Flat Track

Junior Track Riders On Path To Glory This Weekend At Barleigh Ranch Raceway

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Photo of track rider Jayden Holder
Jayden Holder has moved age brackets and is now in the 13 – Under 16s. Photo: David Lamont

The Hunter Motor Cycle Club is about to embark on a busy period of on-track activity which will be highlighted by the staging of two Australian Championship meetings at their Barleigh Ranch Raceway.

First up is the Australian Junior Track Championship this coming weekend, July 8 and 9.

A huge entry list of 128 riders is coming from up and down the East Coast, including 40 from Queensland with the furthest traveler coming from Townsville.

The girls’ classes have received sufficient entries to ensure championship status and they will be decided over five rounds where points from all rounds will count towards the final outcome.

All open classes will be decided over four rounds of heats then a repechage and all-deciding final.

Racing is for riders between seven and 16 with competition grouping riders of similar ages and similar machines on the track.

Hunter Motor Cycle Club President Keith Davies, himself a former national champion, points out that junior racing can be as close and exciting as senior competitions.

“Smaller capacity machines and riders of the same age are invariably close on the track and are extremely watchable,” said Davies. “There is some great young talent coming through the ranks, they are well drilled and they show poise and confidence beyond their years”.

While dirt track racing continues as a regular competition for seniors, many youngsters use it as a training ground before moving into other disciplines of motorcycle racing.

One aspect of junior competition that is particularly appealing to long-time track announcer Peter Baker is that while many of the riders entered have already had success in previous title meetings, it is likely that some may go on to bigger and far better achievements in their careers.

Baker said ”Over the past two decades this junior championship meeting has featured riders like Casey Stoner who went on to become World Moto GP champion, and current performers on the world road racing stage like Jack Miller, Remy Gardner and Joel Kelso.

Former world speedway champion Chris Holder also started out in dirt track racing which will be seen this weekend. And in more recent years Flat Track racing in the USA has become another avenue dirt track racers can venture into.

A small contingent of the entrants this weekend have just returned from contesting the American Amateur Dirt Track Championships which showcases riders of all ages with a view to moving into the elite Flat Track scene, while others are already well entrenched in road racing in Australia.

Among the entries, there are two riders from the Hunter region who stand out as serious contenders in their classes. Cameron Dunker, who is nearing the end of his time in the junior ranks, is already making a big impact in road racing but he will be out to defend two class wins from the 2022 championship.

At the other end of the age scale Braxsen Anderson, who is the son of former motocross star Danny Anderson, will be out to win his second national title in the 7 to Under 9s.

The Barleigh Ranch Raceway is situated just off the Pacific Highway north of Raymond Terrace and there is no charge for fans on Saturday while a carload of fans will pay $20 to see the deciding events on Sunday.

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