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Takashi Kato keeping his son's dream alive

Takashi Kato keeping his son's dream alive

Takashi Kato keeping his son's dream alive

Daijiro Kato's dream to spread the passion of motorcycle racing amongst youngsters across the world took another step closer to reality at Motegi last weekend, as the late World Champion's father Takashi unveiled two new pocket bikes, named 74 Dream, which will be on sale from December.

Kato himself created a pocketbike series in Japan shortly before his death, with some 60 children between the ages of five and twelve taking part in a five-round championship at the Akigase circuit, where Kato began racing.

The series has become so popular that a new "74 Series" has been added to the championship, comprising of three ‘super pocket bike' races at the Haruna racetrack. Takashi Kato reflected poignantly on his son's career and said it had always been his dream to promote motorcycle racing around the world.

"I remember that the first bike we bought for Daijiro was a pocket-bike," said Mr Kato. "My wife and I saw it in a shop window when he was just two years old and we thought it was amazing that they could make a bike so small. We decided to buy it for him for his third birthday.

"At the beginning Daijiro used to cry because he was scared of the sound of the engine so he used to ride the bike by pushing himself along with his feet. After the first year he started to ride using the engine with a power limiter on, but he gradually got faster and faster and I took the stopper off.

"Two years later my wife saw an advertisement in a newspaper for a pocket-bike race, so we entered Daijiro. For that first race he wore jeans and ski gloves and he came last. But he enjoyed racing and the more he went to the track the more he enjoyed it and he made many friends.

"Later, as you all know, he went on to minibikes and then road racing. Two years ago at Motegi he spoke to me about setting up the Daijiro Cup to promote motorcycling for young riders in Japan. Last March the first race was held and Daijiro came to support it.

"Sadly he is not here anymore but his friends helped to carry the competition on and we had five rounds that year. This year we have already had three of six. In order to continue Daijiro's dream, we have come up with the 74Dream bike, which we hope to move to Europe, where bikes are very popular.

"If we can move this competition to Italy and Spain then I know it would make Daijiro very happy. I would like to thank Dorna and Team Gresini for the chance to present the 74 Dream."

Mr Kato then donated two of the 74 Dream bikes to Carmelo Ezpeleta, CEO of Dorna, and Fausto Gresini, manager of the Telefonica Movistar Honda team who won the 250cc World Championship with Daijiro Kato in 2001.


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