In our new column Gen Z in the Spotlight, we chat to determined young people in the area to find out about their hopes, dreams and accomplishments. Featured this week is Harvey go-kart racer Toby Maiolo, who holds a State Championship title in the fast-paced sport. Formula 1 star Daniel Ricciardo began karting at the age of nine with the Tiger Kart Club in Wanneroo – the same club promising Harvey driver Toby Maiolo races at today. At the age of 12, Toby has already turned heads at Ricciardo’s old stomping ground and is a well-known name in the junior racing industry. The young kid has steered himself to the front of the pack and has a striking collection of silverware through his sheer determination and vow to someday work in the racing industry – as either a driver, mechanic or engineer. Toby was crowned State Champion two years ago, after an impressive year on the track and a mountain of podium finishes under his belt. “When I first started it was very chaotic,” Toby said. “My driving has developed and I have matured into a smoother driver with a lot of self-awareness.” The talented teenager was also selected to compete in Adelaide last year, representing WA in Australia’s most prestigious junior competition. Only the cream of the crop from across the country land an invite to the Club Championships – something Toby is no stranger to. He is the Bunbury City Kart Club’s reigning champion and has held the title for the last two years. If the championships go ahead for 2020, Toby could make history if he was to snag another championship at the club. Standing at just 145cm tall, Toby said his height was an advantage come weigh-ins. “The kart is also quite squishy and there isn’t a lot of room so I’m lucky that I haven’t grown too much over the years.” Toby said the fast-paced sport had also equipped him with a bag of life skills, such as communication and leadership qualities. “When I was first starting out, I would receive a lot of help from older drivers. “So I try and return the favour and help young drivers where I can.” The 12-year-old said he has developed the ability to listen to his surroundings, which proved to be difficult when equipped with a large helmet and noise from other engines. Toby said the racing season had been given the green light to go ahead after being paused in the heat of the pandemic. “I have been practising on my driving simulator and have been riding my bike on dirt tracks everyday. “This helps with agility, improving reaction times and building upper body strength.” Toby’s mum Leanne said she was “very proud” of the person Toby was becoming. “Go-karting is a great sport and Toby absolutely adores it. “He has so much more confidence since taking up the sport and is very self-driven.” Toby starts racing in two weeks and is training for the State Title in Geraldton in September.