The reports to emerge last week about a former World Champion and the magnificent Go Pro British Grand Prix at Silverstone this weekend could not have been of a greater contrast but they are inexplicably linked. Life can change so much in four short years but who could forget the celebration of the success starved home crowd at Silverstone when Danny Kent became just the third British rider to win a solo race at his home grand prix. The Union Jack flags not only flew with pride in celebration of his sixth Moto3 win of the season on the Leopard Racing Honda but in the fact that he had established an almost uncatchable lead in the 2015 title chase with six rounds remaining. To the Spanish, Italian, Australia and American riders it may not have been such an unusual situation but for Danny it was a case of re-writing the history books. No British rider has won a solo grand prix World title for 38 barren years since the legendary Barry Sheene captured his second 500 cc title in 1977.The 21 year lad from the West Country did it, but only just after getting nervous in those six races . Ninth place in that final round in Valencia was enough to keep Miguel Oliveira at bay. Britain had a World Champion at last and the sky was the limit for the 21 year old.
Roll the clock forward four years and the news that emerged on the eve of the British Grand Prix. Kent had received a suspended prison sentence after an incident at Tetbury in March. Following the announcement he was sacked by his British Superbike team and the World Champion was in the wilderness. I’m sure like us he is wondering just how did it all go so so wrong.
Just look at what has happened to other Moto3 World Champions. Maverick Vinales and Joan Mir pursuing successful careers in MotoGP and soon to be followed by Brad Binder. Alex Marques a likely Moto2 World Champion while Jorge Martin is making his mark in the same class. Danny never won another grand prix after that Silverstone success and the fragile confidence just ebbed out of him in a succession of unsuccessful Moto2 rides. It impossible to fathom out just went wrong for a rider who was being earmarked for a meteoric rise into MotoGP.
He had already made difficult to understand career moves before the World title year. Three years earlier Danny won a couple of Moto3 grands prix for the Ajo KTM team and looked poised to mount a serious Championship challenge the next season. Instead he switched to Moto2 on the uncompetitive Tech 3 machine. He soon returned to Moto3 the next season and took a year to recover both his confidence and form. Typically even his historic World title win in Valencia was overshadowed by the Marquez/Rossi war that came to a head later on in the afternoon.
As Danny contemplates his future may I assure him we will never forget that day at Silverstone four years ago and the World title that brought us all so much pride. I hope he shares the same memories.