It was officially announced overnight that Australian Joel Kelso will race for Nutec – RT Motorsports by SKM – Kawasaki at this weekend’s seventh round of the Supersport 300 FIM World Championship (WorldSSP300), which heads to the Algarve International Circuit in Portimao.
Kelso, who currently races for the Leopard Racing Team in the Moto3 category in the elf Campionato Italiano Velocità (CIV) series, will fill in for South African rider, Dorren Loureiro, who is unable to participate due to family circumstances this coming weekend.
Kelso is not kidding himself about what lies ahead this weekend, in terms of the competition and the fact that he has never ridden a Kawasaki Ninja 400. The closest Kelso has got to anything like what he will ride this weekend is a Ninja 300, when rode for the Johnson Racing Team (JRT) at last year’s penultimate round of the Australian Supersport 300 Championship at Winton Motor Raceway in September.
“I’m really excited for this opportunity to race in the World Supersport 300 Championship,” said the 16-year-old, who hails from Darwin in the Northern Territory.
“I can’t thank Rob [Vennegoor] (Team Owner/Manager), enough for giving me a go. I understand this weekend will be difficult because I have never ridden Ninja 400 and never ridden at Portimão. However, the Nutec – RT Motorsports by SKM – Kawasaki is a very professional team which will no doubt supply me a great bike to race on. So, all I have to do is work out which way the track goes and give it my best shot and we’ll see where we end up at the end of each day.”
Vennegoor is no stranger to helping out Aussie riders to get overseas to race. The Dutchman has helped the likes of two times Australian Superbike Champion, Troy Herfoss, current Australian Superbike Championship points leader, Mike Jones, Bryan Staring, Tom Toparis and the 2011 FIM European Superstock 600 Champion Jed Metcher just to name a few. Kelso is now the twentieth Australian rider which Vennegoor has helped to get a start on the world stage.
This weekend will see Kelso teaming up with fellow Australian Tom Bramich, and Dino Iozzo and Nick Kalinin.
Images: Gorini’s photos