TEENAGE motor racing star Lewis Rollo admits he will be pinching himself when he lines up on the grid against racers he watched on television growing up.

The 19-year-old is making the step up to the Pirelli National Superstock 1000 Championship and will begin testing next week ahead of the season getting under way in April.

That will see Rollo lining up for the In Competition Aprilia team against stars like two-time British Superbike runner-up Michael Rutter, who has been racing for longer than Rollo has been alive!

Rollo said: “It is everybody’s dream that is into motorbikes to get this opportunity.

“If it was not for my sponsors, my mum, my dad and family and friends, it would not be possible to get the chance to race but also to race against British Superbikes people.

“I’m racing against Michael Rutter and I watched him as a kid.

“I watched him in British Superbikes and to pull up on the grid beside him is a mega opportunity.

“My dad used to watch him and now to see his 19-year-old son racing against him is mental!”

Rollo, from Gifford, is the youngest to take to the grid ahead of the 18-race series at tracks including Silverstone and Donington Park, and Knockhill in Fife.

Rollo will be competing on an Aprilia RSV4RF, alongside Australian teammate Levi Day.

The team were battling for the championship last year and Rollo is aiming again to be near the front.

He said: “Everybody wants to go out to win but I have not even had a shot on the bike yet.

“Everyone I have watched on the bike has been battling at the front and doing really well.

“There is no question the bike is good enough to be up there and it is really down to me.

“I want to try to win but [I’d be happy with] top 10 or top five to start with and then onto the podium.”

Rollo spent last year in the Ducati TriOptions Cup, narrowly missing out on clinching the championship after finishing second.

The teenager felt the time was right to make the step up and push on towards his ultimate aim of the British Superbikes.

He said: “It is a new class compared to last year and also on a new bike with a new team.

“There are going to be a lot of changes but I am looking forward to it.

“The team has got lots of experience and I think it is a good team to go with.

“They were battling for the championship last year as well and I was really happy when they spoke to me and asked me to ride their bike and join the team.

“I am glad to be moving up.”

Rollo thanked his sponsors for their support in recent years and was hopeful more businesses would come on board.

Ahead of the new season, there is special screening at The Brunton in Musselburgh next Thursday (February 28) of a film charting the rider’s progress called Lewis Rollo – The Learning Curve Gets Steeper.

Made by award-winning amateur filmmaker Keith Grierson, from Dumfries, it features coverage of the last three years’ racing, with Rollo also taking to the Brunton stage to speak about his 2019 aspirations.

Also on the bill is a film which was first shown at The Brunton in 1987.

A Season with Howard Selby follows the North Berwick rider’s progress as he raced around the country, including at the Isle of Man TT, during the 1986 season.

Howard went on to win the European Supersport 600 Championship in 1990 and still races at nearby East Fortune.

For more information on the screening, which begins at 7pm, go to eastlothian.gov.uk/thebrunton