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PUBLISHED: 09:35 30 September 2008 | UPDATED: 07:41 01 August 2010

Andrew Saunders ended his maiden season in motorcycle racing in sensational style as he was crowned as the 2008 Novice Cup Champion of the British MZ Racing Club 250cc Championship at Brands Hatch on Sunday.

Andrew Saunders ended his maiden season in motorcycle racing in sensational style as he was crowned as the 2008 Novice Cup Champion of the British MZ Racing Club 250cc Championship at Brands Hatch on Sunday.

Arriving at the historic Kent circuit with a commanding lead in the Novice Cup standings, 21-year-old Saunders, from Wrentham, knew the title would come his way just by playing safe.

But instead he went for it, taking three brilliantly-judged class wins from the four races.

Things could not have got off to a worse start as his front brake lever fell off midway through race one on Saturday and forced him to retire.

With championship rival Nigel Cragg finishing second in class, things looked set to go down to the wire.

Instead though, Saunders put all the experience he has gained in his rookie year to good use to finish as the top rider in the class in race two in 11th place overall after starting way down in 29th place on the grid, and then adding a pair of novice victories on Sunday with seventh and eighth places overall to seal the crown.

Saunders' superb riding has netted him 19 novice victories this year, a 42-point winning margin and 13th place in the overall championship - including three podium finishes.

Saunders said: “It feels pretty good - a big relief to have it wrapped up. The Novice Cup was the aim at the start of the season, and even more after I had a few good results early in the year. I'm really delighted.

“I thought perhaps it wasn't going to happen after the pin came out of the brake lever in the first race and it fell off at one of the quickest corners. But I had a few good few races after that, some good battles, and we've got the job done.

“I really want to say a huge thank you to my Mum and Dad for all their support this season - Mum for doing all the catering and Dad for his engineering, to Paul Grieve, my mechanic. I couldn't have done this without them.

“And thank you too to my friends and family who have supported me at races this season. It really makes a difference getting back to the paddock and having people patting you on the back and saying 'well done'.”

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