Whanganui teenager Caleb Gilmore is grabbing all opportunities thrown at him since launching his motorcycle racing career proper in the Suzuki Series Gixxer Cup class in October last year.
The 15-year-old Whanganui High School Year 11 student has earned a one-off deal to race in a leg of the IDM Cup series in Europe for the world famous Cal Cox Motorsport Team.
Gilmore has ridden motorcycles since age 4 and competed in motocross most of his young life. However the real deal of road and track racing began with the Gixxer Cup last season that ended earlier this year with a sixth placing despite missing two South Island rounds and the Cemetery Circuit Suzuki Series leg in Whanganui on Boxing Day because of street racing age restrictions.
Although Boxing Day traditionally signals the end of the Suzuki Series, the Gixxer Cup continues on into the New Zealand Superbike Championships in the new year and that is where Gilmore began to impress.
During those legs of the Gixxer Cup Gilmore began producing podium finishes which obviously caught the eye of the Carl Cox Motorsport team who signed him up for the new 300cc Super Sport Series that kicks off in January.
All competitors in the Gixxer Cup ride the same machines, the Suzuki Gixxer 150, but in the 300 Super Sport series Gilmore will ride a YZF 300 Yamaha and in Europe will step up to a Kawasaki Ninja 400.
"It's a great opportunity and I am really looking forward to it," Gilmore said.
"I've handled the step to different machines well and I think all those years of motocross has helped. I have raced the Yamaha at club meetings around the place and have produced podium finishes, so that's going well and I should be ready for the Super Sport series next year. I am also racing in the Gixxer Cup series again this year.
"I am only racing one leg of the IDM Cup series in Europe in Assen in Holland. I have a test ride on August 26 and then racing is on September 5-8 with two races a day, I think."
Young Gilmore will need to stay focused with more than 50,000 spectators regularly attending IDM Cup meetings.
Dayna Sawtell, motorcycle and events marketing at Suzuki New Zealand in Whanganui, said the company was delighted the Gixxer Cup concept was doing its job and opening doors for promising young riders.
"That is what the Gixxer Cup was introduced to do, provide opportunities for talented young riders to progress and we are delighted to see that it has for Caleb," Sawtell said.
Meanwhile, Suzuki Series promoter Allan "Flea" Willacy said organisation of the 2019 series that culminates with the final leg on the Cemetery Circuit in Whanganui on Boxing Day was progressing well.
"At this stage we will have 10 or more international riders in the series from England, Isle of Man, France and Australia - it's going to be another exciting series," Willacy said.