BY GILES SPENCER
Teenage Erith motorcycle racer Casey O’Gorman is aiming to compete in the European Talent Cup (ETC) in 2021.
The 13-year-old, a student at Thamesmead’s Harris Garrard Academy finished fifth in his rookie year in the British Talent Cup, held on the British Superbike bill, aboard his 250cc Honda NSF250R in 2020.
His rides last year, including three wins, impressed six-time British Superbike champion Shane “Shakey” Byrne enough to sign him up as only their second rider to his recently-formed talent development company, Sixty Seven Sports Management.
Now running number ‘67’, synonymous with Byrne, the youngster hopes it will bring him as much success as it did his mentor.
With the help of Byrne and company co-founder and Eurosport Superbike commentator Matt Roberts, O’Gorman hopes their extensive racing experience and contacts will help guide him through his career.
Not one to sit still for long, O’Gorman kept his race pace up before the Christmas lockdown by, riding almost daily at Angmering Raceway and TRAQ Motor Racing in Croydon, winning a flat track race in Lincolnshire. He even travelled up to Teesside to enter an endurance race where his team finished second with O’Gorman taking the fastest lap overall.
He now trains inside on his new racing bicycle, using the Zwift indoor cycling app, even competing in a 100km virtual ride with Byrne.
O’Gorman’s plan is to complete a full season in the ETC against the top young riders in Europe on a Honda NSF250R prepared by Mark Keen of KRP (Keen Race Preparations) and as many rounds of the British Talent Cup (BTC) as possible.
The British Talent Cup will again be held alongside the BSB Championship and run for nine rounds.
“It was really funny how the Casey thing came about.” said Byrne. “My son, who is 12, always sits and watches YouTube videos and he’d been watching a load of mini-bike racing.
“He’s not really into bikes, full-stop but all I kept hearing was ‘Casey O’Gorman’s won this, Casey O’Gorman’s won that’ and then this year’s (BSB) championship started and I was watching a BTC race and Casey was in it and I think he might have won it.
“I went to my son and said: ‘Guess what? You know Casey O’Gorman, he’s racing at BSB now in the BTC’.
“He was like: ‘Ah, no way, that’s so cool!’ Thought nothing of it, then John, Casey’s dad, asked if he could have a picture with me after he’d won a race at Snetterton, which I was at as I was working for Eurosport. Then John showed me a few pictures that I’d had with Casey over the years that I didn’t even realise.
“We then spoke at a bit of a later round and I spoke with Matt and said: ‘Look, I think this kid’s going to be pretty fast, he’s just stepped up on to Moto style bikes, which are proper bikes and he’s winning at tracks he’s never even seen before. Clearly, he’s won everything there is to win in mini-bikes, what about having a chat with him?’
“A long story short, here we are now. We signed him and we’re going to try and make Britain’s next MotoGP champion!
“I’d like to fast-track Casey’s career as quickly as possible. Rather than wasting three or four years in BSB, then eventually getting to do a World Championship at maybe 18 or 19 years old, we need him racing around Europe now with guys who are going to be world champions when they’re that kind of age.
“We are pushing as hard as we can and have got him a ride in a fantastic team in the ETC this year and are hoping to run in various BTC rounds as well.”
The dream scenario is to win both championships and then go on to Redbull Rookies, then Junior World Championship the year after before moving up to Moto3, then Moto2 and ultimately, Moto GP.
“He’s a fantastically talented young kid, he’s dedicated and basically I want to do my best to turn him into a MotoGP rider.
“We’re currently working really, really hard on securing funds to pay for that ride and for Mark [Keen] to run him in the British Talent Cup rounds as well.
“It’s a bit of a ‘chicken and egg’ situation at the moment. We’ve got to find the full budget to pay for the ETC and then we need to build in excess funds to do BTC rounds as well.”
Byrne admits that perhaps it’s not the best economic time to look for sponsors but added: “Opportunities to work with someone like Casey and being there from the start for him aren’t like busses and don’t come along every five minutes.
“We’ll have to take the rough with the smooth and this year will definitely be a very difficult one.
“It’s a long game but fortunately, he’s a 13-year-old kid with an extreme amount of talent and hopefully all the hard work we put in to try and secure his funds and trying to find the money at times like this will be well and truly repaid when we’ve got a few championships under our belt and we think ‘you know what, it was hard work but at then end of the day, what’s worth having that isn’t?’”
The first round of the European Talent Cup is set to take place on April 25 at Estoril, Portugal, with the British Talent Cup scheduled for Oulton Park, Cheshire from May 1-3.
If you would like to help O’Gorman further his racing career, contact email@example.com for more information.
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