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Connall (18) kick starts his own team for 2017

By Paul Lindsay

Warrenpoint's Connall Courtney is one of the next generation of two-wheel stars looking to follow in the wheel-tracks of our double World Superbike champion Jonathan Rea.

Having won the Irish Production 300cc Championship in 2015, the 18-year-old former St Mark's High School student spent 2016 learning the British tracks as part of the Motostar Moto3 series with the support of Ian Lougher and his ILR Team.

With a year now under his belt, and a best placed finish of eighth on standard Moto3 machinery, Connall will now return to the British series in 2017, this time as part of his own team.

He will again compete in the Moto3 class, where he will look to follow British champion Charlie Nesbitt - who claimed a place in the coveted Red Bull Rookies MotoGP Cup class.

"I've hopefully done all the tough work now and learned the British circuits in year one and also a new bike," said Connall. "Our preparation is already underway. I'm really looking forward to it."

Connall could possibly have 14-year-old Magheramorne schoolboy Scott Swann joining him in the class after he too spent 2016 learning the British tracks, albeit in the KTM Cup series with tangible success.

Connall and his father Tommy, who raced in the 1990s, have decided to form their own team for the 2017 campaign, running under the CC Racing banner. They have acquired a standard Moto3 Honda which was previously campaigned by Dan Jones, who won the 2016 Moto3 standard class British championship with 16 wins on the bike.

Tommy said: "This season was a steep learning curve for Connall as he'd never before raced on any of the British circuits, but he did himself proud.

"The bike we have purchased has a history of being very competitive and if Connall shows the same determination that took him to his 2015 Irish Junior Production title then I don't think it will take him too long to get into his stride next year."

Connall, who will be supported by his dad and team sponsors Modern Tyres, MotoTech and M Whyte Contracts, is also looking to race in some Irish championship races in 2017, but how many will depend on any obvious clashes with the British Moto3 Championship.

Belfast Telegraph

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