It’s been confirmed today that Jenson Button will compete against a motorsport rival in the Mazda London Triathlon on August 2nd 2009. Lewis Hamilton recently backed out of the challenge from Jenson Button but a new challenger, who is currently contending for a title of his own, has stepped in to give Button a true test to see who is the fastest triathlete in motorsport.
Bradley Smith is the hot prospect from the MotoGP 125cc World Championship and at the age of 18, has already been competing on the professional circuit for three and a half years with two grand prix wins and eight podium finishes under his belt. Smith like Button in Formula One is well placed to win his Rider’s World Championship in what could be the best year across British Motorsport for decades.
Smith challenged Button after they met at Silverstone during the British Grand Prix where Smith, in recognition of his achievement of being the first British rider in three decades to lead any MotoGP World Championship, was attending as a guest of Bernie Ecclestone. Button’s father, John Button, is a keen follower of Moto GP and began talking with Smith leading to the meeting of the Formula One and Moto GP drivers. Their combined loves of motorsport, triathlons and competition came to the fore and Smith, eager to fill the gap left by Hamilton, challenged Button to a race in the Mazda London Triathlon, the world’s largest triathlon. The two motorsport heroes will be amongst 13,000 competitors raising a combined total in excess of £3 million for charity.
Although only just 18 Smith is no newcomer to triathlons, the swim, cycle, run events are a major focus of his training regime and his personal trainer is an ironman regular who has been passing on all his experience to Smith. Button however, is the bookies favourite, the 29 year old regularly competes in triathlon events and like Smith also uses the three disciplines as a part of his fitness programme. Bookies have Button as firm favourite but Smith’s determination may see punters tempted to back the 18 year old. (Stan James: 1-5 J Button, 3-1 B Smith).
Jenson Button is using the triathlon to raise money for Make A Wish Foundation UK where he is a Patron of the leading wish-granting charity. Donations can be made at www.justgiving.com/jensonbutton.
For an exclusive interview with Jenson, check out issue 238 of 220 Triathlon (on sale August 25th).