Autistic Kart Racer Speeds to Success
Austin Riley's parents Jason and Jennifer wanted to find an activity that the autistic boy would enjoy to help develop his fine motor skills. After some bad experiences with sports, Austin was reluctant to try Kart racing:
“He had a lot of apprehension because he was convinced he’d been crap at everything else,” Jason says. “At first, we couldn’t make him think otherwise.”
But one lap around the track and “he had the biggest smile on his face I’ve ever seen.”
It was the speed. His parents had seen it before. Jason’s brother took Austin for a ride once in his Porsche. He tried to scare him. He tried to go too fast.
“All he did was laugh,” Jennifer recalls.
In a race car, he feels something he doesn’t in most aspects of his life: confidence and control.
“At the track, he’s a rock star,” Jason says.
Just look at the results:
In his first race in the Rookie Series, Austin finished eighth. The rest of the year, he didn’t miss the podium and finished third overall. The boys who beat him were 11 and 12. Austin was 7.
Last year, he finished fifth overall at Goodwood and second in the micro division at Mosport. This year, he is leading or close to the top of all standings in his series.