GP Juniors Australia (formally the MRRDA) kicked off the new 2016 season at Broadford State Motorcycle Complex (Vic) on 9-10 April with the first round of the Australian Junior Road Racing Championships, held with the opening round of the Victorian Road Racing Championships.
13 entires for the juniors were the healthiest turnout at the track in some years with the best supported being the 70cc class for 9-12 year-olds with six entries. This was double the amount of competitors in the class in 2015.
The kids had three, very entertaining six-lap races (the classes all combined), over the weekend, with the battles not limited to the action at the front as some very intense competition unfolded through the field.
Up front, it was Scott Nicholson, Joel Kelso and Peter Nerlich who led the way. It was Kelso’s first start in the class after competing the 70cc class for the last few years. Nicholson was competing in three classes (125cc GP and 300cc Production) over the weekend while Nerlich has improved immensely as he constantly hounded the leading pair.
Kelso took one win but it was Nicolson with two wins and a second that took the major silverware from Kelso with Nerllch third overall.
The battles in the 70cc class between Ben Baker and Travis Hall was absolutely enthralling. The pair were rarely more than a bike-length apart in every race, amply demonstrated at the end of every lap as they crossed the start line side-by-side. The second race went the way of Baker by just 0.02 second!
It came down to the last race with the chance of Baker taking three from three but, sadly, a mechanical woe decided the outcome as he came to a halt on the start finish line after three laps. He was absolutely distraught with disappointment, and just shows how much the little tackers put into their racing.
The retirement gave Travis the race win and the round overall from another rapid improver, John Lytras with Travis’ brother, Joshua third.
In the 160cc class there were two competitors, with last year’s series victor, Ben Bramich continued to ride the well worn Honda CBR150 with another new comer, Ned Faulkhead competing the class. While there were only two competitors, it didn’t preclude the pair from having some tremendous tussles with others in the field.
All the juniors were grouped together in the pits and it ensured there was a real family atmosphere to the event. It was inspiring to see the enthusiasm and unbridled joy of the kids racing and getting on so well together, in between races and in the evenings, as they mucked around with a motorbike never far away. Every one of them had an absolute ball and was a good reflection of the camaraderie of the sport.
The fun wasn’t only confined to the bitumen as at day’s end they were allowed to sample the motard track in one of the practice sessions. The chance was enthusiastically received with a variety of dirt bikes on hand for the kids to ride, a few of them kindly supplied by sidecar racer, Justin Foot.
The next round of the Australian Junior Road Racing Championships is at Morgan Park (Warwick, Qld), 18-19 June
70cc ROUND POINTS
1 Travis HALL 20 20 25 65
2 John LYTRAS 18 17 20 55
3 Joshua HALL 17 18 18 53
4 Ben BAKER 25 25 0 50
5 Taiyo AKSU 15 15 17 47
6 Thomas BROWN 16 16 0 32
85cc ROUND POINTS
1 Scott NICHOLSON 25 20 25 70
2 Joel KELSO 18 25 20 63
3 Peter NERLICH 20 18 18 56
160cc ROUND POINTS
1 Ben BRAMICH 25 25 25 75
2 Ned FAULKHEAD 20 20 20 60