A Neston High School student has been crowned a national motorcycling champion.
Joe Francis, 15, roared to victory in the Moto3 class of the British Motostar Championship at Silverstone.
On board his WD40 Honda NSF250R machine, he only needed to finish fifth or better in the eight-lap race to take the title with one round remaining in the 14-race series.
The Backford resident, who is tipped for the very top, showed real maturity as he secured the points he needed to take an unassailable lead into this weekend’s end-of-season meeting at Brands Hatch.
Backed since 2011 by bike insurers Bennetts, Francis joined professional team WD40 to race their Honda Moto3 machine this season.
After a thrilling season-long battle with Leicestershire teenager Tarran Mackenzie and West Yorkshire’s Joe Irving, it was Francis’ constituency, sheer pace and superior race craft that came to the fore.
Francis said: “It’s a fantastic feeling to win the British championship. We had a few problems in qualifying but I knew what I had to do in the race and I was able to get the fifth place I needed to win the championship.
“It was actually a bit of a boring race as I was pretty much on my own. I just concentrated hard on not making any silly mistakes and prayed the bike wouldn’t break down. In fairness, it didn’t miss a beat.”
The teenager, who is mentored by former British champion and GP racer Roger Marshall, added: “My ultimate aim is to make it to MotoGP and become a world champion. My manager is working hard on a plan for next year.
“I’m not sure yet where I’ll be racing but I’ll definitely be giving it everything I can. Now I’m a British champion, I want to become a world champion.”