10-year-old Charlie Forrester is flying high in this year’s Irish Minibike Championships at almost the halfway stage of the competition.

After races at Kirikistown, Athboy, Nutts Corner and Bishopscourt, Charlie has completed four rounds of the IMC and sits P5 overall in the BamBam standings.

The Fermanagh native got off to an impressive start in his first weekend grabbing a first-ever podium finish and continued his stellar racing form at Bishopscourt last weekend in the fourth round with a fourth-place and two fifth-place finishes on the day, taking his overall standing to P5.

He was also awarded 'Bambamer of the Day' this past weekend at Bishopscourt.

Charlie first began racing in the IMC back in 2022 doing the last three rounds of that year’s Championship and went on to complete his first full year in 2023 with a 14th place finish overall.

He’s on course for his best finish to date in the championship alongside the support of his parents Paul Forrester and Lorraine Gilroy. “We love it,” Paul said. “We love seeing him do it.

(Image: The Impartial Reporter)

"Obviously, you do get nervous, his mam gets nervous at the start she can’t watch it but once he starts and he goes, it's grand. I don’t get nervous watching him at all, I get more excited, I like to see him enjoying it.

"If he’s enjoying it, I enjoy it. There’s no pressure on him to do it, as long as he’s enjoying it we’ll continue to do it.

"If he comes in and says, ‘Look I’m not enjoying it’ or ‘I don’t want to do it’, we’ll just stop and put the bike in the van.

"There’s no pressure on him to do it, he has to enjoy it, that’s the first, most important part because, if not, there’s no point.”

The IMC has races of different age groups on the day, with Charlie competing in the youngest group having three races on the day with each one usually taking six to 10 minutes to complete.

Charlie practices racing once or twice a month in the lead-up to each weekend with his dad revealing he has made plenty of friends since beginning his racing journey.

“It’s a kind of close-knit paddock, he makes a lot of friends out of it," Paul continued.

"It’s a very friendly environment in the paddock and he’s definitely made an awful lot of friends from it. It’s a very sociable space. The class that he races in is called the BamBam class, so, last weekend there were 17 different entrants and he’d be very friendly with most of the kids in the class.

"As soon as they got off the bike, they run to each other and play with each other between races and then in the evening when they stay over.”

Minibike racing is an expensive hobby but several sponsors and support from friends and family allow Charlie to continue his adored hobby.

“We do have help from some sponsors,” Paul added. “Me and his mum do most of it but we do have a couple of big sponsors that help us out. Terry Bradley has an embroidery company, called PNF Embroidery.

"He supplies us with hoodies and t-shirts and stuff to keep us all looking professional so that the bike matches the gear and that kind of stuff. A friend of mine, George Gordon, helps us out, Ken Summerville and Brian Clarke from Mullingar direction. Pat Duffy and Drumary Nurseries Derrygonnelly as well, so, we get good support.”

Charlie has inherited his interest in racing from his dad Paul who did a short stint of racing back in 2005/2006 before becoming a mechanic.

Paul now works as a motorbike mechanic for BMW and once worked alongside successful international road racer Lee Johnston, who hails from Maguiresbridge but is now based just outside Leeds.

He also worked with Waterford-based racer Brian McCormack and has amassed a wealth of knowledge in the sport through his experiences and qualifications.

Charlie has six more rounds of this year’s IMC to go with two trips to Watergrasshill in Cork up next on July 6 and 7.

Two more visits to Nutt’s Corner will follow before a final two days at Athboy and Kirkistown as the young racing sensation continues his journey on the track.