HAYDEN Nelson hopes to bow out of the Yamaha R3 Cup and the Dunlop Supersport 300 championship at The Bend in South Australia this weekend with overall third placings.
This will be the final round for both championships. It will also be his last time on a 300 bike as he moves to the 600 supersport class next year.
The 15-year-old from Tinonee finished second for the round and second in one of the races at the penultimate supersport 300 round held in Phillip Island last weekend. This catapulted him into contention for a top three finish. The R3 Cup wasn't contested due to the packed itinerary of events.
Hayden was third in the first race, fifth in the second and second in the third. His second was his best result for the year.
He was sixth overall going into last weekend but has now moved up to fifth. He has his sights on third place going into this weekend.
Henry Snell sits in third spot on 218 points followed by Taiyp Aksu on 216. Hayden sits on 207.
First place is probably out of the equation, with the leader expected to wrap up the title in the first race this weekend.
"But we're definitely in it for third and maybe second,'' Hayden's dad Craig said.
Glen Nelson is second on 239. Cameron Dunker has the championship sealed. He sits on top of the pile on 298.
Hayden holds down third place in the R3 Cup. The same five riders hold down the top placings, although in different positions.
Dunker and Glenn Nelson are tied in the lead on 239 points. Hayden holds down third spot on 193 with Aksu just behind on 189.
Snell follows on 166, with the rest well behind.
"Our goal at the start of the year was to finish on the podium in both championships, so we're still alive,'' Craig said.
He added it was good to have a full year's racing after the problems caused by COVID in the last two campaigns.
Hayden has negotiated the track at The Bend once, last year in the Oceania Junior Championship, where he finished third for the round.
"The track has a 1km long straight. So on a 300 bike any advantage that is made up round the corners can be eaten up a bit by the slipstream effect,'' Craig added.
But whatever the result this weekend, it will be his last on a 300 bike. It's time to move on.
'We've made the decision to go up to 600 supersport next year,'' Craig said.
"The minimum age is 15 and he's just clicked over 15, so he'll be probably the youngest in the field.''
Basically, Hayden has outgrown the 300 bike.
"Next year he'll have three times the horsepower and the bike is bigger, so he can get tucked in better. Size and weight isn't near as critical as it is on a 300,'' Craig said.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.