Tomas

Casas Racing

Photoshttp://tomascasasracing.com/Casas_Pics/index.html

14-year-old motorcycle racer aims to compete in Europe, needs sponsors


By Mike Davies, Peterborough Examiner

Wednesday, September 11, 2013 11:55:52 EDT PM

After winning his first national championship at the tender age of 14, Peterborough’s Tomas Casas is ready to take on the world.

The Grade 8 St. Alphonsus School pupil is so good at motorcycle racing he was rarely tested in winning eight of 10 races in the Honda CBR250R National Race Series this summer. He only lost to a visiting Japanese rider who didn’t race the rest of the series.

Casas was so far ahead of his competition he had the points title wrapped up with two races left. He improved on his third place finish in 2012 when he won six races and might have won the others if not for crashes.

Having conquered his class, Casas is looking to move up, if possible, way up and way far away.

He’s applied, for a second year in a row, to go to Spain next month to qualifying races for the Red Bull Rookies Cup, a 125 cc KTM series for up and coming riders, hoping to one day race in the world’s most prestigious series the Red Bull MotoGP. Each year nearly 100 young riders go to the qualifying but less than 15 are selected for the series which follows the Red Bull MotoGP circuit.

Last year, Casas made it to the second round of qualifying but not the final group. With that experience under his belt, and knowing now what to expect, he feels better prepared. If he passes the qualifying he’d be eligible to join the eight-race series across Europe, with one U.S. stop, between April and September.

“That’s where the heart of motorcycle racing is,” Casas said. “We want to try to reach MotoGP, which is the elite of motorcycle racing, and that would be one route to get there.”

“That’s our dream since Tomas started to ride,” said Tomas’s father and chief mechanic Julio Casas, who rode in his native Colombia prior to moving his family to Canada in 2009. “We saw that Tomas has a talent. We believe he can reach that world championship level.”

A tough economy has hurt Canadian racing, says Julio.

“A few years ago there was the support of factory teams with two or three riders per team, well paid with everything (paid for),” he said.

“Now there are no factory teams. Just a few, maybe, one person in the whole country is making money racing here. It’s a really nice series and we love to ride here because it’s our home and the environment at the track is amazing, the people, but we’d like to reach the highest level of motorcycle racing which, unfortunately, is in Europe.”

“It’s also a lot easier to learn young,” Tomas said. “If I start now it will be easier to catch up.

“There is good racing here in Canada but it would be too hard, now that there are no factory teams, to really push yourself to go faster and get your level high enough to move onto Europe.”

There is a second but less appealing option in Europe. The European Junior Cup is an eight-race Honda CBR500 series, which follows the World Superbike circuit, but there is a $27,000 entry fee. The Red Bull Rookies Cup not only has no entry fee, the riders are supplied motorcycles. There is no qualifying race for the European Junior Cup. Riders are accepted based on results. Casas has sent his application in.

“The organizers said they would like a Canadian there because they’ve never had a Canadian,” Julio said.

Both options present a significant financial challenge. It cost about $10,000 to run the Canadian series this year. That included gas and parts, entry fees, travel and food. The pair slept in the family’s truck to save on lodging. Through winnings — $300 per victory versus $800 in 2012 — and sponsorship from Julio’s employer Peterborough Cycle Salvage and the online racing magazine trackdayhub.com, Julio says they broke even. They also got assistance from other race teams with parts.

Julio estimates the European circuit would cost $30,000-$40,000. The major expense is overseas flights. With four to six weeks between races, it’s less expensive to fly home in between, said Julio.

“It’s very expensive,” he said. “Whether we can do it depends on what kind of support we can get here.”

The duo are knocking on doors looking for sponsors and hope to get a meeting with Honda officials. Without sponsorship, Julio says, they can't afford to go overseas. If not, he'll stay in Canada and move up to the 600cc Amateur Sport Bike class which requires a new motorcycle.

NOTE: Anyone interested in sponsoring Tomas Casas can contact Julio Casas at work Monday through Friday at 705-742-6120 or email juliomoto@hotmail.com

 

In The Media