KARTING superstar Jake Calvert has been crowned national champion after a stellar year.

The Barrow teenager took the National Kart Racing Association British crown despite heartache in the final race of the season.

Calvert headed to the British Championships at Three Sisters, Wigan, having already scooped the North and South Championships.

He continued his dominance in the four heats of the grand finale, winning each one – by eight, 13, five and 15 seconds respectively – and setting fastest laps every time he sat behind the wheel.

It looked as though that run would continue in the final itself, and he was ahead of the field and going strongly when a mechanical issue forced him to retire close to the end of the race, having victory to Thomas Massarella.

As a result, Calvert was ranked fourth in the race and initially thought he had missed out on the national crown to Massarella.

But a phone call from the organisers of the Junior Blue Championships three days later revealed there had been a mix-up and he was actually king of the hill based on his performances through the whole season.

It was a phone call which brought a smile to the face of the Furness Academy pupil, his family and their many local sponsors – all of whom have backed him wholeheartedly over the past few years.

“Finals day was quiet easy,” said Calvert, who won 51 of the 56 races he entered before finals day and claimed pole position in every event he contested.

“I was even being told to slow down, because I was going like a rocket off the start line and the team wanted me to save my tyres a little bit.

“I was getting ready to win the final and I felt I was going well until I broke down. I was gutted.

“They told me I had finished second, but then they called up a few days later to tell me I had won and become British number one.

“That made up for it. It felt really good – it's the highlight of the year.”

Dad Stuart Dorman added: “We had an unbelievable weekend. We won all four heats, but on the second from last lap in the final, a spindle broke on the front of his engine that drives the back axle. He had a 15-second lead when it happened.

“We thought we had only accumulated enough points for second in the UK, which we thought was still very good going. Jake handled it very maturely.

“But then they called us to say they had messed it up and Jake is British champion. They had worked the points system out wrongly and overall he had won by 0.4 points.

“It was unbelievable. Being number one has taken him to a whole new level.”

Calvert's year has also seen him defend the National 0-Plate title – something that had not previously been done in the competition's history.

His successes mean he is aiming even higher in 2016, when he hopes to contest two 125cc championships, both of which are televised.

He will test a new kart over the coming weeks, including spending a session with manufacturers Intrepid.

“It's going to be quite a challenge,” said Calvert. “We've never been in the kart before and it's a lot more powerful.

“There will be new tracks, which will be hard to work out. It will be like starting again.”

Sponsor Mark McSweeney – who builds the engine's for Calvert's karts and who raced himself as a youngster – is positive about the potential for the Barrow driver.

He said: “The last six months have been fantastic – it has all come together.

“He deserves his chance. We've got someone in this town who is naturally very good.”

As well as McSweeney, who operates the South Lakeland Mini Centre, Calvert has been helped by Keith Edwards, who supplies tyres, Dave Hardman, of Genesis2Revolution, who takes care of his website, and Keith Devlin, from Ironwerx Gym, who helps with his fitness.

Devlin said: “He's brilliant. He could be the next Lewis Hamilton!

“He's a good lad, he's intelligent and he knows he has to stick to things in the gym. He works hard.”

Edwards added: “He's really got talent and he's going to go a long way. It's good to be involved with him and see him move forward.

“It's been exciting to watch him this year, there have been some good weekends.

“I've not been surprised with how well he's done – I think he can go even further. How far remains to be seen.”

Dorman, who along with other members of the family travels to support him at races, also thanked local firms MP Electrical Solutions, Gibson and Coward Electrical Ltd, BK Testing Ltd and Allonby Ltd for their donations to help pay for tyres both this year and next.

“If it hadn't been for these guys, we wouldn't be where we are,” said Dorman. “Without their backing, it would be so much harder.

“These are local companies supporting this kid and they are just brilliant. It's not just money, they can act as mentors to Jake – Mark has raced karts, Keith (Edwards) races hill climbs – and they can motivate him. They help make him a better driver.”