Bennetts Support 2 Of Britain's Hottest Prospects
Josh Owens, 14 from Liverpool, and Rory Skinner, 12 from Perth have been officially unveiled to the media at Silverstone Circuit in Northamptonshire. Owens and Skinner will join MotoGP star Scott Redding, British Moto3 champion Joe Francis and TV adventurer Charley Boorman as Bennetts’ sponsored riders, after impressing a selection panel that included two-time Superbike World Champion James Toseland, who has also offered to mentor the young stars.
Neil Hodgson, Bennetts ambassador and former World Superbike champion, said:
“Josh and Rory stood out from a shortlist of over 150 very talented young riders. They’re both incredibly motivated and passionate about motorcycling, but it was their outstanding racing success that really caught the judging panel’s attention. Scott [Redding], Charley [Boorman], Joe [Francis] and I are thrilled that Josh and Rory will be joining us in representing Bennetts, and no one will be following their progress more closely over the coming months and years than we will!
“I wouldn’t be where I am today without people’s belief in me and my abilities when I started racing professionally. For these two youngsters to get backing from a market leader like Bennetts is a huge boost, and the support that Josh and Rory will receive will undoubtedly accelerate their already thriving careers. Over the years Bennetts has demonstrated its commitment to the growth of British motorcycling, and the Grass Roots campaign is a fantastic example of the brand’s continued and unwavering support.”
Owens’ prodigious record has seen him win back-to-back-to-back titles in the MiniGP classes between 2010 and 2012, before moving to the British 125cc championships with a self-run team in 2013. Despite his inexperience and a limited budget, Josh impressed racing experts and scored a fifth place in the final race of the season. With Bennetts backing, the youngster will join the experienced RCD Motorsport team for 2014, where he will receive expert guidance and a competitive race bike.
Despite his tender age, Skinner has titles in the 50cc and 70cc MiniGP classes, in 2011 and 2012. Last year, as soon as he was old enough, he made a one-off appearance in the Aprilia Challenge, a prestigious one-make series that lists world champions Cal Crutchlow, Chaz Davies and Casey Stoner among its alumni. Riding a borrowed machine at a circuit he had never ridden before, the pre-teen Scot won on his debut to become the youngest ever race winner in the history of the championship. For 2014, he will undertake a full campaign in the series, with Bennetts backing supporting his travelling costs throughout the year.
Paul Taylor, PR and Sponsorship Manager at Bennetts, said:
“Spain is leading the way in terms of rider development but with two British road racing world champions in the UK last year, there is certainly no shortage of talent on our shores. That said, it’s tough for young motorcycle racers to attract support in the UK. When we put the shout out for young riders to contact us in October, it was with a view to making it as easy as possible for them to get in touch with a national company that may otherwise have seemed out of reach to them.
“As expected, we had an enormous number of entries and deciding which riders to back was an almost impossible task. We saw applications from some excellent young talent who we are sure will have great careers but we have decided to go with two riders who we think will benefit most from our backing and, after much consideration, are delighted to back Josh and Rory.”
“For me, the most satisfying thing is that both Josh and Rory are exactly the type of riders we hoped we would find in this search and, without the campaign, I doubt that we would have found them.”
Images by Double Red