New Zealand has another motorcycling world champion in the making with Rangiora’s Jake Lewis winning the European Junior Cup crown at the final round at Jerez, Spain.
The Kiwi hero finished ahead of talented young riders from all over Europe.
“I can’t believe it. I knew I had to give it my all from the word go and that’s what I did,” said Lewis.
First prize for Lewis is a paid-up ride in the Superstock class for next season.
Starting from 14th spot on the grid at Jerez, Lewis was quickly among the leading bunch and soon eased his way into the lead.
With eight riders bunched together, Lewis controlled the race with a maturity that belied his 18 years.
The race had the Spanish crowd on their feet and in the run to the flag Lewis finished a split second ahead of local hero Augusto Fernandez, who claimed second overall in the championship. Britain’s Josh Harland was third.
The European Junior Cup is the entry-level class to the World Superbike Championships and open to riders aged between 14 and 19.
“I raced in Europe last year too and that was a real eye-opener,” said Lewis. “These European riders are just so fast. It is such a big jump in the level of competition (compared to New Zealand).”
Lewis will return home to race again in the upcoming New Zealand Superbike Championships.
Lewis was one of four New Zealand riders in the eight-round Junior Cup – the others were Wellington’s Sam Croft and Aucklanders Connor London and Blayes Heaven.
Croft finished 19th at Jerez, while London finished 22nd and Heaven 28th of the 30 finishers.
Words and photo by Andy McGechan www.BikesportNZ.com