Since its inception four years ago, the thriving series has offered young, aspiring runners the chance to hone their skills and gain invaluable racing experience, laying the groundwork for the next step in their careers.
Many IMC competitors have made successful transitions to the Ulster Superbike and British Championships, including Rossi Dobson, Ross Moore – this year’s USBK Moto3 champion – Rhys Coates and Alexander Rowan.
In the Ulster Superbike Championship, Jonny Campbell made a strong impression this year on his debut in the category, while IMC starlets Lee Hara, Ajay Carey, Jack Ferris and Nicolas Burns starred in the Moto One and SS300 categories in 2021. .
With an average of 115 competitors from across Northern Ireland and the Republic in action at each round of the Irish Minibike, the budding young riders hope to follow in the footsteps of established stars such as Glenn and Andrew Irwin, Lee Johnston and the newly crowned British Supersport Champion Jack Kennedy, while Co teenager Tyrone Cameron Dawson – this year’s British Junior Supersport Champion – is also an inspiration to IMC riders who dream of someday becoming British Champion themselves .
Of course, there is no greater role model in Northern Ireland motorcycling than Jonathan Rea, who remains with a chance to win the World Superbike crown for the seventh consecutive year in November in the final round in Indonesia.
Rea is the ultimate benchmark for the future of sport and his tremendous success is an immeasurable source of motivation for young athletes here.
Mark Boyd, former short circuit racer and president of the Irish Minibike Championship, said he was “proud” of what the IMC has achieved so far.
“Happy runners are fast and confident runners and I think the IMC provides an environment for our young people to thrive,” he said.
“We are starting to see our youngsters filtering seamlessly into larger paddocks, which we can be proud of.
“I have two roles in the IMC paddock – the first is that of president, the second is that of parent to two young cubs who love to ride motorcycles.”
While the IMC is also aimed at older riders with a Standard class for 140cc machines and an Open class, for two- and four-stroke machines up to a maximum of 190cc, the focus is on development. young talents.
The BamBam class is the entry level for junior riders ages 6-10, with ascending categories for older children and teens progressing from automatic machines to gearbox bikes with more power.
The FIM Mini GP series proved popular this year and ended with Brian Hamilton winning the title, while Lewis Mullen – the only Irish driver selected for the Michael Laverty Race Academy – also won the series this season. .
Paul Robinson, who won the last 125cc race in history at the North West 200 in 2010 and finished second in the British Championship in 2000, said his young son Max is reaping the rewards from his participation in the series.
“I think BMI is a great base for learning, Max and the other young riders have benefited so much from this little club, like how to control a bike and also develop the art of racing and the knowledge of riding. safe with other runners nearby, ”Robinson mentioned.
“It also has a great progression from the BamBam class through the different levels to the MiniGP, which is as close to a real racing bike as it gets.”
Former road racer and team owner John Burrows, whose son Jack is a newcomer this year, added: So that was all new to us.
“But we were greeted with open arms and we were lucky enough to be at the end of the field, which is great, but IMC has an ultra-competitive streak.”
This weekend’s two-day final, Saturday and Sunday at Nutts Corner, is open to the public, with Covid-19 tracking and traceability protocols in place. Admission is £ 5 for adults with children under 12 free.
The action is expected to start at 10 a.m. on both days, with three races per class on Saturday and a new format of two longer races for each class on Sunday.