Colin Stoner’s mentoring masterpiece will always be his son, two-time MotoGP world champion Casey.
But 17 years after the Stoners sold everything and relocated to the UK so Casey could compete in the British 125cc series as a 14-year-old, Stoner is still wearing his mentoring hat.
At Oakburn Park Raceway on Wednesday, the Tamworth resident, formally of Niangala, oversaw a trio of young guns who dream of replicating his son’s success.
They are Senna Agius, 12, of Camden, Ben Baker, 12, of Woongarra, and Billy van Eerde, 15, of Singleton. The trio will head to Malaysia this month to try out for the Asia Talent Cup, a “stepping stone” to MotoGP and the Superbike World Championship.
Before that, van Eerde will audition for the Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup in Spain. Stoner will accompany van Eerde – who claimed the Supersports 300 over 300 category in the ASBK series at Phillip Island on the weekend – to Spain this weekend.
In tandem with former 500cc racer and fellow Tamworthian, Mark Willis, Stoner has been mentoring some of Australia’s best young talent via a training school for the past three years. Stoner said it was his way of giving back to a sport that “has been very good to us”.
“Both me and Mark wanted to use some experience that we’ve gained over the years and give it back to the kids,” he said. “At the end of the day, we always believed in giving back.”
Stoner, who travels around Australia mentoring young riders, aims to ramp up the number of mentoring/training programs at Oakburn Park.
He said for riders of Agius, Baker and van Eerde’s calibre, it was “about 90 per cent in the head”.
“It’s how they approach it, how they think about it, how they deal with stress – all those things,” he said.