Whanganui kart driver Max Rennie had a successful debut in national-level racing over the weekend.
The 10-year-old was in action at the KartSport National Sprint Championships in Upper Hutt.
Sponsor and mechanic Blair Gray said Max qualified for the final and eventually finished 23rd in the 85cc Vortex Mini ROK class.
An accident in front of him hampered progress.
"If there was one more lap he would have cracked the top 20," Gray said.
"They were all so close that just lifting off the throttle that little bit makes a difference.
"A couple of other boys I sponsor didn't make it through the first lap of the final. They were front runners in their classes and got taken out in the first corner.
"That was it, game over."
Gray said Max struggled in the wet conditions a little bit at the start of the event but overall he couldn't have wished for a better drive.
"There could have been a bit of nerves from a crash he had the week before.
"That was a big one. We had to replace his chassis."
Max's dad Chris Rennie said he was really proud of his son's effort, especially as it was in tough conditions.
"He drove a bit within himself throughout the day due to the size of the field, I believe, but in the final he really started to put it together.
"His best race motor lunched the clutch during practice the previous day, which was far from ideal as it was not repairable.
"Max came home straight and so did his kart. Not everyone did."
Gray said Max's next big race would be September's Blossom event in Hawke's Bay.
"We'll have a couple of weeks off now and let him catch his breath, then regroup and get back into it for club day on July 10."