NG Road Racing front-runner Jake Hopper is trading in the two stroke this season as he makes the move from the clubs to the Dickies Junior Supersport championship.
Joining Neil Pearson’s NP Motorcycles outfit, the 14-year-old will make his BSB paddock debut in April at Silverstone aboard a Ninja 400 Kawasaki.
Hopper rounded out his 2018 season by finishing second to the nearly-unbeatable Gavin Mills in the National 125GP championship, while edging Gary Arden for the runner-up spot.
And after racing a Ninja in the Thundersport GB Superteens championship in 2017, he’s hoping to get back into the four-stroke groove and fight amongst the pack in JSS.
“I was looking at Jake and a lot of other riders as well, but he, his dad and I just hit it off,” Pearson told UK Clubsport.
“We formulated a plan to progress him in the BSB paddock. We’ll be putting him on a brand new Ninja 400 and getting him out there this year and maybe even next year before he’s old enough to go on to a Moto3 or a 600.
“He’s young enough to adapt back to the four stroke – small enough and young enough – and the bikes aren’t overpowered. The 400 probably handles worse than the 125, so once he gets his head around that I think he’ll be fine.
“He’s not shy of getting the throttle on and battling, so it’s just a matter of getting comfortable on the bike. We’re off to Spain at the end of February for a three day test at Guadix, and after three days on it I think he’ll be alright.
“Jake’s a good little lad, he can’t wait to get on it and we’re all really looking forward to the season now.”
*Image: NP Motorcycles