Last weekend’s MotoGP race at Silverstone saw the finale of the 2019 British Talent Cup, the Dorna backed initiative aimed at developing young riders for the future.
The race was the last of the current series format, which sees all the equipment provided by the organisers, and next year it will be replaced by a new championship that will run alongside the British Superbike Championship.
Dorna, the organisers of MotoGP, say that they will continue to support young riders from the British Talent Cup, and will help them into Moto3, via the Junior World Championships, but who are these riders we could be seeing replacing Cal Crutchlow and Jonathan Rea as the best of British. Insidebikes looked at five of the best British youngsters, who we think should be gracing the world stage in the next few years…
Fifteen-year-old Ogden won this year’s British Talent Cup in some style, overtaking title rival Cameron Horsman on the last lap of the final race at Silverstone to win the title by just four points.
Having finished the 2018 British Talent Cup in ninth, with a few fourth places to his name, Ogden was a real improver in 2019 and arguably demonstrated how the Dorna-backed initiative could work on developing the individual’s riding skills.
Like most young riders, Ogden followed a well trodden path. Starting out riding Yamaha’s ubiquitous PW50 kids bike, the Lincolnshire based teen raced schoolboy motocross before switching to asphalt and the all-important Cool Fab Racing series, which runs championships on mini motos and Metrakits (junior motorcycles of 50 and 70cc) on karting tracks.
Scott took their GP70 in 2016, before moving to full sized tracks as a 13-year-old the following year. He enjoyed great success on a Kawasaki Ninja 300, before moving to the Motostar standard class, which runs as a support class to the British superbike championship.
This year Ogden could enjoy a double success, as he and Horsman are also battling it out for the Motostar standard title as well. There’s no doubt he’s one to watch, and it will be interesting to see how his career goes in 2020.
Odgen’s predecessor as British Talent Cup champion is Perthshire’s Rory Skinner.
Identified as a big talent early on, he won pretty much everything in mini motos and the Cool Fab Racing series, before winning the Aprilia Superteens as a 12-year-old. That got him a place in the Red Bull Rookies, where he won a race and took several podiums, but when his ride in Spain fell through due to a lack of sponsorship, Dorna offered him a place in the first British Talent Cup.
Despite winning the series, Dorna overlooked Skinner for a place in their Junior Talent Team (instead choosing to run third placed Max Cook) leaving the Skinner family to enter the adult ranks with a privately run Kawasaki in British supersport.
He’s been running inside the top 10 all season and while that might not look that amazing on paper, it’s worth considering that 15 years earlier, an 18-year-old Crutchlow finished 10th overall in that same championship (with a young Rea even lower). With the right support behind him, Skinner could well match the achievements of those illustrious world champions.
Also racing in British supersport this year is 18-year-old former British Motostar champion Charlie Nesbitt, from Gloucestershire.
He’s another product of mini motos and the Cool Fab Racing championship, and enjoyed the support of MotoGP rider Scott Redding and his academy. After dominating Motostars in 2016 on a KTM, the youngster bagged an apparently dream ride in the Spanish-based Junior World Championship for the Estrella Galicia team.
That ride didn’t quite work out for the youngster and he made the switch to 600cc motorcycles halfway through last year. After a steady start, he’s now starting to make his mark in the tough production bike class, which has provided a springboard for pretty much every successful British rider from the past two decades.
The extravagantly named Midlander named Storm Stacey is one of the real characters coming through in British motorcycle racing.
Stacey shot to prominence in 2016, when he won the opening round of the Motostar Standard class before his 13th birthday, but his tall frame meant that he was never really able to show his best on the tiny Moto3 machines, despite finishing third overall last year.
Now 16, for 2019 he’s made the natural step up to 600s and is racing a Kawasaki ZX-6R for the experienced GR Motorsport team in the National Superstock 600 class. It’s been a learning year against some more experienced competitors, and he’s been knocking on the door of a podium in his rookie season.
Regularly seen walking around the paddock in a shirt and tie, Stacey brings an element of fun to his racing. However he’s also one of the most naturally talented racers around and with more experience and the right guidance, his is a name we should be seeing a lot more of in the future.
The youngest of our talented quintet, 13-year-old Whatley recently took his first British championship race win in the Motostar series but caught the eye last year with some strong performances in last year’s British Talent Cup, especially in the wet.
The Surrey rider finished fourth in the series last year and took three podiums. This year he’s been splitting his time between the British Motostar series, where he rides a KTM Grand Prix machine, and the Spanish based European Talent Cup, where he rides the same ‘standard’ Honda NSF250R as the rest of the field.
Young Josh is a real contender to take the British title this year, at his first attempt, and although it’s probably too early to know just how far this talented young rider can go, there’s no doubt he’s one of the brightest young prospects in the whole of the British Isles at this moment and time.
Photos: Dorna/British Talent Cup