British Riding Stars Spotlight: Evan Belford
We spoke to rising star Evan Belford about his career and future aspirations.
Evan Belford is a 13-year-old British rider racing in the British Talent Cup, he was the 2019 British GP70 Champion and has also previously raced in the FAB Racing Cup. The young rider has big dreams and aspirations in the sport, we spoke to him to learn more about him.
When did you start riding motorcycles and why?
My first experience of riding a motorcycle came when I was 3 years old. My dad raced motocross when he was growing up and for my 3rd birthday my parents brought me a bike and some kit. Dad never pushed my riding at the time, if I asked to ride he would take me if not we didn’t. Sometimes we would go to the field and I would ride for 15minutes then dig for worms for an hour. Dad says that it has to be my decision to ride and that I have to enjoy it.
What was your first-ever motorcycle?
My first motorcycle was a Yamaha PW50. It was white with a purple seat and wheels. We still have it now and dad says that he will never sell it.
When you eventually decided to start racing, which bike did you race first?
I first started racing Minimoto when I was 7 years old and my first race bike was a GRC MIX Chassis with a Series 1 Polini engine. It was my dad’s friend that introduced us to minimotos and we joined the FAB Racing championship and I raced 2 rounds of the 2015 championship in the rookies class. Dad had no idea what was needed, people were stripping bikes between sessions and making changes and generally looking really busy but dad would just add fuel and I would ride, we were rookies in every sense of the word.
Your race number is 52, were British Champions James Toseland and Danny Kent an influence on this?
I chose 52 because we had been to Valencia in 2014 to watch the last round of MotoGP, at the airport on our way home we bumped into Danny Kent. He was really friendly and had a nice chat with us and I had my photo taken with him, it was a nice end to a great weekend. About a year later I was training on the Kart circuit in Cartagena and James Toseland was there, he asked Dad if he could give me some advice and I spent the next couple of days working with him. He even offered to help me get my arm fixed after I broke my elbow, he’s a really nice guy.
You impressed massively in the British Talent Cup in 2020 as well as being the 2019 British GP70 champion, will you be staying in the BTC this year or are you looking elsewhere?
Yes, I will be staying in the HBTC for another year and I will remain with Ryan Saxelby and the City Lifting team. Having previously only ever ridden a 70cc 2 stroke on Kart tracks the team were brilliant in helping me to understand riding the four-stroke and also riding big circuits. The HBTC is perfect for young riders from the UK to show their potential and also offers a gateway through to CEV and Rookies Cup.
What are your future aspirations?
Short term I want to win the HBTC in 2021 and be the selected rider for the Junior Talent Team. Long term would be to establish myself within the GP paddock.
Do you see yourself moving to Europe to race the CEV championships or do you feel that the British Superbikes route is a more viable option?
BSB is a great championship and has produced some great riders but the dream for me is to race at Motogp. Unfortunately, as a family we don’t have the funding to go racing in Spain ourselves so that’s why we are concentrating on the HBTC. For me, this is the most accessible route to CEV and then into Grand Prix racing and is also my preferred option.
What are your ultimate career goals in this sport?
To fight for and win championships at the highest level as a rider. In retirement, I would really like to work with young riders and help them in their career. I have been very lucky to have had help from various people and I believe that this needs to be passed forward.
Will you be participating in any Red Bull Rookies selection events this year?
Yes definitely. It has always been my plan to try out for Red Bull Rookies and hopefully get selected, if you look at the current GP paddock there are multiple riders who have come from Red Bull Rookies. It’s definitely a proven path.
Who is your racing hero? (Or heroes if there are multiple)
The ultimate racing hero for me is Marc Marquez, he is something else! I was lucky enough to be selected for his training camp in 2019 but unfortunately, he injured his shoulder at the Jerez test and was unable to ride with us. I still got to spend the week riding with his brother Alex who offered a great insight into how they train and prepare for a race weekend. I also get to spend some time with Kyle Ryde, who has always been on hand to offer advice over the last few years. He’s good to train with and he’s fast on the mini bikes.
What has been your main source of motivation in racing and your biggest influence?
I think my main motivation is that I always want to win, as most people know this just doesn’t happen and not winning can be hard to accept. As I’ve got older I have got better at understanding these emotions and this has helped me to improve my riding. My biggest influence has to be my family. My parents work very hard so that I can have this opportunity and also try to keep a good balance at home and with my schooling. We have always gone racing as a family and whilst dad was working on the bike my mom and older sister would be helping with trophy presentations and interviewing the young riders. They make lots of sacrifices for me and I hope to be able to repay them in the future.
Check out Evan’s social media links below if you want to follow his career.
Featured image credit – Bonnie Lane Photography