In Part 2 the GP Juniors head to Morgan Park for two days of training thanks to Garry McCoy, Advanced Rider Training and the Motorcycle Sportsmen Club, including their qualifying report heading into the two days of racing. You can find Part 2 here: GP Juniors go to school at Morgan Park (link).
As mentioned in Part 2, while it was the third round of the fledgling GP Juniors Cup, it was the first round of the GP Juniors Australia round for the 70cc and 85cc machines, and all bikes would be on the track at the same time, a total of 14 with eight Yamaha R15s, three 85cc and three 70cc machines.
The first GP Juniors race opened the afternoon’s proceedings after lunch and the kids drew plenty of attention with many folk heading to the fences to watch the action, however the rain had been falling on and off as the kids went out on a wet track, the conditions sure to add to the anticipated action.
There were a few nerves on display, but that was more from the parents than the kids, who just wanted to get out there and have some fun, no matter the conditions. When the lights went out and immediately after the start it was evident that these young up and comers were not just going to be dawdling.
Brown got away to a handy lead, putting more faith in his wet weather tyres than others and had over a second lead by the end of the first lap from Voight and Bunting.
Behind them there was a bunch of six riders that were all over the place sometimes three wide going into the corners which was graphically reflected in the on-board camera action that was captured.
All on Yamaha R15s, Nelson, Adamson, Khouri, Pettendy, Edwards, Lytras and Baker were never more than a couple of bike lengths apart during the opening laps around the two kilometre track. It was enthralling racing with slipstreaming, late braking and pure muscle making and losing places, although Adamson slowly broke away from the pack.
Brown was inch perfect at the front and led them home by 18 seconds from Voight, who was leading the 70cc machines home with Bunting right in his wheel tracks for third overall. In fourth Nelson prevailed just holding off the attentions of Adamson, who in a perfect debut in the GP Juniors Cup took out the class win by three seconds from Khouri, with Lytras a further four seconds away in third.
The woes continued for Travis Hall on his recalcitrant two-stroke as his bike expired soon after the start and he cut a somewhat dejected figure in the pits afterwards.
As has become the norm with the GP Juniors in recent times, as their next race approached the heavens opened. It started off as a shower but soon turned to a downpour and as such officials decided to give the weather five minutes to clear. It did exactly the opposite and proceeded absolutely bucket down in a repeat performance of what caused the cancelling of the meeting a year previously with similar conditions.
Officials had no choice except to postpone the rest of the afternoon’s racing in the hope that clear skies would prevail the next day to complete the entire program.
The sun did appear early Sunday morning but there was still plenty of residual wetness around. the juniors were again first out on track, and it was still very wet, providing yet another challenge to the young novices.
As in race one, Brown took the early lead on his Metrakit but just when it appeared he was going to do another disappearing act, he launched himself skywards exiting turn four and tumbled into the dirt.
It appeared to knock the wind out of him, and as he regained his thoughts, the race was red-flagged to attend him. He suffered no serious injury but banged himself up and as he was the cause of the red flag was not permitted to join the restart.
The restart was reduced to four laps but that didn’t lessen the entertainment. Vought on his 70cc machine hit the front early to settle into the lead from similarly mounted Nelson, with Bunting on an 85cc Honda in third. Right behind him were the marauding pack of R15s as Tom Edwards led the charge to mix it with the two strokes providing some enthralling dicing.
From the outside, to the uninitiated, it may be hard to understand a 70cc or 85cc machine being so much faster than a 150cc, but it pays to bear in mind that they have the options of slicks, as well as wet weather tyres, they are much lighter and more aerodynamic, and possess the snap of a two-stroke.
The kids continued to show remarkable riding maturity in their close proximity racing with the different characteristics of the two and four-strokes. On his way to a 4.8 second outright victory over Nelson, Voight even managed an average lap speed of 101.925 km/h.
Bunting was third overall and the first 85cc machine while Edwards took out the GP Juniors Cup class from Pettendy, with race one winner, Adamson third. Six of the GP Juniors Cup riders crossed the line within 1.336 sec of each other, after being even closer during the race until the last lap scramble commenced.
The sun was out for the rest of the day, so the next two races were held on a dry track and this is what people wanted to see – most notably the parents! As the lap times improved, the racing was more intense and the kids carved different lines around the track than you would see in a school detention class. They were all over each other.
The third race was arguably the most entertaining of the day simply because Tom Edwards rode the wheels off his R15 embroiled in a race long stoush with the two-strokes of Brown, Joshua Hall, and Voight, with the rest of the GP Juniors Cup riders right behind.
After six laps the four at the front were covered by just 1.297 secs with Brown leading home Edwards from Hall and Voight, with the battle for second covered by 0.308 sec. It was hard to know which way to look as there were pockets of battles such as for second in the GP Juniors Cup, where Lytras greeted the chequered just 0.031 seconds over Baker. Simply remarkable racing.
The final race of the day threw up another winner when Ben Baker swapped his 150 for his old Honda RS85 and disappeared from the line to win the race by an astonishing 37 seconds with an average speed of 112.490 km/h!
Brown was second with Voight taking third overall and first in the 70cc from Josh Hall and Bunting, the trio split by 0.349 second.
The battles in the GP Juniors Cup intensified and Edwards had to fight hard for his class win as he battled with Lytras, getting to the line by just 0.203 seconds to secure the round win and sixth in the race.
The battle for third in the class determined who finished second overall for the weekend as Adamson prevailed over Stauffer and Khouri by another extremely small margin, the trio crossing the line 0.208 seconds apart as Nelson claimed third in the 70cc class just 0.032 second behind Khouri.
Fittingly there were masses of cheers and handshakes when they all returned to the pits and a good crowd of supporters turned up for the presentation of the class awards as well as the Australian Motor Cycle News MAC Points award, all happily presented by three-times Superbike World Champion, Troy Bayliss.
Tom Edwards again took out the GP Juniors Cup to make it three round wins out of three but he is having to work harder at every round as his competition gets closer. While he is the oldest and most experienced of his class mates, he provides an excellent benchmark for the others to judge their progress by and his involvement will only help the others develop.
Edwards topped off an almost perfect weekend as he also took out the Australian Motor Cycle News MAC Award which is for conduct off the track with Marketability, Character and Attitude the three attributes that are judged by three different people.
“It’s been a fantastic week here. We have all learnt so much with Garry and other coaches plus racing around this place is so much fun. We had some great battle out there and even though I am leading, I will have to be on my toes for the rest of the year as some of the boys are getting very quick. To win the MAC Award means a lot, too.”
The competition in every race was of an extremely high standard with some excellent battles as positions constantly changed from one corner to the next. And considering the variable and challenging conditions in two of the races, the kids showed how talented they are with machine control reflected with very few whoopsie moments over the weekend compared to many of the other classes.
The riding maturity and display of racecraft improved at every outing for every rider and the inclement conditions allowed a number of riders to shine, as well as newcomers like Tristan Adamson, Zak Pettendy and Zylas Bunting demonstrating that they have the talent that will make them a force in the future against their more experienced road racing peers.
Overall, the kids had a very productive week to enhance their learning and training with the two days at Garry McCoy’s Cooyar concern, as well as two days of coaching at Morgan Park, topped off with over two dozen race laps around the technical Morgan Park circuit.
GP Juniors Australia promotor, Mark Bracks was extremely happy with the weekend.
“It has been a very special week for all these kids and many saw the talent and riding maturity they have on a racetrack. We hope that the GP Juniors Australia may become a regular visitor to Morgan Park as it is such a great place for them to learn. I would like to thank, Garry McCoy, GMC Cooyar Dave Fuller and Advanced Rider Training and especially, Paul Dawson and Simon Dickson from the Motorcycle Sportsmen for allowing us the opportunity they have provided, and how welcome they made everyone feel from GP Juniors Austrtalia. We look forward to coming back and for the GP Juniors Australia to expand its operations in Queensland in the future. Also thanks to Troy Bayliss for his words of encouragement to the kids and his support of GP Juniors Australia. It was also something very special to see Troy and his son Oli, – who competed in GP Juniors- out on track together. He is just an amazing ambassador for the sport. The wheels are really in motion now. This week was an extremely positive one for all involved and demonstrates the progress that is being made in rejuvenating junior road racing. Occasions like this go a long way to expanding the categories.”
The next round of the GP Juniors Australia series is at Wakefield Park (NSW) August 5-6 while the GP Juniors Cup will return to Morgan Park as a support category for the YMF Australian Superbike Championship on the weekend of the 25-27 August.
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