Team is on track for a successful season

FROM its origins in 2010, a Morpeth-based motorcycle-racing team is now looking forward to its second full season with a new rider on board after several ups and downs.

SGR Racing will again be running in the British 125GP Championship this year, with American teen Xavier Zayat piloting the bike.

The 13-year-old will be travelling all the way from New York to gain experience of riding on European circuits.

Team manager and co-director Steve Kinghorn said: “Xavier has been riding motorcycles from the age of three, and was National MD250 Champion in 2011. He also has several years experience of riding a 125GP in the states, so hopefully can make the switch to the SGR bike comfortably.

“He arrives in the UK just two weeks before the first round, so limited testing can be done before the season opener at Brands Hatch over the Easter weekend.

“We have invested heavily in new parts for the new season to enable the bike to be as competitive as possible, and have retained the services of Mark Bass as chief mechanic and welcome James Mills to the fold as technical support. As always, we will be working closely with Banks Racing of Amble.”

SGR, named after the initials of husband and wife co-directors Steve and Ruth and two-and-a-half-year-old daughter Georgina, was set up for the last three rounds of the 2010 season.

But motorcycle racing had been a long-time passion of Steve and Ruth, with both working in the sport.

Ruth is also the radiographer for the British Superbikes, British MotoGP and the World Superbikes rounds held in the UK while Steve has worked within the British Superbikes paddock for the last six or seven years, formerly as mechanic for his good friend Michael Hill

When Michael decided to call a day on his 125GP career, friends around the paddock chipped in to form a consortium to enable them to purchase Michael’s bike and so SGR was born.

SGR competed in their first event at Croft BSB in September 2010 where they made a promising start, then moved on to Silverstone where they had a fantastic tenth-place finish with Dan Moreton – his career-best result to date.

Last year saw SGR start the season with Durham-based Chrissy Rouse onboard the FRS-kitted 125GP Honda.

Hopes were high and some good results were achieved with a sixth-place finish at Knockhill – his highest of the season.

“Unfortunately, this was to be Chrissy’s last ride on the SGR bike as the Rouses believed they were not achieving the results that Chrissy was capable of, and moved to a championship-winning team,” said Steve.

“We moved forward and drafted in Manx man Ian Raybon to pilot the bike for the forthcoming Snetterton round. Race technician Martyn Philips and mechanic Mark Bass also joined the team during this period.

“Ian did a fantastic job and scored points with a 13th-place finish on his BSB debut, which was a fantastic achievement for the team.

“Things were going well for the team with Ian picking up an amazing 5th place finish at Oulton Park but Brands Hatch was the turning point for the team where they brought in Josh Corner from South Shields to form a two-rider team.

“The team couldn’t have been happier at the start of the weekend, but a high speed off in qualifying damaged Ian’s knee, compromising his performance in the race. That said, both bikes came home in the points and things were looking good for Cadwell.”

Cadwell was a very difficult weekend however, with Ian still struggling with his knee injury and Josh having a big crash. The team was also very shook up by the tragic death of fellow competitor Ben Gautrey.

SGR then went to Donington with an expanded team running a Stock 600 bike with South African Bjorn Estment on board.

Ian couldn’t get a good set-up for the bike and found it hard all weekend, and Josh didn’t finish the race. Bjorn qualified eighth in a very close championship, but also failed to finish in the race.

Steve said: “At the end of the weekend, the team felt it was getting too stretched, so we decided to concentrate our efforts on the 125GP rider Ian Raybon.”

But Silverstone was to be the last round with the team for Ian, who was still finding it hard to ride with his knee injury and was unable to complete the race.

Nigel Percy stepped on to the bike for the final round at Brands Hatch, where he put in an excellent performance, but the team were hit by a number of technical problems throughout the weekend which led to Nigel being forced to retire from a top-ten position in the race.

SGR still needs funds to enable them to keep moving forward. If you feel able to help visit the website www.sgrracing.co.uk and donate via Paypal or contact the team via email. This season, the team is once again backed by Imperium Law, specialists in Personal Injury claims and Employment Law; PowerBar – sports nutrition specialists as well as local businesses: Lee Fiddes – plumbing and heating engineer; AMT Business –accountancy; Spotty Dog Signs and Print – for all your printing needs; Huntley Autos – Paint and body repairs; ChocolateGrape – web design; H & L Charlton Caravan Storage, Lynemouth.