The bLU cRU Oceania Junior Cup exceeded its normal expectations by providing three different race winners, riders to the podium for the first time and lap records broken with the usual on-track entertainment in the three races.
It started from the first qualifying session when cup leader and dirt bike champion, Bodie Page smashed the qualifying record set by Levi Russo last year by 0.923 seconds to be over a second in front of his rivals!
Not to be outdone another whizz of the dirt and fellow Queenslander, Riley Nauta bettered that newly set record in the second qualifier by a further 0.286 seconds to now stand at 1:35.457. These kids are guns, and many of them have very promising futures in the game. Every race is a slipstream battle that lasts the entire duration as they jockey for positions on their pint-sized machines. Some passing manoeuvres over the weekend took one’s breath away as they demonstrated their exceptional racecraft skills and commitment.
Race One started and ran as normal; completely mental! After a couple of months away from the bitumen the kids were bouncing around as if they had sculled a bottle of red cordial!
No rest for the wicked, the action was on from turn one
Bodie grabbed the lead off the line and at the end of the first lap he led a group of seven, including his younger brother, Jake with Archie Schmidt, Nauta, another dirt track gun in Jed Fyffe, line astern with little over a second splitting them. On the second lap, Paige broke the race lap record by two-tenths set by Hudson Thompson last year. Not to be outdone, two laps later in the duels, Fyffe took over half a second off that time as he crossed the line in third and a split-second later Nauta, in fifth spot, bettered his time by 0.009 of a second, to now hold two lap records in the same class – Extraordinary!
Places were constantly changing but as the leading five crossed the finish line it was Bodie Paige the victor, from Schmidt second, for his fourth podium finish of the year with Fyffe claiming his first podium in the series in third place, a fraction of a second in front of Jake Paige with Nauta proving how critical track position is in the final run to the line pushed back to fifth with 0.636 seconds covering them.
The second race had drama on the start line. As one of the rising stars, ‘Stella’ Ella McCausland, who qualified eleventh, bogged down on the line, and was hit by two other riders from behind. The red flag was displayed immediately to attend to the riders but thankfully there were no serious injuries, and all riders were able to start the last race.
On the restart, it was all back to normal as the field sliced and diced each other for the five-lap duration with seven riders line astern. Well momentarily, as positions changed constantly as usual.
Schmidt was the early leader from the two Paige brothers with Jake leading his older sibling with Nauta beside them with first-round victor Haydn Fordyce from across the ditch and the ever-improving John Pelgrave joining the party.
At the finish, there was one second covering the top seven riders as Jake turned the tables on his brother to record his first win and first podium in the series to bring Bodie’s winning streak to an end. Who better to do it for the bench racing bragging rights than your younger brother? Schmidt was third with Bodie fourth, Fordyce fifth and Pelgrave sixth.
It is the first time in Oceania Junior Cup that two brothers have been first and second at any time in a race as well as the more memorable moments of brothers recording wins on the same weekend. In a bit of irony, when Bodie won the first race, Jake was fourth, and when Jake won the second race, Bodie was fourth!
Jake Paige was the rider who put an end to brother Bodie’s winning streak
The last leg was another cracker with more history being made.
This time there were seven bikes in the six-lap freight train with McCausland from eleventh on the grid putting the morning’s drama behind her to join in the fun and be in sixth place after two laps. John Pelgrave was another who climbed the leaderboard to be up to third on the second lap behind Jake and Bodie Paige, with Nauta and Schmidt chasing the trio. As usual, the intensity lifted on the last lap as they all knew it would be the last race lap of the class for the next three months.
It couldn’t get any closer for the final podium positions
Schmidt prevailed to take his first win after five previous podium finishes with McCausland in a stunning performance to finish second from Pelgrave third, Bodie and Jake in fourth and fifth, Fordyce in sixth with lap record holder Nauta in seventh.
Schmidt won by the ‘massive’ margin of 0.763 seconds from McCausland who claimed second by just 0.006 from Pelgrave, second to sixth covered by 0.336 of second.
With his 2-3-1 results, it was Schmidt who won the day by four points from Bodie Paige with his brother, Jake one point adrift for third overall.
John Pelgrave was one of a number of riders to claim their first podium
Oceania Junior Cup report by Mark Bracks, imagery by Endorphin Media.
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