream which they thought would be impossible.

"We get to do a similar job to a race car driver," Mr Mokluk said. "It's awesome."

Sharrief Elkanj said the sport gave him "freedom".

Each week participants race at the radio control car track in Whalan. So far clients of Parramatta disability service provider Northcott take part.

Mr Quinlan hopes more people will come along or be sponsors.

"We want to start it up as a weekend thing like rugby, soccer or cricket," he said.

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