Youngsters put on a great show
DREW KEMP and Jason Edwards were the victors at the Eddie Wright Raceway yesterday (Sunday), in the 500cc and 250cc classes of the British Youth Championship.
The meeting was originally a victim of the weather at the back end of May. Yesterday’s racing was billed as ‘Round Two’, but was actually the fourth meeting contested by these two classes in 2017.
Of the two sectors, the 250cc proved the more competitive, and it soon became clear there was a five-way battle for the four places on offer in the final.
Leon Flint, the winner of the previous three rounds, was in danger of not reaching the final, after Dan Thompson headed him in their final programmed outing in Heat 10.
But a charging ride from Jordan Palin took him past Nathan Ablitt in Heat 11. That left Palin as top qualifier on 10 points, while four riders finished on 8 points.
Edwards and Thompson qualified as they had won two races apiece, while Flint squeezed through as he had beaten Ablitt in both races where they had met.
There was good racing throughout, with the riders in close contention on track. Ablitt went from third to first in Heat 1, while Edwards left it late to pass Joe Thompson for the race win in Heat 4. Ablitt picked up points from the back in both Heat 7 and Heat 8.
The final promised to be a belter. Palin came crashing down in a closely-contested second bend, with referee Darren Hartley allowing all four riders back in the re-run.
In the re-start, Edwards certainly did not make the best start. But he cut to the inside on the second bend and roared through. He then saw off a stern challenge from Palin on the opening lap.
Lap two saw Flint edge past Palin into second place. But there was no catching Edwards. In fact, Flint had his hands full in fending off Palin, to keep hold of second place.
Flint – with three wins and a second place – still leads the championship, but Edwards (with a win, two second places and a fourth) is on his tail.
The 500cc class contained just three riders, but two of those – Dan Gilkes and Drew Kemp – are the pair battling out for the 2017 championship.
Kemp won the opening two races, before Gilkes won the third.
The class burst into life in Heat 12. Gilkes was the early leader, but Kemp moved inside him on the opening lap. Gilkes chased, but then took an alarming fall at the conclusion of the third lap, as he looked for a route back around his opponent.
Fortunately, Gilkes was soon on his feet, and able to take his place in the final.
But the final proved to be a non-contest, as Kemp streaked away to take a very comfortable victory.
Gilkes and Kemp have now won two rounds apiece. Gilkes is still the championship leader, since he has finished first or second in every round.
Great Britain World Cup star Steve Worrall was on hand to make the presentations.
Drew Kemp 3 3 2 3 (11)
Dan Gilkes 2 2 3 FX (7)
Liam Little 1 1 1 2 (5)
3: Kemp, Gilkes, Little, 60.37.
6: Kemp, Gilkes, Little, 59.88.
9: Gilkes, Kemp, Little, 60.13.
12: Kemp, Little, Gilkes (fell, excluded), awarded – no time.
Final: Kemp, Gilkes, Little (fell, remounted then excluded, lapped), 60.57.
Jordan Palin 2 2 3 3 (10)
Jason Edwards 1 3 3 1 (8)
Dan Thompson 3 1 1 3 (8)
Leon Flint 1 2 3 2 (8)
Nathan Ablitt 3 1 2 2 (8)
Joe Thompson 2 2 0 0 (4)
Jake Mulford 1 0 0 0 (1)
Jacob Clayton N N 0 1 (1)
1: Ablitt, Palin, Edwards, Clayton (non-starter), 64.63.
2: D. Thompson, J. Thompson, Mulford, Clayton (non-starter), 65.06.
4: Edwards, J. Thompson, Flint, Clayton, 62.87.
5: Edwards, Palin, D. Thompson, Mulford, 62.13.
7: Palin, Flint, Ablitt, J. Thompson, 61.73
8: Flint, Ablitt, D. Thompson, J. Thompson, 62.56.
10: D. Thompson, Flint, Edwards, Mulford, 62.25.
11: Palin, Ablitt, Clayton, Mulford, 62.00.
Final: (Re-run) Edwards, Flint, Palin, D. Thompson, 61.81.