Dan’s talent evident from the very start

Dan Wheldon, Vauxhall Junior Championship, September, 1996

Dan Wheldon, Vauxhall Junior Championship, September, 1996

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TRIBUTES for Dan Wheldon continue to flood in, including one from an experienced karter who spotted Dan’s talent very early in his career.

Graham Smith, 63, from the Association of British Kart Clubs, said his Dan was a talent even at a young age.

Dan Wheldon, Vauxhall Junior Championship, September, 1996

Dan Wheldon, Vauxhall Junior Championship, September, 1996

Graham’s son Malcolm raced alongside Dan when as a youngster he won the British Championship in karting in 1988, 89 and 90 – with another racing great Jenson Button winning the year after.

Graham, from Southam, Warks, said: “Jenson Button and Dan raced against each other. Even at an early age it was clear Dan had a great talent, he won everything he entered up until Jenson came in.

“It’s a shame we never got to see Dan in Formula One, but I actually think he probably went on to have a better career in the United States. 

“It is just so very sad that it has ended this way.”

Dan Wheldon, Vauxhall Junior Championship, September, 1996

Dan Wheldon, Vauxhall Junior Championship, September, 1996

Headteacher John Moule, from the private Bedford School where Dan was a pupil until he was 16, said: “A talented and courageous driver, Dan Wheldon was an inspiration to so many and we are extremely proud of his many achievements.

“The school community, especially his former classmates and teachers, are deeply saddened by his tragic and untimely death.

“Our thoughts go out to his family and friends at this sad time.”

Citizen readers have also paid their respects to the two-time Indy 500 winner.

On Facebook, David Killick wrote: “RIP Dan Weldon, a lad from Olney who became a British champion in an American sport died doing what he loved best in Las Vegas this weekend,we need more like him.”

On Twitter, dixiedean1878 wrote: “We were only mentioning Dan at the BTCC at Silverstone. Such a sad loss to the motorsport world,”

And sarahmummy2 added: “Thoughts go to his family. Especially his wife and two very young children.”