Image: Kerry Rawson
Competing in the British Talent Cup last weekend Charlie Atkins managed to qualify on the front row on the Donington Park National circuit.
He went on to take sixth place in the first race and having caught up with the leading group in race two and incident in front of him led to his crashing out on the final chicane.
The weekend got off to a very positive start. Atkins went out in the first 30-minute free practice session of the weekend and set the second best lap time just nine-hundredths of a second from top spot.
In the second outing of the day, he was unable to improve on his earlier lap time and slipped to sixth fastest overall. However, the lap times were very close as they often are in this class. His morning time of 1:15.635 was half a second from the leading rider.
Atkins was up bright and early as the British Talent Cup had their qualifying session at 09:00. Atkins quickly established himself inside the top ten in the session. After 8 laps Atkins entered the pits for some minor adjustments. On returning to the track it only took him a couple of laps to set his best time of the session so far. He then managed to improve further a couple of laps later before setting a 1:14.976 which was enough to put him third and on the front row of the grid for the weekend’s two races.
In the first of the two 24 lap races, Atkins made a terrific start. Launching from third on the gird he took the lead into the first turn. He managed to keep with the front runners in the early laps. As the race continued Atkins struggled to maintain the pace of the front riders. He never gave up and led the chasing group for some time. In the closing stages, Atkins battled hard with Rhys Irwin and Jack Hart eventually crossing the line in sixth position.
Race two was declared a wet race after a shower shortly before the start. With all the riders on wet tyres Atkins made another good start. Initially running third he was overtaken on the second lap by ex-Wilson racing teammate Scott Ogden.
Atkins then had a lonely middle part of the race before he managed to catch up with the front group on the final couple of laps.
He was one of five riders battling for the podium on the final lap when another rider lost control of his bike going into the final chicane. The incident forced Atkins to grab a handful of brake and as a result he crashed out of the race. It was a disappointing end having caught up with the race leaders.
Atkins is tenth in the championship standings on 25 points.
Charlie Atkins said, “Having qualified on the front row I had hoped to come away with more points. A sixth in race one was OK and it looked like I might get another one in race two. It was disappointing to be so close to the finish and end up with no points. The next round is here again so I feel positive we can pick up some more championship points.”
His next race is at Donington Park again in July but this time on the GP circuit.