When you’re a budding motocross star with dreams of national recognition, it’s only natural for the road ahead to be somewhat rocky.
Sixteen year-old Redditch rider Rob Yates is used to a bumpy ride to success and is happy to play the long-game in his attempts for a big breakthrough, having secured the sponsorship of tyre manufacturing giant Bridgestone for another year.
The youngster, who started riding as a five-year-old, has gradually moved up in stages from 50cc to 125cc bikes and is enjoying a hugely successful season against far more experienced opponents on tracks around the UK.
With the British Schoolboy Motorcycle Association championships both bubbling away nicely, Rob is lying in second and fourth places respectively and ready to make his move.
His father Tony, who travels around the country supporting Rob, said: “There is one word to describe Bridgestone’s ongoing support – ‘marvellous.’
“He has lifted his game to another level with Bridgestone’s support. The endorsement arrives with a lot of kudos and represents a high profile deal.”
For now however, Tony is happy to keep Rob’s feet firmly on the ground – when they’re not airborne on a motocross track somewhere nearby.
He added: “Rob is winning his fair share of races right now, but it is a long road ahead. I look at some other sports and I think ‘wow’, those sportsmen and women have progressed so quickly.
“Rob is only 16 and when looking at other high profile motocross riders who have enjoyed success, I’d say 22 to 23 is when things could begin to happen.”
Rob’s 2014 successes are against uncompromising adult riders much older, some of whom give him a hard time for being so quick so soon.
“They don’t like it so much when they see Rob doing well,” Tony added. “That’s understandable in many ways, but it is important to keep Rob focused and uot of trouble.”
Bridgestone’s training development manager Mark Fereday said: “Rob has enjoyed something of a breakthrough year since we backed him in 2013.
“He does appear destined for greater things in the years ahead but for now, it is wonderful to see him in action, kitted out in our tyres and clothing. We are delighted to put our name alongside a local lad for another year with a huge level of potential.”
Rob said: “It means a great deal to be wearing the Bridgestone badge for another year. It is a brand known all over the world and is steeped in motorsport prestige.
“It has certainly given me a boost and an extra incentive to be as successful as I can.”