TEENAGER Chrissy Rouse is joint second in the Triumph Triple Challenge after taking two podiums in the opening round at Brands Hatch.
The 17-year-old from Burnopfield scored a second and a third place in Saturday and Sunday’s races at the Kent track.
Riding the Stratstone Triumph Racing machine, the Emmanuel College pupil has returned to the series for a second year, and this time has his eye on lifting the title.
And he got his 2013 title chase off to a flying start as the championship roared into action on Friday as part of the MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship support package.
Lining up second on the grid for Saturday’s race, Rouse didn’t get the best of starts and crossed the line at the end of the first lap in third place, just behind Phil Atkinson.
But he moved up the inside into Paddock Hill Bend to move back to second, only for Atkinson to pass him again at Graham Hill Bend.
This was to be the script for the next few laps, as the pair diced it out and swapped places between them, giving polesitter Freddy Pett a chance to get away up front.
But on lap 10 as Rouse took second back again, he was able to get a small gap between himself and Atkinson, and had soon edged enough of a gap to stay safe, setting the fastest lap of the race on lap 11.
From here he was able to keep his rival nicely behind him, as he pushed on to the end to take second place.
The fastest lap meant he started Sunday’s race from pole, one place higher than Pett. But Pett got a better start at the green light, and once again charged off in front.
He dropped to fourth briefly but was quickly back up to third and tailing Atkinson, in what was to become a near carbon copy of Saturday’s race, as the pair began to swap places over and over.
As the pair battled together, the machines of Charlie King and Daniel Fuller caught up to them, and on lap nine Rouse was passed by all three, and dropped to fifth.
But he wasn’t done yet, and quickly got back past Fuller and two laps later made a move on Atkinson and then King. He was now back up to second place with just a lap to go.
However things took another twist as the pack began the final lap, and Rouse and his fellow frontrunners hit a bunch of backmarkers at Druids. Rouse took the outside while Atkinson took the inside line, and it was Atkinson who emerged in front, leaving Rouse forced to settle for third.
“I’m happy to be joint second in the championship but I’m a bit disappointed to have finished third,” he said. “It’s good to be on the podium again, but there were just a few things I could’ve done differently.
“When we reached the backmarkers it was my mistake really, I chose the outside line but Phil went down the inside, and once we’d passed them he was ahead and with just half a lap left, there was no chance to pass him again.”
With the second round next weekend at Thruxton in Hampshire, Rouse believes he can make amends and make a push for the top step of the podium.
“I think getting an average start was one of the problems because it gave Freddy the chance to get away. Also, I’ve still been a little bit hesitant about getting up to maximum speed this weekend.
“I don’t know if it’s the new tyres, or lack of testing time on the bike, but I’ve just held a little bit back I think. But it’s a great start to the season, the bike felt great all weekend and I’d like to thank my team and sponsors for making it all possible.”
Rouse and Atkinson are now tied in second place in the championship on 36 points, with leader Pett on 50.