Bermagui’s Reid Battye has been invited to race on the global stage.
After featuring as a wild card in the final round of the World Super Bike series, Reid, 16, has been invited to Italy for a 12-month contract with Kawasaki’s European team.
Proud mum Renee Antonio says it will be hard to let her son go for the year, but the family was backing Reid’s passion for racing.
“I’ve never met someone with that much drive and passion in my life,” Renee beamed.
“Reid and my husband Justin are inseparable, we do everything together and his sister, who is eight, they’re best friends – he takes her riding and teaches her how to fish.
“But ever since he could talk, all he’s wanted to do is be a world champion and we’ve put everything into supporting that.”
She said as “hard as it would be” to let him go, the family was doing its best to embrace his dream and see where it could take him.
“Racing is his whole life and we just have to let that happen,” she said.
Renee joked she was trying to convince her partner to move to Italy for the year, but was very eager to ensure a few trips to see their son.
Despite qualifying 27th after some clutch issues, then making up just two spots in the race during the Jerez ride, the team plugged in the data from the bike and said Reid could “match it with the top 10”.
“They were incredibly happy with his results on the data and told me they thought he could run with the guys at the front,” Renee said.
So even before getting home to Australia, the phone rang with the offer.
Reid had already been offered a spot in the Australian roster, but the Italians have offered a significant discount on the season entry fees as well as offering expert tutelage and accommodation.
He will get to live in Italy with the Kawasaki European team boss, where the team has already said it could teach him the language within a month.
Then he will practice and train under some big names of the World Super Bike domain.
Unfortunately, there is a spanner in the works.
The team wants the deal signed within the week and, as a test of Reid’s commitment, has asked the family to come up with a large first installment towards the cost by November 17.
“Normally the entry is massive, but they’ve pulled some sponsors to offer a discount,” Renee said.
“They just want us to pay the dorner fee, but they want the first installment in two weeks. It’s a massive amount and it just hit us like ‘oh, we don’t really have that’.”
“This is all he’s ever wanted and we’re trying to help him achieve it.”
Renee said her son embodies the paradigm that “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”.
“He’s like a dog with a bone, if he goes down he really does come back better for the experience and I truly hope we can get him over there to achieve some amazing things.”
The family is now working desperately to raise the money in time so Reid can sign the deal.
Family friend Glenn Cotter is also working tirelessly to help raise the needed funds in time for Reid to chase his dream.
Any business or anyone that can donate directly to help out is encouraged to contact Mr Cotter on 0402 474 514.
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