Having to wipe tears away before fastening a helmet is not the way to ever start a race! Things have been slowly developing for a while now. Yesterday was breaking point for us. Enough is enough.
- Having groups of people shouting ‘smash Potter off the track’ or ‘he is a cheat!’
- Having adults giving evil-eyes to my 10 year old son, along with Thomas’s older 13 year old friend whilst collecting our kart.
- Adults making a point of looking at his engine for evidence of foul play and making sly comments.
Last month a competitor’s parent told us that multiple parents in the paddock believe we are cheating. However the worst part was in the evening. Thomas saw a group of kids playing football so he walked over to join in, only to find they all walked off, refusing to play with him. Absolutely disgusting. He is a 10 year old child! This type of behaviour is absolutely shocking.
To top this off, he is receiving horrid social comments and messages suggesting he should take his own life and and nobody would care! Instagram are looking into it.
Fortunately he doesn’t see these.
Most fans who follow Thomas’s journey will see many happy photos thinking he is having the time of his life. Unfortunately this isn’t the whole story. Thomas has followers all over the world now, we don’t want them to see him sad.
Thomas’ performance on some of his races yesterday may have looked impressive. He may have set the fastest lap from a big grid of 40 drivers however, what you didn’t see was all his mistakes.
- He actually started to cry mid-race and came off track on a straight!!! He was wiping tears away.
- Thomas never comes off the track in a race unless there is contact from another driver.
- He misjudged some of his braking points and that’s not the Thomas Potter we know.
- The bullying got to him.
- When Thomas is happy and himself he is possibly one of the fastest and most calculated drivers in the country.
Massive respect to all staff at CKC they were fantastic. They organised an emergency meeting for all the kids and parents. Basically any more negative comments about children or more importantly from children, then you are sent home. The staff were lovely with Thomas giving him the speech “take it as a compliment you’re a fast driver, that’s why” along with many other reassuring words.
We had an option to name all involved however we believe the kids are only repeating what adults are saying and it’s not what we wanted to happen. We like him to win on track not in the paddock. We would be devastated if they sent children home, we just want it to stop.
Unfortunately around a year and a half ago we had problems which our local tracks were also fantastic at putting a stop to it. They said anyone who is threatening, violent or abusive to a child or parent will be banned for life from the track if it happens again. That instantly fixed that problem. We are now devastated it’s starting to creep up again.
Unfortunately this behaviour is not helping new kids get into the sport. One of Thomas’ new followers came to visit with their family and they were absolutely devastated at the abuse they witnessed. His mother is now unsure if they are going to continue as they don’t want their son to go through it too.
The main reason for this post is to get a message across to all parents:
- When you see a kid that is faster than yours it could just be they are more experienced.
- Never question how are they fast if they run on a lower budget.
- Thomas started at 6 and working with older equipment actually made him faster as he had to work harder.
- Never say people are cheating in front of your own kids. What happens they all run off and gang up on the the kid?
- As parent you don’t always see the bullying in the paddock.
- If you have a problem talk to the officials.
For the record, Thomas Potter and his sister Catherine have never failed any mechanical fuel or tyre checks in over 4 years of racing. Our engines have been sent away multiple times for further examining and every time proved legal. On one occasion last year we were told it was slightly under powered. He actually won that race!
This needs to stop! He actually cried himself to sleep last night again in the morning too. Some say Thomas could have a bright future, we just don’t want to be bullied into quitting at an early age.
Hopefully plenty of people see this and think twice about what they say going forward.
#bullyingawareness #BullyingStopsHere #f1 #motorsportuk #motorsport #karting #kartinglife
September Update: Thank you so much for all these absolutely wonderful comments and messages. With more that 3800 comments on Facebook please don’t be offended by the late response time. We never in a million years expected this to happen. We are absolutely overwhelmed by the support. Thank you so much.
– David Potter & Family.