The hard-charging next generation of UK motocross racers are in bar-banging action this weekend at round five of the Red Bull Elite Youth Cup at Canada Heights.
Initially scheduled for Whitby before a water-logged venue forced series promoters Events 22 to move the whole Red Bull Pro Nationals shooting match back to Kent, the Canada Heights circuit is in prime condition and will provide a fitting test for the country’s premier youth championship.
Changes in elevation and a shifting surface that alternates between sand and hardpack means it’s the mini warriors of the 65cc class who will find the going toughest but time and time again they’ve proved they’re up to the job.
Current series leader Christopher Mills is the man in form and after finishing off the podium at the opening round he’s nailed three overalls on the bounce to finally wrestle the championship lead from Powerband Racing team-mate Tom Grimshaw at Duns. Christopher leads by six points with Scott Russell third from nine-year-old Preston racer Rossi Beard.
It’s much more clear cut in the SW85cc division where Keenan Hird has carved out a 77-point lead at the top – and that’s despite slipping to third in Duns behind Taylor Hammal and South African visitor Marcus Phelps who also holds down second in the series standings. Keenan ran out winner of round three’s abbreviated programme the last time the series visited Canada Heights in early July and will be looking to reassert his dominance this weekend.
BW85cc leader Josh Gilbert traded wins with Todd Kellett at Duns and visitors to Kent this weekend are virtually assured of more of the same with the two talents both fierce competitors. But while Todd takes too many soil samples Josh is super-consistent and currently sits on a commanding 112-point lead. Gradie Featherstone is third but a further 62 points behind the leading trio.
Up in the Rookies for 14 to 18-year-olds it’s shaping up to be a classic three-way battle for dominance with the leading trio starting to gap the field – and series leader Jake Millward threatening to put daylight between himself, Ben Watson and Dan Thornhill.
Jake was unbeatable at Duns and his five wins saw him increase his lead to 56 points as Ben – last year’s BW85cc champ – moved ahead of Dan into second, albeit by just a single point. With three overall wins out of four Jake’s definitely the one to watch this weekend and starts favourite to extend his advantage.
Canada Heights is situated in Button Street, Swanley, just off junction 3 of the M25. The postcode for the track is BR8 8DX. Ticket prices start at £36 for families, £16 for adults and £4 for children and OAPs with a 20 per cent discount if you book online.