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The OJC Wrap up from The Bend Finale

By MA Media 0

It was a huge weekend for the bLU cRU Oceania Junior Cup with not only the usual  three races, but also the pressure of the title on the line.

Here’s how the weekend played out…

TAILEM BEND, AUSTRALIA. 25 November, 2022. Harrison Watts, Alexander Codey at the final round of the mi-bike Motorcycle Insurance Australian Superbike Championship, presented by Motul at The Bend Motorsport Park, South Australia. Credit Karl Phillipson/ASBK


Practice Sessions

Ryan Larkin was at the top – or near enough – in both early practice sessions and showed a real and immediate affinity for The Bend layout, comfortably out front with a second over the field at times.

The interest remained with championship leader Harrison Watts who just needs to be thereabouts in qualifying and then ensure he buys a ticket on the leading group train come race time.

In FP2, Cameron Rende – currently second in the title chase – was 10th, while third overall Hudson Thompson was 14th.

In the final practice of the day -FP3, it was that Ryan Larkin fellow again and this time by an unimaginable 1.4 seconds to Hamod and Fleming in third.

For the current Championship 1-2-3, Harrison Watts was in 12th, Cameron Rende fourth and Hudson Thompson in eighth.

TAILEM BEND, AUSTRALIA. 25 November, 2022. Ryan Larkin at the final round of the mi-bike Motorcycle Insurance Australian Superbike Championship, presented by Motul at The Bend Motorsport Park, South Australia. Credit Karl Phillipson/ASBK



It’s a tough caper both racing and predicting what will happen in the OJC. The dominant-til-now Ryan Larkin was absent from the first 15-minute qualifying session this morning, leaving the door open for Hudson Thompson who took the top spot from Marcus Hamod and John Pelgrave.

Championship leader Harrison Watts was 11th and some 2.2 seconds from the front.

Post-lunch and mercifully post some wet weather, the OJC took to the 4.9km International circuit configuration later than scheduled, but on a dry track.

In Qualifying Two, Larkin returned to the track and returned to his business as usual, posting the fastest time by .435 of a second to a resurgent Bodie Page and Hudson Thompson who was now contending near the front in every session.

Race One

In the race, the fastest rider from the round to date- Ryan Larkin – was not on pole, having to serve a six-grid spot penalty from the Phillip Island MotoGP support race round.

It mattered not as he was at the front of the pack by the end of lap one after lapping seconds ahead of the field and then merrily danced off into the distance. Thanks to consistent, clean and fast laps, it was never in doubt.

Terrin Fleming and Bodie Page battled on and were second and third with championship leader Harrison Watts down in tenth, leaving the door open to the title challengers Rende (5th) and Thompson (6th) who will need a lot more tomorrow to bridge the 20 and 22 point deficit they face.

Full Results

THE BEND, SA, AUSTRALIA. 25 November, 2022. Ryan Larkin at the final round of the bLU cRU Oceania Junior Cup being held at The Bend Motorsport Park, South Australia.


Race Two

After a bike issue related crash from Ella McCausland on the warmup lap, there was an inevitable delay as they cleared the bike and rider from the circuit.

Away! The field streamed into turn one with all riders intact with Fleming, Larkin and Thompson near the front.

At turn four, Cameron Rende- currently second in the title chase and perhaps the only rider capable of challenging cup leader Watts- went down.

In Race One, Ryan Larkin used both his pace and the wind to sneak away for a rare solo win, but now he had Terrin Fleming for company. Bodie page was third, but on lap three an unseen Ryan Larkin dropped off the timesheets and was out of the race. He had crashed at turn eight, remounted and pitted.

Hudson Thompson- third in the title chase- was fourth with title leader Watts fifth. The maths now looked like Harrison Watts would be able to take the title with a race still to come today.

Watts shuffled Thompson down to fifth and moved himself up to third.

This certainly appeared to be the title move.

As they rolled into the last lap, the certainty of the previous sentence became nonsensical as Watts found himself ninth, then back up to eighth and no one knew what was next.

Teerin Fleming took the win from Bodie Page, with Marcus Hamod in third- but facing a jump start penalty that will see Watts elevated to fourth but still leaving him with 21-point lead and there’s 25 points on offer for a win.

So… we needed one last race to decide the title.

Full Results

Race Three

Race Three saw an exceptionally fast start for all bikes on the first and second rows of the grid roaring off the line. It was the second-to-last race of the year and they OJC riders seemed to have the start down pat.

Fleming led for much of lap one with the fastest-rider-to-date Ryan Larkin following closely (indeed Larkin led over the line!). It was clear that Larkin was aiming to not only have a second win in as many days, but to again do it solo.

The riders faced much strong winds that were now head-on down the long main straight. Larkin tucked as best he could and dived through gap at the end of the main straight on lap two with Paige quickly closing the door.

Paige, Larkin, Fleming and Hamod stayed exceptionally tight throughout the early laps. Slipstreaming strategy was going strong as it always is in the OJC with only small deviations to try and find that small opening. Holding a very tight gap of 0.210 between first to third it was looking to be a battle down to the line. Larkin, appeared to be pushing exceptionally hard and ran wide during lap four, but quickly recovered.

Heading into lap five there was no let up, and Harrison Watts was now working himself back into the race after finishing tenth in race one and allowing the other contenders to see a mathematical pathway to the championship.

Larkin managed to squeeze past Paige, then Paige put himself in a great position to challenge immediately, but Larkin held his ground and we all held our breath.

Final Lap; Larkin, Fleming and Paige hooked through Dunlop corner. Larkin tried to make his move but couldn’t quite make it stick. With one corner left, Larkin fired his R15 through to get take win by just 0.11

After a fantastic year number 14 Harrison Watts rode an exceptionally smart and controlled race to finish tenth and well in the points to become the 2022 FIM bLU cRU Oceania Junior Cup winner.

While not dominant at this round, Watts did all he needed and played it smart and showed maturity beyond his years to do what he needed to take the title in what has been an entertaining and growth-filled year in the OJC.

Credit goes to the rider’s coach Garry McCoy, the OJC/MA technical and support crew, the mums and dads, the riders and of course the fantastic sponsors of the bLU cRU Oceania Junior Cup who have made season 2022 one to remember.

Full results

Final Points