BIG INTERVIEW: Motorbike racer Alfie Davidson has big ambitions
‘If Foggy and Hodgy can, then why can’t I?’ Leyland lad and rising motorbike racing star Alfie Davidson poses that motivational question to himself on a regular basis.
Carl Fogarty and Neil Hodgson are two of the biggest names in British motorsport history.
They reached the very top of their profession, with Fogarty arguably this country’s greatest superbike exponent and Hodgson not too far behind.
Fogarty won four World Superbike Championships during his glittering career –his first in 1995 and his final one in 1999.
Four years later Hodgson entered the sport’s hall of fame when he was crowned world champion in 2003.
The pair’s success was all the more remarkable considering they were both born and raised in the same part of the world in East Lancashire.
Just a few miles separate Fogarty’s home town of Blackburn and Hodgson’s place of birth, which is Burnley.
Now Davidson is hoping to follow in the tyre tracks of his fellow Lancastrians and put his hometown of Leyland firmly on the map.
Davidson may get slightly dizzy when he reflects on the achievements of the illustrious pair but the 13-year-old can draw strength from the fact that they reached the very pinnacle of the sport from humble beginnings.
“I think it shows that it can be done,” said Davidson, who first started racing around four years ago at the age of nine and also lists Morecambe’s Isle of man TT’s racing legend John McGuinness among his heroes.
“They come from not too far away from where I am from.
“I have actually met them at bike shows, but not really spoken to them.
“John McGuinness is one of my favourite riders also – I like the TTs.
“I also like World MotoGP champion Valentino Rossi. I think every young rider aspires to be like him.
“We all look up to him and he gives us something to aim for.”
His father John added: “This is it. You only have to look at what they have gone on to achieve.
“Alfie has just got to keep his head down and keep training hard and see what happens.
“He can only do his best.”
This year, Davidson will at some point be rubbing shoulders with the country’s best riders.
For the first time, he will be taking part in the British Talent Cup (BTC) on his Honda 250CC. The competition pits the best young riders from around the country with the tour running alongside the British Superbikes Championship.
So Davidson will be gunning for glory at iconic venues such Snetterton, Silverstone and Brands Hatch in high-profile events.
“This year is going to be exciting,” said Davidson.
“Wherever the British Superbikes Championship goes, we will be racing alongside them.
“We will be racing at all the major race tracks in the country. It will be on television and the races will be covered in the local press.”
Dad John said: “The British Talent Cup is about trying to bring the next crop of talent through.
“It is a big thing. You’ve got the best young riders in the country competing and there’s few who come over from Ireland .
“To get on the British Talent Cup, you have to show that you are of a certain standard. If you have progressed through the ranks then naturally that’s the next step.
“It really is a great competition and where the next riders can be spotted.
“If you managed to do well in this then you will get invited to compete in the Redbull Rookies or European Talent Cup.
“The good thing about those two events is they are paid-for rides so the British Talent Cup is a good thing to be in to get noticed.”
With the Covid-19 pandemic having such a major impact on the sporting calendar and affecting athlete’s ability to train, Davidson has not been as active on his bike over the past 12 months.
Indeed a lot of his training has been done on a bike simulator which is provided by Think Bike Gear, in Leyland.
He is likely to be one of the youngest riders on show at the BTC and so will not be placing too much expectation on his shoulders in his first year of competition.
“I am hoping to be in the top 15 in my first year but we have not had much opportunity to ride or test the bike,” said Davidson, who attends Wellfield High School, in Yewlands Drive, Leyland.
“As far as this year is concerned, it’s more of a test year for 2022. I have been using a bike stimulator. It’s not quite the real thing although it’s been a great help.”
Davidson first began racing on minimotos in 2017 and realised he had natural co-ordination.
He soon progressed to riding on 50cc and 70cc bikes – going on to win the British Minibike Championship and also achieved a fifth place finish in the FAB Racing Championship this despite missing the first half of the season through injury.
n If you would like to sponsor Alfie Davidson, then please contact his Facebook page: Alfie Davidson Racing.