Belle Vue boss Mark Lemon believes the Aces have unearthed “a very exciting prospect” after adding Aussie teenager James Pearson to their asset base.
The 16-year-old will make his British debut on loan with SGB Championship side Birmingham this season, after finishing third in the Victorian State Championship last December to meet the criteria for a UK visa.
Pearson has also signed a three-year contract with Polish giants Leszno and two-year deal with Danish team Region Varde. And after becoming a Belle Vue club asset, the Aces have first call on his services in the UK in the years ahead.
As one of the few Aussie under-21s in Europe, Pearson could be one of the country’s frontrunners for a place in the brand-new SGP2 series, which replaces the FIM Speedway Under-21 World Championship for 2022.
Pearson has been training with FIM Speedway Grand Prix legend Leigh Adams in Australia, and Aussie national boss Lemon is backing him to make his mark in Europe.
He said: “James has been progressing very nicely through the Australian speedway scene and his performance in his state championship was sufficient for him to obtain a visa.
“There has been quite a lot of interest in him from British promoters and I’m sure he will be a credit to Birmingham’s league title efforts for the 2022 campaign.
“From a Belle Vue standpoint, we are of course delighted that James has committed his British future to our club. He is a very exciting prospect who has learned his craft from some true Aussie greats.
“Leigh Adams has been a fantastic mentor to him, as has Craig Watson, and we will be keeping a close eye on his progress throughout the course of the season.”
Pearson says Adams has been a huge influence on his career. He said: “Leigh Adams is my idol. Being able to stay at his house, use his workshop and to be under his wing is just an amazing feeling for me.”
The Sydney-born racer admits he wasn’t always aiming for a career on two wheels. He added: “When I was growing up, I wasn’t always into bikes; I was really into Brazilian Martial Arts before I saw a motocross meeting on TV.
“I asked my dad if I could get a bike, and from there I went from motocross to flat track, and then when I turned nine, I wanted to try speedway.
“It’s such a unique sport. Not many people can do it and I think that’s what I really liked about it. It was something completely different and I really enjoy doing it.”