The all-new Chinese Maxtra 125cc grand prix machine underwent a busy test schedule in September, with three separate outings at British circuits and a second rider joining regular tester Michael Wilcox at the final test.

The newcomer to the innovative machine, designed and developed in Europe, was young English Red Bull Rookie race winner Matthew Hoyle, who joined for the third round of tests at Donington Park in the last week of the month.

It was the team's second visit to the British Grand Prix circuit, with an outing at Snetterton in between.

Project leader Garry Taylor described steady progress, as the single-cylinder two-stroke grand prix racer continues on the journey "from a clean sheet of paper to being ready to race at the start of the grand prix season in 2009".

The novel 'upside-down' engine (with the cylinder pointing groundwards) has advanced from reliability testing to extending the revs, horsepower and performance towards the goal of being fully competitive by March next year.

Renowned designer Jan Witteveen is still experimenting with two variations in specification.

"We are now concentrating on engine performance, and we are seeing exciting developments," said Taylor.

Chassis manufacturer Harris Performance Products is also continuing development as increased performance makes greater demands on suspension and chassis.

"The whole package is coming together, and the tests were very encouraging," said Lester Harris.

Taylor confirmed that the target for next year is a two-rider team, with a separate development crew to test away from the GP circuits.

"We already have some very experienced people, and we're actively looking for more: both riders and technicians," he said. "We would like one younger rider, and also one with more experience."

The test with teenager Hoyle was part of the process, though it was too early to say where this might lead. "We may well test with him again. He certainly has talent" said Taylor.

"We wanted an opinion from a fast young rider, and we were interested to see how he would work with the bike and the crew. He pleasantly surprised us with a very mature approach and an ability to express himself clearly. His lap times were very good. It's hard to believe he is only 17," the project leader continued, without revealing the actual lap times.

"At the same time, we have a very valuable continuity of testing with Michael Wilcox, who gives very good feedback, and has ridden the bike from the very first shake-down tests. He will continue as our main tester."



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