Whalley rider aiming high

Harry Hartley
Harry Hartley
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Carl Fogarty, Neil Hodgson, James Toseland and Tom Sykes are all prevalent names associated with the World Superbike Championships. Well here’s a name to look out for in the future - Harry Hartley.

The 17-year-old is determined to emulate the success of his idols on a global stage after becoming a record-breaker on the British circuit in his debut season.

In his first run out in the MCE Insurance British Superbike Championships, won by Burnley-born Hodgson in 2000, the former Clitheroe Royal Grammar Sixth Form student finished 13th in the second race at Brands Hatch - after qualifying 27th on the grid - to become the youngest rider to ever score championship points.

The Halsall Biker Gear Kawasaki rider said: “It was busy for the first round of the season so it was great to do it then. To score points was the goal for the season so to do it in the first round was a good boost. I just want to continue getting in the scoring positions and carry on as we have been.”

The Whalley rider, who finished 17th in both races at Oulton Park in the second outing of the campaign, is now preparing for round three which takes place at Snetterton from Friday until Sunday.

Ahead of the meeting he added: “We’re aiming to get inside the top 10 this weekend. We want to break in to those positions and that would be a great achievement. Eventually I want to take this world wide. I feel we can push to win championships at British level and then see what opportunities come with it.

“Neil Hodgson is from the same town so I’d have to say he’s the one rider I look up to. His dad, Mark, looks after me at race meetings as well and plays a managerial role. It’s a great championship and it’s helping me as a rider.”

Shayne Byrne, who was crowned champion in 2008 and 2012, before being usurped by Alex Lowes last term, currently heads the standings with 95 points ahead of Josh Brookes.

Hartley, who raced in the support classes for four years prior to his recent step up, is 19th with 14 riders below him yet to score points.

“It’s great to be involved,” he said. “I started when I was about three when I got a quad bike for Christmas. I always wanted to progress, do more and get better and it just developed naturally from a hobby to a career. This is my chance to move on.”