CALDERDALE has a world champion.
Teenager Tara Wilkinson has clinched the junior world title in carriage-driving in a thrilling contest in Austria.
And there were double celebrations for the youngster, 15, as her individual gold medal in her class was followed by Britain taking the team gold.
Tara, a student at Hipperholme and Lightcliffe High School, was competing in the International Collective for Kids Driving (ICKD) Junior World Trophy, which was held alongside the FEI European Youth Championships at Wiener Neustadt in Austria.
The British team of young drivers won Team Gold – plus a haul of 13 individual medals, including four golds – in a scintillating World Driving Trials Championship.
Tara competed in Class 3 and it had a nailbiting finish.
She and her horse Jasper won overall gold by just 0.74 penalties from Belgian driver Alexandre Trenker.
Tara lay fourth after dressage and then drove superbly to move into the silver medal position in the Derby.
The Cones phase was a tense affair with Tara incurring 4.74 penalties but the Belgian’s 1.13 time penalties in this phase gave victory to the Brit.
Tara, now back at home, said: “It was brilliant.
“I didn’t think I had much of a chance as I knew the competition was going to be very tough but it turned out so good.
“I can’t believe I’m a world champion just three years after starting driving.
“Now I’m looking forward to next month and the Royal Windsor Horse Show, when I could be driving in front of the Queen.”
All the youngsters had to self-fund their trip to Austria as driving trials is a non-Olympic sport.
Tara first took the reins after seeing her dad John and brother Ross, 16, and mum Leslee competing.
They only started three years ago after seeing it at a show and deciding to have a go and it wasn’t long before Tara was leading the way.
She and Joe had success quickly, winning the Young Drivers’ Outdoor Championships and the Northern Championships.
Competition consists of a dressage phase, cones phase and obstacles over a 10k course.