DURING my time working on the sports pages of the Press, I have continuously found myself amazed by the achievements of West Fifers.

Whether it be on the football field, in the swimming pool or elsewhere, our area is rich with talent and dedicated individuals, teams and clubs – many of whom are at an age I struggle to remember these days.

They are embarking on sporting careers that I could have only dreamt of back then – which shall remain unfulfilled – but, for Ben Creanor, he has accelerated into living his dream at just 16.

The Dunfermline High School pupil may not be eligible to begin learning to drive on regular roads but he has been wowing tens of thousands of spectators while racing in the NASCAR Whelan Euro Series.

Having started out in karting at Knockhill, Ben gained a place in the Elite Two class of the stock car series after winning a place on its driver recruitment programme late last year.

That came on the back of taking up online simulator racing to develop his skills further and, instead of flying at top speeds in virtual reality, he's doing it for real.

To showcase his skills – and provide a flavour of what has so far taken him to compete on race circuits in Valencia, Franciacorta in Italy, Brands Hatch and the Czech Republic – he invited myself, and Provost Jim Leishman, to join him for a spin around Knockhill, where he started out in karting seven years ago.

Reaching speeds of more than 100mph, Ben zipped around the track with confidence and assurance, comfortable in the knowledge that he was in control of the Honda Civic Type R that was provided by the circuit's team for the day.

Having had previous experience of driving that car on a separate visit to Knockhill a few years ago, thinking that reaching 85-90mph was daring, I thought that I may have felt a bit nervous by the prospect.

However, for all that it most definitely felt like we were doing a speed alien to a man used to doing, at most, 70mph on a motorway, it wasn't even as quick as Ben has been used to in his rapid rise in motorsport.

"You're putting the car out of its comfort spot but, in terms of what I know I could do in that car and others, it was a long way away from a performance you see on a race weekend," he said afterwards.

"Having people being really surprised at the speed we were doing, when there was more to go, was quite cool because, if they're impressed by that, it makes what you do in the NASCAR more impressive.

"The way that I would adjust to a corner, or look for things in my car, is the same that I can do out there regardless of whether I'm doing 20mph or 120mph. You're driving the car the same and the smoother you are, the quicker you can go.

"That comes naturally after time.

"It was 115mph in the Honda out there, which is quite quick, and for a road car that's silly quick, but I reckon my car could get up to maybe 130-135mph round here.

"It's not the lightest thing in the world but it's got a massive engine and a lot of power. The cars are not for the faint-hearted; they're very hard to drive.

"All the cars are identical and it is a polar opposite of anything you think it could be. The gearbox limits the car to 155mph but, from where I'm sitting, you don't get a sense of speed. That's mainly because you've got so many cars around you doing the same speed but also because you're so tightly strapped in and low down.

"It's not like the car we were in today; you squeeze yourself in through a window, it's very cramped, it's not spacious, it's not comfy; it's designed to go quick, and that's what it does.

"The adrenaline it creates is cool, and you can never prepare yourself for what will happen."

Having secured, with the help of Knockhill, the required licences to race in the UK and in Europe, Ben took his place on the grid for the competition with the Mishumotors team, where he teamed up with Elite One racer, and two-time champion, Lucas Lasserre.

After finishing 11th – and as the fifth rookie driver – in the opening round, he will head into the next race weekend at the famous Hockenheim circuit in Germany 17th out of 34 drivers in the standings with 153 points, 118 adrift of leader Maggi Giorgio.

Of his season so far, he continued: "There's been positives but also a few negatives.

"We've had a couple of retirements from races, which isn't ideal, and a couple of mechanical failures which are completely out of our control.

"But, when the car has been running, it has been running well. Eleventh has been my strongest finish this season, which was my first race as well, and we had a chance of a position well inside the top 10 (in round two) but a brake failure put an end to that.

"At the likes of Brands Hatch and Franciacorta, I was fighting from through the back, and at Brands Hatch I came from 24th to 17th.

"It's not been the fairytale start you always want but it hasn't been a bad one.

"I'm just looking at finishing the races and scoring points; that's the only way you're going to move up the championship."

Ben's achievements have also impressed Provost Leishman, who commented: "The speeds are amazing and there's no fear – he's talking away and I'm holding on for dear life!

"It's a great experience at 16-years-old and what a thrill for him. He learned on the simulator and that's what makes it really interesting; to go on that, and go round the track 60 times that he's going to go on in the live performance, is an amazing story.

"It's great his parents are giving him 100 per cent support and want to try and see where it takes him."

Stuart Gray, events director at Knockhill, added: "We met Ben about six months ago through his father, who was very keen to see if we could help him get his racing licence.

"We're delighted to have played a small part, and continue to play a small part, in his progression and his racing career.

"The normal age for starting is 16 within the UK but you're restricted. In the championship that Ben's doing, he's racing against full-blown teams all over Europe.

"It's truly remarkable and all the best to what he's doing."