Following just a few days after the Cadwell Park British Superbike round, Thomas attended the selection event for the newly launched British Talent Cup held on the Stowe circuit at Silverstone. With the MotoGP British round due to take place on the following weekend, the circuit was buzzing with MotoGP riders, teams and media personnel.
The format for the selection was unknown until the riders signed on with the Talent cup staff on Tuesday afternoon. All riders were expected back on Wednesday morning at 8am for a rider briefing before going straight out in small groups onto the track. Thomas was number 071 so did not ride until later in the morning, by then the track had cleared from the early morning mist and the bikes had been warmed up by the previous riders.
Over the next few hours, the riders were reduced in number from 90 initial starters to 70 then 50 and finally down to the last 32 riders. Thomas continued to perform extremely well in each session building in confidence and speed across the sessions. Eventually around 5.15pm, the track action came to an end and the riders and parents were asked to wait for the judges to decide who would be selected.
With the camera capturing live footage, Alberto Puig (Talent Promotion Director) read out the list of riders in number order, Thomas was successfully chosen as one of the 22 selected riders along with 6 reserve riders. The last activity of the day was for each rider to complete media interviews and photos before being measured for leathers, boots and gloves for next year.
On Thursday the selected riders, reserves and parents were invited back to the main circuit to complete more photos on the start line and to meet the British MotoGP riders. After a tour of the garages and lunch, the riders were able to wander around taking in the sights and experiences of the working MotoGP paddock. The afternoon saw the riders introduced on stage to the waiting public as part of the Day of Champions MotoGP pre-event that is held next to the track with more interviews and a chance to meet MotoGP riders and media.
The whole event was an incredible experience for all of the children who took part. For Thomas this is going to be an extremely exciting year for his future career and his family and supporters are so proud of everything he has achieved in 2017.
Dates and venues will be released by the British Talent Cup later this year, but so far we are aware there will be 6 meetings and 12 races held mainly in the UK. Further details will be released when available.
“It was a brilliant week with the selection of the British Talent Cup and then a weekend watching the MotoGP sessions courtesy of Motul. I can’t thank all my team and supporters enough for the support this season and throughout the week; It’s going to be a great season racing in the Talent Cup with the support of Dorna and MotoGP and I’m hoping it will develop me further as a rider to one day compete in the premier World Championship Class. With the scheduled 6 rounds and 12 races It’s going to be crucial to score as many points as possible. It’s not going to be easy, that’s for sure and I certainly won’t be stopping my training and mental preparations over this winter. As far as I’m concerned, 2018 starts now.”
Alberto Puig, Talent Promotion Director:
"It was a nice Selection Event, and the important thing is that there are no big injuries. It was a nice day for all of us, and after the riders, who are the real stars of the event, we want to thank all the mechanics, the circuit, and the people involved in the event. We are really happy that you were here with us. This is a path that begins in England, and we throw all our enthusiasm and passion into this project. We hope that the guys who are selected put that same effort into the racing - and everything you have to do to be a racer. That starts now."
Jeremy McWilliams, British Talent Scout:
"It's been a hectic day, and it's stressful for us and the kids! The kids ride on the limit to impress but it's a process that brings out the best, as we found out today. It's the start of an incredible journey for the riders who have been selected - and maybe even for some of the reserve riders. We would love to fit more in but we're limited on space. This is where it begins for all these riders, to hopefully becoming professional motorcycle racers - and approaching it a professional manner. Racing has been fun for them, and now they're stepping into a bigger arena. I'm looking forward to seeing them progress and helping them in any way I can, as is everyone involved."