ACU & British talent
Malcolm Offline

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ACU & British talent
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There are some good road racers coming through from the UK right now, our very own Sam Lowes being one of the hottest prospects joining the likes of Eugene Laverty, Cal Crutchlow, Leon Camier, Leon Haslam and Tom Sykes. I find myself as a British Team Manager with a young British rider asking the question 'What has the ACU done to help these riders?'

Cal Crutchlow and Tom Sykes in their very early days went through the ACU Academy (perhaps a leg up early on?) but even that support has now been dropped. Take Cal's career; after the ACU Academy he won the British Supersport Championship in the Nokia N Gage team (I know this as I was the team manager). I then went to Rizla Suzuki and took Cal with me for his first year in Superbike. If Paul Denning had allowed me I would have paired Cal with Eugene Laverty but Paul wanted Chris Walker. Eugene wanted to go to 250 GP, where he stayed for two years before coming to our Parkalgar Honda team. As most of you know he went on to be runner up for two years in the World Supersport Championship winning 12 of the 25 races before getting his chance this year in the factory Yamaha World Superbike team.

I am very proud of what my teams were able to do to help both Eugene and Cal. I really want young upcoming riders from the UK to do well. We now have Sam Lowes in our Parkalgar Honda team and what an impressive start he has made at only 20 years old.

I have to say that I have done more personally than the ACU to help British talent in recent years and that's a damning indictment on our governing body for bike sport.

I don't want to sound like I am blowing my own trumpet here and but I have never been approached by anyone form the ACU about helping young British riders. Strange since our team has such a good history of working with such riders...

Other riders I can think of off the top of my head like Johnny Rea, he came up through Honda Racing and firstly the Red Bull Rookies UK squad. Leon Camier was British 125 before Padgett's gave him his chance to win the British Supersport Championship and then he was Cal's team mate in the Nokia N Gage squad. Honda Racing then ran him in BSB and he got his World Superbike chance after winning the British Superbike title with the now defunct GSE team managed by my old mate Colin Wright. GSE also played no small part in getting Leon Haslam his World Superbike opportunities. Tom Sykes I believe came to prominence through the Superteens series before British Supersport and then BSB gave him his shop window to break into World Superbike.

Scott Redding and Bradley Smith came up through the Spanish Championship so maybe the ACU should thank the Spanish Federation in this case. Cal we have already mentioned and I don't think they can really take too much credit for this. Then we have Danny Kent and Harry Stafford who got their chances through the Moto GP Red Bull rookies system. So as we can all see not much input in any of these cases from the ACU.

In the old days when I was riding they did do a little with some financial help for the European Championship. Obviously now days with the World Superbike championship in place the European championship no longer really plays a part in the progression of riders.

The new chairman in Brian Higgins now has the chance as a new broom to make the sweeping changes necessary so our Federation can actually start again to play its part in getting our riders up the ladder and into World Championship racing.

On behalf of my team and our company Performance Technical Racing I can honestly say I would welcome the chance to work with the ACU in any way we can so we can all see British riders showing their true potential. Over to you Mr Higgins I as I am sure most other team managers would welcome a call from you to see what we can all do to help you.


Be right back. I am going to go find myself, and if I leave before I get back, make sure to tell me !! -
21-04-2011, 01:38 PM
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