FIFTEEN-year-old St Neots star Matt Hayes faces giving up a championship lead because a shortage of sponsorship means he may not be able to carry on racing.

Hayes, who is leading the Ellough Park Kart Club Championship after four rounds, said: "I started the season planning to do the British Karting Championship, but that proved beyond my means.

"However, despite missing the first round while I tried to secure sponsorship, it became clear that my focus really had to be on Ellough," said the GCSE student.

"I thought that I had sufficient funding to last me the season, but there's been some complications and it looks like I am going to fall short with two-thirds of the season to go."

Hayes has been the man to beat at the Suffolk venue, qualifying on pole position for each of the rounds he has competed in, taking several heat wins, and winning two of the rounds outright. He finished second in the other that he took part in. Not bad going at all.

"I am pleased with how things have gone so far, but I want to capitalise to get a championship under my belt," said Hayes, who is in his second full year of TKM karting, the category in which F1 star Jenson Button cut his teeth. He added: "Victory in the last round was especially sweet because I experienced problems all day, including in the final with the carburettor, but I was still able to win it in the challenging wet conditions."

Hayes is looking to tie up with local businesses or other interested parties to complete the season and says he would happy to consider any offer, no matter how small.

"I guarantee that I will work hard to give a sponsor coverage and exposure to repay their investment with me. I can't wait to talk to some more potential backers," he said.

Anyone interested in helping Hayes to further his karting career can e-mail him at matthayesracing@btinternet.com