ARBROATH man Ian Pert is looking forward to a new season of Hedzup Racing, a project he started in 2009 in partnership with Tayside Police.
Its aim is to enable young people to take part in a new and exciting project, while also raising their awareness of and ability to work with others.
At the moment, four Angus schools are involved with Hedzup Racing: Arbroath Academy, Arbroath High School, Carnoustie High School and Forfar Academy.
Mr Pert commented: “The project encourages the participants’ personal development and attainment of genuine and usable life skills, such as trust, confidence and a greater sense of right and wrong. This is achieved through the setting of boundaries and working within these boundaries for the benefit of the team by working towards an attainable goal - the formation of a motorcycle road racing team to compete in a Scottish Championship event.
“Another aspect of Hedzup Racing is the seeking of sponsorship through letter writing and meetings with interested businesses. In many ways, this is similar to a job interview and enables the young people involved to experience how it feels to go into an interview situation and the preparation required, both mentally and physically.”
He went on: “Being part of Hedzup Racing also lets young people appreciate the importance of being able to work with others, the importance of discussion and experience how it feels to work to a deadline.
Mr Pert explained that on race day, as part of the Hedzup Racing pit crew, the youngsters experience how it feels to be put under pressure as they undertake preparations for practice and the race, while also coping with the rider’s requests for improvements and adjustments to be made to the bike within a short and limited space of time.
He continued: “Throughout the course, the team members meet people who make good, realistic, role models. Not because they race motorbikes or are part of a motorcycle race team, but because they are ordinary people who have normal jobs but at the weekend do something special by participating in something which gives them adventure or enjoyment or simply the feeling of being part of something.
“The aim of Hedzup racing isn’t to find the next Valentino Rossi but to let young people see that nothing is impossible, whether they want to race, play rugby or be the next Rudolph Nureyev.
“Some of the project’s other benefits come about through the close working between ourselves and Tayside Police, without whom this project would never have got off the ground. By being involved in Hedzup Racing, where police officers often come along and help when the bikes are being prepared for a race and at race meetings, young people often end up viewing the police in a different light.”
Mr Pert stressed that everyone who comes along to Hedzup Racing is different. He continued: “We are very aware that, if we try to treat everyone the same way, it won’t work. The course is very fluid which makes it easy to adapt it so it’s best suited to each group and to each member of the group. And, as well as the unseen learning of life skills, the young people also learn about motorcycle maintenance.”
And it’s not only in schools that success is being achieved. During the 2010 road racing season, Hedzup Racing had several wins, was runner-up in three championships and fourth in another.
He added that everyone is very aware that it is largely due to the forward thinking of the schools and the fantastic generosity of supporters that Hedzup Racing managed to get off the ground.
Mr Pert stated: “The Kawasaki GPX 600 that has been built by Forfar Academy was provided by Bruce Birnie, multiple Scottish Champion, while the Honda CBR 600, being raced in the pre-injection 600 class and built by Arbroath Academy, is my bike from when I raced in the past. In addition, we now have two Yamaha FZR 1000s for the Forgotten Era Class, one of which we bought and one supplied by Angus Classic Bikes in Forfar.
“During the forthcoming season, which begins this month, I will be racing in two classes while well-known motorcycle racer Colin McDougall from Blair Atholl has agreed to ride one of the team’s FZRs and Alan Cummings from Arbroath, who retired from racing several years ago, is returning to the track on Carnoustie High’s GPX.
“We also intend building a Kawasaki GPZ600 and entering the Manx Grand Prix on the Isle of Man on a ZXR400 provided by Derek and Rae Wilson from near Glasgow.”
He said that a project of this nature can be very expensive and the group tries to fund-raise as much as possible, which is why they are so grateful for the sponsorship they have received from Diageo, the international drinks company.
He went on: “Diageo and our other new sponsor, Holyrood Components, a national company which specialises in, amongst other things, high quality tyre warmers, join our existing sponsors, including Perth Motorcycles, in helping make this groundbreaking project happen.
“During 2011, we intend contesting all rounds of the Melville Championships at East Fortune near Edinburgh in the Pre Injection 600 class and the Forgotten Era Class and we also hope to visit Knockhill, and, of course The Manx Grand Prix, as well as whatever other meetings our budget will allow.”