Life in Camden might be slow and steady but James Burge lives his life in the fast lane.
The 19-year-old life-long Camden resident was named the CAMS NSW Formula Ford Rookie of the Year this week.
Burge said the win was unexpected.
“It was very satisfying to be named the Rookie of the Year, I worked hard for it,” he said.
“We had a very unlucky season with some mechanical problems so it was nice to be recognised.”
The Rookie of the Year is chosen during a six-race championship event.
Burge came out leading the pack this year.
The former Camden South Public School and Camden High School student said he had always loved racing.
“I started out in a hire kart when I was 12, I won my first championship that year and from then on I just loved it,” he said.
“The only thing I can compare it to is something I saw in a surfing movie.
“The surfer was saying how he felt free when he was on the waves – and that’s how I feel, it’s something you can’t recreate.”
Burge said he doesn’t get nervous before a race anymore, but he still gets ‘butterflies’.
He said preparing for a race was gruelling physically and mechanically.
“We were flat-out working on the car in our back shed to get it ready to race,” he said.
“I do a lot of bike riding and endurance-style fitness because driving these cars puts a lot of physical pressure on your body – plus you are wearing four layers of fire retardant material so it gets a little hot.
“I used to play representative soccer and I think racing is more physically demanding.”
Burge hopes to race his way into V8 Supercars one day.
“That’s the goal,” he said,
“I’d give anything to race professionally.”