EIGHTEEN-year-old Kieran Clarke, a new member of the Appleyard Racing Team has been named most promising young rider in the country.

Kieran added his name to the roll of honour when he was awarded the Octagon Motorsports Trophy for the most promising Auto Cycle Union Academy rider.

Collecting the award at the ACU Awards Dinner on Saturday evening Clarke said: "It's a great achievement, and winning this award means a lot to me. It's been a tough year and there were some very tight battles throughout the season."

Clarke, who will be riding for the Keighley-based British Superbike team this season came from nowhere to fight out top places in the Yamaha R6 Cup last year. He fought out some titanic battles with eventual series winner Tommy Hill.

Riding a standard Yamaha R6 bike, Clarke, a former Schoolboy Motocross Champion, upset the formbook in dramatic style when he won both R6 Cup races at Donington Park on the weekend of the British GP in front of a massive 80,000 fans.

The Rider of the Year Trophy is awarded annually to the Academy rider who has produced the most consistent run of results over the season.

Clarke who makes the big step from an R6 to a full factory supported R1 racing with Appleyard said: "I know this year will be a challenge but it's something I'm really looking forward to."

n Kieran is pictured in action (above) and receiving his 'Most Promising Rider' award from ACU Academy Manager Dave Luscombe.