2017 GP Juniors Australia Calendar

GP Juniors Australia are excited to release the 2017 calendar. While the dates for the seven round GP Juniors Cup are confirmed, the dates for two more rounds of the GP Juniors Australia Series for 70cc, 85cc and 160cc classes are awaiting confirmation. Details will be released as soon as possible.
 
Round 1 – ASBK
17-19 March 2017 Wakefield Park, Goulburn, NSW
GP Juniors Cup
 
Round 2 – ASBK
28-30 April 2017, Winton Motor Raceway, Benalla, VIC
GP Juniors Cup
 
Round 3 – Southern Downs
17-18 June 2017, Morgan Park, Warwick, Qld
Round of GP Juniors Australia Series 70cc & 85cc two-stokes and up to 160cc four-strokes as per the MoMS
GP Juniors Cup
Run in conjunction with the Motorcycle Sportsmen of QLD
 
Round 4 – St George
5-6 August 2017, Wakefield Park, Goulburn, NSW
Round of GP Juniors Australia Series 70cc & 85cc two-stokes and up to 160cc four-strokes as per the MoMS
GP Juniors Cup
Run in conjunction with St. George MCC
 
Round 5 – ASBK
25-27 August 2017 Morgan Park, Warwick, Qld
GP Juniors Cup
 
Round 6 – VRRC
11-12 November, Broadford State Motorcycle Complex, Broadford, VIC
Round of GP Juniors Australia Series 70cc & 85cc two-stokes and up to 160cc four-strokes as per the MoMS
GP Juniors Cup
Run in conjunction with Preston MCC  
 
Round 7
24-26 November 2017 Mallala Motorsport Park, SA
Round of GP Juniors Australia Series 70cc & 85cc two-stokes and up to 160cc four-strokes as per the MoMS
GP Juniors Cup
Run in conjunction with Phoenix MCC  
 
26 November at Adelaide 3-Hour  – Unique stand-alone event. Details to be released soon.
 

GP Juniors Test Tyres at Winton Raceway

A piece of Australian motorcycling racing history was created on February 13 at Winton Raceway in Northern Victoria when the first ever official tyre testing for junior road racing took place to evaluate options for the control tyre for the 2017 GP Juniors Cup, which will feature the Yamaha R15.

The test was organised by Motorcycling Australia, GP Juniors Australia and Yamaha Motor Australia and featured six different tyre brands for evaluation by three junior riders. 2016 Australian 160cc Champion, Ben Bramich was joined by talented young guns, 14-year-old Jack Cousens, who finished third in the 160cc titles last year and very rapid 12-year-old, Luke Power.

A final decision on the successful tender will be made shortly.

Ben Bramich – 2016 Australian 160cc Champion
It was an awesome day and pretty cool to come in swap tyres and go back out again. I’ve never done that before and I learnt so much today in what different tyres do. It was good to see the strengths and weaknesses of different brands as they all have something. I had a great day and glad that I could help in deciding a tyre.

Jack Cousens – 3rd 2016 Australian 160cc Championship
It was a great day and I’d like to thank everyone involved for inviting me to take part in such a special occasion. We had a handful of tyres to test
I’d love to help the future juniors. Having so many tyres to test was great as it gave us so much track time! Also riding the R15 was a great experience as it is such a good bike and I think with a lot of them on track we are going to see some great racing. They are not slow in a straight line and they handle well. It’s going to be an exciting year for me on these little bikes.

Luke Power –
“It was a fantastic day and I learnt so much about how different some tyres are. A great experience. They all had so different characteristics but they were all good tyres just some were better than others. It will be a hard decision.
I love the R15. I reckon they are a great bike and when we get out there with a few of us it is going to be so much fun. I can’t wait. It is a perfect machine for learning on.
Thanks to everyone for the opportunity. ”

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Mark Bracks
The most impressive part of the day for me was how professional Jack, Luke and Ben were in the feedback they were giving. It is hard to believe that they are so young in how they can analyse every tyre after just a few lap on each one and provide the feedback that will be extremely valuable in assisting in the decision.
Also, for all the major tyre brands to be here with technicians turning up to make sure everything was running right was excellent. The day showed how serious everyone is about rekindling junior road racing and this is going to be a great stepping stone from the 70cc and 85cc machines on their way through the classes as they chase their dreams.

HOW TO OBTAIN A YAMAHA YZF R15 FOR THE GP JUNIORS CUP.

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HOW TO OBTAIN A YAMAHA YZF R15 FOR THE GP JUNIORS CUP.

A Happy New Year to all.

Since news was released of the GP Juniors Cup for 2017, the response has been astounding. The year ahead looks very exciting as GP Juniors Australia aims to unearth some future champions starting with the opening round of the GP Juniors Cup at Wakefield Park on March

Now that the Christmas/New Year break is over, there is more information for interested parties that want to purchase one of the Yamaha R15s that will be used in the GP Juniors Cup promoted by GP Juniors Australia and Motorcycling Australia.

The new GP Juniors Cup will utilise the highly dynamic Yamaha R15 plus race kit parts for a bargain price of $4,499.00 or race prepared for $4,699.00 – excluding race tyres.

GP Juniors Australia will also offer a fleet of R15s available to lease on a round by round basis for those wanting to try road racing before making the commitment to purchase their own bike.

To purchase a Yamaha R15 please contact GP Juniors Australia promotor, Mark Bracks via email (markbracks111@gmail), the GP Juniors Australia Facebook page or gpjuniorsaustralia.com.au

In the email please provide your delivery address, email address and phone number. We will contact you with the rest of the details and delivery options.

GP Juniors Australia intends to keep a detailed inventory of nations that are purchased.

All machines will be lock-wired and sealed. The GP Juniors Cup will also feature a control tyre, that will be finalised in the near future.

GP Juniors Australia looks forward to taking orders.

The price of $4,499.00 includes:
Yamaha R15
Race fairing set
Braided steel front brake line
Lower set handlebars
Adjustment plates for rear set footpegs
Engine cover crash knobs fitted
Performance exhaust system fitted
Alternate rear sprockets kit
Rear stand pickups to enable race stand to be used
Graphics kit
For $4699.00 all parts will be fitted and race prepped ready to ride.

All new GP Juniors Cup Road Racing program launched!

LOGO MAP

The future of Australian junior road racing is looking intensely exciting with the introduction of a one make racing series for 2017 for 12 to under 16 year olds as GP Juniors Australia and Motorcycling Australia are pleased to announce 2017 will see the introduction of a new Junior Road Racing development program, designed to be more accessible, affordable and harvest optimal opportunities for young, aspiring road racers. The introduction of a single-make production-based road racing class, formulated to develop race craft and highlight upcoming talent, will form the platform to increase grids and identify Australia’s next future national and world champions.
Partnering with GP Juniors Australia and assisted by Yamaha Motor Australia, both of whom share MA’s vision to build a production based feeder program where talent rather than budget determines the outcome. The new GP Juniors Cup will utilise the highly dynamic Yamaha R15 plus race kit parts for a bargain price of $4,499.00 or race prepared for $4,699.00 – excluding race tyres. GP Juniors Australia will also offer a fleet of R15s available to lease on a round by round basis for those wanting try road racing before making the commitment to purchase their own bike.
The class will be open to juniors aged between 12-years-old to under 16-years-old and will be introduced in two-stages. In 2017 the GP Juniors Cup will form part of the GP Juniors Australia Championship, three rounds of which will feature at the Australian Superbike Championship.
In 2018 the GP Juniors Cup will become a permanent feature of MA’s ASBK championship, showcasing junior talent in front of the factory teams and on ASBK TV, with the winner of the 2018 title taking home a race prepped Yamaha R3 Cup machine!
MA’s Operations and Events Director Martin Port, who has been working tirelessly behind the scenes to support GP Juniors Australia to broaden the prospects for young road racers, explains where the motivation has branched from in creating the GP Juniors Cup.
“It’s MA’s vision to create and strengthen pathways for our young hopefuls to make it to the national and possibly the world stage. The GP Juniors Cup is a significant step in achieving this and MA is excited at the prospect of working with GP Juniors Australia promotor Mark Bracks to make this a reality,” he shared.
“You only need to look to Italy and Spain to see what works, both countries have been dominating the world stage for the past decade. This success in Europe is a result of nationally run, highly contested single-make racing programs; developing the necessary skills to fight for world titles at an age most Australian road races only start on the tarmac.
“MA’s mission is to open the sport of road racing to a younger generation of riders through a platform that teaches race craft and rider development at both state and national levels. It’s not about the haves and have nots, it’s about a level playing field so talent can shine.”
Bracks also shared his excitement on the single make, production based feeder class, “It’s great to be working with MA to be part of a fantastic developmental program for Aussie junior road racers, who are the future of our sport both domestically and globally.
“With a proposed six round calendar in 2017 for the GP Junior Championship, three rounds featuring at ASBK, Australian GP Juniors Cup rider’s will gain invaluable experience not only on track, but off track as well, with mentoring and guidance provided by well-known Australian motorcycle racing legends.
“To make it even easier to get into the GP Juniors Cup, GP Juniors Australia is offering a leasing program for the race ready Yamaha R15, which will be transported to every round and maintained by GP Juniors Australia. This opens up the sport for more kids from junior mx, speedway or flat rack to have a crack at road racing,” shared Bracks.
“The pathway created by the MRRDA and GP Juniors Australia have seen over 12 riders move onto international competition two of which are Jack Miller and Mike Jones so the pathway has already been established. Besides that, Daniel Falzon, Josh Hook, Troy Guenther, Sam Clarke, Jed Metcher, Callum Anderson, Locky Taylor, Ollie Simpson, Benjamin Currie and many others have all come through the junior program.

“This year over half of the field in the Proddie and Supersport classes came through the MRRDA before going to the nationals.

Yamaha Motor Australia Managing Director, Steven Cotterell had this to say about the GP Juniors Cup, “Yamaha has a long history of supporting up and coming riders in both road and off road competition. Many international and national stars had their first riding experience on a Yamaha PW50 and have worked their way up through the many Yamaha step up classes on the way to stardom.
“In road racing, Yamaha already supports riders on the YZF-R1, YZF-R6 and more recently the YZF-R3. It was only natural that Yamaha supported junior racing with the YZF-R15. The “We R Family” concept is now complete and Yamaha now has an avenue to truly leverage its bLU cRU customers right throughout their road racing careers.
“We are looking forward to help grow the junior ranks alongside Motorcycling Australia and provide them with the best package to get involved in the sport of road racing,” concluded Cotterell.
What’s include for $4,499.00:
Yamaha R15
Race fairing set
Braided steel front brake line
Lower set handlebars
Adjustment plates for rear set footpegs
Engine cover crash knobs fitted
Performance exhaust system fitted
Alternate rear sprockets kit
Rear stand pickups to enable race stand to be used
Graphics kit
The 2017 Australian Superbike Championship rounds where GP Juniors Cup will run:
Round 2 – March 17-19 – Wakefield Park Raceway
Round 3 – April 28-10 – Winton Motor Raceway
Round 5 – August 25-27 – Morgan Park Raceway
For more information on the GP Juniors Cup, leave a comment here, check out the GP Juniors Australia Facebook page or contact Mark Bracks via markbracks111@gmail.com

GP Juniors Final Fling at Winton

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Scott Nicholson set up a winning lead in leg 2 when his title rival, Joel Kelso was forced to start the race from Pit Lane – pic courtesy of Keith Muir

The weekend of the fourth and final round of the GP Juniors Australian Junior Road Racing Championships at Winton is done and dusted, and what an absolutely sensational weekend it was.

Being an official part of the YMF Australian Superbike Championship was a moment that was not lost on the kids that competed, nor for the families.

The 14 bikes were split into three classes with the best turnout of 150s for years, with six on the grid, accompanied by five in the 70cc class and three in the up to 85cc class.

It was the strongest field of the year, and even with a couple of late cancellations there were 14 entries including two cross-entries from the 300cc Production category with MRRDA/GP Junior graduates Reid Battye and Zane Ford showing support by entering the races.

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The line-up of youngsters that took part in the historic event. In a few years, some could be household names.

Going into the meeting, the fastest bikes in the field  are  the 85cc class and Joel Kelso (JDS Moto RMU 80) was a solitary point in front of Victorian, Scott Nicholson (G Williams MC Eng Honda RS85) with Peter Terlich (RMU GP80) a distant third. In the 150cc class Ben Bramich (Ron Angel Racing Honda CBR 150) had a commanding 29 point buffer over Ned Faulkhead with Jack Cousens third, while in the toddler, 12 inch wheel, 70cc two strokes Travis Hall held a 27 points lead over Ben Baker and Travis’ brother, Joshua in third.

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After the weekend, three of these riders would have the honour of being an Australian Champion.

A special mention has to go to Sandgroper, Stephen O’Brien and his son, Callum. They had a last minute hiccup in flying to Melbourne, so Stephen drove instead. That’s commitment.

The final round saw the race debut in Australia of the little Suzuki GSX-150 and what a little head turner they are. The occasion may not be too large in the scheme of things but as far as the GP Juniors is concerned it is a beacon and will be seriously considered as a contender for the future.

The four Suzukis were the centre of attention all weekend, no more so than the trio of teenagers who were picked to ride them. The three teenagers that were to ride them were Jack Cousins, Ned Faulkhead and Callum O’Brien. Jack tested the bike at Eastern Creek a few weeks previously and loved the bike. Ned’s bike had lunched itself the week before at the Vic Champs and after Callum’s massive trek across the country, it wasn’t surprising that he was offered one of the new steeds.

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The three pilots ready to head out for the first time on the Suzukis. A saturated track was no dampener.

Suzuki Australia shipped four into the country and they were all at the track with three of them to be raced and one to be used as a spare. A big thanks to Lewis Croft from Suzuki for allowing them to be put on track.

A massive thanks to Dave Cousens for picking the bikes up and providing transport to Winton, as well as, loaning his Honda CBR 150 to Reid Battye for the weekend. Great effort.

Arriving at the track on Thursday afternoon it appeared that a flood was not far off; the ground sodden with more puddles and mini lakes making the walk through the paddock a shoe soaking .

As everyone was setting up the signs weren’t good for a dry weekend but that didn’t lessons the spirits no matter what heavens were dumping.

Friday dawned wet and miserable with everyone up early to take part in a track walk. Thanks to the officials for allowing this to take place as it was very important for the youngsters to have a look at the track. In drizzling rain they headed off with Aussie and world champion Steve Martin who passed on some tips as to how to approach the track in the miserable conditions.

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Steve Martin led the way with the track walk, in the wet.

Soon after the inspection, the kids were given their very own riders’ briefing by Clerk of the Course, Tom Williams. Tom explained the procedure of the meeting, safety and what would be in store for them in their first meeting with the championship proper.

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Clerk of the Course, Tom Williams, addresses the kids and their parents in the riders’ briefing.

Friday free practice was a drawn out affairs with the two sessions but plenty of time to set up the pit garages and for the kids to do what they normally do when not on track; being kids!

To see all the bikes lined up in pit lane waiting to go out in their first session was a proud moment. Even though it was wet, most of the riders were champing at the bit to get out there, particularly the lads on the little Gixxers, all eager to debut the bikes.1x1a9995sml

Reid Battye was straight into it and took the fastest spot on a sodden track with streams of run soaking wet track and an 11.4 deg air temp stunned his rivals, displaying the worth of racing in the 300cc Production Championship. His rivals were agog with 150cc series leader, Ben Bramich exclaiming, “he came past me with his knee on the deck through a big stream of water!”

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Reid Battye head down and on the gas.

The weather caused many riders, from all classes to crash, but after the two sessions the GP Junior competitors could feel happy that they had added just one to the crash tally. An exceptional effort in the sketchy and variable conditions.

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Callum O’Brien made the trip all the way from WA to sample the new Gixxer

Day’s end had Scott Nicholson (second in the 85cc class behind Joel Kelso by a solitary point) at the top of the time-sheets a position he maintained in Saturday morning’s qualifying session

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Qualifying.

Saturday dawned a shade brighter for the qualifying session and Scott Nicholson carried on from his overall fastest time of the previous day, the track was dry. Zane Ford was the fastest 150cc machine with Ben baker the fastest of the 70cc machines. Hard luck story of the session was young Luke Power, who didn’t complete a lap, a dodgy throttle cable the culprit. As such, he had to start all races from the rear of the grid, which was a shame as he is one rapid beginner on his big wheel Metrakit 70cc. During the second practice session he followed Nicholson for a few laps and ended up second fastest!

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Luke Power ready for action.

RACE ONE

The opening leg was the last race on the program on Saturday afternoon and it set the scene for the final two races of the year.

From the outset, the racing was exceptional with pockets of action throughout the entire field.

Up front, Nicholson launched off the line in the lead with Kelso in pursuit as the pair quickly broke away from the rest to continue their season long jousts with  the lead changing many times including one lap where they swapped positions three times. Every lap was a cracker.

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85cc Two-stroke champion and fastest rider all year, Joel Kelso. Not bad for 13-years-old.

Behind them, Joshua Hall (Metrakit GP70) and Ben Baker (Honda RS65) battled for the final top three place and not far behind were the 150cc machines of Bramich and Battye along with Zane Ford on his Yamaha R15. The trio had a great duel for sixth position .

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70cc Two-Stroke class victor, Travi Hall leads his main rival, Ben Baker into T3

As for the Suzukis, while they were not up the front, they were very evenly matched with Cousens, O’Brien and Faulkhead line astern, trying to outsmart the other at every opportunity.

Kelso grabbed the lead on the final lap and retained it to the chequered flag from Nicholson with Joshua Hall claiming third spot by just two-tenths of a second from Baker with Peter Nerlich (RMU GP80) fifth, with Zane Ford leading the Honda 150s home from Battye and Bramich.

In the race debut of the Suzuki Gixxer, Cousens had first bragging rights when he claimed the win from O’Brien and Faulkhead, all covered by .

With his win, Kelso increased his championship lead to six points but that was to take a setback in the next race on Sunday morning.

RACE TWO

The contrast in the weather of the previous three days with Sunday’s cloudless skies was surreal. It was hard to fathom that it could be such a beautiful day but trekking over the sodden spectator viewing areas brought one back to reality.

There was drama at the start of the second leg when Joel Kelso didn’t make it out for the warm up laps and as such had to start the race from Pit Lane. With that development, the only one that would beat Nicholson was himself and he launched off the line and was never threatened and took the win by 15 seconds.

The same can’t be said for the action behind, as while Kelso was scything his way through the field to salvage as many points as possible, the rest continued their entertaining jousts. Benny Baker claimed third from Terlich with Josh Hall fifth in front of his brother.

In the Honda 150s, Ford again took the class honours (and seventh overall) from a hard charging, Bramich, both of them swapping places a few times and the extra competition ensuring Bramich had to dig deep to stay in touch while learning the craft as he mixed with riders with a lot more fairing rubbing experience Battye was a casualty and posted a DNF.

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Ben Bramich showing a bit of style on his way to taking out the Australian150cc Four-stroke title.

O’Brien turned the tables on Cousins to take the win by just 0.034 of a second in the Suzuki trio with Faulkhead third.

RACE THREE

With his win, Scott pulled  back five points on the bloodnut, Kelso, so it was all or nothing for championship honours in the final race of the year and the pair didn’t disappoint as they stalked each other, waiting for one to make a mistake to pounce, but none was to be had. Again it came to the final lap when Kelso out-braked Nicholson in the final corners to take the win and the title.

The 150s were extremely entertaining again, with Battye, Ford and Bramich at each other but it came unstuck for Battye again when he lost the front end at the final corner on the second lap, to slide out of the race.

As was the case in the previous two races the little Suzukis were line astern, but Callum O’Brien, succumbed to the pressure and slid onto the grass on the second lap. With next to no damage he remounted to finish the race with Jack Cousins  taking the win from Faulkhead.

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The Suzukis were about this close all weekend.

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As for the overall results of the weekend and the championship, on the day, Joel won the 85cc class from Nicholson and Peter Terlich and that is the way they finished off the year.

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Three-times Superbike World Champion, Troy Bayliss presented some of the awards. Pic courtesy of Andrew Gosling.

In the 150cc class, Zane Ford took the day with three wins from Ben Bramich with Jack Cousins third on the day. Young Jack the lad also had bragging rights for the Suzukis, after two wins and a second in the “Battle of the GIxxers.”.

Ben Bramich was crowned  the 150cc Australian Champion with Ned Faulkhead second and Jack Cousins third overall.

Finally in the 70cc class Ben Baker won the 70s from Baker who won the weekend but it was not enough to overhaul Travis Hall who’s won the title with his brother Joshua, third on the day and overall for the year.

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The three Australian Junior Champions (l-r) Travis Hall, 70cc Two-stroke, Joel Kelso, 85cc Two-stroke and Ben Bramich, 150cc Four-stroke.

It was a great weekend and the efforts of the kids were not lost with the officials, older riders as well as spectators with many expressing their delight at seeing the kids on track and how competitive, how fast and safe they are. A great end to the year and it provides a springboard for the future.

The next stop to finish the year off was the Red Bull Rookies Cup selection trials and the try outs for the All Asia Talent Cup later in the month.

GP Juniors would like to thank many that had a hand in the year. Thanks to the staff at Motorcycling Australia, Preston MCC. St George MCC, The Motorcycle Sportsmen Club of Qld, Darren Bramich, Darren Sciberas, 5-Star Trophies, Dave Cousins, Suzuki Australia, Lewis Croft, Chris Baker, Paul Edwards, Alan Redman, Stuart Brown and many others that assisted to add in the success of GP Juniors Australia 2016.

2017 is looking like an even bigger and more successful year.

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Bikes Tested At SMSP.

The evaluation day at the Southern Circuit of Sydney Motorsport Park was organised by Motorcycling Australia to evaluate a new range of bikes at a MotoDNA training and ride day that had the track booked for the day.

A couple of the current crop of GP Juniors, Jack Cousins and Ben Baker, attended plus a recent graduate and current 300cc Production class front-runner, Reid Battye, took advantage of the day to test and evaluate the prospective candidates of competition that may be suitable for the next few years in the GP Juniors Australian Road Racing Championships.

In all there was 13 youngsters there riding and learning. After each session, instructors and successful racers, Peter Goddard and Mark Willis took them into a classroom to go through their track riding skills and offer advice and coaching.

At the moment the classes of GP Juniors are split between two age groups; The “Nippers” class for the 9-12 year olds while the “Seniors” class is for 12-16 year olds.

The final decision on the bikes to be used is yet to be decided but the bikes that were tested gives a good indication that there will be some good learning tools for the youngsters to develop their craft.

The bikes that were put through their paces and flogged all day by the kids , and others, were the Yamaha R15 while making its debut in Australia was the Suzuki Gixxer 150. The Gixxers are built in India and there is a well-established race series over there and other parts of Asia for the little bikes. Four of the “Gixxers” arrived in the country last week for the sole purpose of evolution for the future. Jack Cousins – who made the trek from Melbourne with his dad, David, just to ride the new bikes – had the bragging rights of being the first to ride on in Australia. On his return to the pits after his first stint he was very impressed with the performance of the bike considering there were straight out of the crate as they were raced in India.

For the younger brigade the a variety of 12” wheel machines were ridden all day as well. They were the Honda Grom, the Kawasaki Z125, the Kayo 150cc and the Honda NSF100cc machines.

Here are Reid Battye’s impressions of the 150cc machines:

The Yamaha had a good feeling around the sharp corners and the brakes were really responsive, in the change of direction the Yammie was a bit slow and felt a bit soft in the front. The acceleration was really good on the Yamaha but the top end was letting it down just a little. All in all it felt like a really good bike to ride.

The Suzuki 150 was a great bike to ride straight out of the box. The bike felt like it was on rails the whole time even without the good tyres. The Suzi’s stopping ability was not the best but with a bit better brake pads it would be 10x better. The bikes power was good once it was in its range but the limiter seemed very low and the initial acceleration was a bit dull. In the end I was starting to prefer this bike over the yammie and with a bit more development i think it will be at the top. These two bikes were both a pleasure to ride and the value for money on one of these two bikes would definitely be the Suzuki as it is just as good as the rest of them.

Suzuki 150-8/10
Yamaha R15-8/10

Looks
Suzuki 10/10
Yamaha 8/10

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GP Juniors Sparkle Under The Queensland Clouds for Rd 2

GP Juniors Sparkle Under The Queensland Clouds

The second round of this year’s GP Juniors Australian Road Racing Championships took place at Morgan Park (Qld) on 18-19 June and the youngsters, as per usual, put on some enthralling racing. In fact, it was the closest class of racing of the entire weekend.

Unfortunately, the meeting had to be abandoned at lunchtime on Sunday when the vicious storm cell attacked the circuit and as such the young tackers only completed two of their scheduled four races

The juniors were made very welcome by the meeting’s promoter, Motorcycle Sportsmen club as part of the third round of the Southern Downs Racing Series and the Queensland Road Racing Championships. The welcome commenced on Thursday when the kids – who had made the trek from as far away as southern Victoria – were given some training by Dave Fuller and his crew of top coaches and instructors.

The assistance was invaluable as the coaches led the kids on slow laps to explain the lines and then cut the track up into sections before a complete track walk.

The weekend was almost over for Peter Nerlich and his Dad, Bill when they had six bikes stolen from their locked garage in Melbourne in the week before the event.

Of course, they were devastated with the crime, but they were more overwhelmed with the camaraderie and family atmosphere of GP Juniors as a variety of people loaned machines, engines and anything else they needed to be able to get out on track. A very impressive reflection on the close knit group that the GP Juniors clan is.

Most the kids were new to the technical and bumpy Morgan Park layout but with the Thursday and Friday practice days, by the time qualifying came around on Saturday morning, all of them had a good knowledge of the track.

One rider making his road racing debut was 12-year-old Oli Bayliss, son of three-times Superbike World Champion and GP winner, Troy and he quickly settled in to be competitive after the first practices.

The kids in the three classes compete in the same race and it was Joel Kelso who took his second pole position from his main title rival, Scott Nicholson with Travis Hall rounding out the front row in third fastest to lead the way in the 70cc two-stroke class. It was a remarkable effort by Travis on the little 70cc machine to be in front of older riders on larger capacity machines.

In the opening race on Saturday afternoon, the 80/85cc two-strokes led the way from the rest of the pack. Nicholson and Kelso quickly broke away to, yet again, become embroiled in a duel that continued until the chequered flag.

The pair swapped the lead numerous times over the five laps but it was Kelso who grabbed the top spot by just 0.119 of a second in the drag to the line, but Nicholson had the consolation of claiming a new outright junior lap record of 1:31.756, a remarkable time that would have put him and Kelso in the top six riders in the F4 400cc class!
Peter Nerlich gained some satisfaction after a wretched week with third place while Travis Hall was the first 70cc machine home in fourth place overall, just 0.024sec in front of Ben Baker for second and Travis’ brother, Joshua taking third. Baker had some consolation by recording the fastest lap of the weekend in the 70cc class. with a 1:34.270 – the only rider in the 70cc class to record a sub 1:35 lap!
Ben Bramich took out 160cc four-stroke class with fast learner, Ned Faulkhead in second.
Lap records were set in all three classes. Ben Bramich claimed the lap record in the 160cc four-stroke class as he took the win and a 1:39.399 lap during the race.
The times of these young tackers truly belie their teenage years and more so for their lack of experience in road racing.

Post race back in the pits there were “high-fives” all round as the youngsters looked at the result sheets and realised that many had put in personal best lap times. An inspiring sight.

Sunday downed under threatening skies, that  caused the nerves of the kids to build and the nerves of the mums and dads to reach another level as well.

One rider who was excited about the prospect of a wet track was Jack Cousens who couldn’t wait to get out there.

The track was wet when the GP Juniors hit the track, but the rain had ceased, for the time being.

The nerves were very evident on the grid – and along pit wall – as the riders faced the starter. The lights went out and the field charged off with an impressive start from Cousens to tag onto the back of the duo of Nicholson and Kelso. It was set for a duel, but on the third lap (of six) the red flag came out after Oli Bayliss crashed at turn 3 requiring medical assistance as he sampled the bitumen for the first time in his first road race meeting. He was ok, with severe bruising and is keen to return to the track ASAP, although his Mum, Kim wasn’t too impressed!

In the restart, it was a repeat performance with Nicholson, Cousens and Kelso, duct-tapped together as the trio swapped positions a monumental amount of times as Cousens proved that he has webbed feet. He absolutely loved the sketchy conditions as he spent a great deal of the race in the lead.

At the completion of each lap, the trio were locked together and so it all came down to that final drag to the lead. Cousens led onto the straight and looked like he might hold on to claim his first road racing win but Nicholson pipped him right at the stripe with Kelso third, the trio separated by just 0.094 of a second. Remarkable, but then, we should be used to it, as every race has been fought out to the very end. Travis Hall again took out the 70cc class from Baker and dirt track dynamo, John Lytras, third.

The tables were turned in the 160cc class as Faulkhead took the win,  demonstrating his dirt track heritage as he mastered the conditions, to claim his first overall round win from Bramich.

Unfortunately, that was all the racing to be completed on the weekend, as just on lunchtime the heavens opened, the massive deluge forcing the abandonment of the meeting, however, many onlookers related that the GP Juniors were the most exciting racing of the weekend.

“I felt really good this weekend,” explained Nicholson. “It’s a shame we couldn’t get out for the last two races due to the weather but I’ve had so much fun this weekend hanging out with my mates and having some good battles. It was an awesome weekend for us.”

GP Juniors would like to extend a massive thanks and appreciation to Motorcycle Sportsmen for making us welcome and also assisting with some financial help for GP Juniors along with Ricondi Leathers for picking up the tab for the trophies along with Dave Fuller, and his coaches, for thei assistance, guidance and training to the boys over the weekend.

As for myself, I’d like to express my gratitude for everyone that put in the effort to head to Morgan Park and to see people of the calibre of Troy and Kim Bayliss supporting the series with their son, Oli makes me feel very humble. Hope to see you at some more events.

A difficult decision had to be made on Sunday afternoon but I feel that it was the right one in the conditions.

Finally, it is very satisfying to be involved with GP Juniors and to see the camaraderie, friendship and loads of banter that happens in the pits during the course of the weekend The behaviour of these young adults is truly inspirational. All of them could teach many a thing, or two.

Congratulations and thanks to all involved.

Rd 2 GPJA results 1