Mid-Season Review: Ben Luxton

JDF Racing’s Ben Luxton has had a strong start to his 2014 campaign in the Thundersport Aprilia RRV 450 Series, as he leads the championship ahead of the second half of the season. The Stockport rider struggled in

Luxton in action at Rockingham

Photo: Image C/O Racing Lines Photography

2012 after he was plagued by mechanical issues, but after he joined JDF in 2013 he continued to improve his pace and put in a solid performance finishing the year with 13 podium finishes. He has now gone a step further and regularly finishes inside the top two, dominating the championship standings. In the next installment of our mid-season reviews, we take a look back over Luxton’s season so far:

Luxton had a successful opening weekend of the season at Brands Hatch, as the Stockport rider finished every race in the top four on his JDF machine. Sunday races saw him finish in third and fourth position, starting his season off strongly. After sorting out the gear change issue the bike gave no problems in warm up with Ben posting second fastest time.

Twenty four RRV’s lined up on the grid for race one and it was going to be a tough race, however Luxton managed another podium in third place and posting what was to become the fasted time of the weekend by a 450 at 50.0925 secs. The final race of the day saw Luxton clinically move past a rider on each lap: “On the basis of the Mega laps system I moved from second place on the grid to fifth on the second row, so I knew I had to have a good start as the boys were really on it. By the last lap I’d got behind race leader Will Hodgson and I passed him at Graham Hill, but Will immediately passed me back going in to Clearways, it was a drag to the line with Will just keeping his nose in front, a great race!”.

Luxton now sits in third position in the championship standings with 65 points, 30 points off championship leader Willl Hodgson.

Following his impressive weekend at the second round of the series at Donington Park, Ben left the third round venue at the fast Snetterton circuit with a 29 point lead in the championship.
Luxton secured his second pole slot in a row, breaking the lap record along the way. Race one was a re-run of the battles from Donington with six riders gunning for the top step of the podium early-on. However it was soon down to Luxton and Hodgson to fight it out after they pulled a gap of three seconds over third position. Will Hodgson took the win from Luxton by 0.082s, six seconds ahead of the rest of the field. 
Ben took another second position in race two, crossing the line 0.097 behind winner Rollo. Starting the races on Monday from fourth on the grid, Luxton had to work hard to finish in the top three, however he was able to put in a rocket performance and won the race by over a second. With the final race of the weekend being affected by a slight drop in temperature but this didn’t stop Luxton as he sped to his second race win of the weekend, again taking the lead by over a second. 
Heading to Cadwell Park in Lincolnshire, Luxton was able to increase his lead in the Thundersport Aprilia RRV 450 Series with two wins and two second places at round four.
Qualifying in damp conditions, the Stockport rider rounded out the front row. Conditions improved for the first day of racing in this increasingly competitive series and Sam Wilford took his first win in race one ahead of Luxton, as he missed out on win number seven by just 0.22s.

Luxton made up for this however as he won the second race of the day with a gap of 0.182s ahead of Wilford: “For some reason I wasn’t getting particularly good starts whereas Sam, Will, and George were, by the end of lap one I was back in sixth place and could see I needed to get a wiggle on, so I put a couple of hard laps in and hauled myself back upto the top four, it took me until the last lap to get behind Sam Wilford, I passed him at the first corner going up the hill and more or less held on, a tough race.”

The Stockport rider started the final day of racing on Monday on pole position, as the same protagonists battled for the wins. Hodgson led the opening race of the day from start to finish with Luxton getting another weak start, however the ‘smiling assassin’ picked away clinically to get behind Hodgson’s RRV450 on the final lap to get within 0.056s of the race winner at the flag.
Getting off to a better start for the final race of the weekend, Luxton got the wholeshot into turn one, but it could have been any one of six riders that led over the line on the first lap. The teenager was up into second by the seventh lap and won the race by half a second in a nail biting end to a race that kept you on the edge of your seat: “Will is very good on the brakes and I just saw his front wheel at park corner, I used this opportunity to get under George and kept control from this part of the lap to the line taking my second win of the weekend”. 
Luxton takes a 59 point lead to round five Oulton Park at the end of June.
The JDF Stockport rider was able to further extended his championship lead in round six of the Thundersport Aprilia RRV 450 Challenge at Rockingham.

Going into the round with a 101 points lead over Wigan rider Will Hodgson, Luxton knew the pace would be hot as the series headed to the last third of the meetings.

Struggling at a circuit which is special to the teenager, he was only able to qualify in fifth position. However Luxton was able to get up into second position but was unable to reduce the 2.3s gap from race winner George Stanley. Ben got a reasonable start for race two but got boxed in by the end of the first lap, which caused him to drop to seventh position. Digging deep and putting in a solid performance, Luxton was able to secure another second position following a last lap charge which enabled him to catch and pass Hodgson.

Series promoter Ian Newton was full of compliments for Luxton: ‘I have watched Ben develop over the last 12 months from a lad learning his racecraft to becoming an outstanding rider in this very competitive Championship, calculating the odds of getting in the right place at the right time as a result of clever riding, you cannot see him coming he just ghosts his way to the front, impresses the people watching the races including his fellow competitors’.

Luxton secured yet another two second position finishes in Sunday’s races and now takes his 126 point lead to Anglesey later this month. 

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