THUNDERSPORT motorbike racing has seen a national rising star this year in South Lakeland supremo Tom McHale.

The Grange-over-Sands rider hails 2012 as the breakthrough where he won 10 races and the Formula 600 championship – on a five year-old bike.

And with 2013 looming, the self-employed fabricator has his sights firmly set on the British Superbikes Supersport 600 league.

The 29-year-old explained: “Motorsport has been a massive part of my life since I was six, but never have the prospects – and challenges – been so great.

“Finding myself on the winning podium so many times, on television, and a talked-about name on the circuits has been surreal.

“Although I’m eternally grateful to my loyal, local backers there are no big names behind me, unlike the competitors I’m up against. This has all been done with the help of friends and family.

“I’m hoping to attract major sponsorship and people will see what I have achieved so far on so little.”

Starting in motocross as a child, McHale was a leading rider in the Northern Youth Championship league by the time he was 11.

After a long break, he resumed his racing career in 2005 and two years later found himself 11th out of 68 riders in the Wolfsport British Masters.

“Fate took a big hand when I was given a 1997 Kawasaki ZXR600 in part payment for a job and found myself at Oulton Park, Cheshire. The bug bit fast and I was back on track!”

Having completed his third Thundersport season on a Honda CB600RR, Tom his hoping 2013 is going to be lucky for him.

“It would be fantastic to get the financial backing I need. In the year of the Olympics and huge achievement for Great Britian, I have proved my potential.

“Now I need serious sponsorship to take me forward.”