BY GILES SPENCER
Erith bike racer Casey O’Gorman bounced back from a breakdown in race one of the Hawkers European Talent Cup to a podium in the second in round four of the championship in Jerez, Spain last weekend.
The fourteen year old struggled to adapt to new suspension in qualifying after initially setting the fourth fastest time in free practice, to go 16th quickest for Sunday’s two races.
With Championship leader Joel Esteban out through illness, it was a much needed chance for the rest of the field to gain some valuable points back whilst they could.
Sunday morning’s warm up was a sign of things to come as the youngster struggled to keep the bike on two wheels, slumping down to 21st quickest.
Lining up on the back of the sixth row for the fifteen laps of race one, O’Gorman’s woes continued as couldn’t seem to make the bike work for him.
Scrapping for the final points is not where O’Gorman is used to sitting but try as he might the bike didn’t want to play ball.
Three laps to go and the misery continued for O’Gorman as his Honda NSF250R spat its chain off, ending his hopes of a point scoring ride.
Italian Dodo Boggio took his maiden win ahead of Spaniard Brian Uriarte.
Eager to make amends for the previous race O’Gorman flew away from the lights to move up to twelth by the end of the first lap of race two.
Whatever changes the team made to the bike between races was working as O’Gorman moved into the top ten a lap later.
The contrast between the two races couldn’t have been greater as O’Gorman had moved into the top three by mid-race, challenging for the win.
Whatever confidence O’Gorman may have lost in his bike recently had clearly been forgotten as he threw his Honda around the track at will, taking any line he wanted.
Three laps to go and O’Gorman finally hit the front but with a stream of riders on his tail ready to pounce at the slightest opportunity, it was still anybody’s race.
Approaching the final lap O’Gorman had been bullied back to third before Spaniard Alberto Fernandez barged into the Irishman on the last corner, pushing him back to fourth as they started their final circuit.
Never one to back down from a fight O’Gorman dug deep into his reserves to move up to third on the penultimate turn before diving into the lead in the final corner, only to to out dragged on the short sprint to the line for the win by Boggio to claim his first ETC podium in second.
Unfortunately for O’Gorman a post race penalty was given to him for exceeding track limits on the final lap, dropping him to third and promoting Uriarte into second.
When asked about the difference between the two races, O’Gorman said, “Yeh, it was the new suspension. We were getting chatter all weekend and the team tried to make some adjustments to get rid of it but nothing was happening and I had no confidence in the bike.
“So, between race one and two we took a gamble and put the standard suspension back in and changed the gearing so I could get out of the corner better.”
“It was amazing (to get on the podium). The worst weekend had turned into the best which made it feel even better.”
“Massive thanks to the team and everyone for the support.”
Boggio now leads the championship by one point on 96 ahead of Esteban with O’Gorman in ninth on 51.
Round five of the championship sees the riders head to Portimao in Portugal on the 16-17 July.
Photos: @Finetwork FIM Junior GP