For years now, Canadian roadracing legend Toni Sharpless has been organizing MiniGP roadracing efforts in Canada. Now, that’s resulted in two Canadian riders earning an invite to the MiniGP World Finals in Valencia, Spain—and Sharpless has launched a GoFundMe page to help pay the bill to get them there.
The national MiniGP program is for riders aged 10-14, riding Ohvale GP-0 160 machines. There were six race weekends in this year’s series (only five were counted in the points standings—more details here). From those races, two riders were selected to head to Spain.
The riders are Michael Galvis (who won the Canadian championship this year) and Ben Hardwick. Perhaps the best way to describe their journey so far is to quote Toni’s words off her GoFundMe page:
Dear Road Racing Community,
We are thrilled to share some incredible news with you all – Team Canada is headed to the World Finals! What started as a humble dream at my kitchen table to the FIM MiniGP Canada series has transformed into a remarkable journey that has taken us from the breathtaking landscapes of British Columbia to the heart-pounding race tracks of Ontario. We are honoured to announce that two exceptional young athletes, Michael Galvis and Ben Hardwick, have secured their places to represent Canada on the world stage.
Michael Galvis, a ten-year-old rising star, embarked on a remarkable cross-country journey alongside his dedicated father, Miguel. They traversed the vast expanse of Canada, in their trusty Honda Element towing a single rail trailer from Ontario to BC and back again. Their humble tent became their home, a testament to their unwavering commitment to the sport they love. Michael’s journey with an Ohvale GP-O 160 began this season, and with each passing round, his skills sharpened. The hard work and dedication paid off, as Michael’s steady progress led to his triumphant victory at Strathmore Motorsports Park in Alberta. He overcame challenges, including two 5-second penalties for start grid infractions, proving his resilience and determination. Michael’s unyielding focus and impeccable riding earned him the overall Championship title.
Meanwhile, Ben Hardwick encountered an early setback on the leaderboard due to a collision at Greg Moore Raceway in British Columbia. Despite the adversity, Ben, alongside his dedicated team, which includes his mother Caralyne and super tuner Stu Shaw, forged ahead. They navigated through motor issues, an injured foot, and even the destructive forces of a tornado, which wreaked havoc on their pit area in Alberta. Undeterred by these challenges, Ben’s determination and grit shone through, culminating in a well-deserved second place in the Championship. This extraordinary achievement secured Ben’s position in the World Final to be held in Valencia, Spain, this coming November.
The journey to this point has been nothing short of a roller coaster ride, consuming our funds and resources along the way. As we embark on this monumental endeavour, we turn to you, our Road Racing Community, for support. We invite you to join us in this exciting venture, as we rally behind Michael, Ben, and the entire Team Canada. Your contributions will make a significant impact, enabling us to provide these young athletes with the opportunity of a lifetime.
Their GoFundMe appears to be well on its way towards raising the necessary money, with more than two-thirds of the $15,000 goal reached. They estimate expenses of about $5,500 per rider, before adding in other team personnel. As the page says, “this estimate does not include expenses for the organiser/team manager, mechanic, and logistics/media personnel. Any funds raised over and above the rider(s) requirements will be distributed to the above team members beginning with the organiser/team manager.”
You can see more here, and also make your own donation.