Austin Shaw O’Leary qualified for the CEV Buckler Moto2 championship in Spain. Although he took a spill in the finals and didn’t finish, he’s already looking forward to the next big race. (Submitted photo)
Austin Shaw-O’Leary is back from Spain with a strong desire to share a track with the best of the best in the road racing circuit again in the near future.
After having one day to test drive a prototype bike handcrafted for his overseas debut, the 16-year-old Falmouth resident qualified for the CEV Buckler Moto2 championship featuring the top racers in Spain Nov. 17.
Shaw-O’Leary, a fan favourite at the Atlantic Motorsport Park in Shubenacadie, says the bike built for his race was much faster than the machines he’s used to. He says he probably had the prototype travelling up to 250 km/h on a straight stretch in Spain.
The Avon View High School student, who travelled to Valencia with his father, says many riders, including him, took a tumble on race day as the bikes were pushed to the limits in pursuit of victory.
“Within four laps to go, I got ran wide a little bit by one of the riders coming around [a corner] and I hit the Astroturf, which was slippery from the rain in the morning,” he said, summarizing the Nov. 18 race.
“Then I fell down and didn’t get to finish the race.”
He managed to make it through the spill with a minor scuff on his elbow.
Regardless of the outcome on race day, Shaw-O’Leary says the experience gives him a good idea of what he can expect as his racing career unfolds.
Sponsorship obtained through the Friends of FOGI Racing program covered the $10,000 fee that provided Shaw-O’Leary with a bike, crew, fuel, sleeping quarters and food in Valencia.
In the winter months, he will focus his energy on cardio training and weightlifting to ensure his body is ready for whatever opportunities may arise when a new racing season resumes in the spring.
The young rider says his plans for the next season are not set in stone yet, but he’s hoping to land another round in Spain sooner rather than later.
“Hopefully someday we’ll get to go back and I can learn a lot more, and go faster, and further my career from there.”