Racer aiming to be the Don at the British Championships

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A talented local rider and his ambitious Horsham team are convinced there are no limits to what they can achieve.

Don Gilbert, 22, rides for C Red Racing - a small team he helped set up with three mechanic friends - currently competing in the Thundersport Pre National 600s.

Don Gilbert motorbikes

Don Gilbert motorbikes

Things are about to get a lot bigger - and a lot more expensive - for Don and the team because next year they will be racing in the British Championships.

One of the feeder series for the British Superbikes, the elite national level of competition, that is the ultimate goal for the ambitious foursome, who know a lot of hard work, skill, determination and sponsorship are needed to reach the top.

Former Forest Boys School pupil Don, who spent his whole life in the town before moving to Ifield last year, said: “We made the decision to have a go in the British Championships, and if we can get more sponsors on board we should be fairly competitive, I’m hoping to be in the top ten most weekends.

“We’ll be up against teams with much higher budgets, the two factory teams Kawasaki and Yamaha will be strong, and we’ll be going in as underdogs that’s for sure but I believe we can make a real impact.

“It’s pretty unique what we’re doing, people have said to us it’s not usual for a local team of mates to enter but we’re all determined to do well.”

Don is gearing up for the final round of racing in the Thundersport Pre National 600s, where in his second year of competitive racing he is fighting hard to finish third in the championships.

After suffering the worst possible start to the campaign with a 100mph crash in the first race which led to no points on the first weekend, Don and the team have continued to make strong progress, winning two races and hardly dropping out of the top five.

With first and second already decided Don will have to be at his very best at Donnington on October 26 and 27 to pip his rival for third, admitting: “I’m some way off points wise so it will be tough, but it is possible. I would pretty much have to win every race though.”

Whatever the result the team will roar on into the Stock 600 class of the British Championships next year.

With the races held over the same weekend as the Superbikes in front of thousands of cheering supporters - not to mention beamed to millions watching live on ITV and on Motors TV - the stakes will be much, much higher.

Don and his team reckon it will cost around £35,000 all in to compete over the course of the season, though they remain confident of holding their own.

“If we can get the bike up to standard there’s no reason why we can’t compete,” said Don, who has been nominated for the Sussex and Surrey sportsman of the year. “My ultimate goal is to race in the British Superbikes which is a big step up, and after that you’ve got the World Superbikes.

“Most riders go on until their mid 30s so that means if I stay fit I should be able to ride for another ten years, so if I keep progressing like I have I think racing Superbikes is a realistic aim.”

The C Red Racing team have been sponsored by property developer QED Estates Ltd, based in Findon, and Ravenol engine oils for the last few seasons but are desperately seeking further investment to help them reach the next level.

l To get in touch with the team visit email them at credracing@hotmail.co.uk or go to the C Red racing Facebook page.

Don Gilbert, 22, lives in Ifield but before that always lived in Horsham. Went to Forest Boys School. Rides for C Red Racing, based in Horsham and with three others from the town.

Races in the Thundersport Pre National 600s, is currently fourth but can still finish first if he wins nearly all the races on the last round of the season and his rival finishes below him.

Eight rounds so far, last round October 26-27 at Donnington.

Had worst possible opening round of the season, a 100mph crash on race one set the tone as he picked up no points over the weekend.

Since then has hardly been out of the top five, with two race wins.

Next season will race in the British Championships, in one of the feeder series for potential riders for Superbikes (Stock 600s). Live on ITV and motors TV

Estimate it will cost £35,000 in all to compete next year.

Came third last season in Formula 4000s? check. Low budget against bigger teams

Sponsors are QED property, Findon, and Raverol, engine oil.

“We’re in this together, it’s not just about me rising the bike, it’s a collective effort and I couldn’t do it without my team.

Don 07450024401.