Sittingbourne teenager Luke Hopkins appears as wildcard at Brands Hatch
PUBLISHED: 10:32 19 April 2017 | UPDATED: 10:32 19 April 2017
The youngster left the weekend with a creditable 14 championship points
Luke Hopkins returned to his home circuit of Brands Hatch last weekend in a wildcard appearance on his Moto3 Honda NSF250R in the Hel Performance Motostar British series.
Competing in the standard class series he made a solid start ending free practice one in 8th position.
The team decided to make some suspension set-up changes which proved positive for the Sittingbourne teenager.
In free practice two, Luke shaved seven tenths of a second to move up to seventh fastest with a best lap time of 51.931.
In qualifying, Luke managed to reduce his lap time even further with a time of 51.545, a whole second better than FP1.
Despite only being just over a second from the front row, his best efforts meant he would start 8th in his category.
In race one he made a good start and began to close in on Charlie Atkins in 8th spot, by the mid-way stage.
On lap 8 he moved ahead of Atkins as he continued to improve.
Then going through Graham Hill bend Luke almost high-sided.
Although he maintained control he ran onto the grass before re-joining the race, losing three places in the process.
He fought hard and got back in touch with the group crossing the line 11th missing out on a top ten by just 0.022 seconds.
In the opening exchanges of race two Luke again had problems at Graham Hill bend.
Another high-side almost through him from his Moto3 machine, but once more he controlled the bike.
However, he lost a lot of time in the opening lap and lost several places.
Undeterred Luke was in tenth position by the end of lap four and already closing in on the riders in front before gaining another position two laps later.
Just before the halfway stage of the race Hopkins had fought his way into 8th position and was racing on the back wheel of the rider ahead.
At two-thirds distance he moved into seventh and was involved in a great battle with two other riders for 6th place in the closing laps.
In the end, he had to settle for seventh position as he ran out of laps.
Luke entered as a wildcard with a view of continuing to get more track time ahead of the next round of the World Supersport 300 championship, but he left with a very creditable 14 championship points from his weekend’s work.
“I really enjoyed the weekend,” he said afterwards.
“The important thing with these events for me is to get track time.
“To come away with two decent results is a bonus.
“Perhaps without the near crashes at Graham Hill bend I could have done even better but I’m happy enough and looking forward to the next round of the World Supersport 300 Championship.”