After being crowned the 2017 ASBK Supersport 300 ‘Over’ Champion in October, it’s now make or break time for Singleton’s Billy Van Eerde as he embarks on a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
The talented 15-year-old has secured a spot in both the 2018 Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup and the Asia Talent Cup. For those who don’t follow motorsports, this means he has hit the big time.
Van Eerde and his supportive father, Brian, fly to Aragon in Spain on Wednesday where they will be based for the duration of his international campaign.
From March to November, the youngster will take on the unique challenge of impressing in both competitions across two separate continents. A prospect that excites the laid-back Van Eerde but he is not getting ahead of himself.
“Now, is when it is going to get tough,” he says.
“I just want to get over there and do my thing.”
The diminutive champion is one of only 10 teenagers from around the world who were selected to join the current crop of riders in the 12th season of the Rookies Cup which is viewed as “the best way of getting a start in Grand Prix (GP) motorcycle racing”.
The cup kicks off at the Spanish GP in Jerez from May 5 - 6. Next, the series takes a broad sweep around the classic circuits of Europe - including the usual run through the Netherlands, Italy, Germany, the Red Bull Ring in Austria - and then on to San Marino before ending the year back in Spain with the Grand Prix of Aragon on September 22nd and 23rd. And, in between he will fit in 12 races over 6 weekends on the Asian circuit.
With the unwavering support of his family, over the past four years Van Eerde has successfully transitioned from racing on a dirt track to winning on the tarmac.
This all-consuming journey has involved relocating from Townsville in North Queensland to Singleton, picking up various state and national dirt track titles, capturing the attention two-time MotoGP World Champion Casey Stoner’s Dad, Colin, and in 2017 getting his international career of to a flying start with a win in the first race of the renowned KTM RC Cup in Malaysia.
His proud father attributes his rapid progression to a combination of raw talent, commitment, and one of Van Eerde’s enduring traits – he never gives up.
“Billy can be 6th or 7th coming into the final lap but he still ends up winning,” Brian explains.
“From the day we moved down here, he has been working hard. We have been on the road every weekend and spending every cent so he can compete. So we would like to thank KTM Australia, Voight Contracting, Chris Watson Motorcycles, Incite Graphics, Knight Designs and Tradecore Industries.”