Many 13-year-old boys are interested in assembling model cars. But Matthew Solomon is not your normal teenager. He has been a kart racer for almost three years. Despite suffering serious injuries in a karting accident two years ago, Matthew is determined to become a Formula One driver one day.
It all started about three years ago, when a friend told him about a new karting track that had opened in the city. Before long, the student from Chinese International School had fallen in love with karting.
He was a gifted driver, and within a year, he had won the Hong Kong junior championship.
However, Matthew suffered a severe setback during a race in Macau in December 2007. He was driving at more than 90km/h when another competitor crashed into him. Matthew was thrown to the ground, and to make matters worse, the kart landed on him.
'I was unconscious ... then I woke up five hours later on a hospital bed,' Matthew said. He suffered several broken bones and was forced out of the racing scene for about a month. Everyone, including his mother, thought he would give up racing, but he didn't.
Even as Matthew spent most of his time in bed that Christmas, he was still thinking about racing. When his mother asked what he wanted for a Christmas present, he answered: 'A new jersey.' There was no doubt he loved the sport, but the accident had shattered his confidence.
'I was so bored I got back to the racing track after three weeks. My skill was still there but not my confidence,' he said. 'I was so scared to mix with the pack and pass other karts. I tended to keep a good distance from others.
'I was once a very aggressive racer, but I turned out to be a different person in 2008.
'I actually thought about quitting, but I couldn't. I just loved racing.'
Matthew's passion for the sport kept him going and he finally returned to form in Thailand last year.
'I managed to finish second [in a race there]. It was a huge confidence boost. From then on, I did very well and finished the races quite high up,' he said.
There is a saying 'tough times make people grow stronger'. This is certainly true of Matthew who has conquered his 'inner fear' and is now more determined than ever to join the Formula One circuit. He has been coached by Marc Hynes, who is the mentor of current Formula One drivers Lewis Hamilton and Kimi Raikkonen.
Earlier this month, Matthew won the Philippine National Championships.
Kart racing is the cradle for many good Formula One drivers. 'I want to be a Formula One driver. Winning the world championship is my main goal in karting. I hope I can gain as much experience as I can and be competitive as I prepare to race in Formula One,' Matthew said.