The penultimate round of the Fab Racing British Championship was hosted by Whilton Mill. And with vital points up for grabs for the YRF Juniors, they set out to stake their claim in their rookie championship.
Charlie Atkins does not favour the Northamptonshire circuit, but this did not dampen his spirit and will to win at Whilton. Still with a chance of taking second in the championship going in to the last two rounds Charlie knew what he had to do and with Saturdays practise all done and dusted Qualifying got under way.
Aboard his DMR prepared Polini in the Junior 4.2 A class, the youngster from Goole started putting in some ferociously fast laps. However hot on his heels was the rider he was desperately chasing in the championship, and at the end of the first qualifying session they were the only two riders to dip under the minute lap time, split by two tenths.
In the second qualifying session Charlie set out at the back of the pack, slowly carving his way through the slower riders until finally he had a clear track in front of him, however the session was red flagged. After the session resumed Charlie started to push in the short time he had left but was only able to grab a few laps. “I was just getting into it then, I don’t think I’ve got pole Dad time ran out” Charlie explained to his dad back in the pits, unbeknown to the youngster no other rider had gone faster, giving him his first Pole Position.
Race day was upon them and with the technical problems from the previous rounds Charlie was feeling slightly nervous. Pushing this to the back of his mind, he lined up on the grid from Pole Position. As the lights went green Charlie grabbed the hole shot in to the first corner, and managed to hold the position until he was passed on lap three. Things were getting busy at the pointy end of the field, until the leader high sided and was unable to rejoin. Charlie took full advantage of the situation and sailed to his first ever victory at Whilton Mill and the first win of the day.
Race two started the same with Charlie grabbing the hole shot in to the first corner, however unable to stay with early pace he settled in to second and built up his rhythm. On lap two Charlie made his move re-taking the lead and started setting staggering pace leaving everybody behind. The chequered flag dropped and Charlie’s day was looking up with two wins under his belt.
With the final race of the Junior 4.2 A class about to get under way, Charlie couldn’t have been more confident of how the race would turn out. Once again the lights turned green and once again Charlie lead the pack in to the first corner, and this would more or less be the last they saw of him for the rest of the race. Charlie pulled an unbelievable gap and at the chequered flag held a ten second gap over second and set the fastest lap of the day by over two seconds.
Charlie also had his Metrakit GP50 this weekend and managed to qualify seventh on the grid. Charlie knew he was going to struggle with pace so just used it as a learning experience. In race one and two he placed seventh and race three he managed eighth after a missed gear on the start line, however gained valuable track time on the much bigger bike.
James Alderson was also in the hunt for points in the penultimate round. Contending the Junior Production class aboard his DMR prepared Polini GP6 trying to secure a top five finish in his rookie season. Saturday Morning had arrived, and with minimal gearing changes from Friday’s practice session, the day got underway. Still struggling for speed on the straights (which has affected him at the last two visits to Whilton) more gearing changes were needed going in to Qualifying. Despite being down on top speed, James has been working almost non-stop on corner speed knowing it will help him get to the pointy end of the field. Nothing is more rewarding than hard work paying off, which is what got James third position on the grid for Sunday’s races.
As James lined up in his third position for race one, he knew he had a lot of work to do. As the lights went green James got a good start, but once again the speed on the long straights were hampering him. Quickly making up ground on the tight twisty corners and then getting overtaken on the straights. James fought hard and managed to take fifth at the flag.
In Race two James got another good start and held third position for a number of laps, but as the group behind found their rhythm, James was over taken and crossed the line in sixth. James started to get frustrated as this was his worse result and he was clearly capable of running at the front if he could just find the speed on the long straights.
During the break James’ dad Stephen worked frantically trying to find the best gearing option for Race three. With an empty egg timer bench and the pinging of two stroke engines lining up on the grid, it was time to find out if the extra work had paid off. James got a blinding start and although dropping to fourth stayed with the leading group, and soon regained third place. All the hard work was paying off as James once again dived up the inside of the rider in front, using the corner speed he had been working on. James held second place for almost the entire race until he was overtaken at the flag, giving him third position.
This leaves James in sixth place in the championship on 207 points, 59 points from fourth with 75 on the table going in to the last round.
Ross Turner once again had a monster task ahead of him racing in three of the classes, Junior 4.2 A, Junior Production and the Mini GP50’s. Ross and his dad Simon spent all of Friday’s practice sessions using a helmet cam so they could pin point areas where he could improve. After using the video playback they were able to slash Ross’ times by a whole minute, putting him on the fifth row in the Junior Production class and on the sixth in the Junior 4.2 A class.
Sunday had arrived, and in warm up Ross had taken a tumble in the Junior 4.2 class. Unable to start the bike, he rushed the bike back to the pits to where his dad was waiting spanners in hand. In the nick of time the bike fired in to life as the riders were being called to the grid for race one. A short delay was called due to a crash in the previous race. The riders killed their engines, however after the track was cleared Ross tried to start his bike and the pull cord snapped. Unable to start the bike in time, Ross was forced to miss race one.
In race two Ross got off the line clean and after settling started to get in to some tough battles. As the flag came out Ross crossed the line in tenth position. In race three a rider in front of jumped the start then stopped just in front of Ross causing him to drop back to 18th at the first corner. With work to do Ross got his head down and carved his way through the pack ending up in 14th.
On the faster Junior Production bikes Ross fought hard in all three races and using some nice smooth and quick racing lines, to finish 10th,10th and 11th. In the Mini Gp50’s (a class which Ross is still finding his feet in) he rode two of the races finishing 12th in race one and crashing out of race two.
Photo’s courtesy of Rachel Bryden.