Mitch Brightmore Elite Youth BTC
Many things catch your eye in the trials world, and it was on a photo shoot at Hawk’s Nest that this article first started to take shape back in December 2014. The tough rock-strewn venue is a favourite practice venue for many young riders. Some soon master the slippery unforgiving gritstone rocks, and others do not, it’s as simple as that! I had seen one of my old pals, Chris Brightmore, and we got talking; I had a new camera and ‘when are you going practising again?’ was the question. He mentioned he would soon be at Hawk’s Nest with his two boys, and so the date was set to test the camera with Ashton who was six years old and Mitch who was twelve. What happened next, really opened my eyes. There’s a big rock that many riders will have been up, but when Chris suggested his elder son Mitch ride up it for the pictures I was ‘gobsmacked’ at how confidently he mastered it. Roll the clock forward to 2018, and Mitch has just been crowned the ACU Elite Youth A Trials Champion.
Not new to the motorcycle scene as he had his successful career, Buxton based builder Chris Brightmore was more than happy to see his two sons Ashton and Mitch take to motorcycles at a very early age. The first Youth class British Championship came from the younger of the two brothers Ashton in the D Class Medium Wheel in 2015. In this article though, we turn our focus to the elder brother Mitch.
Four wheels first
As with many young riders, the quad machines have kick-started the youth adventure, and Mitch was no different. At the age of three, the Suzuki quad was the introduction under the guidance of his father. Speeding around in local fields fuelled the need for speed, and he loved it. It was a rapid transition as the four-wheel support was not needed any more and it was a move over to two wheels and a Yamaha PW 50.
It was then a short period of motocross on a KTM Mini Adventure, but Chris knew that a move to trials would help with throttle control, not to mention the bank balance!
At the age of seven, it was a Gas Gas 50 that gave him the trials bug. After many hours spent at Hawk’s Nest, and with encouragement from the Robinson family a few local trials were contested, and the love of the sport became a family addiction. Wanting to progress away from the local venues and with him practising more than ever Chris started to take him to the superb YMSA events in 2012.
As we all know Barry Burton and his wife have been very instrumental in encouraging many riders into the YMSA trials on their land and Mitch Brightmore was one of these riders who benefitted, something the family is eternally grateful for. It was at this stage that new friendships would be made with other young riders and families which have endured the test of time.
Riding with these new-found friends over the next few years, they would encourage one another, which, in turn, gave them the confidence to compete in the very competitive youth class.
A learning curve
Now mounted on the little Beta 80, the years flew by and, in 2014, Mitch did his first full season in the Youth British Championship. He came third but knew he could do better. He knew that the key to success was to practice as much as possible, which he did. Not just everyday practice, but on harder hazards to improve his ability, which he did with younger brother Ashton acting as ‘Minder’. 2015 was rewarded with fourth overall in a very competitive British Championship class.
As with many young riders, other interests were taking up more and more time and so, in 2016, he had a year away from the British Championship. It was a fresh start in 2017 and a move to the Gas Gas for the return to the British Championship. Growing in stature and with some intense training both on and off the machine moved him up into second overall as the season closed.
To prepare for 2018, he competed in some A Class events to see what the hazards would be like and also the opposition. It was a steep learning curve but one he wanted to pursue, and he knew that it was once again back to the grindstone and practice, practice and more practice if he was to succeed in 2018.
Always on the lookout for new young talent, Mitch was invited by John Shirt Jnr at Gas Gas UK to join his youth team for 2018. Also in the JST Gas Gas UK team were his good friends Jack Dance, Harry Turner and Brother Ashton.
As part of the team, they would also receive the much-appreciated support from Gas Gas UK and the sponsors’ products. After they had agreed to join the team, the riders were then introduced to their new youth team manager, Michael Brown. John explained that along with the sponsored ride came training and tuition from the ‘Mighty Atom’ himself, Mr. Brown.
In 2018 a new youth class was introduced, the Elite Youth A, where they would compete at the same events as the main adult championships. After some intense training with Brown, it was now time for round one of the new series. The Hooks Woods venue near Guildford was a tough day, and Mitch just missed the win to championship rival Gus Oblein with the scores 107 to 114.
At round two in the Lake District rain Mitch put the hammer down with a very convincing win on 107 marks lost to Brett Harbud on 137, and again he won in Wales at round three. In round four it was Oblein who took the win at Kelly’s Farm, but Mitch was 2nd to hold the championship lead.
Mitch then had the crash you all dread, in practice when he fractured and dislocated his collarbone at the end of July. With some expert help, he was soon back up and running though, to take a convincing win at round five to open up a championship advantage. As they say, the rest is history, and he was more than happy to take the 2018 Elite Youth A British Championship at the last round in Scotland. He is quick to acknowledge that it is a team effort from all the family with dad Chris looking after the machinery, mum Sally for the food and washing and of course younger brother and training partner Ashton.
Education still plays an important part in Mitchel’s life as he attends Buxton Community School. He is in his final year studying Construction, French, Resistant Materials, Maths and English. Out of school he enjoys Mountain Biking, Dirt Jumping and Cycle Trials and hanging out with his friends – oh and annoying his brother, Ashton!
87 Looking good on the 125cc JST Gas Gas UK in the early part of the 2018 series in the Lake District.
The first Youth class British Championship in the Brightmore family came from the younger of the two brothers Ashton, in the D Class Medium Wheel in 2015 on the Beta.
Standing proudly on the top step of the podium as the 2018 Elite Youth British Champion.
Younger brother Ashton is a man of many talents, seen here on Minding duties for Mitch a few years ago.