Another sensational day at the 2023 bLU cRU Oceania Junior Cup (OJC) office has resulted in race victories for Archie Schmidt and John Pelgrave at the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit.
As the only support class at this year’s Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix, the next wave of road racing stars put on a rousing show for the massive crowd, with Schmidt running away with the spoils in the opening seven-lap race before normal nail-biting service was resumed in the second when Pelgrave outlasted his opponents in a sensational run to the finish line on the identical Yamaha YZF-R15s.
And the best thing: the 2 OJC riders will do it all again next weekend when they return to Phillip Island for the penultimate round of the 2023 mi-bike Motorcycle Insurance Australian Superbike Championship, presented by Motul.
After his second place in race two, Schmidt was today’s overall winner as he trimmed Bodie Paige’s series lead to 20pts (215 to 195), while Haydn Fordyce (180pts) remains in third position.
Schmidt’s second victory of the season in race one was clinical after moving to the front on lap three. Once he had clean air he was unstoppable, winning by seven seconds ahead of front-row starter Paige and lap record holder Valentino Knezovic.
While the winning margin was incongruous in a class where victories are normally measured in fractions of seconds, the battle for second was intense. Just 1.7sec separated Paige from Oscar Lewis in 15th place, with a forensic examination even required of the photo finish images to clarify the results!
Meanwhile, Fordyce was fourth from pole-sitter Riley Nauta, who had to perform a rescue mission from last place after running into trouble on lap one. His rapid ascension through the pack was rewarded with the fastest lap of the race.
Elijah Andrew was sixth, with Nikolas Lazos and Pelgrave completing the top eight.
Race two, held straight after Johann Zarco’s rousing MotoGP victory, was 15 minutes of constant attacking and counter-punching – classic OJC fare – as multiple riders took turns at the sharp end of the pack.
But it was Pelgrave who got his nose in front when it mattered, defeating Schmidt by a scant 0.044sec. The next six riders flashed over the line in quick succession, with Paige third from Ella McCausland, Knezovic, Rikki Henry, Fordyce and Jake Paige.
Race three of OJC, originally scheduled for 9:00 (AEST) on Sunday morning, has now been cancelled to facilitate a rescheduled MotoGP program.
For full results and updated standings after Phillip Island, click HERE.
Want to join the 2024 bLU cRU Oceania Cup grid?
A reminder that expressions of interest to compete in the 2024 bLU cRU Oceania Junior Cup close on October 26, 2023. For more information and to submit an expression of interest, click HERE.