“When I rode you could see my smile, from ear to ear, through my helmet!” is a fond memory
Cayden Robert (15) of Olivedale has of taking to the track on a motorbike at a very young age. He says he was “practically born” on the racetrack thanks to a grandad and dad who were truly motorsport mad.
Now with nine years of racing under his belt, Cayden is determined to make his mark on both the local and international circuits and even recently took a shot at being selected for the 2024 Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup, in Guadix, Spain.
Although he wasn’t selected, Cayden took advantage of the experience and is determined – now more than ever – that he is home to win the SA Short Circuit 150 Championship, in which he is the lead.
Along with this, comes many hours of preparation for his first season of the MRSSA Racing Championship on a Kawasaki ZX400.
“I have ridden the ZX400 a few times and really loved the speed of the bike, but I definitely have to learn more about this machine. It’s a lot more powerful than the 150 I ride at the moment,” he said.
“I’m confident though. I’ve definitely surprised myself with what I’ve achieved this year and hope there are only greater things to come.
“Being in Spain and seeing how fast all the other riders were was initially intimidating, but once I got into my zone and cleared my mind I stopped thinking about it and was able to give it my best. Seeing Kgopotso ‘KJ’ Mononyane make it in Spain was a huge thing for us South Africans. It shows we can do it and we have the talent.”
Motorsport SA CEO Adrian Scholtz agrees.
“When it comes to sporting talent, South Africa has a wealth of up-and-coming youngsters who are starting to make waves locally and abroad. Motorsport is definitely an area where these young men and women and starting to make their mark,” he says.
Scholtz adds that MSA prides itself of maintaining a safe environment in which youngsters like Cayden can thrive and reach their full potential to one day, like the Springboks, fly SA’s flag high.
“Participants’ safety and welfare is a key pillar of MSA’s strategy to inspire and enable more people to participate in a safe, fair, fun, inclusive and progressive environment. MSA’s safeguarding policy has been created to protect the interests of all involved in South African motorsport, but particularly those of children and vulnerable adults,” he explains.
Cayden has been working under the guidance of team lead Clint Seller, the nine-time SA superbike champion.
“Having Clint as our King Price Xtreme team lead and mentor is nothing short of amazing. He is so knowledgeable and experienced and I definitely feel I have an advantage with him in my corner,” says Cayden.
“It’s also important to have the fans and spectators in your corner; it can change the whole vibe of race day. A large, enthusiastic crowd is obviously also welcomed by the sponsors.”
While this teen works on his dream of racing professionally, he is still a high school learner. It’s a bit of a balancing act, but Cayden says his school, Randburg High, has been supportive in helping him to meet his racing commitments.
“I balance everything by having a schedule and plan for each day. When the race calendar comes out at the beginning of the season, we put all the events into a calendar and start planning for the year ahead as a family.”
His local heroes on the track are the Binder brothers, not only because Cayden grew up watching them but because of what they have done for South African motorsport.
“In the next two years, I’d like to step up to long-circuit racing on a 400 and make some appearances overseas. Ultimately, I hope to make it to MotoGP or race overseas. Whatever happens, I just want to race motorbikes for a living, full stop!” Cayden says.
His advice to aspiring young riders is to be humble, hardworking and mentally strong “because this is a very tough sport with extreme highs and lows”.
Find out everything there is to know about the fast-paced world of South African motorsport on the Motorsport SA website – www.motorsport.co.za.
Compiled on behalf of MSA by Cathy Findley PR