Ending 2023 as the FIM Hard Enduro Junior World Champion, Mitch Brightmore is certainly making his mark in Hard Enduro. At only 20 years of age, the TTR Squadra Corse rider is relatively new to the FIM Hard Enduro Junior World Championship supported by KLIM but is now the rider to beat!
Despite working full time as a builder in his father’s business, Mitch juggled a lot to reach the top in 2023. But naturally he wants more. Back racing, and back working, our Junior World Champ just clocked an impressive runner-up result to none other than Mani Lettenbichler at an off-season race in the UK, while banking impressive rides indoors in SuperEnduro. A competitor full of promise, it’s time to catch up with our 2023 FIM Hard Enduro Junior World Champion…
Firstly, congratulations Mitch, you had one heck of a season last year to become the FIM Hard Enduro Junior World Champion!
Mitch Brightmore: “Thanks! Honestly, it’s amazing to have won the title. It’s definitely been a whirlwind sort of journey to get here. Standing up on the podium at that final event last year as the Junior World Champion was an unbelievable feeling. It’s beginning to sink in now, yeah!”
Going into the final round at 24MX GetzenRodeo you led by one point. How were the nerves and did you have any tactics for the weekend?
“I think I’m lucky that I don’t really suffer from nerves too much. I kind of go with the flow a lot. I knew coming into the event that I just had to get my head down and focus on getting a good result in each race. It was a ‘ride fast and try to win’ sort of thing!”
You were super strong in the prologue. Placing third overall, but also beating Billy Bolt in your heat. How did that feel?
“I’ve learned that the prologues are important to get a good start position for the main races. A good prologue result can make the difference in getting a top result. I think everything just sort of came together on the night at 24MX GetzenRodeo. Finishing third was a dream result. But yeah, to beat Billy in our heat race was wild, I definitely wasn’t expecting that!”
We saw some great battles between you and Matt Green. Sharing two victories each, were you expecting the battle for the title to be so close?
“Coming into the season I didn’t know what to expect or where I would fit in. Matt is a great rider and in 2022 his level was way above mine. He rode great in the first two rounds, but it motivated me to train harder and bridge the gap. I won the final two rounds, so it was a pretty cool way to end the season.”
At what point did you feel you could become the Junior World Champion?
“I don’t think I started out the season expecting to be world champion. You know, it’s a long road ahead. All I wanted to do was get my head down, enjoy the races and just see where things went from there. Winning 24MX Hixpania was the turning point. I felt that my own level had improved a lot and that’s when I began to focus on trying to win the title.”
What race did you enjoy most during 2023 and why?
“I think the 24MX GetzenRodeo. Not just because I won the world title there, but because it suits my style a lot. It’s tight and technical and I feel I’m quite good in those conditions. It’s also a crazy race. It’s mind-blowing how many fans show up to spectate. It’s definitely an awesome place.”
You went to Red Bull Romaniacs, but unfortunately had some issues. What happened and were you able to take anything from the event to help you progress?
“Yeah, although it wasn’t part of the Junior championship I wanted to go there for the experience. But unfortunately, it didn’t go to plan. I qualified fifth for the prologue, but ended up having a big crash in the final. It was really hot, I was fatigued and I mistimed a jump. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to continue after that.”
What is it that you enjoy about Hard Enduro?
“There’s a good group of people involved in this sport. It’s hard not to enjoy that. Plus, the locations we get to race our motorbikes in are amazing. I like that one round could be in desert and the other on top of a mountain.”
Will it be a big challenge to step up and compete in the full championship?
“I’m still only 20 years old, so I’m not going to step up just yet to the full championship. My plan is to race the Junior category for at least another year and try to retain my title. I’ll try to do other races where I can too. But the good thing is that I can still ride for an overall result, which pushes you on.”
How would you like to see the Junior category develop?
“It’s difficult to say because I honestly think it’s very good as it is. It’s what Hard Enduro needed. It needed a category for younger riders to learn in and gain experience. It’s the right stepping stone into the full championship. As a four-round championship we can commit to that and find the budget to race.”
You are surrounded by a good team like TTR Squadra Corse. How has their support made a difference to your season?
“I owe a lot to the team at TTR Squadra Corse. Their support has been brilliant. As a privateer rider, they definitely make so much possible for me. I wouldn’t have been able to win both the Junior Hard Enduro and SuperEnduro world titles without them. Along with my brother I’ll be racing for them again this year, so I’m excited for that.”
Outside of racing, how is life? Are you riding full time, working, or studying?
“Right now, as we do this interview, I’ve just come back in from the building site. I work as a builder with my dad. It’s a full-time job and hard graft, but I do enjoy it. Juggling racing and full-time work isn’t easy. I ride as much as I can where I can. It’s pretty wet and cold this time of year in the UK, but it is what it is, and we get on with it. I would love to turn professional someday, but for now I’ll keep asking my dad nicely for time off!”
Finally, it’s great to see your younger brother Ashton coming through. Will the Brightmore brothers soon be taking Hard Enduro by storm?
[Laughs] “It’s nice to have my brother in Hard Enduro too. He’s a good rider and so driven too. We ride together and push each other on to get better. He’s got a similar style to mine. We both come from Trials, so we tend to try to outdo each other with some wild lines. It would be amazing if we could both make it to the top!”