Teen sen­sa­tion Jor­dan is a real won­der wheels

Tal­ented young­ster is blaz­ing a trail on bike track

West Lothian Courier - - Sports View -

West Loth­ian boasts more than its fair share of motorsport aces – and it might be time to add another name to the list.

Dario Fran­chitti is a four- time IndyCar champ and has been in­ducted into the Auto Rac­ing Hall of Fame, while his brother Marino has en­joyed a de­cent ca­reer in the sport.

Paul di Resta, a cousin of Dario and Marino, spent three years in For­mula One and has a DTM ti­tle to his name.

Now 16-year-old Jor­dan Gill, from Brox­burn, could be the next name on the list.

The young­ster is so tal­ented, in fact, that he was given spe­cial dis­pen­sa­tion to com­pete in the Bri­tish Su­per­bikes Du­cati Tri-Op­tions Cup, be­ing younger than the min­i­mum age bar­rier of 17.

And he’s prov­ing more than a match for the rest of the field, ris­ing from reg­u­lar fin­ishes in the 40s to chal­leng­ing the top-10 come sea­son’s end, as well as bat­tling for top spot in the 899 class head­ing into this week­end’s races in Assen, Nether­lands.

It’s only his third sea­son on road bikes, hav­ing started out on mo­tocross, and the young­ster is al­ready tar­get­ing the very top - but is keep­ing his feet on the ground.

He com­mented: “I’ve al­ways loved bikes and rid­ing. I ac­tu­ally started out do­ing mo­tocross from the age of six and loved it but I’m now do­ing the Bri­tish Su­per­bikes and re­ally en­joy­ing the ex­pe­ri­ence.

“I was com­pet­ing in the KTM Cup last year but I re­ally think the Du­cati Tri-Op­tions Cup is a step up and bet­ter suited for me.

“Be­fore com­pet­ing in the Bri­tish Su­per­bikes, I was com­pet­ing in Scottish events and the dif­fer­ence is in­cred­i­ble.

“To be rac­ing in front of crowds the size of 60,000 and up is re­ally some­thing that any­one who wants to com­pete in this sport is des­per­ate to achieve.

“But then it’s an even big­ger jump when you go up the lad­der to the World Su­per­bikes and then fur­ther up to the Moto GP events.

“That ’s where I want to be, chal­leng­ing with the best and com­pet­ing at the top races and against the best rid­ers.

“I’m young and know there’s time on my side. I just want to im­prove and get bet­ter and then see where it takes me.

“Ob­vi­ously I want to com­pete at the high­est level, who wouldn’t? But I’m seven years younger than any­one else com­pet­ing in the Tri-Op­tions Cup just now so I know there’s no rush and it’s just about fo­cus­ing on get­ting bet­ter with ev­ery race.

“That’s what it’s all about for me just now at this level.

“At the start of the year I was get­ting fin­ishes in the for­ties but now I’m im­prov­ing and get­ting much higher places and my best re­sult is 11th over­all.”

De­spite his young age, he ad­mits he’s sus­tained the odd knock in con­fi­dence - only to get back up and con­tinue to suc­ceed, some­thing he says is vi­tal when you’re rac­ing round tight cor­ners in the rain at 150mph.

He said: “I’m pretty good in the wet and I think that’s be­cause of my mo­tocross back­ground, but it’s dif­fer­ent on road bikes.

“I had a big knock in con­fi­dence at the KTM in the wet be­cause of the tyres they use. Some rid­ers got on with it and oth­ers didn’t and I re­ally strug­gled.

“Then I came off at Don­ning­ton at the start of this year and came off at 150 miles per hour and that set me back but I did great the next time at Brands Hatch and re­ally picked up my con­fi­dence.

“I just don’t have the ex­pe­ri­ence of rid­ing in dif­fer­ent con­di­tions the way guys 10 and 15 years older than me have.

“I’ll learn and I’m con­fi­dent that I can get to their level.”

As for the fu­ture, he says he’s con­fi­dent he can reach the top, say­ing: “I hon­estly don’t know where I’ll be five or 10 years from now, but I want to get to Mo­toGP, that would be the ul­ti­mate dream for me. Re­al­is­ti­cally, it all comes down to spon­sor­ship and fi­nances. It’s al­most like foot­ball in that you get scouted and peo­ple or teams take a chance on you and puts money into de­vel­op­ing your ca­reer.

“Den­nis Hobbs, who is our team man­ager, has been a tremen­dous men­tor for me and some­one who I re­ally lis­ten to and take ad­vice from.

“He’s been there and done it and some­one I will con­tinue to lean on.”

Jor­dan would like to thanks his spon­sors Highsparks Motorsport, Mo­torhome Hire Scot­land, Cross­fit Bath­gate and Bike Speed UK for their con­tin­ued sup­port.

I’m young and know time’s on my side ... I know there’s no rush and it’s just about fo­cus­ing on get­ting bet­ter

In ac­tion Jor­dan dur­ing a race

High hopes Jor­dan is a star in the mak­ing

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