Llandow, the fast circuit in the south of Wales played host for the second time this year, with round three of the British championship. With Llandow and the sun becoming familiar friends it shaped up to be yet a brilliant weekend, not just for the weather, but for the YRF Juniors.
It was a bitter sweet weekend for Charlie Atkins, taking provisional pole on Saturday on both his DMR prepared Polini in the Junior 4.2 class and on his Metrakit in the Mini GP50 class. However a collision with a slower rider whilst out on his Metrakit put Charlie down heavy and requiring assistance from the expert trackside medical staff.
Charlie was asked to sit out the rest of the day’s qualifying due to swelling around the injured knee. He sat anxiously watching the timing screens, hoping the pace he had set earlier that day could not be broken. The hard work paid off, retaining pole in the Junior 4.2 class and dropping back to second in the Mini GP50 class, which was to be his first front row start in his rookie year aboard the Metrakit.
Come Race day Charlie was given the all clear by the medical staff and after a few practice laps stated “it’s not too bad when I’m riding, I’ll give it my best and see what happens”. Race one in the Mini GP50 class got under way and Charlie made a solid start leading in to the first corner, but was taken round the outside by the championship leader. After settling back in to his race he started to push and lost the front going in to a corner and dropping heavy on the already injured knee and the Race was red flagged.
The decision was made to retire Charlie for the rest of the Mini GP50 races and concentrate on the Junior 4.2 class. Race one started well and pushing the injury to the back of his mind, Charlie rode a consistent race to take third. Disaster struck yet again for the youngster in Race two as he got a sluggish start. After completing a few laps he started to indicate that there was a fault with the bike, but he stayed out and grabbed third yet again at the chequered flag. Once in the pits it was found that an engine bolt had snapped.
After a few repairs, Race three got under way. Charlie made a very strong start taking the lead and after just a few laps started to gap the two riders chasing him. Charlie rode a perfect race and took his first ever win. As well as the fastest lap of the weekend by almost half a second, he took third overall for the day with the three races. Charlie’s dad Gareth said “I couldn’t be any prouder of him, after the incident on Saturday I thought our weekend was over, but he showed us all what he’s made of.”
James Alderson had a VERY busy weekend coming straight from his School exams on the Friday. For the Junior Production practice with a mainly dry track with some patches of wet, James decided to take out his wet set up Bike. He soon started to get to grips with the track once more and his lap times started to tumble. Also this weekend James would be trying for the first time his McIntosh supplied and prepared Polini GP6 and in the third practice session James took it out. He took to the bike well and put in some fast lap times straight away.
For the first qualifying session James decided to take out his GP5 and finished the session in fourth. In the second session he went out aboard his new GP6 and although still getting to grips with the new set up managed to take fifth overall for race day.
For Race one the decision (made by James Dad Stephen) to run the GP5 proved to be a costly one, as James found it hard to keep with the riders on the straights with the bike being under powered. He still managed to pull in fifth come the flag.
In Race two the decision (this time made by James) to run the GP6 showed to be the better option. After a few laps, still learning the bike, he was running in the front group. After a long and hard fought race James took fourth also learning a lot about the new bike.
Race three proved to be James’ best race of the day. A solid start saw him hold fourth in to the first corner, then after a few laps took third. He started to move away from his group and tag on to the back of the leading two, eventually taking second for a brief time before slotting back in to third at the chequered flag. Stephen was over the moon with James Performance “I was so proud of James, Race three was one of the best races I have ever seen him ride and couldn’t fault how well he had battled to get his position. It was both brilliant and exciting to watch.”
Our youngest rider Ross Turner aged 8, had the busiest weekend of all. As well as contending his usual classes of Junior 4.2 and Junior Production, he would also be racing his new Metrakit for the first time in the Mini GP50 class. This saw the youngster complete 400 laps which come to 250 miles in total. Ross pushed hard all weekend and come race day his lap times were tumbling and he was getting more and more comfortable, and getting used to the close racing.
In the Junior 4.2 class he took 10th overall after three hard fought races, in the Junior Production class he also took 10th. In the Mini Gp50 on his first ride out on the big bike saw Ross take 11th overall. Ross’ dad Simon was beaming with pride as he described the weekend “The big breakthrough this weekend was Ross racing his Metrakit for the first time. I didn’t expect anything from him as I just wanted him to go out and get used to the bike. I was impressed with his progress, in all three races he got into little battles with other riders and raced well. In the last race of the day he had a three way fight going on with another Metrakit and a gp4 and after swapping places a few times Ross crossed the line ahead. We had a fantastic weekend which although very busy was very rewarding.”
James will go in to the third round of the Scottish Championship in his native North East at Warden Law on June 10th and all three YRF Juniors will be on track at Rowrah for round four of the British Championship 22nd – 24th June.
Photo’s courtesy of Rachel Bryden.