The second round of the inaugural 2017 GP Juniors Cup that will take place alongside the Yamaha Motor Finance Australian Superbike Championship presented by Motul Pirelli (ASBK) at Winton Raceway, Benalla, Victoria on April 28-30 is shaping up as another exciting outing for the 12-16 year old youngsters.
The opening round of this historic new racing series was conducted in atrociously wet conditions at Wakefield Park Raceway last month, so hopefully the weather at the northern Victorian circuit shines on these young up-and-coming racers who are chasing their dream to follow in the footsteps of many great riders before them.
Current series leader, Tom “Tom-E-Gun” Edwards from Swansea, south of Newcastle (NSW) will be keen to stretch his lead in the GP Juniors Cup. Edwards has a lot more experience than the rest of the field as in 2016 he competed in the ultra-competitive Asia Talent Cup, contested on standard Honda 250cc Moto 3 machines, a stepping stone into the European Championship and Grand Prix World Championships.
“I am really looking forward to Winton and seeing if we can improve on what we did there,” series leader, Tom Edwards said. “The GP Juniors Cup is a great series to be a part of and there are a lot of good riders in there so I will have to be on my game to win all three races. Hopefully, it will be dry for the entire weekend, but in saying that, riding on the control tyre I have learnt a lot in the conditions in getting the feedback from the tyres.”
The talent and disposition of all the youngsters at the opening round was exceptional given the conditions over the three days of practice and competition, as only three of them crashed while more experienced riders in the other classes had many more crashes.
Edwards won two of the three races, from pocket-sized 13-year-old Joel Kelso. Kelso took out second leg in a titanic battle with the more experienced Edwards as Sunshine Coast local, John Lytras coming third in the three races.
There will be some great duels playing out throughout the field as the Junior riders gain more experience and understanding the complexities of road racing. One stand out in the GP Junior field who has a wealth of experience in his corner, is Max Stauffer. The son of multiple Australian Superbike Champion, Jamie Stauffer. For Max this will be his second ever road race after learning his craft in dirt-track racing, promptly winning an Australian Championship title.
Over the course of the weekend there will be two free practice sessions on Friday, while on Saturday there will be tow qualifying sessions and one race on Saturday with two races Sunday afternoon.
The GP Junior program will run in conjunction with certain rounds as the prestigious ABSK, providing an excellent platform for the future champions to showcase their talent in front of a large crowd as well as live coverage on national television on the SBS network and Live Streaming of the racing on the Sunday of the event on asbk.com.au
For more information on the GP Juniors Cup and GP Juniors Australia, check out gpjuniorsaustralia.com.au or call the series promotor, Mark Bracks on 0488257188
1 Tommy EDWARDS (NSW) 70
2 Joel KELSO (NT) 63
3 John LYTRAS (QLD) 56
4 Max STAUFFER (NSW) 50
5 Ben BAKER (NSW) 48
6 Luke POWER (VIC) 42
7 Jack COUSENS (VIC) 41
8 Harry KHOURI (NSW) 31