The RHL British Youth Nationals Series got under way with a sensational opening weekend at Milton MX Park, with big fields showcasing a very high standard of talent eager to make their way in the sport. The technical Northants track and mixed conditions over the two days only added to the excitement.
Much was expected for the series’ debut after a winter of build up, and it didn’t disappoint. Despite rain making sure the course was a rutty and sticky affair after a very short time, there were very few fallers and a packed program of racing, featuring five classes.
Saturday began with wet conditions, with Open class rider Liam Garland quickly establishing himself as one to watch. He dominated proceedings on both days, coming away with the first overall victory of the season and a strong case to be championship favourite. The youngster, onboard the KFX 250 Kawasaki in obligatory green with 24 on the plates, won all but one event, finishing second in the second race after a fall.
“I proved I was the fastest rider all weekend, despite the fall yesterday,” he said after the final race. “The guys behind kept me honest, but I just had to get the job done, get the overall points. One or two backmarkers tried to do the dirty on me, but I got through and it’s a great start to the championship – I’m aiming to win it this year.”
His overall score of 222 comfortably put Dan Thornhill’s 190 into second place, with Brad Todd third with 176.
In the 85CC big wheel class, it was the turn of Todd Kellett to top the overall charts. He took three victories on Saturday before backing up his results with a pair of second places on Sunday on the Twisted 7 Kawasaki. Josh Gilbert took the other two wins, but it wasn’t enough to even place him in the overall top three. Kellett took 219 points, with Josh Coleman and Robert Yates second and third on 194 and 189 points respectively.
Kellett: “I didn’t expect it to be honest, I broke my leg six weeks ago, so I’m really happy. I preferred the conditions on Saturday, but it’s still a good track and I enjoyed it all. As for the championship, we’ll see how it goes. Anything can happen, can’t it?”
Taylor Hamal emerged as the stand out rider in 85CC small wheel. Riding the Pope Racing KTM and carrying number 23, he took four out of the five wins and the overall win by 28 points.
“It’s a good start to the season, of course,” smiled Taylor after the final race. “Two more race wins today – and my mum’s gonna like these flowers. As for the conditions, I really don’t mind – I like it rutty and stuff, but I’ll take whatever.”
Second overall was Alexander Brown, with Keenan Hird in third position.
Some of the closest competition came in 65CC junior, with two riders separated by 15 points at the final reckoning. It was Christopher Milles who won out, guiding his Power Band Racing KTM to victory ahead of Gary Ashley’s Golden Tyre/ Charge Clothing KTM.
“I just tried to ride consistently and get top three results,” commented Milles, weighed down by flowers, champagne and trophies. “I prefer the wet – it’s a harder challenge. And everyone else falls off! I’m really looking forward to rest of the championship now.”
In the Auto class, overall victory went to Louie Kessel – but the competition was closest in the smallest class than in any other. He took victory with 219 points, barely a whisker ahead of Bobby Bruce’s 210, and Jack Grayshon’s 202. The individual victories were shared between Kessel, who took three, and Bruce, who took the other two events.
“It was rutty and bumpy – very hard to ride,” said Kessel after the podiums. “But at least it was easier on Sunday! I’m looking forward to the rest of the championship, let’s hope I can win it.”
The talent show moves onto Salters Lane in Wyham for the next round of the British Youth Nationals, which takes place over the weekend of 19/20 May, and after a hugely positive start, who’s to say the racing won’t get even better?