TEENAGER Ben Ashcroft is gearing up for what he hopes will be a strong season aboard 250GP machinery.
The 16-year-old will be back out with NG Road Racing Club this year, following a strong debut in the ACU National 250GP Championship in 2017.
And although he knows he won’t be able to contest the full season due to surgery this summer, he hopes to use the season ahead to build on his race craft and get up to the sharp end.
Ashcroft started last season racing in Thundersport GB’s Aprilia RRV series, and despite a tough start with various technical issues, help from John Davies as the season reached mid-point helped him find a better set up, leading to his first string of podiums.
But a crash at Mallory Park in June left him with a smashed collarbone needing screws and plates, and ruled him out of the championship chase. It also gave him a chance to have a rethink about his racing.
“During my recovery I turned 16, and I had always preferred two strokes but was two tall to ride the little 125GP bikes,” he said.
“I decided to try the 250, so six weeks after my operation I was at Anglesey, lining up on the grid for the ACU National 250GP Championship on a TZ250, a bike I hadn’t ridden and almost double the power of my 450. I took a liking to it instantly.”
Ashcroft enjoyed a strong first weekend, and began to build on his results as the season drew to a close, also competing in events at Aintree, where he scored a second place in the final round.
This year, it’s all about moving forward, even though he will have to take an enforced break mid-season.
“I’m the only junior riding a 250cc GP bike in the British series at the moment, and I’m going to be back on the 250 to try and get some more experience and hopefully challenge towards the front.
“However, this season will be cut short around June as I have to have a second operation to remove the plates and screws from the crash at Mallory.
“Dependant on what the doctors say I should be back out doing the remainder of the 250GP rounds with NG.”
*Images: Supplied by Ben Ashcroft