MOTORBIKE racer Matty Whelan has made a fast start to the Pirelli National Superstock Championships having picked up points in each race this season - but he’s under no illusion that he’s punching well above his weight.

The 26-year-old construction manager from Dodworth began racing competitively in 2015 and hasn’t looked back.

But he admits there was a time he came close to stopping racing due to the financial pressures the sport places on its competitors.

He told the Chronicle: “I’ve had a few good years since 2015.

“I went into the British Championships in 2018 but I only managed to do half a season because of the financial pressures.

“I was planning to stop racing but Andrew Smith (of ATS Racing, Matty’s team) rang me up and said there was no way I was going to quit.

“He said he was going to get me a bike and he did that.”

Matty had a successful few years after that moment, finishing third, second and eventually winning a number of championships.

He now races in the Pirelli National Superstock Championships and is sitting in 15th out of a possible 53 racers.

And despite other racers having more financial backing, he believes his team are second to none.

“Every race this season I’ve been in the points,” he added.

“It’s one of the best starts that I could have had.

“It’s a really expensive sport and the cost of it all is immense.

“Most of the top teams have a budget of around £70,000 to £100,000 and I don’t even have half of that.

“But I’m very fortunate that I have such good sponsors who are so helpful.

“And I know that I have a better team - we’re like a family.

“You’ve never really got enough money in this sport - you’re always one crash away from ending your season.”

Andrew currently rides a Honda Fireblade and he admits he’s smashed all expectations so far.

“We originally wanted to try and get into the top 20,” he said.

“We managed to achieve that so now we’re wanting to try and to get into the top ten by the end of the season.

“The better we do in the races, the more sponsorship we’re able to get.”

His latest race was at a very wet Knockhill Circuit in Scotland earlier this month and despite the rain he managed to pick up points in both races.

He said: “The free practice sessions on Friday were used to get the bike set up and to get used to the wet conditions.

“Qualifying went well and seven laps in I smashed my personal best by 0.5 seconds from last year and finished 16th on the grid - I was very happy with this.

“During the first race the track managed to dry out and we had a really good start.

“I got suck in and made my way up to 15th - I was really happy with the race managed to knock another 0.1 seconds off my time and was in the points.

“My lap time put me in 12th for the second race.

“That was very wet and I was still coming to terms with the conditions.

“A few riders crashed which helped us get some more points and we finished 13th.

“All in all it was a good weekend considering we have barely any track time at Knockhill but after this weekend I felt a lot more comfortable and look forward to getting back there next year.”

One and three points in the races kept up Matty’s record of achieving points in each race this season - and he’s now set to race at Snetterton Circuit on July 5.