After 14 year old Tommy Alba and the Oakleaf Kawasaki team made a fantastic debut in the Red Bull Pro Nationals Rookie class, with Tommy returning from round 1 in 7th overall, attention turned to round 2 last weekend at Landrake near Plymouth.
With the event being fairly local to the South West team, a large group of family and friend’s were in attendance to cheer Tommy on against most of the countries top youth racers in the 14-18 year old age group.
Hoping to hit the ground running, Tommy went out for qualifying on Saturday morning and showed no fear amongst his rivals by setting the 3rd fastest lap time, giving himself a great chance of a good start in race 1, and he did just that and was running in 3rd place but unfortunately a crash involving another rider meant the race had to be halted and restarted.
From the restart Tommy was lying in 4th position until a couple of mistakes, left him on the ground and loosing places but he soon got back on it to eventually finish in 9th. Race 2 was one to forget for Tommy as he battled round outside of the top 10 and went on to finish in 12th, but in stark contrast to this was race 3…. an Epic!
After starting well up Tommy and his 250f Kawasaki were engaged in a real ding dong battle with the factory supported KTM of 17 year old Nathan Watson for 3rd place which had the Oakleaf/Alba Fans on the trackside fencing cheering Tommy on. The support worked in the end as it was Tommy that prevailed out of the 2 to hold 3rd place as the riders crossed the finish line, much to the delight of everyone involved with the team, none more so than Team Principal Shaun Anthony who was subject to a surprise live interview afterwards by the TV camera crew.
With Saturday out the way, attention turned to Sunday’s final 2 rookie class races. Heavy overnight rain had left the track wet but Tommy was buoyed on by his race 3 result and eager to get going again. Maybe a little to eager though as the start of race 4 saw him hit his start gate before it had fully dropped leaving him dead last and with a fight on his hands to gain a good result. He had his throttle wound on and was soon gaining places at a fair pace and by the finish he had made his way up to 9th place. A more standard start in the final race saw Tommy in 5th place and battling the riders ahead but a small mechanical problem developed causing him to slow his pace and nurse the bike round with smoke and oil coming out of the engine. With a couple of laps remaining he was caught and passed by 6th and 7th but then on the final lap as he reappeared from the far side of the circuit he had put a pass back on Jordan Divall and would go on to hold off his attentions to take a fine 6th place.
Overall results from the weekend put Tommy in 8th place and he has now moved up into 6th in the championship, reflecting on the weekend Team Principal Shaun Anthony had this to say ‘ We’ve had a great weekend at the Redbull Nationals with Tommy Alba on the Oakleaf Kawasaki now 6th in one of the biggest championships in the country, the team is now starting to prove what we have set out to achieve…. supporting talent in the South West and mixing it with the big boys!
Thanks to the supporters and current sponsors, hopefully we can create a team and fly the flag for the South West at all the big events. well done Tommy LIVING THE DREAM.