2020 ASBK bLU cRU Oceania Junior Cup
Round One – Phillip Island
By Craig Carroll – Images by Rob Mott
Oceania Junior Cup – Qualifying
Following on from the Inaugural bLU cRU Oceania Junior Cup of 2019 which launched the international careers of Carter Thompson and Max Gibbons on to the Asia Talent Cup, the 2020 season started with a slightly slimmed down field as 19 riders gridded up for the season opener.
Tom Drane took Pole Position in qualifying followed by Hayden Nelson and Queensland newcomer Henry Snell rounded out the front row of the grid. Lucas Quinn, Marianos Nikolis, Angus Grenfell, Cameron Swain, Lincoln Knight and Jai Russo completed the front three rows.
Oceania Junior Cup – Race One
Out of Pole Position Drane took the holeshot to lead the field into turn two but was soon passed by Marianos Nikolis. By the end of lap one we saw a group of five tearing away from the rest of the field, stretching away to a gap of 2.4-seconds.
The front group changed positions seemingly at every turn with Quinn, Nikolis and Grenfell taking the reins as the aggressors of the group.
The youngest competitor in the field, 11-year-old newcomer Cameron Swain broke away from the second pack of eight riders to take up the chase but was unable to catch the tow of the front group.
The race finished with a five-way drag to the line out of turn 12 with Lucas Quinn taking out the first race win of the season over Marianos Nikolis in a photo finish by 0.007, followed by Grenfell in P3 only 0.257 behind, P4 Dunker 0.315 and P5 Drane 0.486s.
Cameron Swain crossed the line for sixth, 4.532 seconds behind the race winner but some 10-seconds ahead of the second group of riders.
Fastest Lap was 2:14.792 by Lucas QUINN (QLD)
Oceania Junior Cup – Race Two
Race Two was a very different affair with a far larger group of 12 (having learnt from Race One), breaking away from the rest of the field, the same group remaining together to the end of the race but switching positions at every available opportunity.
Once again Quinn, Nikolis and Grenfell where the aggressors and remained in the top five positions as they completed each lap, along with Drane, Swain, Nelson and Dunker taking turns with the remainder of the 12-pack in close tow.
The last lap saw Grenfell slip back to 10th and get swamped after scraping a peg over Lukey, the field bunched four-riders wide around the final turns and the gaggle then blasted onto the straight. Lucas Quinn crossing the line again in P1 in another close finish to P2 Marianos Nikolis .019, P3 Hayden Nelson .146, P4 Lincoln Knight .190 who was in 11th position at the start of the lap, P5 Cameron Swain .203 and Clay Clegg .231.
A 10-second jump-start penalty was imposed on Marianos Nikolis however which relegated him to P12, while promoting Hayden Nelson to P2 and Lincoln Knight to the podium at P3.
Fastest Lap was 2:12.754 by Jai RUSSO (NSW) who finished P8
Oceania Junior Cup – Race Three
By the time the third and final race of the weekend was staged the OJC riders now had a lot more experience under their belts and had learned many lessions in the opening two bouts.
As a result the small lead pack of the opening grew instead to a long grouping of the whole field that eventually saw the top 15 finishing within a second of the leader.
At the front of the group though were the usual suspects we had seen leading each lap of the previous races being Nikolis, Drane, Quinn, Swain, Grenfell, Dunker and also Jai Jusso who had now started to stamp his authority at the front of the race.
Race 3 concluded with the closest finish of the round and was taken out again by the round winner in a clean sweep for Lucas Quinn who certainly has a knack of putting himself in the right position as he enters the final straight at Phillip Island.
A photo finish to P2 Marianos Nikolis .003, P3 Tom Drane .087, P4 Cameron Dunker .102, P5 Hayden Nelson .170, P6 Lincoln Knight, .178, P7 Henry Snell .244, P8 Cameron Swain .294, P9 Clay Clegg .349 and not yet mentioned P10 Nate O’Neill from Qld .439 rounding out the top 10.
Fastest Lap was 2:14.527 by Jamie PORT (VIC) who finished the race P15
Oceania Junior Cup – Round One Results
Lucas Quinn (Qld) the overall round winner courtesy of his clean sweep.
Second for the round is Marianos Nikolas (NSW) while consistent point scorer for the weekend Cameron Dunker (NSW) rounded out the overall podium.
For a young group of riders, some as young as 11, they certainly showed their professionalism with minimal incidents throughout the event, which was definitely a step up from the inaugural 2019 season.
ASBK and the bLU cRU Oceania Junior Cup next heads to Wakefield Park late this month, the Goulburn circuit playing host to the series over the March 27-29 weekend.
Oceania Junior Cup Race/Qualifying Results
|DNF||Casey MIDDLETON||1 Lap||142|