The search for two British motorcycling stars to join the new Red Bull Rookies Honda Racing outfit saw eighteen teenage hopefuls put through a vigorous routine at Donington Park on Tuesday (December 2).

At the home of the British Motorcycle Grand Prix, the young riders were assessed on their riding and technical ability. In addition, the participants were interviewed by a panel of media professionals to assess their suitability for the most coveted positions in the 2004 British 125cc Championship.

The day had been organised by Honda Racing and Red Bull. The two companies are investing in the future of British motorcycle sport as a key part of a joint initiative for youth development.

"One of Red Bull's objectives in motorsport is to provide a framework for the progression of young talent," said Red Bull Motorsport Manager Linda Pelham. "By joining forces with Honda Racing, we can give the best teenage riders in the UK a once in a lifetime opportunity to progress from a Honda RS125 to potentially compete in the British Supersport and Superbike championships. Hopefully, one day they'll be able to emulate our current world champions and reach the pinnacle of their profession."

Following a detailed analysis of the judges' findings, 16-year-old Steven Neate (middle pic) from Barton-le-Clay in Bedfordshire and 17-year-old Eugene Laverty (top pic) from Toomebridge in County Antrim, Northern Ireland were selected.

The successful riders will be joined in the Red Bull Rookies Honda Racing team by Jonathan Rea, 16, who last month was selected to compete in the Supersport class on a CBR600RR (joining reigning champion Karl Harris - lower pic).

"Youth is very important to Honda Racing," said race team manager Neil Tuxworth. "Young talent, in countries like Spain and Italy, comes to the fore in development programmes such as this. We feel the need to put something positive back into sport through our partnership with Red Bull."



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