By Kyle White Belfast Newsltter
A host of young riders will again be supported by the Team Wood Motorcycle Youth Academy in 2023 in the Ulster Superbike Championship.
Formed by members of the Motorcycle Road Racing Club of Ireland (MCRRCI) in 2020 to help nurture young talent in the sport, the Academy was inspired by ex-Joey Dunlop manager Davy Wood, a former chairman of the MCRRCI and irreplaceable ambassador for Irish motorcycling, who sadly passed away in 2004.
Many of the budding young riders will be in attendance at the Northern Ireland Motorcycle Plus Show at the Eikon Centre in Lisburn (February 4-5) and the Ballymoney Bike Show (March 10-11).
This year, the Academy will include a Senior Section for those competitors who are reaching the upper age limit for support as they prepare to move into the Supersport and Supertwin classes.
Rising prospect Ruben Sherman-Boyd will continue as a Team Wood Academy rider in 2023, when he is set to compete in the Supersport 300 class.
The young hopeful from Ballyclare won the Moto One title last season and was the runner-up in the Moto3 Championship.
Alex McCalmont will contest the Moto One class on the Team Wood Motorcycle Youth Academy’s Tianda TDR300 after riding a Kawasaki 250 Ninja in 2022, when he finished fourth in the Moto One Championship, claiming three podiums.
New Academy recruits this year include schoolboy Jack Burrows, who impressed in his debut season of national short circuit racing as he finished third in the Moto3 Championship in 2022.
The son of retired road racer John Burrows, Jack – who turns 13 in February – will remain in the Moto3 class on the Burrows Engineering/RK Racing Honda and is among the favourites for the title.
Another new face to the Academy is Matthew Curry, who will have the use of one of the Team Wood Motorcycle Youth Academy’s Kawasaki 250 Ninja machines in the Moto One class.
Curry has a wealth of experience of competing in the Irish Minibike Championship over seven years and has also contested approximately 30 races in the FIM Mini GP Ireland series.
Twelve-year-old Isaac Mark will also embark on his first season of short circuit racing at national level.
He has been competing for seven years in mini-moto racing and the Irish Minibike Championship, and will make his debut in the Supersport 300 class on his Yamaha R3.
The Academy’s female racers this year include 16-year-old Elle Edgar, who will ride the third Team Wood Kawasaki 250 Ninja, plus Sammi-Jo Crossett, a Moto One Championship rider in 2022.
In the newly-introduced Senior Academy section, Lee Hara moves up to the Supersport class after finishing third last year in the Supertwin Championship.
The Coleraine rider hopes to one day compete on the roads at the North West 200, Isle of Man TT and Ulster Grand Prix.
Carrickfergus lad Cory Barron progresses to the Supersport 300 class after sealing second place in the Moto One class in 2021, while Callum Clint steps up to Supersport level after two seasons in Supersport 300.
The opening round of the Ulster Superbike Championship will take place at Bishopscourt Racing Circuit in County Down on March 25, promoted by the Temple Club.