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Robin Miller: Real money and opportunity has arrived for British riders

Lack of opportunity is constantly blamed for the absence of British youngsters in world championship racing. Or lack of money. Or both. But, to slightly misquote Bob Dylan, ‘The times they maybe a-changing.’

And it is two enthusiasts, neither of which it can be said are short of a bob or two, who are providing the wherewithall to guide them on the path to becoming names in both British and world championship racing.

Faye Ho and Simon Marsh, as different as chalk from cheese, are determined to make a difference.


Faye, a member of the famous Macau Ho family,  now living with her two children in England and owner of FHO Racing, and Simon, backer last season of the Paul Bird BSB team and now principal funder of  Michael Laverty’s bold salvo into MotoGP territory, are bent on giving youngsters a chance.

Both believe that young riders in the UK, unlike Spain or Italy, are  not getting  the backing they deserve. But their paths are very different.

Having followed racing, starting with the Macau Grand Prix, for a number of years, and sponsoring  British riders at the event, Faye Ho decided to get serious about it when she came to live in the UK.

She bought the Smith’s BMW team, together with the great all rounder Peter Hickman, and has now added 22-year-old rising star Ryan Vickers. But her real mission is to get women riders taken seriously, as they are now in other sports, and she is increasing her support for three teenagers in UK series such as the Talent Cup next year.

Simon Marsh is the boss of Vision Track which is rapidly becoming a global business in electronics for vehicles of every description. What inspired him to lay his hard earned money behind  Michael Laverty, one time MotoGP and BSB rider and now  a respected pundit with BT Sport?

He told Bikesport News:”I had a go at motocross and then a bit of road racing when I was a youngster and it made me realise how difficult it was to get the backing required.  

"So I was attracted to what Michael is doing, and what he has achieved is amazing, and it also gives Vision Track a global presence because we’ll have two riders in Moto3. In fact, I have already had several invites to meet potential customers at the first round in Qatar.”

Apart from raising a considerable amount money -  figure of £2m being mentioned - the likeable Laverty has also attracted two strong lieutenants in  Superstock champion Taylor and seventies Moto GP and TT winner Chas Mortimer.

Mackenzie, the team manager, knows all about the difficulty of raising money and Mortimer, who remains a well connected and very knowledgeable enthusiast, will run part of a very large team of youngsters. His description of the venture  as “amazing and something never known  before  in British racing” is equal only to his praise of  Laverty for making it happen.


Explaining her ambition for 2022, Fay Ho acknowledges that her team’s primary task for 2022, via riders Peter Hickman, Brian McCormack, Ryan Vickers and Alex Olsen, is success on both track and roads.

But raising the participation and the profile of women in racing is her mission:”I don’t want to come into a championship by simply owning a team, say I’m competing and try to win it.I do want to reach out to see if I can actually make a difference and that is what I am doing.

"I met the girls during the season and I wanted to give them a bit of a support system by reaching out to them to see if they wanted to be under the umbrella of FHO Racing.”

The girls in question, teenagers Scarlett Robinson, Charlotte Marcuzzo and Holly Harris, were competing in BSB support classes such as the British Talent Cup or Hel Performance Junior Supersport. Why has she chosen to give them more support under FHO colours in 2022?


“All the riders in these championships are special and no one more than others. But I found they were very driven in what they were doing and so  I just thought ‘Why
don’t I give them a bit of a platform and get more noticed?'

"The more I was involved the more I was giving back and hopefully make a change. So it is coming along but change does take time  as I found when involved in a lot of charity organisations.”

What this remarkable woman is proud of is an invitation from the FIM to join their women’s  commission alongside, among others, Andrea Coleman, founder and CEO of Two Wheels for Life, a charity supported by Dorna and Pippa Laverty, no less.

The times are indeed ‘a-changing...'

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