CCM Racing completed their first season back at the sharp end of domestic and international competition, with Richie Worrall and Kristian Whatley taking part in the final round of the 2008 Maxxis ACU British Motocross championship at Hawkstone Park. Ironically it was at this same famous track back in March of this year that CCM unveiled its revolutionary CCM MX450 and MX250 to the international paddock and fans alike. Over the last six months both models have proved their potential and pedigree out on the track despite the team being hampered by a series of unfortunate injuries.
CCM’s main recruit for the 2008 season, Oliver Sandiford-Smith remains on the missing list with him having lost most of the year to a re-occurring shoulder injury. The twenty year old from Lancashire promised so much after returning from David Thorpe’s winter training camp, but never really had the opportunity to shine as a result of his ongoing injuries.
With Oliver out, the responsibility of flying the British flag shifted on to the young shoulders of Richie Worrall, who celebrates his seventeenth birthday today. Richie has made good progress since returning from breaking his leg at the beginning of the season. Week by week, and race by race Worrall’s confidence has grown, with the youngster producing respectable results on a consistent basis during the back half of the year.
The shrewd signing of nineteen year old Kristian Whatley in mid May to bolster the team’s attack has also brought it rewards with the son of the former GP rider Jeremy Whatley showing that he is definitely a great hope for the future. Struck by the CCM injury curse, Whatley missed his opportunity of making an instant impact on the World scene when he broke his wrist during qualifying at the British MXGP at Mallory Park.
However, despite this mid season set back Kristian came back well to secure second place in the highly competitive British MMX Under 21 year old championship. Whilst the team has struggled to reach its ambitious self-imposed goals due to these various injuries, the Bolton based squad had a real taste of top-level success when CCM stalwart Greg Hanson claimed a GP race win at the opening round of the FIM Veterans World Championship.
With 2008 always designated as a learning year, preparations for a full and proper assault in 2009 are all but in place. The recent appointment of four times World MX champion David Thorpe as the team’s Sporting Director is a clear signal of CCM Racing’s intent going forward. Thorpe has wasted little time in putting his mark on the team’s plans after having signed both Ray Rowson and Tom Church for next season, and with the promise of him recruiting another front-runner very soon.
Reviewing this year and looking ahead to 2009, CCM’s Managing Director and team owner Gary Harthern stated. “We always knew it was going to be a tough first season, but one thing we could not legislate for was the whole string of injuries we have suffered. Although this has meant we have not achieved all the targets we set ourselves it has been a solid learning year, where the bike has really showed that it is more than up to the job.”
“With David now on board, and the recent form of Rowson and Church, we have got high expectations for next season.” Harthern concluded.