Motorbike offspring: a racing driver’s father talking in plain language

In German youth motorcycles, there is a lot of trouble. For years, the editors of Motorsport-Magazin.com have received reports of lukewarm work from associations, a lack of talent support and financial hardship. This was also the case a few weeks ago when a desperate driver called us.

“All the youth’s work is in the hands of people who deal with it in an unfamiliar way. I am not talking about people who take care of the boys on the track, but about the gentlemen who are so ashamed to pay 5,000 euros for the weekend that the father, the racing driver, says his name is known to the editors, but he He prefers to remain incognito for fear of the possible consequences of his statements for his son’s future career, “Our sons can train properly.”

Only one German left in the World Cup

“Everyone wants to have children, but nobody is willing to raise anything without their parents blowing up. There isn’t enough money to train a guy like that.” A look at the junior rosters for the MotoGP World Championship shows how obvious the problem of young talent in the entire German-speaking world is: Marcel Schrötter is the only German driver left in the World Championship, and Switzerland and Austria don’t have a single pilot. Of the 82 novices in the three classes, only one learned his craft in our local area.

Even at a young age, the expenses are daunting: “With a pocket bike you can calculate 4,000 euros a year, with a mini bike you have to spend about 8,000 euros for one season. The Northern Talent Cup is about 45,000 euros when factored in everything from equipment to individual training sessions. ‘ says the anxious race driver father. “And then it continues: 70,000 euros for the European Talent Cup and 150,000 euros for the World Junior Championships.”

For middle-income earners, these amounts can no longer be collected. But finding sponsors is difficult. The example of Kiefer Racing recently showed that even successful teams in the World Championships (two titles in the last decade) in Germany can hardly attract investors from behind the stove. So the traditional team had to pack their bags for the World Cup at the end of 2019.

Hardly any willing patrons

The remaining German racing teams are also struggling to raise enough money at home: the long-term sponsor of the Swabian Intact GP team and still the main sponsor is the battery manufacturer from China, and Prüstel GP is now receiving active help from the KTM group, which is promoting its Chinese subsidiary CF Moto through the team. In the field of youth, many actually fail when it comes to taking care of the basic things. “I wrote to a famous fashion manufacturer from Germany and got no rejection. Exactly the same with a helmet maker,” says our informant.

And what does the father of a racing driver, who fears the continuation of his son’s career, wish for financial reasons? “I hope the federations will spend more money on junior racing. It would also be good to set up a site in Spain. Our boys will have a fixed point of contact there in the winter and can train in an organized way.” Because while talented people from the Mediterranean countries can practically train on their doorstep all year round, Central Europeans have to travel to do so. All this needs to be reconciled with compulsory education. Not an easy task, which is why young people drop out of motorcycles every year.

Bradle as a ray of light

Last year, Stefan Bradel, himself a major critic of youth work in unions, realized the gravity of the situation and, in collaboration with Adi Stadler and Honda Germany, created his own talent program from scratch. The project has been well received on the scene, and is scheduled to run in 2022 and possibly even be expanded. It will likely be a few more years before Bradel’s efforts bear fruit.

2022 still looks bleak. In the new season, the German (Freddy Heinrich / 17) and the Austrian (Jakob Rosenthaler / 16) play in the Red Bull Rockies Cup. In the Junior World Moto3 Championships, Germany (Philip Tone/16), Austria (Rosenthaler) and Switzerland (Noah Dettweiler/17) each have one rider. In the European Talent Cup in Spain, German Jonah Eisenkolb (14) and Austrian Niklas Kitzbekler (15) try their luck. In the Northern Talent Cup, on the other hand, five Germans (Luca Gottliecher, Rocco Sisler, Valentino Herlich, Julius Koenen and Dustin Schneider), three Swiss (Lennox, Levin Fumara and Maxim Schmid) and one Austrian (Killian Holzer) worked.

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