PROMISING South Holland teen Ben Stafford has made a welcome return to the track after enduring a stop-start campaign.
Stafford got back on his D3 Racing KTM 450 supermoto machine at the Lakeland Stadium in Rowrah, Cumbria, for only his second race this season.
The Holbeach ace missed the second race of the season at Rednall due to personal circumstances, then in a practice weekend in preparation for the third round at Blyton the KTM engine obliterated itself at high rpm after only five hours of track time.
The engine needed a total rebuild, meaning it wouldn’t be ready in time for the blue-riband supermoto event at the Silverstone Stowe circuit, which ran along side the Moto GP last month.
Despite the setbacks, a very frustrated Stafford was delighted to be back in the saddle and endeavoured to put the start of the season behind him – although he is no longer in contention for the championship this year.
However, Stafford knuckled down and used the Open Elite meeting as practice to run the new engine in, and become reacquainted with the bike after the long lay-off.
Race day saw a very wet start to proceedings. Stafford pushed as much as he dare and did a valiant job in qualifying in a tenth position.
Obviously unhappy with this position, it wasn’t unexpected due to his lack of track time. Forced to battle the poor conditions, he clinched two top ten finishes in races one and two.
Race three saw Stafford return to somewhere near his usual form and, although slightly still off the pace, he found himself in seventh place until a more than ambitious move from another competitor took them both down. After remounting and re-joining the race, he would dropped back to 12th position.
Not fazed by the enforced lay-off, Stafford is hungry to rediscover to his pace ahead of his next race at Three Sisters on the July, 28.
More immediately, Stafford flew out to Croatia over the weekend as part of the Cumbrian based SHR team, to assist them in the next round of the European series.