By Mike Nicks

There comes a time when a rider has to stop subsidising his racing career and focus on paying the bills.

That's Eugene Laverty's situation after two years in 250cc grand prix racing: he's brought EUR200,000 of personal sponsorship money to the Bluesens Aprilia team this season, is riding without a salary, and holds only 20th place in the championship.

Eugene, 21, has no complaints about his team: the Bluesens guys are striving to get better performance from, apparently, a 10-year-old chassis that's been through the hands of Tetsuyu Harada, Randy de Puniet, and others, and a motor that's 10-15kph slower than factory Aprilias down the straight.

But it ain't going anywhere, and now Eugene is giving himself the next three races at Donington, Assen and the Sachsenring to decide on his future. The options: get a better Aprilia for 2009 or look for work - preferably with a salary to pay for things like food and rent - in the World Supersport or British Superbike/Supersport arenas.

"If a rider with a quicker engine can get 20 lengths ahead of me on the straight, I can't out-brake them," Eugene said of his plight in the 250cc grand prix class. "But the next three tracks are flowing ones, so they should suit me better."

Eugene's main personal is Pat Duke, of the EMS Ireland road construction machinery company - what would racing do without these golden-hearts? - but another EUR300,000 would be needed to get a top-spec Aprilia.

This is one rider whose ability is way above what his results indicate. Let's hope he can score top 12s on the twisty tracks and get the chance to stay in the GP scene.

 

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