Anthony's driving career began at the age of eight when he tried karting for the first time, a birthday present from his father Denis. What began as a family hobby quickly turned into a competitive sport. Anthony competed in his first race in 1987, and over the next 12 years went on to compete in various British, European, and World Championships with considerable success.
Anthony won numerous karting Club and National championships, including two British MSA Championships, and finished second - by one point - in the 1996 European Championship in his first year of International racing.
"It all started out pretty low key: we went to a few kart events, got our own kart from Martin Hines at ZipKart, and did a few races. It was nothing more than a hobby, with the kart on the roof rack and it was actually my brother who started out racing first, because he's older than me – so I was the younger kid following in his footsteps. Andy had got to British championship level, with me competing at club level, when he had quite a bad shunt and broke his ankle – and that was a critical turning point. Suddenly Andy became my mechanic and the focus turned to me.
That set the pattern for the first few years of my career: me driving, Andy as my mechanic and Dad doing all the rest. At Cadet level, I was doing battle week in, week out with guys like Jenson Button and Dan Wheldon. Jenson was from Somerset, and he raced down there – where he also met Gary Paffett; and Dan and myself would be racing in the Rye House area. But the funny thing was how intense the Dads all got – it was completely their sport and they were massively competitive, in fact they still are today! The kids didn't really know what was going on, only that we were bloody good at driving these things, but it was the Dads doing the hard work driving up and down the country and taking us to all the race meetings. I think that, at one point, we did 42 race meetings in a year… and that didn't include testing!
I won the 1994 championship against a works Fullerton driver, Robert Bell, and that caught Terry Fullerton's eye. By the end of the following year, Terry had phoned my Dad to offer us a works deal for '96 - and in karting, that's the equivalent of getting a call from Ferrari. We got the right equipment, we had brilliant engines all year, we were on the right tyres and the kart was incredibly quick.
That 1996 season put me on my way. I turned pro in 1998, with Biesse kart, and lived in Milan. When I drove for them, I lived in a tiny flat above the factory. I didn't understand the language and I was like a fish out of water in Italy, but they were fun times too; I was a professional kart driver now, and I really thought I was set forever because I had no money coming in from anywhere else."