Top gun takes on Top Gear

WHEN video footage of James Gallaugher coming from far behind to help the Ulladulla Primary School relay team to state gold went viral, it helped the promising youngster gain national and even international attention.

And the talented 12-year-old is set to be in the international spotlight again when he takes on Top Gear’s Jeremy Clarkson over 100 metres.

While James can run the distance in 11.45 seconds, easily better than anything Clarkson could manage on foot, the television host will be behind the wheel of a Nissan GT-R.

To help even the odds, the 100-metre race has been divided in half with each competitor sprinting the first 50 metres then turning around and coming back.

The race will be staged in Sydney on Saturday as part of the Top Gear Festival running at Sydney Motorsport Park, Eastern Creek, over the weekend.

After his relay run saw him dubbed the next Usain Bolt, prompting interest from four NRL club’s and Michael Johnson's Spire Athletics Institute in Ohio, America, James said all the attention was “a bit strange”.

The youngster moved to Western Australia at the end of last year to live with his father, and within days had broken the state’s sprint records that had stood for more than 30 years.

While new coach Lyn Foreman from the West Australian Institute of Sport said James was an "absolutely outstanding" talent, the 12-year-old did not fancy his chances racing against Clarkson in a car.

“I don’t think they’re very good,” he said, although he noted the car had to do a 180 degree turn at the end of the first 50 metres, which might give him an advantage.

He was also looking forward to seeing all the stars from Top Gear, regarded as the world’s most popular television show, and had even been given tickets to invite some of his friends from Ulladulla to the festival.

While James had drawn the attention of NRL clubs, he admitted his new friends in Western Australia were all trying to steer him towards the AFL.

However with his running times faster than anything being recoded in his age group within Australia or the United States, he said he was keeping a focus on athletics.

The idea for the race came about because, as Clarkson said, “I've often said there's no sport that can't be improved by using cars, and now I'm going to prove it using a 100m track, some real sprinters and a Nissan GT-R."

Footage from the race is expected to be included in the Top Gear television show.

After the Top Gear race James will return to Perth to run in the Australian Junior Athletics Championships on March 12 to 17.

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