16-year-old Hopkins escaped from a high speed crash at the Norfolk circuit when another rider lost control in front of him. He was running in 14th position on the final lap, when another rider lost control after running off the track and fell in front of Hopkins. With nowhere to go he ran over the other bike and was launched into the air. The race was immediately red-flagged. His Yamaha R6 was very badly damaged as a result of the crash.
The weekend had begun as a bit of a rush for the rider from Sittingbourne as he had to finish his final exam at school before heading to the circuit. It meant he arrived late for the first free practice session and only completed six laps. His best time of 1:59.170 put him 14th quickest. In free practice two he improved his time, reducing it to 1:57.775.
Hopkins continued to improve his lap times and set a 1:57.294, his best of the weekend so far but was struggling with rear grip issues. Despite the improvement in lap time he was disappointed to only qualify in 17th place for the race.
After making some adjustments as they tried to improve the rear grip issues, the Sittingbourne rider made a very positive start to the race. He gained a position on the first lap before continuing his good progress on lap two and moving up to 15th.
There was a gap between him and the group ahead but Hopkins was able to benefit from the deployment of a safety car, which meant all the riders bunched up. Once the safety car went in he was battling with several other riders. Unfortunately, on the final lap a rider ran off track on the final lap and when he returned he immediately lost control sending his bike in the path of Luke Hopkins. With no time to react and no way to avoid the collision Hopkins rode straight into the other machine and crashed heavily out of the race. As a result of the accident the race was red-flagged. Hopkins was left with a virtually destroyed bike and the family are desperately looking for funds to repair the machine and get him back on track to complete the season.
Luke Hopkins said, ”We had a difficult start to the weekend, having missed part of the first free practice. We tried to catch up in the following sessions but struggled with grip from the rear. The race wasn’t going too badly at all and I was looking forward to another points scoring finish. However, this bike just appeared in front of me on the circuit and there was nothing I could do. Thanks to all the marshals and medical staff that sorted me out, they did a great job.”