Sittingbourne motorcycle rider Luke Hopkins competed in his first races of the 2017
season at Brands Hatch at the weekend. Last year Hopkins was runner-up in the Team
Green Junior Cup on his Kawasaki Ninja 300 and the first round provided him with a
great opportunity to get some track time. The first round on the Brands Hatch Indy
circuit also gave him an opportunity to meet old friends before his first race at Aragon
in the World Supersport 300 series.
Despite riding on a Kawasaki Ninja 300 set up for his brother, Hopkins qualified on pole
position with a lap time of 56.743 seconds. In the first 10 lap race on Saturday
afternoon he made a good start and led the race up to the half way stage. He slipped
back to second but continued pushing the leader right until the end of the race missing
out on the win by just 0.188 seconds.
Late Saturday afternoon Hopkins was back out on track taking part in the second 10
lap race. As the riders raced from the start line Hopkins got some air, but managed to
end the first lap in third position. The front three riders were lapping within three
tenths of a second of each other. On the sixth lap Hopkins moved into second place
before taking the lead going through Graham Hill and Cooper Straight on lap seven.
Hopkins was making a break finishing the lap half a second ahead of the rest of the
field. Unfortunately he clipped a kerb with three laps remaining which sent him sliding
out of the lead.
On Sunday there were two more races to look forward to. In the first Sunday race he
led from pole position and slowly began to open a gap at the front over his rivals. By
the end of lap six Hopkins had opened a gap of over three seconds on the rider in
second place. Then rain began to fall and after several riders slid off the circuit Race
Direction brought out the red flag. The race had gone sufficient distance to be declared
a result and Hopkins took the victory.
The final race was held in damp conditions as rain had fallen during the day. Hopkins
got away well but unfortunately his luck did not hold out. In the frenetic battle of
riders in the first few corners Hopkins slid off with another rider on the opening lap.
Luke Hopkins said, “It was a great weekend and we got to meet up with some good
friends. The purpose was to gain track time and have some fun as our main goal this
year is the World Supersport 300 Championship. It was a little strange riding the bike
set up for my brother, which he will compete on later this year. The win was nice but
now we all need to focus on Aragon in Spain for the first round on 31 st March through
to the 2 nd April.”
Words: Jeremy Ryan MustHaveMediaServices.com
Photo: Craig Hobbs Photography