THE YRF Juniors got their 2012 campaigns underway last weekend in the warm sunshine at the opening round of the FAB Racing British Championship at Llandow, South Wales.

Over the three day event Charlie Atkins contested both the GP50 and the 4.2 junior classes, Ross Turner also tackled the 4.2 junior class as well as junior production, where he was joined by James Alderson.

Atkins stamped his mark on the championship with a storming start to his season, qualifying in second place. On board his Polini GP5 he took a second, third and fourth places in the three races and now sits third in the championship.

“Charlie was really looking forward to making the best of a front row start,” explained dad, Gareth. “In the first race he made a good start and maintained his second place until the leading group caught back markers.

“Charlie came off the worst, dropping a place into third and he simply couldn’t find a way past. He finished third and hoped to he could do better in Race Two.”

As the flag dropped for a second time, the youngster got a clean getaway and led for the opening three laps. Again back markers came into play and as he moved up the inside of one, the rider tipped in on him enough to cause him to back off.

As a result he was passed and knocked down to second, a place he was able to hold to the chequered flag.

Race Three didn’t go quite to plan when he developed a technical problem on the way to the grid and missed the warm-up lap as he worked to fix the issue. Starting at the back of the grid he quickly seared through the pack to take an impressive fourth place.

“What a weekend!” he said. “I’m over the moon to have got my first podium with FAB in the first round.”

But things weren’t quite so good on his Metrakit GP50 machine. Despite qualifying a respectable fifth in his rookie race, he misjudged the start and was slow getting off the line in the first race.

“He was soon back on the pace in fifth position on the back wheel of the rider in fourth, but at half race distance the bike developed a technical issue, losing power,” said Gareth.

“He managed to carry on but on the last lap on the last corner the bike finally gave up. He managed to get back on and was pushed over the line to gain valuable points in sixth.

“Unfortunately, once the bike was back in the paddock the true extent of the technical issue became apparent. The crank had failed and he had to retire from the next races. He was gutted.”

James Alderson also made a good start to his 2012 season after qualifying fourth on his Polini GP5.

But he was unlucky to be taken out by another rider in the opening race. “I didn’t get the best start but I was just starting to get into my stride when another rider came off on the track and took me down,” he said.

“The bike was damaged so I didn’t get to finish the race but I put it behind me and concentrated on the other two races of the day.

“In Race Two I didn’t a brilliant start but really got into my stride and settled in to some good racing.

“The bike was not competitive on the straights but I really enjoyed myself and finished sixth.”

Race Three was to follow a similar suit with the youngster making a better start and soon finding a good pace, notching up another sixth place.

“We had a fantastic weekend and made lots of friends,” he added. “There was a great atmosphere.

“We now have an idea of what we need to do for the next round, and I’m looking ahead to my next race which will be in the Scottish Championship.

Ross Turner – the YRF Juniors’ youngest member – also kicked-off his season with a good start.

Despite set up problems on his 4.2 Minimoto during Saturday’s qualifying, a few modifications and tyre changes were enough to see him end the day with two eighths and a tenth, placing him eighth in the championship

In the faster Junior Production class he took a ninth and two 13ths and now lies 13th in the points.

Ross’ dad Simon explained:  “Saturday practice gave us the chance to change gearing to improve drive out of the problem corner. We tried a few combos but just couldn’t get a perfect set-up, the 4.2 just wouldn’t pull out of the corners like we wanted but left with no choices it would have to do.

“The Junior Production bike was flying and with a lap time of 1.01 I was feeling happy with Ross’s progress.

“In the 4.2 races he got some flying starts and got stuck into some great battles with a couple of riders. They were all equally matched in pace which led to some great dices as each rider seemed to have their favourite bits of track.

“In the Junior Production race, he again got some great starts, moving up three places in one race within the first half lap.

“He finished that race in ninth and the other two races were replays of the first with him battling with against one lad from start to finish.”

Simon says the rest of the season will be spent working on Ross’s braking and teaching him to ride defensive and attacking lines.

Charlie and Ross will be back for Round Two of the FAB Racing British Championship this coming weekend, April 6-8 at Whilton Mill, while James heads north to tackle Round One of the Scottish Championship at Kartstart Kirkcaldy.