Australian road racing has faced challenging times in the past couple of years, but thankfully there has been some racing on a state and national level that has kept the kindling of what was a flickering fire, alight.
One aspect of the recent dramas that has not diminished is the dreams and aspirations of young riders as they strive to make a reality of what fills their days at every waking hour. And more than likely, while they sleep.
Down Under has a proud history of rider representation on the world stage and 2022 will see the greatest participation of aspiring world champions than has been seen in a number of years. Testament to the dedication and commitment of everyone concerned in ensuring the avenues to world championship success have remained open, no matter what the limitations and protocols of the new world we live in.
At the moment, eight riders are heading off for their first overseas sojourn, while there are others returning to ply their trade to build on what they have achieved.
Check out the list of who’s racing where this year.
MotoGP – Jack Miller, Remy Gardner. Moto3: Joel Kelso.
WSBK – WSSP: Oli Bayliss, Ben Currie. WSSP300: Harry Khouri.
BSB – BSB: Jason O’Halloran, Josh Brookes, SSTK 1000; Billy McConnell, Davo Johnson (plus the pure road racing), Brayden Elliot, Levi Day. SSP600: Seth Crump, Jacob Hatch (17yo) Tom Toparis.
ATC – Carter Thompson, Marianos Nikolis, Cameron Swain.
Moto America – SSP600: Luke Power. SSP300: Joe Mariniello.
European Talent Cup – Angus Grenfell, Carter Thompson.
CIV – Archie Thompson.
In the lead up to the season, mcnews.com.au will look at some of the riders – in no particular order – as they prepare to head off on their individual adventures and quests for success.
Lives: Gold Coast (Queensland)
For 2022 Harry will continue with the SIC58 Squadra Corse Team in the CEV Moto3 Junior World Championship and also return for another tilt at the Red Bull Rookies Cup (RBRC).
Hopefully, it will be a year of more rewards compared to the character building set-backs he went through in a year that could be best described as a season characterised by recovery, toughness and resilience.
Harry’s year unravelled at the fourth round of the CEV at Portimao, Portugal. In the opening laps, he high-sided over the infamous crest of the roller coaster circuit, unsighted from following riders he was run over, breaking his femur and fibula, with a compound fracture of the tibia for good measure. Proper job that…
Harry had started out road racing after a pretty successful career on dirt. While still competing in dirt track titles and bagging trophies, he added road racing to the CV commencing with the GP Juniors Australia competition in 2017, winning the 85 cc two-stroke class.
In 2018 dirt was still a major focus as he won the Australian Long Track and Dirt Track championships as well as taking out the FIM Supermoto Junior Lites Championship at Newcastle. The icing on the cake that year was finishing second in the AMA Grand Nationals Junior Half Mile TT Short Track Championship at the legendary Springfield Mile in Illinois, where he scored a win and two second places.
In 2019 he was invited to compete in the Asia Talent Cup where he finished 13th overall, his best result a fourth in the third round at Sepang, Malaysia.
As we know Covid had a devastating impact on 2020, with only one round of the ATC held at the local circuit in Qatar where he claimed third place. Additionally Harry was fortunate to be able to keep racing in the European Talent Cup and scored a brace of third place finishes
For 2021 he was accepted into the Red Bull Rookies Cup and signed to the SIC58 Squadra Corse Honda team with fellow Aussie, Senna Agius for the CEV Championships.
The year started very well for Voight, with a 12th place in the opening CEV race, but then soon turned to crap. At the next round, he had a coming together with another rider, crashed and broke his collarbone that forced his withdrawal for a few weeks from both competitions.
Harry made his return from that collarbone injury for the fourth round of the RBRC at Sachsenring (Germany) and finished eighth in the second race. His best result of the year, so a great confidence boost.
He then headed to Portimao for the fourth round of the CEV title. Which of course was the scene of the aforementioned terrible accident that saw his leg so badly broken. It was an horrific incident and if the impact had been 30 cm higher, up around the vital organs, who knows where the 15-year-old would be.
Harry was now out of both titles, but through massive hard work and determination made a remarkably rapid recovery from what were such serious injuries.
He competed in the final round of the CEV at Valencia after a medical clearance with strict instructions not to go too crazy. Easier said than done for a teenager, but Harry listened and scored 20th and 17th places to finish the year before returning home, to then go through quarantine and compete on a not-so-new race bike at the final round of the ASBK Supersport 600 at The Bend Motorsport Park.
At the moment he is at home on the Gold Coast, but it hasn’t all been about relaxing and having fun.
Mark Bracks: You did extremely well to get back on track at the end of the year at Valencia after getting a medical clearance.
Harrison Voight: “Race one at the last round wasn’t ideal but the second race I was a bit more in there. I was only 19-seconds off. My best from the first race of the season was only 12-seconds so it wasn’t a crazy amount of time.”
Bracks: So are you fully recovered after everything that happened last year?
Voight: “I just got my collarbone plated the week before Christmas so I’ve just been working on that as well. When I got taken out at Valencia earlier last year it healed in a trianglular shape and every time I knocked it, when I had a pretty decent crash it just re-fractured every time. Even when I crashed at the Bend I hit it and it was so sore. I went to get a CT scan and found out I had to get it plated. The movement is fine. It’s coming good. But, I’ve still got screws and rods in my leg which will stay there for awhile.”
Bracks: What are your aims this year after a confronting year last year?
Voight: “I don’t know yet. I’d like to get the season started and see where we are at, because every year the competition keeps getting better and better, but I think we can do ok.”
Bracks: What is your main focus; CEV or Red Bull Rookies?
Voight: “My focus is pretty much even. Maybe a little bit more towards Red Bull but they’re pretty equal. I want to do very well in both to set me up for the future.”
Bracks: So when do you head off?
Voight: “I’ll be leaving end of March. During the season I am based about 45-minutes out of Barcelona. I’ve had a little bit of down time and about to start ramp up training again. A bit of gym work but nothing crazy. I’d love to get back on a bike again. We are doing the ASBK test at the end of the month, and maybe I’ll do the first round but we are still undecided on that.”
If the “Ying” and “Yang” can find a balance for Harry after such a traumatic 2021, let’s hope he can do what Joel Kelso did in CEV and follow in his wheel tracks. He’s proven to have the talent as well as the determination to recover from the setbacks and prove that he is faster than ever.
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