Riders eager to claim chocolates

The two-wheel action continues to bombard Mount Gambier’s McNamara Park, which will bring some motorsport madness to Easter.

The annual Easter Cup will take place at the Blue Lake’s home of motorcycle racing, which also hosts the second round of the SA Road Race Championships and BEARS National Challenge.

Last year’s winner and current state series leader William Strugnell will again be the rider to beat, with his strong record at the circuit which includes multiple Master of Mac Park crowns.

Strugnell may be the favourite, but several local riders will be looking for good results including Mac Park regulars Darren Trotter and Rusty Crane.

The pair will line up on their 1000cc Superbike machines and hope their experience of the 2.4km circuit will work in their favour.

Australian Superbike Championship Supersport contender Dallas Skeer will be seen on his blue Suzuki.

After a couple of eventful rounds at Phillip Island and Ipswich, Skeer hopes to go one better than his runner up spot in 2018.

Strong fields will be contesting all classes so the racing should again prove spectacular.

But there will be an exciting addition to the Easter Cup schedule with a dawn of a new era in South Australian junior motorbike racing.

The bLU cRU SA Junior Cup will be unveiled at McNamara Park this weekend, a brand-new championship run by Motorcycling SA designed to regenerate interest in the grass roots level and possibly unearth the next Casey Stoner, Jack Miller or Remy Gardner.

The four-round season provides a pathway for young riders with the series linked to the Oceania Junior Cup, Red Bull Rookies and Asia Talent Cup to become part of the Road to MotoGP program

Not only will Mac Park host the first ever round, but the track has also already been an integral part of the championship hosting a three-day camp recently which confirmed the 14-bike grid for a bumper nine-race program this weekend.

MSA road race sports manager Kym Bolto is the mastermind of the bLU cRU SA Junior Cup.

After a big crash forced Bolto to hand the helmet up on his racing career, he had a vision of bringing junior racing back to where it once was hopes his hard work over many years leaves a lasting impact on many young riders.

“I had the idea before becoming the MSA road race sports manager,” Bolto said.

“I knew about the Oceania Junior Cup which runs with the national championship and wondered if we could do something at state level.

“The whole point of this is to raise the profile because South Australia has languished in recent years.

“I raced back in the ‘90s and we had big crowds and sponsors before coming back recently and I could not believe how much everything dropped off.

“Once I got the position with MSA in 2020 I thought this my chance to make South Australia professional again.

“I have devoted so much time and effort into it and started putting things in place quickly.

“We purchased 14 Oceania Junior Cup bikes and have 25 sponsors on board with interstate and industry support which has never happened before.

The field is comprised of 13 full time male and female riders plus a wildcard with individuals of differing backgrounds from road racing to motocross.

Not only will the riders be racing on some serious machines for a state-level crown and a free ticket to the Oceania Junior Cup, but they will also learn about all aspects of racing on and off the track across the journey with riders expected to be as professional as possible.

“The winner will get a paid-for ride in the Ocenaia Junior Cup at national level which is $9650 and is linked to the Road to MotoGP program,” Bolto said.

“It is a win-win in terms of getting recognition and highlighting the racing scene in South Australia.

“The riders will know how to do media stuff and need to meet criteria such as always wearing the series racing uniforms, leathers and shirts, always be professional, attend podiums and support their peers.

“If they do that, they will get a $750 repayment because we want to teach them to understand everything about racing for the future.”

Riders will also be encouraged to race hard, but fairly, with only two spare bikes available to provide riders with “rare” spare parts.

The youngsters are going to be pushed to the limit this weekend with nine races scheduled with the bLU cRU SA Junior Cup running alongside the Easter Junior Cup.

But having seen rapid progress during the three-day camp, Bolto is confident the youngsters will put on a great show.

“No one has gone into this as a complete beginner because we needed to know they can handle a bike at the camp,” he said.

“We had coaches there and we endorsed everyone and at the start you could see many were dirt-bike riders, but after three days the difference was amazing because they were all riding really smooth like in MotoGP.

“The whole point of this is to get youngsters involved and improve them to become the best they can be on a bike.”

Bolto is taking a risk being the pioneer of the state series, but if the inaugural season is a success, bLU cRU Junior Cup’s may appear all over the country and McNamara Park will always be the place where it all began.

Qualifying will take place on Saturday morning with racing starting around midday and continuing all day Sunday, finishing with the Easter Cup feature race.

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