A FORMER footballer will take part in one of the biggest annual sporting events in Fife this weekend after swapping Raith Rovers for racing.
Matthew Kerr first signed for Raith at under 13 level and spent four seasons with the club’s youth academy before being released last year.
He has since turned his attention to his other love – motorbikes – and instead of cleaning boots at Stark’s Park, the 18-year-old is now hitting speeds of 160mph on his Yamaha R6 competing in the KMSC Superstock 600 Championship.
This weekend he will get a taste of the big-time when he competes in support races for the British Superbike Championships at Knockhill, an event which is expected to draw a bumper crowd of around 10,000 people to the Fife circuit.
Matthew, a former Kirkcaldy High School pupil, gets his love of motorsport from his father, Jim, who also races, but he admits he would have ditched motorsport for football if Rovers had kept him on.
“If Raith wanted me to stay I would have stuck with the football because I put a lot of effort into it that would have gone to waste,” he said.
“But my mind was made up that if I got released I would hang up the football boots and get the racing boots out.
“I love the adrenalin buzz you get from racing, there’s nothing like it. There also a good social side to it.”
Matthew was given his first taste of racing a motorbike around a circuit during a track day at Knockhill with his dad.
“I used to go up and watch him then one day he gave me a shot, and I was hooked,” Matthew said.
“Last year was my first proper year racing and it was basically an introduction to things.
“My best finish so far has been 13th, and I’d like to get into the top 10 by next year.
“To improve, I just need to get as much track time on the bike as I can.”
As Matthew currently has no sponsors, his racing is completely self-funded and he works alongside his father in the family painting and decorating business to raise the funds required to compete.
He is looking forward to taking part in his first Superbike weekend and rubbing shoulders with his racing idol, current British Superbike champion Shane ‘Shakey’ Byrne.
“I’m not used to massive crowds so it’s really exciting,” he said.“There’s always nerves, but as soon as go out for the warm-up lap and get on the grid the nerves go away.”
Qualifying takes place over Friday and Saturday with all the race action scheduled to take place on Sunday.
Visit www.knockhill.com for the full timetable and ticket information.