Courtesy of Sharon Cox
Pyper Kent is one formidable 12 year old. Yes, at just 12 years of age the WA based teenager has been selected to join initiative set-up by Australia’s SBK Series to help and support young up-coming talented riders to race in bLU cRU Oceania Junior Cup.
The concept is endorsed by FIM along with Dorna- commercial rights holder of MotoGP as a pathway to develop young racers hone skills, gain race experience, learn racing techniques along with practice professional conduct in front of Media, public and fans.
As Pyper explains: ‘The initial process for selection for OJC was pretty intense. It was open to all junior riders from any discipline to apply across Australia, New Zealand’.
‘We had to submit a race type resume with lots of information about ourselves, then our applications were put to MA and the selection took place. We were then offered positions and were required to submit our first assignment, which was a statement (verbal or written about our successful selection)’.
With main focus on developing Rider-Training-Racing programme for riders, the Academy offers Pyper and Oceania racers an awesome package:
- coaching from MotoGP star Damian Cudlin, entries for ASBK Test along with racing at 6 Rounds, garage space, transportation costs, new tyres per Round, technical support on site, spare parts budget ($1000), full racing gear- leathers, helmet, boots and gloves and best of all loan of race prepped Yamaha YZF-R15. Cost: AUD $7,750. Pyper Kent Oceania Junior Cup Photo Credit: Pyper
Pyper is well aware of what this opportunity means for her career, making most of all learning experiences on and off the track.
# 427 We are fortunate enough to meet and laise with ASBK riders and to learn about their journey. I have been lucky enough to develop a close bond with a number of the lady riders such as Tayla Relph, Grace Poutch and Keegan Pickering‘.
‘The programme gives us juniors a massive insight into what our journey could be like if we want to pursue professional racing, which is definitely where I want to go’.
Right from early years, it was Pyper’s fiesty motivation to give riding/racing a go- starting on 4 wheeler, to riding speedway, then while continuing Motocross Pyper heard conversation which switched gears completely.
# 427: When I turned 11 I heard rumours that you could jump on a road bike, so that was that, time to give that a go too. I am extremely passionate about riding, I am passionate about learning race craft and I look forward to being shown the right pathway to take and become a professional rider’.
What is remarkable, is the short space of time Pyper has embraced learning new race-craft skills- as road racing is quite different to dirt, with both physically demanding of sports to pursue as professional career. It is obvious, the teenager is up to the challenge, taking on board all responsibility to climb ranks of road racing- from Junior to Pro.
#427: ‘So with our race day schedule, we run exactly the same as the ASBK. We have free practice x 2, we have qualifying x2, we have races x3 and then we also have warm up’.
‘Between our track time we also undergo other training/coaching with teams from Ohlins suspension who teach us all about our bikes. We do sessions with Motostars, we do track walks and we also do some public relation things with meeting members of the public, signing autographs etc’.
‘We also look smart in our team uniforms as we have had them provided by some great sponsors (might I say our leathers from Ricondi, boots from TXC, helmets from AGV, are second to none). We have been provided an amazing opportunity due to the hard work of Martin Port and his team at MA so we definitely need to play our part’.
And the bike. Well it looks amazing!
#427: The R15…..what’s not to look. Yamaha have provided us all with an absolutely amazing bike- its smooth to ride, it has nice control, the suspension provided by Ohlins is absolutely the best out there. It fits me perfectly’.
‘I feel safe and in control on it. Unfortunately I only get to ride the R15 whilst competing with OJC. I have my own bike at home in Perth and I am fortunate enough to have a great personal sponsor in Collie Motorplex so when possible my mum and I drive the 2 and a half hours just to get me on my bike’.
Stand-outs about Pyper is definitely her character- love for riding, her passion to embrace what is exciting, challenging, demanding- and road racing is not easy pick. Even given such honesty in choosing what she wants to pursue, Pyper has experienced early knock-backs- being a girl in Motorsport comes at a price.
# 427: ‘I am determined, unfortunately I have faced a bit of bullying on the track and in the pits. A lot of it has been around being a girl. Even some parents have made comments which have been of a bullying nature, so I have had to be resilient.
‘When I headed to OJC I knew I was in the minority so that was a concern but seriously all the riders from OJC are amazing and bullying just doesn’t happen. They are great and they help me be more determined to race’.
‘I think the motivation comes from some of this bullying. I am riding and racing because it’s what I intend to do as my chosen profession so self belief is important and knowing that one day I can actually say to those bully’s they didn’t affect me’.
Pyper sights short-term goals matter of factly, and embraces realing off long-term goals as if they were ingrained in her psyche. Gotta love the spirit, the sense of pride she gets when saying ‘job well done’ after racing, and sprightly smile when letting all know ‘she’s out to pursue her racing, come what may’.
# 427: ‘Short term goals include increasing my position with OJC, shortening my lap times and showing those that developed the program how successful it is. I also want to represent the sponsors of the program with commitment and dedication. Further to that I hope to develop as a person and as a rider’.
‘Bucket list, now that is easy….OJC 2020, Asia Talent Cup 2020, ASBK 300’s 2023, Moto GP. Oh and a big goal is to receive a helmet sponsor for both road and dirt, with a range similar to Rossi’s AGV- but mine will have my signature dabbing unicorn on it’.
‘I would also like to be signed for a Factory Team in 2023’.