Young gun rides on to big stage

JULIAN RAETHEL
Last updated 07:43 04/12/2012
Connor London
JULIAN RAETHEAL
FAST TRACKED: Connor London is heading to Europe for the WSBK European Junior Cup.

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They say good things take time, but someone forgot to tell Connor London that.

Connor's just finished high school and is on the superbike fast track to join a full grid of international riders on the World Superbike European Junior Cup from March to October next year.

"I'm really excited, it will be a good chance to see where I'm at," says the 17-year-old from Oratia.

"I'm realistic about my chances and although it's unlikely I'll win it, I'm going out to to show what I've got and gain experience."

Despite his lack of years Connor has charged at the learning curve at full speed.

He finished eighth in the Hyosung GT 250 series last year and 12th in the Castrol New Zealand Championship.

Not a bad start for a teenager who's only been riding for 18 months.

"It all began in March last year when I rode my friend's 150cc bucket bike.

"I loved it straight away," Connor says.

The European Juniors are the grooming stage for the superbike big boys with circuits in Spain, Italy, France, Holland and Germany. It will be a wander into the unknown as the supplied Honda CVR 500cc model is completely new and riders won't get to test it out until the competition begins.

"I've ridden a bike that's similar horsepower but the great thing is that there are no mechanical advantages, it's whoever puts in the best performance on the day," Connor says.

New Zealand riders generally find it tough cracking into the big time with funding and support needed to supplement the talent.

Connor's father Phil is chief executive of WIL Sport Management and says even though it's not easy to get there, it is the perfect starting point for young superbike riders.

"There's a lot of talent around but the big question is, how good are they on the international stage?

"Connor's at the perfect age to answer that question."

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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