ROUND five was hosted by Whilton Mill in Northamptonshire, the second of three visits to the venue on the Fab Racing calendar.
Once again the bad weather greeted our three YRF Juniors on Friday for practise. Fortunately not for long, as the sun poked its unfamiliar face out from behind the dreary grey clouds and started to dry the track up quite nicely.
Charlie Atkins took full advantage of this to get a dry setting. Knowing the unpredictability of the weather he took fifth for Fridays practise aboard his DMR prepared Polini GP5 in the Junior 4.2 Class. Saturdays Qualifying looked to be the same weather wise, however brushing all that aside Charlie grabbed second on the grid going in to Sundays races.
Sunday mornings practise got under way and straight away Charlie was hit with technical issues. His Clutch had gone and now a race was on back in the pits to install a new one before the start of the races. The work was completed with only minutes to spare and Charlie took his position on the grid. Race one got underway and Charlie once again was visibly struggling with his bike. Despite this Charlie wrestled the bike over the finish line to take seventh. Back in the pits the fault was noticed straight away, the steering damper had snapped.
With the steering damper repaired he took fourth in race two, showcasing some of his off-road skills as he went off track and masterfully controlled the bike to bring home the points. Race three brought another top 10 finish with sixth, to give him third overall for the day and give him third in the championship with 240 points.
Charlie also raced his Metrakit GP50, and with a good Fridays practise and qualifying on Saturday earned himself third position on the grid for Sunday’s races. Race one got under way and Charlie fought hard to grab eighth as he took the flag. However during race two Charlie was nudged by another rider and was forced to drop back, despite this he still managed to take tenth as he crossed the line. Although his confidence had taken a knock he took to the grid once more for the final race and got a fast start in to the first corner. Giving some riders a wider berth but keeping consistency throughout the race he took ninth, giving him seventh overall for the day and taking home some valuable points.
James Alderson had a strong weekend and adapted to the track very quickly with it being his first visit. Using Friday’s practise session to get to know the track and find his braking points, James started to put in some fast times. With a set up established and James feeling confident everything was ready for Saturdays qualifying. The sun came out and once and dried the track just in time for the qualifying sessions. All of the hard work paid off for James on the unfamiliar circuit and he achieved third for race day.
A slow start saw James drop back to fifth position from third as race one got under way. Determined not to drop any further James got in to some tight racing and although lacking power on the longer straights managed to maintain fifth at the chequered flag. Race two got underway and with a similar start James once again set out to build on race ones result. After gaining a position on the second lap to put him in fourth, the lead group had made up to much distance to be able to catch up. He made up some considerable ground but his efforts did not pay off and so James settled for fourth. Race three turned out to be a mirror image of race one and despite James riding the bike to its limit and beyond, had to once again settle for fifth.
James’ overall position for the day was fifth and put him seventh in the overall championship despite missing one round. The next few rounds will prove vital for the Alderson’s.
Eight year old Ross Turner, the youngest of the YRF Juniors and the only one to be contending three classes had a mammoth task ahead of him at the Northamptonshire circuit. With lingering flu symptoms he had decided against Friday’s practise in order to reserve his strength for qualifying and race day.
The Junior 4.2 qualifying sessions got under way and despite Whilton not being one of Ross’ favourite tracks, he managed 13th on the grid. During the races Ross fought hard to make up places taking 14th in race one, 13th in race two and 12th in race three giving him tenth for the day and placing him seventh in the championship.
In the Junior Production class Ross had a crash which dented his confidence a little, however he still managed to qualify in 10th. The Production races proved to be a little harder for Ross, but despite this posted consistent 53 second laps. In race one he took 11th, race two 12th and race three 11th giving 11th overall and 11th in the championship.
Aboard his Metrakit GP50 Ross struggled to find confidence in the front, having some big moments. Qualifying at the back of the grid, Ross had a lot on his plate. All races proved to be the same, with Ross not finding the right set up and having no confidence in the bike and finished all three races in last place and placing him 12th in the championship.
Round six of the Fab Racing British Championship will be held at Lydd, Kent 18th – 19th August.
Photos courtesy of Rachel Bryden.