The racing was very entertaining during the three heats, as the youngsters put on superb demonstrations of their riding talents. The weekend also saw several riders make their debut in the series. In the 70cc category Josh Kane, Cros Francis and Toby James took to the track for their initiation in road racing, (James on his KTM dirt bike fitted with road tyres) while Michael Clair fronted up on his Honda in the 160cc class for the first time.
Luke Power was dominant from the outset and grabbed pole position on his APT Wealth Moriwaki 80cc machine with Cros Francis surprising many to be second fastest on his RMU 70cc, with Josh Kane (Honda RS70) rounding out the front row.
In the GP Juniors Cup for the Yamaha R15 machines, series leader, Tom Edwards continued his excellent form to be fastest from the ever improving 12-year-old, John Lytras (Caboolture Yamaha) with another 13-year-old, Harry Khouri (Excite Motorsport Penrith / 160 Store All Self Storage Windsor) increasing his pace and becoming more confident with every outing, in third.
In the opening leg, Power set the scene from the time the lights went out, clearing off into the distance on his two-stroke machine from Francis, who got off to a flyer, however it was that good he was pinged for a jump start. The nerves of his first race likely getting the better of him.
Zylas Bunting settled into a lonely third, while behind him there was a great stoush between the two and four stroke machines of Reece Oughtred (Carl Cox Motorsports Metrakit 85cc), Edwards, Lytras Kane and Khouri with 10-year-old Glenn Nelson (Shark Leathers Metrakit 70cc) being in the mix in the opening few laps. This bunch were all over each other as positions changed on a regular basis, and at every turn their race craft techniques improved.
At the chequered flag flew, Power won the overall race by a comfortable margin and put in his fastest race lap of the weekend on his final lap. Even with his jump start penalty, Francis remained second with Bunting third across the line.
While the leading trio had a rather lonely race, the duel mid pack was the real focus of attention with five bikes separated by just over a second with a lap to go, but such was the intensity that a couple of minor mistakes in the battle on the final lap broadened the gap a little more with Oughtred claiming fourth by a few tenths of a second from Edwards, who was the first R15 across the line, from Lytras and Khouri who were side by side across the line, with Lytras getting the nod for sixth by just 0.087s!
The second and third legs were virtual carbon copies of the first, although Francis was a non-starter on the Sunday, as his family had to return to Sydney for work commitments, but the youngster has been bitten by the bug.
In leg two, Power again headed into the distance to increase his race lead by nearly two seconds a lap but there was plenty of action behind him. Bunting and Oughtred were locked in a battle for second in the opening laps, however Oughtred made a mistake on the third lap to have an off-track excursion and dropped back to the tail of the field.
Meanwhile the battle for the minor placings continued at an intense rate, with the positions changing constantly. Kane, Edwards, Lytras and Khouri were all over each other and the quality of racing was belying their young years. Kane broke away after three laps, but Khouri Ltyras and Edwards were engaged in a terrific battle and each had a turn at the lead. In the end, Edwards led them across the line from Lytras and Khouri. The trio virtually side by side less than three tenths of a second, the difference between them.
Power had another lonely race at the front on his rapid 80cc machine to have a five second lead after the opening lap as the battle behind was between five riders. Kane, Bunting, Edwards, Khouri and Lytras were line astern in the straights, trying to slipstream each other but virtually side by side through the technical corners of Broadford. It was certainly enthralling racing.
Khouri ran off as the fourth lap commenced, which broke the other quarter ever so slightly, but it didn't stop the action as the younger brigade were not worried about the reputation and experience of Edwards as it went to the flag. Josh Kane crossed the line in second from Bunting, Edwards, Oughtred and Lytras. Kane was later penalised for a jump start dropping him down the order. It was excellent competition with all of the competitors receiving a round of applause from the onlookers as they finished the race. The level of competition proved that there is plenty of hidden talent ready to move through the ranks of racing in Australia.
An overview of the 2017 season will be released shortly with a full points breakdown.
Round points for Broadford.
GP Juniors Round Points
1. Edwards 75
2. Lytras 60
3. Khouri's 53
4. Clair 52
1 Luke Power (Vic) 75
2 Zylas Bunting NSW) 60
3 Reece Oughtred (Vic) 54