21st April 2014 – An action packed three races marked the start of the 2014 TriStar R&G Triple Challenge as Freddy Pett, Phil Atkinson and Sam Cox traded victories at Brands Hatch. It was another trio of winners in the Cup Championship as Ollie Hill, Andrew Lund and Sam Thompson took to the top step to show this series will be no one horse race!
With practice and qualifying being held in dry, sunny but slightly chilly conditions, the 27 riders who make up the 2014 Championship were able to get dialed into the short 1.2 mile Brands Hatch Indy circuit. It was last year’s runner up, Freddy Pett, who set the early pace claiming pole position after setting a 48.570s lap.
With the opening race being held in similar conditions, Freddy Pett secured a fantastic start aboard his M40 Triumph Daytona 675R machine, extending his lead throughout the 15 lap race to 3.210s by the flag to take the first victory of the year. Sam Cox and Scott Pitchers rounded out the podium while it was Ollie Hill who won the Cup Championship, ahead of Sam Thompson and Andrew Lund.
Race one winner Freddy Pett said, “It’s great to get this first race win under my belt. I’ve felt really strong in practice and qualifying but didn’t want to get caught up in any traffic, so my plan was to grab the holeshot and control the race from the front. I could see from my pit board I was comfortably in front so it was a case of keeping constant with my times!”
As Sunday dawned to overcast skies, the weather worsened throughout the day meaning the second race for the TriStar R&G Triple Challenge was held in significantly wet and tricky conditions. With Pett unable to match his pace in the dry, it was Phil Atkinson who grabbed the lead into Paddock Hill on the opening lap with Sam Cox in close attendance. As the pair traded places for the first ten laps, it allowed reigning British Motostar 125GP Champion and Young Gun winner Tom Carne to close the gap, taking the lead on lap eleven. As the race reached its penultimate lap, both Cox and Carne fell foul of the conditions and crashed out, leaving Atkinson to comfortably take the victory ahead of Freddy Pett and Scott Pitchers. Andrew Lund secured the cup victory with Ollie Hill and Mark Pennington joining him on the podium.
Enjoying his first victory of the season, South African Atkinson said, “I’m really happy to get the first win of the season already, particularly with conditions being as tough as they were. I didn’t want to be the guinea pig and be first into each corner and I knew I was on the limit, so when people came by I didn’t think they’d be able to stay upright – which was what happened!”
The final race was held in the warmest conditions of the weekend and it was Sam Cox who grabbed the holeshot from second position on the grid, controlling the race all the way the flag to finish just ahead of previous race winners Freddy Pett and Phil Atkinson. Sam Thompson took his second podium in the cup class with victory ahead of Andrew Lund and Terry Lewis.
Speaking after the race, Cox said “I’m absolutely ecstatic to be honest! I knew I had good pace in the dry but the wet weather threw me a bit. It was great mixing it up at the front and I’m just so happy to get the win, especially for my Dad who puts so much in to the racing.”
Series organiser Tony Scott summed up, “It’s been a difficult first round for the riders both with extremely tricky conditions in the wet race and learning to set-up the bikes for the new riders but everyone seemed to settle down as the weekend went on.
After he cleared off in race one some said it was a foregone conclusion that Freddy Pett would dominate but I had a feeling the other lads would rise to the challenge, as shown by the three winners in three races.
Its been another successful start to the season and I’d like to give a big thanks to our loyal sponsors Triumph, R&G and the Ace Cafe who have kept us all fed and watered with great hospitality this weekend!”