Lancashire TelegraphDebutant Hartley eyes more progress (From Lancashire Telegraph)

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Debutant Hartley eyes more progress

WORSTHORNE’S Harry Hartley has expressed his pride after he scored his first points in the British Superbike Championship on the weekend he became the series’ youngest ever rider.

Hartley made his debut in the series at the weekend only a month after turning 17, becoming the youngest rider in British Superbike history.

The Brands Hatch event proved successful, too, as he finished 13th in the second race to pick up three points in the championship.

Hartley has been given his opportunity with the Halsall Biker Gear Kawasaki team this year after help from Mark Hodgson, the father of former World Superbike champion Neil Hodgson.

A crash during a chaotic qualifying session in wet weather on Sunday left him 27th on the grid, but he showed real determination to improve his position to 18th position in the opening race.

That gave him a better grid spot for the second race, when he continued to move through the field to finish in 13th.

Among those he was able to overtake was Michael Rutter, a veteran of 28 British Superbike race wins.

Hartley said: “I feel really proud of what we achieved at the weekend.

“We struggled at the start of the weekend to find the setting that worked for me and then when the rain came on Sunday I crashed but I was in good company.

“The first race I was nervous about, but then I got settled in and I started to feel more relaxed about everything. I think that was always going to be the case.

“In the second race I was able to get a better grid position for the start and then I was able to pull people in and then pick them off which gave me a real confidence boost, especially as they were riders that had more experience in the championship like Josh (Waters) and Michael (Rutter).

“I think if I had been able to get in front of them sooner I could have bridged the gap to the guys in front of me, but it was a good start.

“I am really happy that I could prove some people wrong and now I am looking forward to doing it again at Oulton Park at the team’s home round.”

Round two is between May 3 and 5.

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