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Burns fired up for GP launch.

North Walbottle rider Chris Burns will belatedly launch his MotoGP career in South Africa on Sunday.

Rookie Burns crashed out in free practice in the first round in Suzuka and caused internal damage to Harris WCM's only remaining engine, leaving the 22-year-old a frustrated spectator as the championship roared off in Japan in front of millions across the world.

But the series moves to the Welkom circuit this weekend and Burns - who had been fifth fastest in free practice at Suzuka before crashing out - is hoping for better luck.

NTHE North East Motorcycle Racing Club championship is underway.

At Croft earlier this month World Championship duo Duncan Hendry and Steve Wilson of Houghton le Spring took the honours in the Mac Hobson Trophy sidecar race on the 1100cc Suzuki.

The other feature race - the second round of the ACU FSRA Sidecar championship - saw favourites Ian Bell and Neil Carpenter retire with an engine blow up leaving elder Bedlington brother Geoff Bell finishing the leading local rider in seventh place.

In the NEMCRC Ashington's Dave Alsop got his defence of the championship off to a flying start with two comfortable wins.

In the 600 class Chester-le-Street's Dave Bell and Newcastle's Colin Gelston had two good battles, with Gelston finishing second and Bell third in both races.

NCRAMLINGTON karting ace James Bradshaw - the reigning British Cadet champion - fought off fierce competition to take a deserved win in Lincolnshire this month

The 11-year-old qualified for the final on pole and led the 15-lap race - the second round of the championship - from start to finish. Bradshaw's victory in the Rotax Mini Max category at Fulbeck leaves him second in the series behind South Yorkshire's David Sutton.

Meanwhile, South Shields' driver Tristram Oman picked up where he left off last year and the champion has scored most points in both rounds of the ELF-Hill House Hammond ABkC S1 National Senior Rotax. Oman leads Hinckley's Terry Langley by 13 points.
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Date:Apr 22, 2003
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