King Price Xtreme motorcycle rider Leungo Gaorekwe. Photo: Supplied
He’s known among his fellow racers as a madman, but for 18-year-old motorcycle racing sensation Leungo Gaorekwe, the only thing that’s mad is the amount of talent and determination he has to reach the top of his sport. .
Born in Mahikeng in the North West, Gaorekwe is in his second season with the King Price Xtreme team, run by eight-time SA Superbike champion Clint Seller.
Gaorekwe’s interest in motorcycle racing began when he was eight years old, after his father traded in his quad for a dirt bike.
Since then, nothing has stopped the daredevil teenager. He won 150 championships in 2018 and in 2019 he was invited to participate in the Redbull Rookies MotoGP selection event in Spain and also entered the SuperSport 300 class.
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He won back-to-back championships in 2020 and last year. In September, Gaorekwe is set to compete in Spain in the SuperSport 600 class.
When he’s not tearing up the track, the Lonehill International Academy scholar plays hockey, soccer and tennis. For riders aspiring to succeed in motorcycle racing, Gaorekwe shared these tips:
Find a sponsor
There is no way around it. Running is an expensive sport. If you want to succeed in racing, you will need someone to support you financially. Tires are one of the main costs involved.
A set of tires lasts about 15 minutes on the track for a top team, which means pretty much every time the bike comes out it has a new set of tires. I’m very lucky because my team was able to find and finance the right bike for me. My Honda CBR600 is a 2008 model and costs just under R100,000.
The amount you spend depends on the available budget. If you were to put a number on riding a superbike for a year, it would be around R1 million. That’s why we’re incredibly lucky to have a sponsor like King Price Xtreme who understands what it takes to be part of a racing team.
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They not only help me win titles, they also play an incredible role in the development of young people.
Spending time on the bike
The best way to learn to ride is to ride.
It doesn’t have to be off-road riding either. A good background in motocross or off-roading, or even mountain biking, helps young riders develop the muscle memory they need to ride mindlessly so they can focus on racing tactics.
Again, I’m lucky to be part of a team that can train often enough to continually hone my skills and keep me in shape.
Being mentored by Seller, who is one of South Africa’s most successful riders, is also a huge bonus for me.
To keep fit
The race is extremely physical. To be a good, fast and safe driver, you need to be in good shape. It takes a lot of dedication and motivation to become a good runner. You can’t just focus on the bike, you have to pay attention to your whole lifestyle, even on non-riding days.
Once you have that focus, the mental side kicks in.
Physical training off the bike is very important. I train four to five times a week. I also watch what I eat to always be in the best possible shape.
Get the best bike you can afford
As anyone who watches motorsport knows, to be the best, you have to be the best.
Bikes are so advanced and high quality these days, so you have to start with a great bike to be at the sharp end of the grid. That’s why we use the Honda CBR600, which is an easy and comfortable bike to ride for the division I race in.
Keep your bike and kit insured
Motorcycles and riding gear are extremely expensive items and you should insure them accordingly. Whether it’s daily transportation or a weekend adrenaline rush, insuring your belongings is an absolute must, and so is your gear.
Determination and hard work are essential, but it is also important to form a partnership with a sponsor. This requires being marketable and ensuring that you always meet the agreed terms and conditions of the contract.
Amazing sponsors such as King Price are hard to come by, so if you can partner with one, be sure to give your best.
It is important to stay humble and to motivate other young people through the sport you are passionate about. My advice is to keep dreaming and work hard to achieve your goals.