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Double win for Jones at Brands Hatch

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The Triumph Triple Challenge got off to a thrilling start at a sunny Brands Hatch with former BSB rider Luke Jones grabbing the first two wins of the season.

Jones, on the KGD Racing Triumph, took the first pole position of the year too in the scorching conditions with a time of 49.245secs. Lining up next to Jones was Tom Ward riding the Stocks Garage machine, he was just 0.229secs behind. Tom Hayward riding the Daniel Weston Racing bike slotted into third place as he stepped up from the 125 class. And completing the front row of the grid was Tommy Dale on the Power2Connect/11KV bike.

Phil Atkinson who finished second in the Championship last year had a tough time on track qualifying in a lowly 10th position. The South African rider suffered from handling issues which he hoped to rectify before the race.

Peter “Pesky” Ward, former BSB Superstock Cup Champion and current Triumph test rider, qualified in sixth place on the second row of the grid. This weekend is his first run out on the Peter Ward Racing Triumph so he was happy with the result and was feeling confident ahead of race one.

Jones said: “We made some changes to the suspension from yesterday as the bike was squatting too much but it felt a lot better today in qualifying. The Triumph feels really agile having come from Superbike last year. I’m pleased with pole let’s hope I get a result in the race.”

Race one got off to good start for Hayward who took the holeshot into Paddock Hill bend closely shadowed by Jones who didn’t waste any time slotting into the lead at Druids. 16-year old Tom Ward moved up into second place pushing Hayward back to third with Pesky running in fourth.

Another former 125 rider, Tom Weeden was making his presence felt taking fourth place off the more experienced Peter Ward. Just two laps in and Jones was beginning to make a break with Tom Ward going with him. Weeden had now moved up another place and was running in an impressive third position.

The top four had settled into the race until lap seven when Tom Ward crashed out of second place at Graham Hill bend. This promoted Weeden to second and Pesky to third, an out-of-the-seat moment for Weeden allowed Pesky to slide under him also at Graham Hill bend. He put his head down to try and reel in Jones who now had a 5 second lead.

Weeden wasn’t settling for third place and whilst trying to pass Pesky on the run into Druids he crashed out of the race. His fall pushed Piers Hutchins wide allowing Ashley Beech to capitalise on the tumble and he nabbed third place in the race.

Pesky took second place and Beech completed the podium.

Jones said: “I got a reasonable start and was second into the first corner. I wanted to get clear and make a break so I got into the lead and put my head down for three laps to pull a gap. I watched my board and when I saw the gap I backed off a little and just brought it home.”

Ward said: “I’ve not raced with these guys and girls before so I just wanted to settle in. The gearing isn’t quite right so I need to sort that out for race two. I’ve only had a few laps on the bike this weekend so it’s a good start.”

Beech said: “I only got my bike on Friday so I’ve only managed one practice start. So when the race started the bike came off the line like a drag bike it! It wanted to wheelie so I ended up mid pack. I just went steady into the first turn and then started picking them off. I knew I was in the pack for the podium so I was going to have a go. Weeden crashing really helped me as he pushed Hutchins wide so I’m hoping for another good result tomorrow.”

 The grid for race two was set on lap times from race one leaving Jones in pole but promoting Beech to second, Tom Ward lined up in third place and Weeden completed the front row.

Jones got the holeshot closely followed by Weeden, Beech and Pesky. Jim Lovell and Tom Ward both had short races with Lovell crashing out at Druids on the opening lap and Tom Ward going out with a technical issue.

Jones tried to break away like he did in race one but Beech who had moved into second decided to go with him. The pair broke away from the chasing pack with Beech just a breath away from Jones the entire race. At one point he was just 0.049secs behind the hard charging Jones. He had hoped to out drag him to the line but his plan failed due to a big moment on the final lap.

16-year old Weeden was doing his best to hold onto his third place in the race but the more experience Pesky had other ideas passing the youngster with just two laps to go.

Jones took his second win of the weekend, Beech finished second and Pesky took the final podium place. Jones is now leading the championship on 50 points with Beech and Pesky in joint second with 36 points each leaving Hutchins in third with 22 points.

Jones said: “It was hard leading from the start and it took me a while to get going. I knew Ash was close so I just did my best to make no mistakes and keep to my lines to take the win. I’m looking forward to Oulton Park as I can’t wait to get back out on the bike. I feel I’m learning it now so I’ll have a play with the suspension and see what happens.”

Beech said:  “That was good as I caught him quickly. I thought I could slipstream him to the line but when it mattered I had a near high side and ended up out of the seat. The bike feels better and I’m getting faster and faster. By Oulton Park I should be able to give him a run for his money.”

Ward said: “I changed the gearing for warm-up and it still didn’t feel quite right so I changed it again for the race. I got stuck behind Weeden for too long but I got a podium and more points so it’s all good.”

The Triumph Triple Challenge will hit the track again for round two at Oulton Park in Cheshire on 30th April – 2nd May.

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