JAMIE Lyons warmed up for his second tilt at the Red Bull Rookies trials in Spain by earning his first ever HEL Performance Motorstar British Championship podium at Donington Park.
The talented 14-year-old racer was on the pace in the standard class from the off, running in the top six during free practice before qualifying fifth.
He transferred that form into the opening race, finishing an excellent third overall after passing former British Talent Cup rival and Plop Enduro team-mate Harry Leigh in the closing stages to seal his place on the podium.
Unfortunately, things didn’t go to plan on Sunday. The Omagh Academy pupil crashed during practice, but after some hard graft in the pits was back on the grid and raring to go.
He got a great start to race two and was in second place before Jack Hart’s high-side took him out and left him wondering what might have been.
“It was an eventful weekend but I still enjoyed it and getting onto the podium was a brilliant experience,” he beamed. “[After the crash] the bike felt really good and I got a brilliant start but Jack Hart tried to avoid another rider and at the same time he high sided right in front of me.
“I had nowhere to go and there was nothing I could do so I was a bit gutted because the bike felt really good and I was going to go for the podium again. Unfortunately these things happen.”
Today, Jamie flies to Spain for his second attempt to earn a place in the MotoGP Red Bull Rookies. Having had a taste of what’s in store last year, but with another year’s experience and a full British Talent Cup season under his belt, ‘Flyin Lyons’ believes he can show his improvement.
“Getting selected is the first part of the jigsaw and just to get selected is a massive achievement,” beamed Jamie, who is the only Irish rider to make the cut in 2019.
“I’m not going with any expectations apart from going faster than last year because I know what I did last year and I know what I have to do this year.
“It’s not all about lap times because there were people who got through last year who were slower than me, but I’m just going to go and try to improve.
“I’ve definitely improved as a rider this year because it’s like any sport, once you go from Northern Ireland to England there’s a big step up and definitely, last year, I was riding the bike but I wasn’t riding it to its limit.
“This year, I’ve learned a lot about set-up and I’ve adapted a lot as a rider, I’ve changed my style and I’m a lot quicker.”