Spain has very serious rider development programmes, largely helped by the fact that Dorna, the MotoGP rights holders, are Spanish and pour a lot of money into them. Similarly, Valentino Rossi is doing an awful lot of work in Italy with his VR46 Academy to stimulate Italian presence on racing grids.
It’s no secret that racing in South Africa is in a pretty parlous state at present; shrinking grids and spectator attendance don’t paint a rosy picture for the future of racing. That’s not to say that the talent isn’t out there but there is is simply no easy route into racing for those who have both the talent and the money. What series do exist, such as the NSF100 Cup or Clinton Pienaar’s Short-Circuit series are doing their best but remain very much at hobby level with no vision or affiliation beyond local tracks.
To break into international racing requires much more than mere money; today’s racers have to be conversant in many areas of ability and self-promotion off the track as much as on it.
Which is why the following press release comes as a breath of fresh air. I am publishing it in full as it seems to me that this is a very important step in the right direction.
Africa GP Academy
The Africa GP Academy is the platform for young riders wanting to make it onto the World stage and create a direct path to MotoGP and WSBK.
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WHAT NEXT FOR NORTON AND BSA?
Following on from the success of the Triumph revival, a lot of noise was made about the arrival of Norton back on the motorcycling scene in 2008. The new owner of the brand, Stuart Garner, got everyone excited when he announced that he would be making not only a new Norton Commando motorcycle but would be returning to the Isle of Man TT with a new superbike, powered by an Aprilia V4 motor.
SO, WHAT REALLY HAPPENED TO THE BRITISH MOTORCYCLE INDUSTRY?
It’s a story that no-one is unfamiliar with; how the British motorcycle industry withered and died through the 1960s and into the ‘70s. What was once a thriving industry that sold state-of-the-art motorcycles from world-famous manufacturers, by the hundreds of thousands, was reduced to first a handful and then just one manufacturer, producing an outdated design in the face of modern and reliable machines from Japan.
In the world of motorcycling, it is rare, if not unique, for a manufacturer to have two bites of the cake - both with a cherry on top - with two iterations of one particular model, especially when separated by a couple of decades.
TALES FROM THE HOOD
SA & MOTORCYCLE COMMUTING
NORIYUKI HAGA SULTAN OF Slide
Rare in-depth interview with Nori-chan himself explains how the Sultan of Slide rode the bike - and the crucial differences between Superbike and 500 GP
THE GXCC’S PUSH THE SEASON TO THE LIMIT IN 2020
THE GREATEST Comeback?
The greatest British bike racer? Surtees? Sheene? Both have good claims to the title but, in reality, there can be only one king. This is the story of the race that only served to enhance an already glittering reputation.
Great Bikes? The Ariel Square Four
Elsewhere you will have read about the Ariel motorcycle company and here I intend to talk more about their most famous design, the incredible Square Four.
GONE BUT Part 5 ARIEL NOT FORGOTTEN
Turner’s Square Four remained in production from 1931 to 1959
Engineering DEAD-ENDS Part 2: Hub-Centre Steering
Motorcycle development never stands still, although maybe recently, it would be more accurate to say that motorcycle electronics development doesn’t stand still; it is very little in the physical architecture of a motorcycle that is likely to change. But it wasn’t always so and one innovation that was tried not only on road bikes but also 500cc Grand Prix bikes was hub-center steering.