Ben celebrates as British champ again

Champion style@ Stafford on his 350cc at Cadwell Park. Photo: GARY NAYLOR
Champion style@ Stafford on his 350cc at Cadwell Park. Photo: GARY NAYLOR
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CHAMPION rider Ben Stafford has been celebrating retaining the 250cc British Supermoto title.

With the championship already in the bag after the last outing at Silverstone in September, Stafford and the D3 team waited until the last meeting of the year at Cadwell Park before celebrations got under way.

D3 Team boss Neil Crayston presents Ben Stafford with the  No 1 plate to mark his successful year on his 250cc culminating in the retention of his British title. Photo supplied

D3 Team boss Neil Crayston presents Ben Stafford with the No 1 plate to mark his successful year on his 250cc culminating in the retention of his British title. Photo supplied

His stats for the year show his true dominance of his racing, with eight races, eight pole positions, 23 podiums out of a possible 24 and 21 fastest lap times recorded.

As he was a massive 75 points clear of his nearest rival the team decided to make the racing more of an exhibition weekend and forego the 250cc race.

Watched by his sponsors and local supporters the 15-year-old from Saracen’s Head rode in the 450cc elite race on his D3 350cc KTM and qualified 4th in a field of 13 riders.

After a fast start into the first hairpin in race one, the pack bunched up before rising up The Mountain. Stafford retained his position throughout, only losing one place before the final lap and crossing the line 5th.

Race two followed in the same vain. Starting from 5th on the grid, Stafford pushed the 350cc all the way. His speed into the corners is truly remarkable and what continues to net him success. The first four riders got away well and Stafford had no competition for the remainder of the race.

The third and final race of the day told a different story as he left the line in 5th position again, he came under pressure and got boxed in coming out of the first hairpin in 10th position. Undeterred, Stafford, who was sponsored for the weekend by Holbeach firm Lynas Vokes Investments, kept his composure and he completed his race day in the same position.

After a night of celebration, it was back to business as usual at the Sunday meeting in the Elite Group, and Stafford back on board his 350cc D3 KTM.

After three laps of free practice and straight into qualifying, Stafford pushed the KTM to an excellent 9th position on the grid out of 19 riders.

He came an admirable 10th in race one and was then given the opportunity to ride a new 450cc KTM SMR in the second race of the day. He fought back from 13th to finish 9th at the chequered flag.

In race three – continuing on the 450cc – Stafford proved once again that his previous lack of horsepower is the only thing holding his powerful riding back, finishing fifth,

A remarkable ending on the last weekend’s racing of the year and a well deserved top ten finish out of 30 riders in the overall standings for the Open Elite.

Stafford received the surprise accolade of Rider of the Day

Stafford said: “A big thank you to everyone, all my sponsors, with special thanks to Neil and Marie Crayston of D3 Racing, my supporters and also my family who have been behind me all season.

“I am delighted to retain the title and bring it back for them.”

The youngster will now move away from the 250cc class and has decisions to make over the close season.