Fantastic Jack has great season's start

EXCITING motorcycle trials prospect Jack Sheppard has made a fantastic start to his debut season of 'Class A' and European competition.

EXCITING motorcycle trials prospect Jack Sheppard has made a fantastic start to his debut season of 'Class A' and European competition.

Having won 'Class B' of the British Youth Championships last year, the 14 year-old was given special dispensation to move up to 'Class A' a year ahead of normal regulations.

Despite competing against opponents up to two years his senior, Sheppard is already leading the Championships after three rounds thanks to a third place and two first place finishes.

Soon after sealing the most recent of those wins in Devon, the Claydon High School pupil travelled to the south of France for his debut in the European Youth Trials Championships.

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There, Sheppard exceeded all expectations to finish second out of 45 riders, beaten only by Frenchman Tanguy Mottin who conceded just five fewer marks.

Sheppard, one of just three Great Britain representatives in the competition, did particularly well to beat third placed Spandiard Pol Tarres, the nephew of seven times world champion Jordi Tarres.

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Sheppard said: “It's been a really good start to the season. I had never competed in the European Championships before but was aiming for top a five place because I knew a few people that were around that sort of area.

“I'm glad I have been able to move up a class because last year I wasn't finding Class B very hard. I'm hoping I can win the British Championships again but it will be very close.”

The Sproughton-based teenager is certainly shaping up to be an exciting prospect in the sport, despite Suffolk's flat relatively terrain meaning he has to travel long distances to practise.

Having mastered riding a bicycle without the aid of stabilisers at the tender age of two and a half, Sheppard moved onto motorbikes by the age of six when he joined the Norfolk & Suffolk Junior Motorcycle Club.

By the time he was eight, Sheppard was competing in national competition and quickly began flying up the ranks.

After being spotted at a competition by Jim Lampkin, cousin and coach of seven times world champion Dougie Lampkin, Sheppard began regularly travelling up to Yorkshire to train with the famous motorcycle trials family.

Sheppard said: “Jim is not only a great trainer but also someone great to practise with. There are some great areas to practise on up there too.”

Sheppard is now looking forward to round two of the European Championships, which will be held in Italy at the end of July.

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