Casey O’Gorman. Remember that name. This is the 12 year old Erith schoolboy that’s taken the motorcycle racing world by storm with hopes to emulate his hero, Valentino Rossi, in MotoGP.
O’Gorman, the eldest of three brothers along with Hayden (10) and Olly (8), on the surface would seem like any other kid his age, pulling wheelies on his mountainbike and playing computer games but not many kids his age have won multiple championships and more race wins than had hot dinners.
A true racing family, Casey’s named after double MotoGP champion Casey Stoner while Hayden gets his name from 2006 MotoGP Champ, Nicky Hayden. Even the dog is named after MotoGP rider Tito Rabat!
Like Rossi, O’Gorman already has his superstitions, even at such a young age. He always rides with his lucky number 7 in some form on his bike if possible, has a ritual of how he puts his riding gear on and gets in the ‘zone’ before every race.
His racing’s proved popular with his school friends too, “They think it’s cool,” he said, “Sometimes they come and watch.”
Originally from Portlaoise in Ireland, O’Gorman’s father, John, an ex motorcycle club racer and mechanic for Aviva Insurance, moved to London in the early 90’s, then many years later, started attending track days on his motorcycle where a 6 month old Casey would sit in the pits soaking up the atmosphere.
Casey’s first experience on two wheels happened before he was one years old when his aunt brought him an electric powered bike before progressing to a balance bike which he wore out the carpet in the living room on and rode his first motorbike shortly after his 3rd birthday, taking to it like a duck to water.
John saw an article in Motor Cycle News that GP racer, Scott Redding, was opening an academy for youngsters on minimoto bikes and recognising Casey’s natural talent, drove him 300 miles to the academy in December 2011 when he was only three and a half where he stood out immediately on the indoor track and was promptly placed into the fast group.
Redding, the 2019 British Superbike Champion, took John’s number and called him that night to say he could see the talent in Casey and they should encourage him in his riding.
Whilst this was good news it did mean many more 300 mile trips to attend all the academy days throughout the winter until the outdoor season started!
In June of 2012, O’Gorman’s father took him to a practice day at Angmering Raceway, West Sussex where the owner spotted him and invited him back the next day to race.
The youngster immediately hit the front, finishing 2nd in his first ever race at 4 years old, repeating the position a month later in the next round.
The following month during a planned holiday back to Ireland, O’Gorman entered a round of the Minimoto Racing Club of Ireland Championship, finishing 2nd in the first two races before taking his first win in the 3rd.
He continued his winning form on his return to Angmering, taking the Summer 2012 Cadet Minimoto Championship by the age of 5.
At 6 years old, Casey travelled to Spain to race in the Spanish BZM Cup on minimoto’s. A one make series for kids aged 6-10, he progressed well in the two rounds entered, placing 8th in the final race and was awarded Most Promising Rider of the Year.
O’Gorman started dominating the domestic minimoto championships with Cool Fab and entered the FIM European Championship 4.2 minimoto class during the summer from 2015-16, finishing on the podium each time.
In 2017, Italian manufacturer, Ohvale, gave O’Gorman one of their standard bikes to ride in the Ohvale 110 Cup in the FIM European Championship round at Franciacorta, Italy.
Despite having never ridden the bike or track before and being up against the top Italian and European riders, O’Gorman finished 4th on the first race after leading most of it and went on to further impress everyone by winning the second.
Back in the UK, Casey was now unstoppable, winning a record breaking three national championships in 2018 with Cool Fab Racing; GP50 and GP70 titles on larger Metrakit machines and the LC elite40 title on a minimoto.
If that wasn’t enough, a wildcard ride at the end of the year in the Spanish RFME Moto5 Championship on a 250cc MIR machine resulted in a podium first time out.
To date he’s had 128 wins with Cool Fab Racing. An impressive figure in anyone’s book.
2019 was to prove the most challenging yet with O’Gorman competing in the Spanish Cuna de Campeones (Cradle of Champions) PreMoto4 series on more powerful 250cc machines.
Initially a steep learning curve, being 3 seconds off the pace in the first round and suffering several crashes; by mid-season he had figured it out and was the quickest rider over the last 4 rounds. If the season had been based on the second half of the season, he’d have won it by some margin.
As always, racing and especially racing abroad, is very expensive.
“The Spanish riders get a lot of local support and all have their own fan club and get enough money from local sponsorship and merchandise to train 3 times a week. If you tried that at your local track over here, you’d be spending £2000 a month and that’s not even racing.” said O’Gorman’s dad.
“Alberto Fernandez, who won the Championship has two coach loads of fans who turn up to watch him race but Casey’s not in the mentality that the Spanish and Italians are untouchable.”
They aimed to also compete in the European Talent Cup (ETC) which is run within the FIM CEV Repsol series but once again, finances put a stop to that.
A one-off ride in the ETC in November at the Circuit Ricardo Tormo in Valencia on a 250cc Honda Moto3 GP bike he’d never ridden before resulted in a podium, less than a second off the win, along with the fastest lap.
The season rounded up at the Valencian MotoGP as a one-off support race on a Promo3 Yamaha engined machine. All the best young racers in Spain and Europe were invited.
O’Gorman was fastest in every practice session and won the race from pole position making it look easy although he admits he was a little bit nervous before the race. The 2nd place finisher was a double Spanish champion and 3rd place had won the RFME Promo3 class in Spain.
“I was used to PreMoto4’s which were pretty fast but not like that, but they got me ready for Promo3. They’ve got more power and less weight but both run on 17″ wheels.” O’Gorman said.
A bonus for Casey was getting to meet racing legends Rossi, Marquez and Agostini as well as a host of other GP riders.
For 2020 Casey is signed to ride for the Microlise Cresswell Racing Team in the British Talent Cup alongside team-mate Harrison Dessoy on Honda NSF250R Moto3 GP bikes.
The British Talent Cup was introduced in 2017 for riders between the ages of 12-17 as a stepping stone into British Superbikes and MotoGP.
Realising it’s going to be a learning curve, racing at a lot of British tracks he’s never been to before, a quiet confidence exudes from him as says he’s a fast learner.
The ever more realistic video games available now help too as he’s learning a lot of the tracks on ‘Ride 3’.
O’Gorman’s key aim is to try and get enough support to compete in one, if not both of the Dorna Standard Moto3 classes available to him which are the European Talent Cup (ETC) in the FIM CEV Repsol championships and the British Talent Cup (BTC) run in association with the British Superbike Championship.
John O’Gorman mentioned, “To ride in ETC would cost up to £50,000 but the BTC would be less than half that.”
Casey dominated the British Talent Cup test at Jerez at beginning of 2020 by nearly one and a half seconds on 2nd hand tyres with over 70 laps on them.
Starting so strongly gives him an advantage though he knows it’s too early to say who his biggest competitor will be.
Maybe unsurprisingly, he states his favourite tracks as the GP circuits of Jerez or Valencia where he’s been dominant in his appearances there.
With all racing shut down at the moment, there is the possibility of the 2020 season being written off.
“Hopefully Stuart Higgs (British Superbike director) will figure out a way to have a season this year.” his dad said.
“The plan is to dominate the rest of season and try and win the BTC and get some help from Dorna (MotoGP governing body).”
A full season next year in the Junior World Championship is up for grabs for one rider in the BTC and two other riders will be granted the opportunity to participate in the Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup selection event. These riders will be decided by Dorna.
O’Gorman’s dad added, “The biggest carrot in the BTC is a ride in the Junior Talent Team in the CEV Repsol Moto3 Junior World Championship, although Casey’s not 13 until August and the minimum age for the JWC is 14 years old.”
“The concern is not the BTC, it’s the Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup (which is which is known to be a feeder series for MotoGP).
“Hopefully, the two rounds of the Red Bull’s pencilled in by Dorna at the end of July go ahead because you can try out for the Red Bull Rookies when you’re 13.
“We want Casey to be up to a level to get the chance to get into the Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup for 2021.
“If they don’t do the Red Bull Rookies Championship and open up the try-outs, we’ll wait an extra year and BTC becomes a bigger focus. You always have to be a year ahead in your planning.
Talking of the expense, he added, “A working dad can’t afford to run a Moto3 bike. Luckily, with the British Talent Cup, a few people are helping out.
“We’re up against people with serious money who can have private tuition so their kids don’t have to go to school and they’re living with race teams out in Spain most of the year round.
“When you’re in that environment, the more laps you do the better you get but you can’t train that last special thing into them.
“To stay in the game, it’s difficult when you don’t have the backing, without a doubt.”
Casey’s parent’s put all their time, effort and money in to keep him where he is are both key workers with his dad working at an accident repair centre and his mum, Ella, being a nurse at the Princess Royal University Hospital in Orpington which he admits is an extra worry in these times.
For now, everything’s up in the air until the coronavirus epidemic is under control.
News that motorsport in some disciplines may start up again in July have been announced but no-one knows for sure what’s going to happen.
Even at his young age O’Gorman takes his training very seriously, riding 10k on the exercise bike every day and doing cardio and weights workouts.
As well as keeping himself busy with homework and training hard he still finds time to live like a normal 12 year old with his two younger brothers.
MotoGP on the Playstation is obviously a must too, although he hasn’t learnt to play the piano yet!
Although Casey lets his riding do all the talking, he knows he couldn’t have got this far alone and is very grateful for all the help he gets, “I really want to thank KYT Helmets, FWR Tyres, Acesigns and R&G. They’ve helped me out a lot and I couldn’t have got this far without them.”
So far, the highlight of this young man’s career has been his win in Valencia and riding in the ETC but one thing’s without a doubt, whether this season re-starts or not, Casey O’Gorman is a name you’re going to hear a lot more about in the future.
• MMRCI round 5 – 2 nd , 2 nd , 1 st
• Angmering Summer Championship – 1 st
• Angmering Winter Championship – 1 st
• Angmering Handicap Championship – 1 st
• Monster Pro National Winter Championship – 3 rd
• BZM Cup rounds 4 & 5 – 11 th , 9 th , 9 th , 8 th
• CoolFab British Debut – 2 nd (age 6)
• NMRRC National Junior 4.2 class Championship – 2 nd
• Angmering Summer Championship – 1st
• Angmering Winter Championship – 1 st
• Awards: Most promising young rider in the BZM Cup, invited to the end of year RFME Gala.
• NMRRC National Junior 4.2 Championship – 1st
• British 4.2 Pro Championship – 3rd
• CoolFab British Championship ac40 class.- 2nd. (13 race wins against 5 Wins for the Championship winner) due to missing a round with injury of broken collarbone.
• European championships 4.2 ac minibike in Assen – 3rd.
• Coolfab British championship AC40 pro class – 1st
• 2 Podiums in the Italian CEV Championships with the Polini team, finishing 6th in the championship having missed a round.
• Youngest ever winner of a MiniGP 50 race in the Coolfab British Championship.
• Coolfab British Championship MiniGP50 class – 1st.
• Coolfab British Championship AC 40 Pro class – 1st
• A race win in the European Championship on a big track on an Ovhale 110 bike which he’d never ridden before that weekend
• Youngest ever winner of a MiniGP70 race in the Coolfab British Championship.
• 2 race wins at Donnington Park in the MiniGP70 class in a one off event His first time to ride this bike.
• Coolfab British Championship MiniGP70 – 1st with 2 rounds to go & 19/21 wins
• CoolFab British Championship MiniGP50 – 1st with 1 round to go & 19/21 wins
• CoolFab British Championship LC elite40 – 1st
• A podium in the Spanish RFME Moto5 Championship with the cradle of champions.
• Junior Lord of Lydden Hill on the MiniGP70
• An invitation to race at Valencia in the Cradle of Champions support race at the MotoGP.
• 128 race wins in the British Championships over the last 4 seasons.
Casey ended his Spanish season very strongly, winning the MotoGP support race from pole with the fastest lap the weekend after making his CEV Repsol debut in the European Talent Cup class where he had a podium finish and fastest lap in the ETC S2 race having never ridden the standard Honda moto3 bike before. In the final championship round at Albacete Casey won with the fastest lap and also had a P2 Podium finish in the Promo3 class at Navarra.
Spanish results in 2019 for different classes
• Cuna de Campeones Premoto4 – taking 5 podium finishes, 3 wins 2 seconds and a 3rd and the fastest lap in the last 2 rounds
• RFME Promo3 – P2 and P6 finishes and a fastest lap
• CEV Repsol ETC Debut P3 and fastest lap in the ETC S2 race
There is a Gofundme if you’d like to help Casey in the 2020 season https://bit.ly/2LoCxa1
You can also find out more about him at www.cogracing.com
Pics by GB Vroom Media
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