Meet Ben Wakenshaw - Sigma M&E Racing Yamaha
This is Ben
Ben is a young aspiring British Super Bike rider from Ossett, Wakefield.
Sigma are delighted to be main sponsor for his debut season in the Pirelli National Junior Superstocks.
This is his bike, the amazing Yamaha R6 BN6, which he came to show us at Sigma HQ this week - complete with fantastic Sigma branding.
We're going to be keeping a close eye on Ben and his progress in his rookie season, read on if you'd like to know more about this biking prodigy.
The Pirelli National Junior Superstock Championship
The Pirelli National Junior Superstock Championship line-up will feature upcoming riders ready to take the next step.
The "Junior Superstock" class requires the first three in the previous years' championship to move on so young aspiring riders complete a full grid for 2021.
Several riders who have been successful in the Pirelli National Junior Superstock Championship have since progressed into the premier class including Ryan Vickers and Storm Stacey.
Ben, welcome to Sigma. Can you tell us a bit about you and your biking background?
I began riding and racing motorcycles at an early age of around 10 years old doing motocross (off road racing). My family has raced for 2 generations before me starting with my Grandpa (Alex Wakenshaw), my dad (David Wakenshaw) and naturally me. My dad and his friends road motorbikes on the open roads for many years and eventually started doing track days. From there they began to take it more seriously and spent the next 10 years or so racing at amateur club level where I would tag along watching. During this time I raced solely motocross until 2018 when I decided to have a go on a track day, I borrowed from my friends a bike and riding kit. And that was it, after my 1st track day at Croft in 2018 I haven't looked back.
Tell us about your first track day
After that 1st track day I was immediately hooked, I bought a bike off my friend which was a CB500, some riding kit and booked on to do my ACU race license. Once completed, I started doing track days, learning how to navigate my way around a racetrack and from there I entered my 1st race on the CB500 with my friend Gaz Knowles at Oulton Park. I had no expectations for the weekend and the weather was horrible, however at the end of the 2 races I finished 2nd behind Gaz for a team 1 - 2.
That's brilliant, what happened next?
At this point our other friends Alan Naylor and Grant MacIntosh had started racing at BSB in the Supersport class so we were travelling all over racing with me and Gaz spannering for them. On our way back from Assen in the Netherlands racing they convinced me to move up to the newcomer 600 class.
From there I bought a 2008 R6 and started racing at amateur club level where I started to progress and have some success. During my novice year on the 600, whilst sat in the paddock at Donnington Park during a BSB race weekend, we checked my times against stock 600 BSB qualifying times and realised that at certain tracks I had made the qualifying times!
From that point on, the seed had been well and truly planted for me to begin racing at BSB... and now we're here for my rookie year in the Stock 600!
This is a big step up for you, your first in Pirelli National Junior Superstock, what are your aims for the season?
For this debut season the aim / goals are relatively small but also realistic. Moving up to British, the standard of rider I am now competing with is just on another level.
The aim at each round is to meet the qualification times, get on the grid to race, start the race and finish the race, improving my riding every round whilst also remembering to just have fun! As the season progresses, the goals might change to trying to improve where I finish but going into the season today, the challenge is to simply place on the grid.
Looking forward, where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?
I'd say in the next 5 years I'd like to see myself either racing in Supersport/GP2 or maybe stock1000 at BSB and being a competitive racer with goals being focused on good results rather than making qualifying times
What advice would you give for beginners wanting to build a career in this sport?
- Start as soon as possible, the younger the better
- Get all of the right kit and get good quality
- Start off with a smaller less powered bike and learn how to extract speed from it
- Don't cheap out on tyres, its more expensive in the long run if you crash due to a bad tyre
- Use social media to help gain financial backing, it's an extremely expensive sport and you can't do it alone.
- Rider coaching, you will progress in the right direction so much faster
Over 20 Years Experience
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