A group of Oxfordshire boys and girls, some as young as six years old, embark on their first steps towards the MotoGP World Championships next week. The dedicated group of young motorcycle racers compete in the first round of the British Mini Bike Championship at Lydd in Kent.
The well-established eight round British Championship is held on Kart tracks throughout Britain. The riders compete on mini motorcycles to get their first taste of competitive racing in a safe and controlled environment. The Championship is regarded as the first steps towards the ultimate goal of competing in the MotoGP World Championship.
The next step for the youngsters is to compete in the FIM MiniGP series which is organised by MotoGP Promoters Dorna with separate national Championships as far afield as India, Australia, and Japan.
So many of the MotoGP stars such as Valentino Rossi and Marc Marquez began their racing careers competing on Mini Bikes on kart tracks before moving on to World title and grands prix wins. The Oxfordshire youngsters hope they are starting on the same path beginning at Lydd on the weekend beginning 2nd April.
BRADLEY SMITH SUPPORTS OXFORDSHIRE YOUNGSTERS ON THEIR FIRST STEPS TO MOTOGP
MotoGP star Bradley Smith knows better than anybody you must start young if you are going to achieve success on the biggest stage of them all. The Oxfordshire grand prix motorcycle rider who started his career as a schoolboy Motocross rider went on to finish sixth in the 2015 MotoGP World Championship and runner-up in the 2009 125 cc World Championship, winning three grands prix.
“Starting at a young age is crucial in a competitive but safe and organised environment if you are going to succeed when you are older. So many of the current MotoGP stars started in a Mini Bike series before progressing through the ranks. It teaches you so much about both racing and yourself and prepares you for everything that lies ahead. I wish them all the very best of luck and will follow their progress with great interest. Hopefully, we will be watching them in the MotoGP World Championship in around ten years’ time.”
AN AREA STEEPED IN GRAND PRIX MOTORCYCLE RACING HISTORY
From Mike Hailwood to Bradley Smith, Oxfordshire and the surrounding area have produced some of the greatest riders to grace the 74-year history of grand prix Motorcycle racing.
MotoGP broadcaster, journalist and author Nick Harris has followed their fortunes for the last 60 years with real pride.
“My home county and surrounding areas has produced so many great riders that are household names with millions of people throughout the World. Mike Hailwood who lived on Boars Hill is still regarded by many people as the greatest rider of all time. He won nine World titles with 76 grands
Prix wins between 1959 – 1967. He then switched to car racing and received the George Medal for bravery after rescuing Clay Regazzoni from a blazing Formula One car. He returned to two wheels and won the 1978 TT on the Isle of Man when he was 38 years old. He was tragically killed together with his young daughter in a road traffic accident.
More recently Bradley Smith’s brilliant grand prix career has been well documented and there are plenty of others. Banbury based Rod Gould, who celebrated his 79th birthday last week, won the 1970 250 cc World Championship while David Madsen Mygdal originally from Cumnor, holds the record number of finishes at the TT races in the Isle of Man.
Long may the tradition continue with these talented youngsters taking their first steps on a long ladder that Hailwood, Smith and Gould climbed with such success.”
Twelve years old and currently living in Oxford. He has always shown a wild side for speeding on two wheels and athleticism. Growing up on the sunny island of Bermuda allowed him to lead an active outdoor lifestyle and play a variety of sports including gymnastics, running, football, swimming, sailing and motorcycle racing.
After a short spell on an electric motocross bike at the age of 4, he trained on a Yamaha PW50 and progressed to a 90cc pit bike, becoming the 2017 BMRA Minibike Junior Champion in his first year of competitive racing.
In late 2018 his family moved to England, where his Dad is from, and in 2020 he debuted in MiniGP racing in the UK through the FAB-Racing Minibike British Championship. This year, Aeziah is preparing for a competitive season in the MK50 class on FAB-Racing’s signature 2-stroke Metrakit motorcycles. He aims to achieve consistent podium finishes at each race round. In addition to competing in the MK50 class, Aeziah will start training on higher powered bikes in Europe to begin preparing for the British Talent Cup as a major milestone on Dorna’s “Road to MotoGP.”
Twelve years old – Started last season in the AC40 rookies
Best achievement 1st overall at Redlodge
Best podium finish 1st
Favourite track Redlodge
“This season i will be competing in the AC40 Pro class and MK50 class.
I hope to carry on leaning and improving my skills on both bikes and hope to see some more podium finishes.”
Seven years old – Fancied following in his brother’s footsteps so competed in 2 race weekends as an AC40 Rookie last season finishing all races. Best finish 16th
Looking forward to a whole season this year as an AC40 Rookie on a new improved and upgraded bike. Looking forward to seeing a podium finish.
AUSTIN AND BYRON JOHNSON
Austin and Byron Johnson both began riding motorbikes at a very early age. Austin was 4 years old and Byron 2. Their first bike was a PW50 which they rode around the garden and in a local farmers field. This led to them trying out mini moto’s at M4 Karting and joining the M4 Mini Moto Academy. Both boys quickly showed a passion and talent for racing which led them into the Fab-Racing paddock. While riding at M4, in their mini moto winter championship, the boys were spotted by Andy Weedon of Team Evolution Engineering and asked to represent Team Evolution in the Fab-Racing Rookie Championship 2020, on a factory Teevo each, supplied by Andy and his team. 2020 was their first full year of racing in a championship which was unfortunately changed into a cup event. It was a race for each rider to gain 329 points which would see them graduate from the Rookies into the Pro’s. Byron was the first rider to reach 329 points with Austin hot on his tail as the second rider to gain enough points to move up to the Pro’s only halfway through the season.
In 2021 both boys continued their racing journey supported by Team Evolution Engineering, representing them in the Pro and Elite classes at Fab-Racing on Team Evolution Teevos. They rode with 14mm air cooled engines in the Pro’s and liquid cooled engines in the Elites. This was a year to learn to ride with faster engines, but it also showed some great results for the boys. Austin completed the Pro championship in third place and Byron the youngest rider at only 8 years old completed the Pro championship in 5th Overall.
As well as competing in Fab-Racing both boys also enjoy riding Motor cross and Super Moto bikes. Along the way, as well as being sponsored by Team Evolution Engineering, they have also picked up sponsorship from LS2 Helmets, Merkko Builders Merchants Abingdon, Oxfordshire Concrete Ltd and C&G Concrete Pumping Ltd. Team Johnson Racing, which consists of Dad – Paul, Mum – Rowena and little sister – Thea, as well as Austin and Byron are very proud of the progress the boys have made and their achievements so far.
This year the boys will continue to represent Team Evolution Engineering on their Teevos with Austin looking to pick up a first overall in the Elites and Byron a first overall in the Pro’s. As well as competing on their mini motos they will also be moving up to some bigger bikes. They will be riding in their first championship on their 50 cc Metrakit bikes and looking to place in the top six.
Seven years old and started riding at the start of lockdown on his uncle Mike’s 1989 Honda QR at our yard in dry Sandford. Rex’s love for Moto GP leads us to joining the M4 riders academy near Chippenham. On his second training session Rex was awarded a medal for slow bike control which sparked the want to race. So, a few short months later we were at round one of the FAB racing championship in Lydd (Kent) with the ambition not to be a danger to the other riders by being so slow. Never did we think Rex would perform so brilliantly throughout the season that he would pick up podiums and a race win earning him third overall in the rookie championship. At the tender age of seven Rex is now moving up to the pro class to put himself against older, faster more experienced riders. We are off to Spain to do some pre-season training at the beginning of March to hopefully gain some good bike time and set us up for the coming season.
Nine years old and showed his love for motorbikes from a young age with Marc Marquez as his idol. At the age of six asked his dad can he become a racer. Following this he began training on tracks at the age of seven but first sat on a bike at the age of four.
His best finish was pole position and race win at red Lodge.
He finished second in his rookie season.
His goal for this season is to improve his riding ability with hope of challenging for podiums. He is also starting to practice on his geared bike with a goal of getting it on track.
Eight years old and completed AC40 rookies last year coming in point scoring finishes – entering at a new level to the sport it was great to see some point on the board! This year Daisy is hoping to come in the top ten and build on confidence and technicalities to achieve this! Favourite track is Red Lodge and favourite racer is Alex Rins.
RONNIE AND BILL HARRIS
Both boys started at the Scott Redding Mini Moto Academy at Swindon Karting at the end of 2016.
Ronnie, then aged 9, entered FAB-Racing in the Mini Moto Rookie class in 2017 and finished 10th in the championship. He also won “Rider of the Year” at the Scott Redding Academy.
2018 Ronnie competed in the mini moto Pro class and finished 6th in the championship. Bill, then 8, entered the Rookie class and came 10th in the championship.
2019 saw Ronnie in the Mini Moto Elite class, where he started getting on the podium regularly and finished 4th in the championship. He also had his first year on a Metrakit GP50. He was the fasted newcomer in this class and finished 6th in the championship. Bill came 10th overall in the Rookies for a second year.
2020 was a great year for Ronnie in the MK GP50 class. He was rarely off the podium and came 2nd in the championship. Bill came 7th in the Mini Moto Pro class.
2021 was Ronnie’s first year on the MK GP70 and he finished 4th in the championship. Bill had his first year on a Metrakit and came 5th in the MK GP50 class.
Both boys will be back on the Metrakits for the 2022 season. Ronnie will be in the MK GP70 class riding for the MLav Visiontrack Academy team. Bill will be in the MK GP50 class.
Ronnie is now 14 and Bill is 12. This will be Ronnie’s last year in FAB (on the Metrakit). Hopefully 2023 will see him in the British Talent Cup.
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Phone number 07789698593