Returning to English shores and milder temperatures after a short, cold trip to Ireland, Oakleaf Kawasaki’s Gradie Featherstone made the trip to Birmingham’s LG Arena at the NEC for the third round of the 2013 Arenacross championship on Saturday.
Shortly before 10:30am, Gradie set off for his morning practice session, in which he soon got to grips with the technical track conditions. He then followed it up with his qualifying session, in which he ended in seventh place.
With the evening’s festivities starting with a colourful light show and a brief freestyle motocross display, the Rookie class had to wait until halfway through the evening for their moment to shine. Once lined up at the start and the signal given, it was time for action. Gradie avoided the massive first-corner pile-up and found himself slotted into third place after the first few jumps. A pass later, Gradie chased after leader Fraser Wakefield, only to stall in a corner. After restarting and recovering to second, he was unable to close the gap in time before the finishing flag.
On Monday afternoon, the team was notified that Gradie was disqualified after jumping a double during a waving yellow flag in the Final. While this is very disappointing news for the team, rules are rules and the team respects the decision by the MC Federation. Although Gradie’s licence has been suspended for two months, this will not affect his 2013 Red Bull Pro Nationals season.
Said team principal Shaun Anthony: “In the first two rounds, Gradie had some bad luck, but for him to get it all together and end up on the podium on Saturday, he’s made the team real proud. He came through in second, held it all the way, but made a small mistake halfway through the race where he stalled it. He managed to keep his head, and brought the first Rookie podium home in second overall. I was really pleased. The news on Monday was disappointing, but what’s done is done, and we move on.”
Gradie Featherstone (#9): It went well tonight. I got a second place start, but on the second lap I tried to make a pass on first and stalled it on the inside. I restarted in around fifth and caught back up in about two laps. I knew where the leader was and knew I couldn’t catch him up, so I just kept my place and ended second.