Bradley Hughes
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2012 BSB Season Review

                                Media & Photography by:


                               Reports by:  Helen Pask

Snetterton 300 Test  -  March 2012

Bradley completed his winter testing programme at Snetterton last weekend when he took part in a MSV Test day on Friday followed by four races over Saturday and Sunday with the Derby Phoenix club where, despite the poor weather conditions, he notched up his first win of the season in the Mini Thunderbike class.

On Friday there was a strong east wind blowing over the Norfolk circuit and the sky overcast with a temperature of just six degrees but despite the chilly conditions the 15 year old Windsor High School student began his day in fine style. Riding the Honda RS125cc he soon got back into his stride following the winter break and looked pretty quick within his group of riders, some of whom were on more powerful 600cc machinery and his times came down with every lap.
But the session came to an abrupt end when Bradley pushed a little too hard on the front end as he flicked through the Esses in the cold conditions and down he went.
  
Pictures taken by: Bryan Lancaster
 
Bradley was unhurt in the incident – except for his pride and a few scuffs to his PennWhite leathers – and was able to pick the bike up and ride it back to the pits where only minor cosmetic damage was discovered. The second session went better for the young rider who reduced his lap times even further and despite the cold weather he was able to match his times from last season.
Bradley was keen to test under race conditions and entered all four Mini Thunderbike races with the Derby Phoenix club where he encountered heavy rain, poor visibility followed by a greasy drying track giving him the opportunity to test his skills in the most difficult of conditions.
On Saturday Bradley completed both six lap races around the 2.96-mile circuit in second place setting the fastest lap by 1.5 seconds in race two.

Picture by: Superbikesnapper

In Sunday’s opener he took his first win of the season and again set the fastest lap of the race. But everything went wrong in the final outing when the bike seized causing some engine damage which will have to be addressed prior to the first round of the British championship.

Tony Hughes (Bradley’s father and team manager) said: “This was a good, solid start to the season for Bradley. He gained in confidence with every lap and was battling against the 400cc and 600cc machines. This gave him a real confidence boost as he tried to stick with the more powerful bikes down the long straights and then outride them in the corners on the new Snetterton 300 track layout. To secure a win and two second places over the weekend was fantastic for morale and Bradley can’t wait for his first race in the British championship.
We would like to thank, 100% Suspension, PennWhite, Superbikesnapper and Gary & Karen for giving up their weekend's racing at Brands Hatch to help us out.”
 

The first round of the British GP125cc championship will take place at Brands Hatch on Easter Monday, April 9.



Mallory Park Final Preparations - March 2012

Well the start of the BSB is only a week away now, where has the last 6 months gone......
 
In some last minute final preparations as we had an engine to run in ready for next Fridays first practice at Brands Hatch, we spent the day at Mallory Park Wednesday.
 
Brad spent a very boring afternoon putting around 50 laps in at low revs making sure everything was bedded in, with his orange vest on in the glorious Leicestershire sunshine.
 It's a hard life being a racer................
Picture by: Superbikesnapper



BSB Round 1 Brands Hatch Indy - April 2012


Halesowen youngster Bradley Hughes left Brands Hatch disappointed and empty handed after his race was cancelled because of the worsening weather conditions and a slippery track.

The 15 year old Windsor High School student was anticipating a top result in round one of the 2012 Monster Energy Motostar British championship and had sailed through his qualifying. He was 10th fastest in first practice and despite encountering some niggling problems held onto 11th place in the first qualifying session.

Picture by: Superbikesnapper

Final qualifying was a washout and Bradley was unable to improve on his time set earlier in the day. But at least the session gave him the opportunity to iron out the power problems ahead of morning warm-up.

 
Easter Monday brought heavy rain as the riders prepared for the short warm up session. But Bradley excelled in the tricky conditions and ran in sixth place for most of the session before dropping back slightly to eighth. He was looking promising for a top result in the 22 lap race that was scheduled for later in the day.
 

But the rain persisted and was accompanied by a strong side wind. Hold ups and crashes in earlier races left the track in a dangerously slippery condition leaving the race director no alternative but to postpone the 125cc race to be run as an additional race at Thruxton on Saturday at 5.20pm over 10 laps.
 Nice to see you Chrissy
 

Bradley’s father Tony commented: “We are all understandably disappointed not to race today but the right decision was made by the race director as conditions were so bad. Rider safety has to come first and the track conditions along with the high winds made it impossible for the race to take place.
 

“We move on to Thruxton this weekend and hope to begin our campaign in earnest there.”
 
Free practice and qualifying take place on Friday and Saturday ahead of the 10 lap rescheduled race from Brands Hatch at 5.20pm. The14 lap second round race on Sunday will start at 3pm.



BSB Round 2 Thruxton - April 2012

 Following the cancellation of the Brands Hatch race over Easter, Bradley Hughes finally got his championship challenge underway at Thruxton over the weekend when he scored a brace of eighth places in the double header Monster Energy Motostar Cup British Championship.

The qualifying results from Brands Hatch were implemented for the rescheduled race to be run over 10 laps of the notoriously bumpy and fast 2.3-mile Hampshire circuit and Bradley began the race from a third row grid position.

He took up 14th place in the first half of the race before making a move forward and eventually completing the 10 laps in 8th place in the Cup and 10th place overall. (The Motostar Cup takes place within the main British Championship for younger riders under the age of 16.)

Qualifying for the Thruxton race took place in differing weather conditions and the bumpy Thruxton tarmac played havoc with the set up on the 125cc Honda. Despite suspension problems the Halesowen teenager was running in 6th place in the first session but the red flag halted his progress and at the restart he encountered a problem with the clutch. Nonetheless he held onto 11th place and hoped for another dry run in the final session. But it wasn’t to be, the practice was wet and Bradley was unable to improve on his earlier times and so began his race from the 3rd row. He soon moved through to take up 10th place but was demoted by William Dunlop who went past two laps later.

Picture by: Superbike snapper

The red flag halted the race and a new race was called to run over just five laps. Grid positions were as race positions at the stoppage and once again Bradley began the race on the third row. This time he moved straight up to 11th place and crossed the finish line in 11th place overall but scoring 8th in the Motostar cup.

This fine set of results put Bradley up into 7th place in the Cup points with 16 points scored over the two races and 10th in the main championship on 11 points.
 Picture by: superbikesnapper

Tony Hughes (Bradley’s father) said: “This has been a difficult weekend for us; we always knew we would be out powered here because of the nature of the track. But we gave it our best shot and despite clutch problems Bradley was able to score well.”

The next round is at Oulton Park in Cheshire over the May Bank Holiday weekend of May 7/8/9.

  

BSB Round 3 Oulton Park - May 2012
                      

Halesowen rider Bradley Hughes rode to a fine fourth place in the third round of the 2012 Monster Energy Motostar Cup at Oulton Park on Monday to move to seventh place in the rider standings and to joint seventh place in the main British championship.
 Picture by: superbikesnapper
 
Having fitted a new race engine prior to the meeting Bradley spent the first free practice session running it in. But despite encountering some niggling gearbox problems he sailed through his qualifying completing his first session in fourth place. But in final qualifying he once again was held back by a gearbox problem but overcame this to complete the session in sixth place for a second row start to Monday’s race.
 Thanks Beth for being my Brolly Dolly
 
As the race got underway mid afternoon on Monday, Bradley took his time to get the tyres warmed up but was soon on the pace moving through to sixth place to latch onto the back of a group of four riders a few yards ahead. It was all exciting stuff with the riders ahead exchanging places throughout the race. Bradley edged nearer and nearer and by the midway stage of the race was right with them.
 Picture by: superbikesnapper
 
The television cameras switched from watching the leaders to following the group who had now got on terms with Ryan Watson who was holding second place and Bradley certainly benefited from the exposure. As the five riders approached Lodge for the last time they were as one and the outcome of the race would be determined by who exited the corner first. On the drag to the flag Bradley crossed the finish line in sixth place overall but because two riders ahead of him were ineligible for points in the Motostar Cup he completed that section of the race in a fine fourth place.
 Picture by: superbikesnapper
 
“I am really pleased with fourth place,” said Bradley. “I have to thank my main sponsor, Penn White for their continued support and have gone someway to repay them this weekend.”

Bradley moves to seventh in the Motostar cup on 29 points but is only four points away from Ryan Watson who holds third place. He is also placed joint seventh in the main championship on 21 points and another strong result could see him move further up the order.

Tony Hughes (Bradley’s father) said "Bradley showed determination all weekend, running within the top 6 in every session, planned his race after getting away a little gingerly finding the dry lines and avoiding the damp patches on slicks, then pressed on and got with the 4 man group battling for 3rd place. He new he didnt have the pace to take them just on power as they were all quicker bikes, so planned the run to the line off the last corner. Unfortunately for Brad he didnt get the line he wanted and had to adjust as the other two riders tried to take Dunlop, but got good drive over the finish line missing out on a podium finish by 0.04 seconds as 0.5 seconds covered 3rd - 6th" Fantastic Result.


BSB Round 4 Snetterton - End May 2012

 DISAPPOINTING DAY FOR BRADLEY AT SNETTERTON

 
The weekend went from looking promising to ending in disappointment for Bradley Hughes when he suffered a crash in qualifying and then was forced to nurse the bike home in 15th place with clutch problems during the 12 lap race at Snetterton in round four of the 2012 Monster Energy British Motostar Championship and Cup on Sunday.
 
Bradley made an excellent start to the weekend by posting the fourth fastest lap in the first free practice session. But the 15-year-old Halesowen rider experienced problems with overheating in the second session causing him to drop down the order to ninth.
 Picture by: superbikesnapper
 
After making a few changes to the bike he went out for first qualifying but crashed out of the session while holding 11th place. Although he improved his lap times in final qualifying he remained in 11th place and began his campaign on Sunday from a third row grid position.
 
His troubles began at the start when he discovered the clutch was slipping and he struggled to get the bike off the line. He dropped down the order to finish the first lap in 20th place and began to fight his way through the back markers to secure 10th position within the space of five laps. But as the race progressed so did his troubles and eventually the clutch burnt out leaving Bradley to limp home down in 15th place to salvage a solitary championship point from the race. But it was not all bad news as Bradley scored five championship points in the Cup section of the race as the 11th cup competitor to cross the finish line.
 
With just the one championship point scored in the main British championship Bradley is demoted down to 11th place in the overall rider standings although the five points scored in the cup see him drop just one place down to eighth.
 Picture by: superbikesnapper
The next round is at Knockhill in Scotland on June 24 where Bradley will be seeking a top result to move him back in contention with the championship leaders.
Race Report by: Helen Pask

 

Tony Hughes (Bradley’s father) said "A hard weekend and Bradley really did try to ride the wheels off the bike this weekend, big thanks to Forcefield Body Armour for protecting him in his Qualifying high side crash and HJC Helmets as Brad took a big hit to his head. He knew on the way to the grid the clutch was slipping and after trying to get some extra free play in it on the grid we knew then it wasn't going to be the race he wanted. Shame about the result, still managed to smash his personnel best time and clever work done by Brad to bring it home even for the last Championship point".

Also we would like to thank all the marshals and medical staff for doing a fantastic job keeping Brad out there, with physiotherapy on his neck and all his other bruised bits.


BSB Round 5 Knockhill Scotland - End June 2012

It was always going to be an uphill task for Bradley Hughes on his visit north of the border to Knockhill in Scotland because apart from being one of the most challenging courses on the racing calendar Bradley’s mechanic was unable to attend and his father was on crutches! But the team soldiered on and with the help of Gary Rimmer who drove the van and Stuart Painter who helped out in the paddock Bradley was given the best chance possible to produce a result and he did just that by scoring a 12th place finish to his race.
 
Friday’s free practice session for the Monster Energy British Motostar Championship saw Bradley make some changes to the ride height to accommodate his ever growing long legs and he adjusted the saddle height by 2 ½ inches.
 
This seems to have worked as he posted the sixth fastest time in the wet first qualifying session. However the track was dry for final qualifying and Bradley dropped down the order to ninth although still only 0.4s away from pole position.
 Picture by: superbikesnapper 
 
New for this year is the formation of the grid down to three riders on each row and Bradley began his campaign from row three in ninth place. He didn’t get the best of starts but held onto 10th place through the early laps before being pushed back to 15th on lap 12 of the scheduled 22.
 
But the race was brought to a premature end when three of the front runners crashed heavily at the hairpin. The result was declared at 17 laps distance and Bradley awarded 12th place in the main championship and seventh in the Motostar Cup.
 
With the points accrued from the Knockhill round added to the ones already secured, Bradley is now 13th in the main championship on 28 points and eighth in the Cup with 43 points.
 
“It was a mad end to the race,” said Bradley. “I finished 12th but not really sure until I see the result sheets! I really was hoping it would be wet for the race but it stayed fine for a change!”
 
The next round is at Oulton Park in Cheshire when the championship returns for its second visit of the year on July 8. On his last visit in May Bradley scored a healthy sixth place and a repeat of that would be very acceptable and would add further to his points tally to move him further up the rider standings.

Race Report by: Helen Pask



BSB Round 6 Oulton Park - July 2012


 

Halesowen teenager Bradley Hughes rode to sixth place in round six of the 2012 Monster Energy British Motostar Cup (12th in the full championship) at Oulton Park on Sunday. But it could have been so much more if the 15 year-old had not been penalised with a ride through penalty after a jump start which saw him relegated to last place after rejoining the race from pit lane.
 
The weekend began with free practice on Friday but with torrential downpours throughout the day there was nothing to be gained from the experience. The rain abated for qualifying on Saturday and Bradley managed to string some fast laps together to finish in eighth place for a second row start to Sunday’s 12 lap race. Friday practice day was a washout.
 Picture by: superbikesnapper
 
But Bradley was a little too keen to get his race underway and jumped the start. He was fourth into the first corner but with a lot of chopping and changing of positions as the riders settled down he was seventh on lap two. He was signaled to come in to do his ride through penalty and had to cruise through the entire length of pit lane before being permitted to rejoin the race.
 Picture by: superbikesnapper
By this time he was dead last and rode the wheels off the little Honda to play catch up. He ploughed through the back markers making it up to 19th on the third lap and then up to 13th on lap 10. On the final lap Bradley was right with American Rider Xavier Zayat and beat him to the chequered flag just a tenth of a second ahead to snatch 12th place in the main race and sixth in the Motostar Cup which is run within the main championship for riders under the age of 16.
 Picture by: superbikesnapper
This result moves Bradley to 14th place in the main championship on 30 points and up to seventh in the Motostar Cup on 53 points.
The next round is at Brands Hatch over the weekend of July 20-22 where Bradley will get a chance to actually race at the Kent circuit. The first race of the season was scheduled for Brands Hatch but poor weather conditions caused it to be postponed and relocated to Thruxton the next week.

Race Report by: Helen Pask

It was a difficult weekend, firstly again without our mechanic on hand, difficult conditions on Friday, which Brad did revel in to start with going 5th & 6th until he couldn't see and a pair of great sunny qualifying sessions putting Brad 2nd row 8th on the grid. Without the help of Gary Rimmer all of this wouldn't have been possible, massive thank you. Then getting the best first lap in this year only to receive a jump start ride through because the bike moved due to clutch slip on full throttle was to say the least almost heart breaking for Brad as he so much wanted a podium. That said, we are so proud of Brad how he showed that he is a true professional, no messing about came straight in pit lane, rode below 60kph hit the end of pit lane and went back to the circuit flat out with only one thing on his mind, to get back in the race. Just brilliant ! Then from last to come back through the field taking chunks of other riders lap times closing gaps down was so exciting to watch and we never expected him to get back in the race to finish 12th & 6th in the Cup.
A special thank you to Alice for spending the weekend with ourselves, helping us out with some promotional photography, which we will release shortly and grid duty and all the people that came to support this weekend and not forgetting some of our sponsors it was great to see them.
 
Picture by: Lawrence Clift
Hope to see you all at Brands Hatch next week.


BSB Round 7 Brands Hatch GP - July 2012

Halesowen teenager Bradley Hughes rode through the pain of cramp to claim eighth place in round seven of the Monster Energy British Motostar Cup at Brands Hatch on Sunday also taking a fine 12th place in the full British Championship section of the race.
 
The first qualifying session was going well for the young rider but towards the end the engine began to lose power and Bradley ended up in 11th position. The team were forced to replace a piston that had nipped up and opted for a harder compound tyre for final qualifying. But despite shaving a further 1.3 seconds from his lap time Bradley found himself down in 14th place.
 Picture by: superbikesnapper
 
“I was eight mph down through the speed traps so we have a lot of work to do before Sunday’s race to try and rectify the problem,” said Bradley.
 
It was obvious the problem had been solved as Bradley was up to ninth in morning warm-up and posting lap times considerably faster than in qualifying.
 
As the riders lined up for the start of the 12-lap race Bradley got away to a good start and was soon up to 10th position. But as the race wore on the rear tyre went off and he struggled to stay in control. But he persevered and after a race-long dice with Harry Hartley he just got his front wheel ahead on the last lap to cross the finish line ahead of his rival, the margin being just six hundredths of a second.
 
“The tyre was ripped to pieces,” said Bradley. “And I was suffering with cramp throughout the race so I am happy to actually finish where I did. I have more points in the bag and seven finishes out of seven race starts so I have to be happy with that.”
Think we need to speak to Mr Dunlop ( this was a hard 'F' compound only done 12 laps)
 
 
After round seven of the Motostar Cup Bradley is comfortably placed in eighth position on 61 points and in the main British Championship is 15th on 34 points.
 
The next round is at Cadwell Park in Lincolnshire over the August Bank Holiday weekend of August 25-27 when Bradley will be relishing the chance to fly the famous Cadwell Mountain. The points are very close and a good result at Cadwell could see the 15-year-old rider move up the rider standings.
Race Report by: Helen Pask
 
It was a hard weekend but very enjoyable, Bradley rode well all weekend only let down by my mechanical skills in Qualifying due to no mechanic on hand, but we got there for warm up. Without Gary Rimmer & Karen Wharfe's help again this weekend it wouldn't have been possible, thank you both so much. It was great to see some of our family along with our friends also and a massive thank you to Sarah Myers for being on hard for the camera and on the Grid. Also big thanks to all our sponsors this year, the bike and Brad looks fantastic, special thanks to PennWhite for their continued support without all of your help we wouldn't be here.
Thanks Sarah
A little rest now for a few weeks, if that's possible , next round Cadwell Party in the Park end of August and lets hope it will be.


BSB Round 8 Cadwell Park - August Bank Holiday 2012
  
There was a huge disappointment in store for Bradley Hughes at Cadwell Park when he slid off the track at Hall Bends after just four laps of the Lincolnshire track.
Free practice and qualifying had gone well for the 15-year-old Halesowen rider who was third in the final session. The times registered in the dry set the grid for the start of the 12 lap race and Bradley began his campaign from a third row grid position. Just as the riders took up their positions the heavens opened and the expected rain began to fall. The race was delayed to allow the riders to switch tyres and the race subsequently reduced from the original 12 laps to 11.
 Picture by: superbikesnapper
As the lights went out Bradley got away to a good start maintaining his ninth position on the first lap. He was at the back of a large group of riders all challenging for second place and as the race progressed he prepared to make a move forward. But his race was over after just four laps when he slid from his machine at the tricky Hall Bends section of the course, his first non-finish of the year.

Picture by: superbikesnapper
This non-finish sees Bradley lose a place in the overall rider standings and he is now placed ninth in the Motostar Cup and 16th in the Monster Energy British Motostar championship.
The next round is at Donington Park over the weekend of September 7-9 when Bradley will be seeking a top result to boost his points tally and take him back up the rider standings.

Press Release by: Helen Pask

 Big thanks for Beth for being on hand with the brolly & 100% Suspension

A fantastic weekend, so proud of Brad the way he rode all weekend and there was nobody more disappointed than Brad tucking the front trying to push on in the battle to gain some places. Highlight of the weekend has got to be in Qualifying 2 holding P1 on his pit board for nearly the whole session !! 
An extra special thank you to our family, friends and sponsors for this weekend, with myself being not very mobile without your support it wouldn't have been possible.