BY GILES SPENCER
Erith motorcycle racer, Casey O’Gorman was disappointed not to do better, despite riding to two solid fourth places in the opening round of the Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup last weekend at Portimao in Portugal.
The fifteen year old started the weekend off well, qualifying his 250cc KTM on the outside of the front row in third place with a 1.51.03 second lap, just over four tenths off the pole time of Angel Piqueras.
The first of the weekend’s two races, on the Saturday, was held in dry,sunny 21 degree conditions but with a stiff wind that would challenge the riders.
Off the line for the first time of 14 laps and O’Gorman dropped a couple of places into the first corner, giving himself work to do as he finished the first lap in sixth place.
Four laps down and O’Gorman momentarily moved into third in a group of six as a small gap opened to the chasing pack.
By mid race the top two had broken clear with O’Gorman heading the four rider battle for third by the slimmest margin.
Final lap and O’Gorman had dropped to fifth but fought back to fourth by the flag with Spaniard, Piqueras taking the first win of the season.
Sunday morning’s race took part in a fresh 13 degrees and no wind the riders had very different conditions to contend with.
As the lights went out, O’Gorman dived into second into the first turn, determined not to let the leader get away.
Starting lap three and O’Gorman swept into the lead but was fifth by the first corner as the pack slipstreamed past him down the long straight.
Eight laps to go and O’Gornam moved back onto the podium in third but in the Rookies Cup anything can and will happen.
A lap later O’Gornam moved into second but leader, Max Quiles, had pulled out a 0.7 seconds gap on the chasing pack and was threatening to disappear.
Four laps left and just as everyone thought Quiles had checked out, he lost the front at turn 5, crashing out of the race leaving O’Gorman in a three bike battle for the win.
Only one lap later and the three riders became six but O’Gorman was far better placed than in the previous race.
Final lap and it was anyone’s race but O’Gorman had moved into second and was pushing leader Marcos Ruda hard.
Exiting the final corner it looked like O’Gorman had timed it perfectly, carrying the momentum to ride around the outside of Ruda but cruel fate would follow as the chasing riders drafted past O’Gorman to knock the youngster back to fourth again by the flag, 0.001 seconds off the podium.
Piqueras went from fourth in the final corner to once again take the win from Ruda and newcomer, Hakim Danish.
The results leave O’Gorman down in sixth place in the standings on 26 points with Piqueras leading on 50.
The next round will take place at Jerez in Spain on the 29-30th April.
Photos: Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup
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