Teenage sensation Luke Hopkins back in action at Brands Hatch
PUBLISHED: 15:04 13 March 2017 | UPDATED: 15:04 13 March 2017
Last year the Sittingbourne rider was runner-up in the Team Green Junior Cup
Sittingbourne speedster Luke Hopkins was in competitive action for the first time in 2017 as he returned to Brands Hatch at the weekend.
Last year the teenager 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 Indy circuit at the Longfield venue 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, Luke 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.
In the second race, Luke found himself third at the end of the first lap, with the front three lapping within three tenths of a second of each other.
On the sixth lap he moved into second place before taking the lead going through Graham Hill and Cooper Straight on lap seven.
Luke was making a break finishing the lap half a second ahead of the rest of the field but clipped a kerb with three laps remaining which sent him sliding out of the lead.
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, Luke 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, the red flag was waved - the race had gone sufficient distance to be declared a result and Luke took the victory.
The final race was held in damp conditions as rain had fallen during the day and Luke got away well but found his luck soon run out.
In the frenetic battle of riders in the first few corners Luke slid off with another rider on the opening lap to end a dramatic couple of days.
“It was a great weekend and we got to meet up with some good friends,” he said afterwards.
“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 March 31 through to April 2.”