Woolacombe School pupil, nine, is closing on the leaders of the national championships

Johnny Garness (centre) takes the podium after Round Six of the British Mini Moto championships. Picture: Tom GarnessJohnny Garness (centre) takes the podium after Round Six of the British Mini Moto championships. Picture: Tom Garness

Young Ilfracombe racer Johnny Garness has closed on the back wheels of his rivals for the British Mini Moto title.

The nine-year-old took overall victory in Round Six of the championships held at Whilton Mill in the midlands.

It follows hot on the heels of his success taking second place in the FIM European championships in the Czech Republic for the Woolacombe School pupil.

The weather was glorious and the track conditions were perfect. Johnny was fastest in free practice on Friday and duly set pole position breaking the lap record on Saturday.

In the first race on Saturday afternoon he stormed away from pole position and never looked back, taking a convincing win.

On Sunday it was a different story. The clouds had burst and the track was soaking wet – the circuit living up to its nickname of ‘slippery mill’.

Johnny’s dad Tom said: “The older and bigger boys typically find it easier in the slippery conditions as they have the strength to hold the bike up if it slides from under them and they have to weight to generate heat into the tyres needed for grip.

“Johnny typically struggles in the wet as he is very small and light. He was under strict instructions to stay on the bike in the slippery conditions.

“He set off at a reasonable pace following the leaders for the first few laps until his confidence grew. Towards the end of the race he picked off several riders and got himself back into second place across the line, showing great maturity and self-discipline in the slippery wet conditions.”

A warmer afternoon and dry conditions suited him better and he roared to victory in the final race.

It means he takes a healthy chunk of points out of his nearest championship rivals and is within 10 points of the championship leader going into the final two rounds.