Fifteen year old Rhys Irwin took his first steps on the Road to MotoGP at Silverstone yesterday when he was selected to take part in the brand new British Talent Cup in 2018. The Donegal teenager will be the only Republic of Ireland rider to race in the brand new talent development programme put in place by MotoGP promoters Dorna with the aim of finding the next MotoGP star.
Almost one hundred riders aged between twelve and sixteen took part in the selection event with just twenty two being selected to compete, free of charge, in the 2018 British Talent Cup. The brand new championship will see young racers ride identical Honda machinery, fully supported by Dorna, at a range of events, including World Superbike and MotoGP rounds, with the aim of securing a place in the British Talent Team and progressing into the Moto3 World Championship.
During a tense day at the home of this weekends British MotoGP, Rhys Irwin joined the other young hopefuls on track for a number of sessions. The pressure increased as the day progressed with the Donegal teenager making it through each stage of the selection process as the numbers were gradually reduced. Following the last track session the Irwin family had what seemed like a very long wait before it was finally announced that Rhys would be one of the riders offered a place on the grid for 2018.
Speaking after the announcement Rhys said “This is a dream come through and the culmination of everything I’ve worked for so far. Today was a tough day. We had been out on track for three sessions with the numbers reduced each time until, following the third session, there were thirty two of us left. We thought we were finished but we had to go out for one final run and then it was really tense waiting for the announcement. I was so happy when my name was called out as now I get the chance to follow my dream of riding in MotoGP. I have to thank everyone who has helped me to get this far, Oasis Bar Letterkenny, Wesley from Clean Rubber, Pat Duke and everyone else who has helped along the way. I cant wait to get started and this winter is going to a long one.”
Details of the race programme for the 2018 British Talent Cup have yet to be announced but the organisers have stated that they aim to run at circuits in the UK and Spain as well as at World Superbike and MotoGP Races including the British rounds of both championships.