Northern Irish team JAR Honda by IFS made their mark in the Irish Championship season opener at Vernon Mount in Cork this past weekend. In miserable rainy conditions over the weekend, the team’s riders Wayne Garrett and Lewis Tombs soon proved their worth on the wet and technical hillside track.
Practice on Sunday morning already was a sign of things to come as Garrett and Tombs set pole in MX1 and MX2, and soon followed up with three hard-fought races in pouring rain.
Garrett got off the line first in the first race and soon found himself in a battle for the lead with Gary Gibson. After losing the duel, he continued to keep up the pressure, keeping the distance between himself and Gibson to a bare minimum and taking second at the chequered flag. In the second race, Garrett again fought hard for the lead, passing Michael Mahon halfway in and staying ahead from then on. In the final race, a slow start turned into a third place throughout the race. Unable to reel in the leaders, Garrett kept it steady for a third place at the finish and a second overall.
Tombs also had a great first start; in the class lead throughout the race, Tombs left his nearest competition far behind to take the win by over forty-five seconds. In the second race, things didn’t go quite as planned. A bad start and some over-eagerness on Tombs’s part led to a first-lap crash that left him in the back of the pack. With two laps remaining and Tombs back in the top three, disaster struck again. A clutch problem prevented Tombs from making any gear changes and cost several positions in the closing minutes, leaving him to push his bike across the line in sixth.
Tombs’s final race proved to be the most difficult of the day, but tenacity paid off with a win. Leading the class from start to finish, he took the overall win on the day by a whisker.
The team now continues on to the season opener of the Maxxis British Motocross Championship at Fat Cat Motoparc in Doncaster.
Lewis Tombs – MX2:
“Qualifying went well and ended up with second quickest time behind Wayne, but took a rock to the nose. First race I had a pretty good start and worked my way up to fourth. I was a long way behind the leaders but was MX2 leader, which was good. Second race I had a shocking start, was too impatient and had a big crash. I got back going and was riding good but with two laps to go something in the clutch broke, I pushed it across the line and finished sixth in the MX2. The last race was difficult, but I ended up first MX2. It was a rough day, but I’m glad to get it out the way and move onto Fat Cat next week.”
Wayne Garrett – MX1
“It’s been a tough day with the weather being so bad. I’m happy with my results today and to start the Irish championship off with three solid races.”
Jonathan Rea – Team manager
“The first race of the season is always interesting and with MX1 and MX2 together it was a great opportunity to have Lewis riding with the bigger bikes. Wayne rode solid in all motos for second overall and looked comfortable riding at the front. On Lewis’s side we had a few dramas today, starting with getting a stone in the nose in qualifying. In the second moto, Lewis had some clutch issues but managed to finish off the day with a solid win. It was nice to get the guys behind the gate before next weekend’s British Championship and this week’s served as a good warm-up for that.”
Images are courtesy of Neil McKeown @ T9 Images Media