Young rider rac­ing off to Spain

The Herald (South Africa) - - WORLD OF WHEELS - Malonde Za­man­dulo

AT JUST 14, a promis­ing Ge­orge mo­tor­cy­clist is al­ready pre­par­ing for his sec­ond in­ter­na­tional race cup.

Ri­cardo Otto, of the Otto Rac­ing Team, owned by his fa­ther Ri­aan Otto – a for­mer mo­tor­cy­clist him­self – is ex­cited to have been se­lected to take part in the Red Bull Rook­ies Cup se­lec­tion tri­als at the Alme­ria cir­cuit in Spain next month.

The teenager has been prac­tis­ing hard at Port El­iz­a­beth’s Aldo Scrib­ante Cir­cuit this week in prepa­ra­tion for the in­ter­na­tional event.

“I am ex­cited and quite con­fi­dent about go­ing there and I be­lieve I will do well,” Ri­cardo said.

Hav­ing started rid­ing ca­su­ally at the age of four, Ri­cardo re­cently took part in the Adac Ju­nior Cup race held at the Au­to­dromo Brno cir­cuit in the Czech Repub­lic on the Mo­toGP week­end.

He qual­i­fied in 22nd po­si­tion on the grid, fin­ish­ing 19th over­all and 12th in his class. The KTM390 race was held last month.

Ri­cardo’s sis­ter, Zante Otto, who also rides for and man­ages the Otto Rac­ing Team, said Ri­cardo had found the in­ter­na­tional rac­ing cir­cuit quite dif­fer­ent to lo­cal tracks.

“It’s a bit dif­fer­ent from what we usu­ally train on and the track is so much longer than the ones in South Africa. Af­ter his first in­ter­na­tional ride, we started rid­ing more at prac­tise to get him used to longer tracks,” she said.

Since there are no race tracks in Ge­orge, Ri­cardo reg­u­larly trav­els to Port El­iz­a­beth to prac­tise at Scrib­ante, where he also used to race be­fore the age re­stric­tions were changed.

Home-schooled due to his busy sched­ule, Ri­cardo has his heart set on rac­ing as a ca­reer.

“Be­cause I spend so much time on the track, I don’t re­ally get much time to go to school so I just do home-school­ing. Rac­ing is my life and I won’t give it up for any­thing,” the con­fi­dent young mo­tor­cy­clist said.

Ri­cardo said he hoped that his par­tic­i­pa­tion in the Red Bull Rook­ies Cup se­lec­tion tri­als would be the first step to paving his way to tak­ing part in the next sea­son of Grand Prix mo­tor­cy­cle rac­ing.

“I re­ally hope to make it and if I do make it then it will be a dream come true, but if I don’t, then I will come back here, race 600s and go back to try again,” he said.

Ri­cardo leaves on Oc­to­ber 13 for the three-day tri­als.

Pic­ture: FREDLIN ADRIAAN

READY, STEADY, GO: Ri­cardo Otto, 14, takes a break from prac­tis­ing at the Aldo Scrib­ante Cir­cuit in prepa­ra­tion for the Red Bull Rook­ies Cup tri­als in Spain

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