SETBACKS: Luke Mitchell flies down the home straight during the first round of the ASBK tour at Phillip Island, Victoria.
SETBACKS: Luke Mitchell flies down the home straight during the first round of the ASBK tour at Phillip Island, Victoria. Jeremy Brown

Mitchell starts on the road to redemption

MOTORSPORT: Luke Mitchell has built a reputation for scratching and clawing his way to the top of the supersport tree.

The 20-year-old DPH Motorsport rider is a fighter on the track and he will need all his tenacity as he works back from a tough start to the 2017 season, sitting ninth on the leader board after round one.

It was a disasterous start to the racing season, which began before the bikes even lined up for the first race after Mitchell was pushed out of practice by an unresponsive machine.

Issues stemming from the edge grip on his rear tyre had Mitchell's pit crew scrambling to make changes while lap testing was happening.

"We knew from the practice session that we were in a deep hole,” Mitchell said. "We just didn't get enough time on the track. It set us back.”

"We chucked the wide qualifying tyres on which masked the problem, and we got P4 in the grid but you could tell the power wasn't there in racing.”

Mitchell could not have predicted what would happen in the first race of the tour after he was brought down from behind in the second lap of the race.

"I had dropped back to the field from third place, and heading into a corner, some clown decided not to brake and tried to take four of us at once,” he said.

"He clipped my back wheel and I went flying like bowling pins. I just couldn't believe it.”

Mitchell had to retire due to a busted front brake lever, missing out on crucial championship points.

Going back out for race two, Mitchell pushed through the early tyre problems and as he began to make up ground on the field, another track accident brought out the red flag, stopping the race and relegating him to seventh place.

With no idea what the issues were despite the attention of Yamaha team mechanics Mitchell rode for points in the final race to finish ninth, 41 points off the series front runners.

"I was just frustrated, dejected, shattered,” he said. "We gave up a swag of points that we shouldn't have given up. It is not over but we are definitely in a very deep hole.”

The next round is at Wakefield Park Raceway in a fortnight.

"I have never been this far behind before and it is not going to be easy but I am doing everything I can to be ready,” Mitchell said.

"We have left the bike with the Yamaha boys in Sydney to pull it apart and find the issue. I will be 110% prepared, the bike will need to be too.”



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