When your parents own a motocross track 100 metres from your house and you spend your childhood helping to run it, you’re only ever destined for a life on two wheels.
That is exactly the case for 23-year-old Bradley Smith, who heads into his third season in Moto GP after finishing 10th in his debut year in 2013. Brad started in the 125cc World Championship in 2006 and impressed everyone by winning the Rookie of the Year award with Repsol Honda.
He moved to Polaris World in 2008 and recorded a 6th place finish, but it was the following year that he really made his mark on the world stage. Smith podiumed nine times, including two wins, and recorded three pole positions but he just missed out on the championship to teammate Julian Simon.
He had another crack at winning the title in 2010 but came home in 4th, and that was enough for him to secure a seat with Tech 3 in Moto 2. Two solid years led to a call up to the big time and from then he hasn’t looked back, and for a 24-year-old he has a bucket load of experience already under his belt.
He’s one of British Motorsport’s most popular figures and he’s imperious when out front, and last season he scored his first ever podium finish in the MotoGP premier class when he took third on Phillip Island - and he ended the season in 8th overall.
He’s still only 24 and proven to improve every year, so expect big things in 2015.