15-year-old Goole racer Charlie Atkins was up against some of the best riders in Europe last weekend, as he took part as a wildcard in the final round of the Moto3 European Talent Cup.
European Talent Cup Valencia 2017 Qualifying
Atkins had limited time to learn the 2 mile (4 km) Ricardo Tormo in Valencia and wasn’t helped when he was knocked off early in the session. Having completed just four laps another rider cut inside Atkins at the Angel Nieto corner and collided with him. Atkins had nowhere to go and slid off into the gravel.
Fortunately, the marshals returned the bike to pit lane quickly enough and Atkins was without serious injury.
Once back in pit lane the team set about getting Atkins back out. With some help from Jesus and Dani Saez from the next pit box, Atkins managed to return to the circuit for the final fifteen minutes. He finished the session in 32nd place.
In qualifying two Charlie Atkins made the most of his full track time, completing 20 laps and improving his time by nearly seven tenths of a second. He would line up on the starting grid in 31st for the race.
European Talent Cup Valencia 2017 Race
Atkins has never competed at this level before and was hoping to make a positive start. As the lights went out he launched from the start line gaining three places on the opening lap. He spent most of the race battling with another British rider, Jack Hart. As his confidence grew he improved his lap times managing a low 1:46 on the penultimate lap. His efforts were rewarded with 25th position at the end of the 11 lap race.
Charlie Atkins said, “That was really tough. The level of rider in the class is very high. It was an amazing experience and I’ve learnt a lot off the others riders. Making up five places in the race was awesome. Thank you to Gary and Nikita of Wilson Racing for bringing me. Also thanks to Jesus and Dani Saez for helping get the bike back together so quickly in Q1.”