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Chaz Davies: from the playground to the paddock

Chaz Davies: from the playground to the paddock

Like many of his fellow 14 year olds all over the world, Chaz Davies is a bike fan. The British youngster sits down every other Sunday with the rest of his family at their home in Powys, on the border between England and Wales, and tunes in to live coverage of all three classes of the MotoGP World Championship, cheering on his favourite riders Valentino Rossi, Daijiro Katoh and Youichi Ui. However, this winter Chaz´s interest in the sport has changed for ever. The youngster will head to Valencia on the 18th February for his first test aboard the Matteoni Racing Aprilia he will ride in the 125cc World Championship in 2002. It is sure to be an unusual note of absence for his teacher but, as Chaz told in the following interview, his school, his friends and above all his family will be behind him all they way.

mgp: First of all Chaz, how did you get into motorcycling at such a young age?

Chaz Davies: My Dad has a small circuit and the minimoto association came and asked him if they could use it for a round of the British Championship. I was aged six then and I just loved it. A few months later my Dad bought me a minibike and from then on I just started thrashing it about really.

mgp: So how did riding around at your father´s private circuit progress to a World Championship ride in just seven years?

CD: Well, I spent three years on a minimoto and won three British Championships. At the end of 1998 I rode three meetings on a Cagiva 80cc road bike and then in 1999 I was given special dispensation to contest the Aprilia 125 Superchallenge and I finished sixth overall. That year I was also learning how to ride a Grand Prix 125 bike, before riding it for the full season last year, when I became the youngest ever winner of a British 125cc Championship race. John Peniston, who works for Matteoni Racing, helped us out a lot in the British Championship and came to us about the possibility of sorting out a Grand Prix ride. It was all we had wanted to do so we got in contact with the team through him. John speaks a bit of Italian and he helped us out a lot. Thankfully we were able to arrange a deal.

mgp: What do you know about the guys you´ll be racing against this year?

CD: I´ve already ridden against Rodriguez and Smrz in the Spanish Championship and I also raced against Alvaro Bautista, who is also stepping up to the World Championship this year. In fact, I had a big scrap with him at Jarama. I haven´t ridden against Dani Pedrosa yet but hopefully I will get to battle with him a bit this year because he is very fast and I´m sure he´ll be at the front. My objective for this year though is just to learn as much as possible and finish consistently in the points.

mgp: How do your family feel?

CD: They are really happy. We are all Grand Prix fans and I watch all the races with my parents and sister. We really like Youichi Ui and we were saying just the other day how weird it is to think I will be racing against him soon. Hopefully we´ll get a motorhome. We´re looking at it now and I think we´ve pretty much sorted something out. It´s nothing flash but we´ll be able to keep it in Europe - hopefully one of the mechanics will agree to drive it around!

mgp: What about your friends?

CD: My friends are happy for me, but they´re a bit jealous too about all the travelling I´ll be doing. I´ve tried telling them though that it won´t be like going on holiday. I´m going to these places to ride and I won´t have time for anything else. mgp: Your first test in Valencia is just a few weeks away now. How are you feeling? Nervous?

CD: At the moment I´m very excited and I´m really looking forward to testing. I can´t wait to get on the Aprilia. I love the way it handles but I´ve never really tested it with a proper engine in. I´m sure the Matteoni engine will be spot on though so I´m really looking forward to giving it a try for the first time at the Valencia IRTA tests.

mgp: What are you looking forward to most about your first season in World Championship competition?

CD: The race I´m really looking forward to is the British Grand Prix, for obvious reasons. To tell you the truth I´m already feeling quite confident about going there. I rode there recently on a basic Honda and set a best time of 1´41.2, so I think I can definitely knock a couple of seconds off that on the Aprilia. If I can do that throughout the race then I should do well. The country I´m most looking forward to visiting is probably Australia.

125cc, 2001

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