February 3, 2015
TEENAGE motorcycle racer Josh Corner fears his 2015 season could be over before it’s even started after his main sponsor pulled the plug without any warning.
Now the youngster faces a race against the clock to raise the cash needed to fund a season in the Motorpoint British Supersport Evo Championship.
Corner, from South Shields, Tyne and Wear, had been promised a substantial amount of cash from a Yorkshire-based company back in October last year. As a result, he had inked a deal to pilot a Kawasaki ZX6R for the Road and Race Performance squad by the end of November.
But now, just a few weeks before the teenager was due to start testing in Spain, the firm has told him they will not sponsor him after all, leaving him left with no bike and potentially no cash to enter the 2015 championship which begins in April.
And in a cruel twist, the call came just three days after he had celebrated his 18th birthday, and after Josh and his father Mark had sold his 2014 bike and all of the related equipment including race truck, awning and everything needed to run himself.
“I’m just devastated, I’m still in shock to be honest,” said Corner, who narrowly missed out on the runners-up spot in last year’s championship, ending the season third overall. “I can’t believe that they could string me along all the way to the end of January after making all of these promises, and then just turn around and say that they’re pulling out. It’s unbelievable.
“They came to meet me at the end of last season, they came into my awning and were telling me how impressed they were with what we’d done with our set-up, and how keen they were to work with me. They told me they wanted to sign me up on a three-year deal.
“With the promise of all of this cash, I’d started speaking to Mark Hanna from Road and Race Performance and I signed to his team back in November. At no point was there any suggestion the sponsorship wasn’t going to happen. Once we’d agreed the deal with Mark, we sold all of our equipment because we knew we wouldn’t need it any more. Everything was in place, I was just counting down the days before we started testing in Spain in February.”
Corner found out the deal was all off just three days after his 18th birthday last week, and admits the news was a bolt from the blue.
“On the Friday I got a birthday card off them saying how happy they were to have me on board with them, then on the Monday they said it was all off. They weren’t happy with the fact my Dad had a few changes to his working situation, and they just seemed to back off instantly.
“It seems like it’s all just an excuse. I seriously believe that they are just fantasists who never had the cash in the first place. I know I’m not the first person to fall victim to them doing this, and I now genuinely believe this was all just a scam of some kind. Perhaps all they wanted was some free hospitality or something. It’s hard to know, but right now all I know is that my dreams of racing this year look to be over.
“Mark has had no option but to re-advertise my ride. The bike is there, it’s ready, it’s even sat there with my number on ready to go. Now I’m desperately searching for small sponsors to help me get on the grid this year. We are working on some packages now, and are keen to hear from anyone who can help support my season. If we can’t raise some cash, my dreams will be over. I’m willing to do whatever it takes to secure some funding so I can race this year.”
*If anyone is interested in sponsoring Josh, he can be reached by calling 07903 632288.