Scott Swann: Carrickfergus Academy student making the grade on two wheels

Scott Swann
Scott Swann lies second in this year's British Motostar standings

Few motorcycle racers get the opportunity to compete in the British Superbike, World Superbike and MotoGP paddocks in the same season, let alone a teenager from Magheramorne who is awaiting his GCSE results.

Scott Swann is in many ways your average 16-year-old, preparing to make decisions which will impact his future after sitting summer exams.

But at the same time the Carrickfergus Academy student is making a major impact on race tracks across Great Britain and further afield on two fronts -challenging in both the British Motostar and British Talent Cup championships.

Swann lies second in the Motostar series thanks to five podium finishes in the opening six races of the season and sixth in the Talent Cup, which features some of the most exciting young talents in tarmac motorcycle racing from the UK and beyond.

The County Antrim teenager is competing in the Talent Cup for the second year in succession, a series which take in races at three BSB rounds, this weekend's British Superbike showpiece at Donington Park and the MotoGP events at Brno in the Czech Republic and Silverstone.

"It's pretty cool being in WSB and MotoGP paddocks knowing that the world's best riders are in their garages or motorhomes watching you live out on track on their televisions," explained Scott.

"It can put a bit more pressure on you to try and impress though. To ride in MotoGP one day would be a dream but World Superbike would be great too.

"Last year at Donington I got chatting to Chaz Davies and he asked me what my name was and inquired about my sessions. I've met him a few times after that and he called me by name and took an interest which was nice of him."

'Catching up on schoolwork and jealous classmates'

While becoming a professional motorcycle racer may be a goal for the son of former multiple Irish champion Michael in the future, for the moment Scott has been balancing his exploits on two wheels with his school studies.

"I've become used to jumping off the ferry and going to school and I always try to catch up whenever I get back or do some additional work outside normal school hours.

"At the start of the season my mum and dad went in to talk to the headmaster and told him what I was doing and the time I would need off.

"Every weekend before I leave we hand in a letter to say what dates I would be away and while I'm a wee bit nervous waiting for my GCSE results my mum is more nervous.

"My classmates are a bit jealous because I am off school so much. They don't really understand what it's all about. They just think I mess about on a motorbike at weekends and that it's like a holiday.

"I'm not sure if I'll stay at school - I would probably like to do an apprenticeship but I'd need to find one that understood that I would need time off and be away sometimes."

Multiple Irish champion Michael Swann is helping guide his son's career
Multiple Irish champion Michael Swann is helping guide his son's career

Dates dilemma and 'nervous' dad

Scott faces a dilemma with a clash of dates in early August meaning that he and his team must decide whether to take in a British Motostar round at Thruxton or follow the Talent Cup trail at the MotoGP round in the Czech Republic.

"We haven't decided yet. There is a chance of winning a British championship to consider but obviously racing at a MotoGP round is a big thing," explained dad Michael, who introduced his son to motorbikes at the age of four.

Aged seven, Scott entered some local grass track races and then competed in motocross events for four years, before switching to circuit racing at the age of 12, taking his first 125cc victory in just his third race.

"Scott has been racing for a wee while now but I still get very nervous - more nervous than I was when I was racing myself," conceded Michael.

"I do the pitboard and work on the bike, along with another former racer, Stephen Ferguson. We have a good team around us and the backing of some great sponsors who have helped Scott make good progress," he added.

Scott Swann (right) has been a regular on the British Motostar podium this season
Scott Swann (right) has been a regular on the British Motostar podium this season

Last year Scott was holding third position in the British Standard Moto3 class after a string of podiums and three wins towards the end of the season but two days before the final round at Brands Hatch he broke a wrist in a mountain bike accident and ended up fifth in the championship.

The injury prevented him taking in the MotoGP Talent Cup round at Valencia and it was more than six months before he was able to be on a bike again, testing in Spain ahead of his 2019 campaign.

Swann, who was third in the most recent Talent Cup race at Donington and fourth at the rained-off Silverstone MotoGP round in 2018, has a Honda at his disposal for those races, plus a 2017 ex-MotoGP factory KTM to compete in the Motostar Open GP class for the first time.

"The highlight of my career so far is probably winning both races at Oulton Park at the end of last season, when just a year previous I was at the back of the grid," added Scott.

"The spell out with injury was frustrating - my wrist was broken pretty badly and I couldn't really do anything with it until Christmas - but I've put all that behind me now.

"The difference in power in the bikes I am riding this year is pretty big and the KTM is the best bike I've ever ridden."