AN 11-YEAR-OLD racer has celebrated becoming the first profoundly deaf racer to podium in a prestigious UK Karting championship.

Caleb McDuff, from Pontypool, finished third on the first day of racing at the Rowrah circuit in Cumbria in the Super One National Kart Championships, before following that up with a second place the second day.

The speedster suffered from chronic ear infections aged two, leaving him profoundly deaf – meaning he is unable to hear most sounds.

When he was four, he was surgically implanted with cochlear implants, an electronic device that allows him to receive a simulated sense of hearing.

However, he has to remove the outer parts of the devices to wear his crash helmet, meaning he races in complete silence, relying on his sense of vibrations to feel his kart and engine.

Ian McDuff, Caleb’s dad, said: “We are so proud of him. From day one when we started racing in 2014 to see how far he has come, the experiences that he has had and the people who he has met – it’s great to see him doing so well.

“Something that we thought could have been a major disadvantage has actually been a major positive for him.”

Caleb said: "My first year in Super One was very hard because there was a lot of battling when I first started.

"The more experienced drivers were very fast and tough. If I made a mistake, they would push me wide meaning I would spin a lot.

"I have learned to be a much tougher driver, and plan my moves, and be patient."

The Nant Celyn Primary School pupil said that he finds racing in silence to actually be an advantage.

"To me it feels easy as I have no distractions from other karts around me," he said.

"I have never raced with hearing, so don't know how different that would feel. I guess it would feel more scary and harder to concentrate."

The Super One National Kart Championships, is regarded as the premier karting championship in the UK, producing many famous drivers including F1 world champion Lewis Hamilton, who drove for the same Zipkart Team that Caleb drives for now.