In a busy paddock at the R2M Superbikes second round at the Thailand Circuit on Sunday 27th March, 17 year-old Ben Fortt stood out. The tall youngster from Pattaya has a British dad, Keith, and a Thai mum, Goy, and has been riding bikes since he was old enough to reach the handlebars. He started racing in motocross before moving to supermoto three years ago, which he continues into this season while also realising his dream of racing a full superbike.
His immaculate black Suzuki GSX-R1000 was bought from a Thai-based British racer and has only had three previous outings. It has clearly been well-prepared and the engine looks to be one of Suzuki’s finest, having watched Ben fighting to keep the front wheel down as he came out of corners.
Ben Fortt, right, takes a corner on his Suzuki GSX-R1000 superbike at the Thailand Circuit, Sunday, March 27. (Photo/Champ Yusuwat)
Rain during qualifying on Saturday saw Ben sit out the session in the paddock as the newly acquired bike did not have a set of wet tyres, so on Sunday he started at the back of the grid, in 17th place for the SB3 race. However, when the red lights went out, the lack of track time didn’t show. He made up four places at the first corner and worked his way through the field to finish fifth with a fast, mature ride.
Except for being hit from behind by another rider who out-braked himself and then crashed, he appeared to have everything completely under control. When I spoke to him in the paddock after the race, he was grinning from ear-to-ear and looking forward to the next race.
Ben is a talented young racer with a cool head and who clearly benefits from the guidance and support of his family. We look forward to watching his progress throughout the season.