Binega-Northcott on fast track to success
Racing bikes has grown from a hobby into a passion for Nathaniel Binega-Northcott, who has become a standout rider in the Bermuda Motorcycle Racing Club's junior programme.
The 14-year-old started in the BMRC youth clinics at the Rubis Southside Raceway, St David's, two years ago and now helps mentor several of the beginner-class riders.
Although Binega-Northcott has not yet completed a full season, he underlined his potential with a mature display at the Dockyard Grand Prix last month, finishing third in the Superbike class final.
“I've always liked bikes and I've always liked speed; it's a combination of both,” Binega-Northcott said. “I had a few spills and crashes throughout the day [at the Dockyard Grand Prix] but we figured it out and I did pretty well. It was a very bumpy track but you got used to it over the ten laps.”
The Somersfield Academy pupil, who will race Pitster Pro 90cc bikes this season, has made swift progress under the tutelage of Cyril Whitter III who serves as both his coach and role model.
“Cyril Whitter has became a mentor to me,” said Binega-Northcott, who was fast-tracked into several adult races last season. “He's very fast and I try to emulate him; he's taught me how to race better and improve my craft.”
Kristin Divine, the BMRC youth development chair, said Binega-Northcott has been like a “little brother to our older members and a big brother to our young students”.
She added: “He's a young mentor to several little ones in the programme, always willing and happy to teach other riders new skills.”
Divine is part of the new BMRC committee that aims to reinvigorate the club with a strong emphasis on growing the Spark Programme for juniors aged five to 16.
“I've only been involved since January 2016 when my seven-year-old son [Aeziah Divine] started in the riding clinics and he loved it,” she said.
“We found out that the old committee was stepping down and that the club had fizzled out and that the race season wasn't very busy. We saw the potential with the youth and we've been busy talking to racers, parents and children, looking at ways to improve things. We've decided to put more emphasis into our youth programmes ... school tours, bigger clinics, and more public events with our youth.”
Divine said the BMRC hope to attract up to 30 juniors to the Spark Programme and are in the final stages of securing a marketing partnership that will enable them to buy five new bikes and repair their existing ones.
Plans are also afoot to build a clubhouse for the youth programme — which includes beginner, intermediate and advanced classes — where they will hold workshops as part of their school outreach initiatives.
“We will soon have ten functioning bikes and that means we could have at least 30 children if we have the interest,” said Divine, who added that they had established a partnership with Coalition for the Protection of Children to filter more youngsters into their programmes.
“The clubhouse would be a priceless asset for the club and our children. With a clubhouse at the track, we can run more effective workshops and have an area designated for our youth.
“I have a big vision for our Spark Programme and we have a dedicated team with the perfect vision to help us achieve this.”
With the America's Cup taking centre stage next month, the BMRC will start their season in July and will hold back-to-back race weekends until September before sharing the track with the Bermuda Karting Club in October.
“We're not just a youth club, we have to sustain ourselves with the racing side of things,” Divine said. “We will have five or six different race classes and we have more than 20 racing members already signed up.”