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Gilbert joins the Superbikes elite
A TEENAGER from Bucks will go faster for longer than he’s ever gone before after earning a ride with one of the leading teams on the British Superbikes Championship grid.
Jordan Gilbert is just 16 but his racing stock has been on a sharp incline for a number of years.
His call up by Team Haribo Starmix continues that progression, although his debut season in the Junior BSB Superstock Championship promises a sharper learning curve than ever.
His dad Keith said: “We couldn’t have dreamed of this, it’s fairytale stuff.
“Haribo is a very good ride. They’re one of the only teams in the Stock 600 so it will be an education and a very good introduction into the bike world for him.
“Hopefully he does well and it’s a springboard onto bigger and better things.
“He’s not made it, he’s not a superstar, but I’m hoping one day he gets to where he wants to be.”
Gilbert can expect a baptism of fire, though.
Not only is the hardware a step up – his new Triumph ramps up the horsepower beneath him from 70 to 125 and increases his top speed from 130mph to 160mph – but the competition will be tougher than anything he is used to.
Keith said: “It’s a really hard class. There are household names there, people who have raced in the World Superbike Championships and now come back to British.
“It’s a different world and Jordan is a real outsider, but I wouldn’t bet against him being up there.
“We don’t know how well he’s going to do, but I’d love to see him on the podium and it would be an absolute dream if he could win.”
That confidence is not just paternal pride.
The 16-year-old has so far risen to every challenge and taken every step up in his stride.
Two years ago he stormed to seven wins and 12 podiums from 27 Superteen Championship starts.
On the back of that he was one of only two British riders offered a place in the European Cup but had to pull out due to funding issues.
He was back in the saddle last summer in the super-competitive Minitwin Series, setting a new lap record at Oulton Park on his way to fifth overall against riders more than twice his age.
It was that form which persuaded the British Motorcycle Club to put his name forward to Haribo and after testing against other riders last September, all of whom were older than him, he got the job.
Starmix principal Derek Sanders said: “We’re really looking forward to seeing Jordan on the track; his first test rides on the team’s Triumph 675R motorbikes have shown us good reason to be hopeful in his first season in a British championship.”
Jordan, who is a student at Chalfont Community College and has been supported by Deadline Couriers, Skoda London, GLL Foundation and CS Bedford, said: “I know the step up from club racing to British will be tough, but I’m determined that I'll overcome any initial culture shock and my race craft will quickly rise to meet the competition.”
The Junior BSB Superstock Championship, which also increases race lengths from six to 18 laps, runs from April to October.
Follow the action at www.britishsuperbike.com