As part of Bennetts’ commitment to backing the very best of British talent, 2016 sees us backing Scottish protégé Rory Skinner for a third successive year.
The 14-year-old from Perth is set to continue his stellar rise to the top by competing as the sole British representative in both the Junior Moto 3 World Championship and Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup, the highest level championships open to the youngster.
Born into a motorcycling family (his father runs a motorcycle dealership in Dundee), Rory started racing mini-moto at the age of seven. After taking the title of ‘Novice of the Year’ in the 2008 Scottish mini-moto championships, he progressed to become runner-up in 2009 and the Scottish Junior 4.2 Mini Moto Champion in 2010.
That year also saw Rory head south and compete in the FAB Racing British Championship, where he won both the Junior and Junior Production Mini Moto titles. Two further British mini-moto titles came the following year, in addition to winning the MiniGP 50cc championship in his first year on a Metrakit-style machine. In 2012 he moved up and won the British MiniGP 70cc title, along with the British Junior Production Mini Moto class.
Recognising his talent, the Scottish Auto Cycle Union granted Rory special dispensation to ride in the Formula 125 class at the age of 11, rather than the usual 12. Riding against older and more experienced riders on 125cc bikes on his GP80 machine, Rory remarkably ended the season with a further two titles to his name.
After turning 12 in September, young Rory was invited to compete at the final Aprilia Superteen challenge race of the season at Donington Park. Riding a borrowed Aprilia RS125 on a track he had never previously ridden on, the young Scot went on to top the podium in one of his four races, becoming the youngest ever race winner in this competitive and highly prestigious series.
With Bennetts backing, Rory followed in the tyre tracks of stars such as Casey Stoner, Cal Crutchlow, Sam Lowes and Chaz Davies by entering the Superteen series full-time in 2014. Running out as a dominant champion, his remarkable season ended with the ultimate accolade for any young racer – selection for the Red Bull Rookies – and the start of a relationship with Racing Steps Foundation, the not-for-profit organization supporting the careers of young talents on two and four wheels.
Rory enjoyed another whirlwind season as he raced on the world stage for the first time. He came of age in the final round of the Red Bull Rookies in Aragon, setting a dominant pole position and taking two third places in the races. Rory also competed in the final rounds of the Junior World Championship, after becoming eligible on his 14th birthday, and crossed the line in a remarkable fourth place at the final round in Valencia.
For more information on Rory, visit his website at www.roryskinner.com