15-year-old Moto3 racer Charlie Atkins suffered a last corner crash in the first of the two races before crossing the line eleventh in race two at the famous TT Circuit in Assen.
In the first of the two free practice session Atkins set about reacquainting himself with the famous TT circuit in Assen. After 16 laps Atkins set a time of 1:51.372 to finish 8th. In the second session he worked on reducing his lap time which he cut by over a second and ended the day 11th.
Atkins was looking forward to qualifying on the 2.8 mile Dutch circuit. It was here in 2016 that he took his first Moto3 victory in the British Motostar championship. However, progress was fairly slow and he struggled to get a decent lap in. With just five minutes on the clock Atkins managed to put in two of his fastest laps, the final one, a 1:48.935 catapulted him to 8th on the grid.
Atkins made a good start to race one moving up to 4th position in the early corners. He finished the first lap in 6th place. The number 7 rider continued his progress passing Strom Stacey and moved up to fourth spot. In a close and hard-fought battle he slipped to ninth at the quarter race stage before moving back to seventh and on the rear wheel of Jack Nixon. The two rode together for over half the race trading positions regularly.
On the final lap, Atkins and Nixon were still battling over sixth position. As they approached the Timmers Chicane on the final lap they both went for the same bit of track. Unfortunately, for Atkins he lost out and crashed out into the gravel trap unhurt.
On Sunday the 23 riders lined up for the second race of the weekend. Atkins lost a few places on the first lap. However, he was on the back of the second group of riders which stretched from fourth to twelfth place. Throughout the 16 laps this group chopped and changed positions. This caused Atkins difficulty in tucking into someone’s slipstream.
Although he eventually crossed the line in eleventh position he was only just over a second from the rider who finished in sixth.
Charlie Atkins now has 43 points and sits 11th in the overall standings.
Atkins said,” Thank you to my mechanic Rene for repairing my bike after the first race. Although I didn’t finish race one I enjoyed it more. Battling with Nixon was good fun but he hit my handlebar at the last chicane and I crashed out. In the second race, I scored five points but I struggled to get through the group of riders. I’m now looking forward to the final round of Motostar at Brands Hatch.”
The last round of the British Talent Cup is at Valencia on 16 to 18 November. It is after that round Atkins will find out if he has been invited back for a second year. In the meantime, he has the final round of the Hel Performance British Motostar Moto3 championship on 12 to 14 October.
Photo: Dorna Sports