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Podium for Evotech Stevens Honda in Red Bull Pro Nationals season opener

Two weeks after heavy rainfall and a soggy venue forced the MCF to postpone its season opener for the 2012 Red Bull Pro Nationals championship, Evotech Stevens Honda made its way down to Landrake in Cornwall in bright sunshine, and found the venue to be in perfect condition on race day.

With Joe Bamfield out of contention, it fell to Jordan Divall alone to fly the flag for the team in the Elite Rookies class, which Divall promptly did by qualifying third on Saturday morning.

The first of five races on the weekend got off to a shaky start with a start in the back of the pack, but quick work in the first few laps put Divall back into contention for a top ten result, ascending to ninth halfway in. Stiff competition kept him from improving that position any further, ending ninth at the finish flag. The second race saw Divall in top form; a stunning start kept him in second until two laps from the end where he was forced aside for a third place finish. The final race on Saturday found Divall in the top ten around the first corners and it looked like it would be another top five result for him, but a crash dropped him back to thirteenth, from where it was difficult to recover with only four laps remaining.

Sunday’s first race again started just outside the top ten. Quick work improved Divall’s position to a fourth place by the halfway mark, but a small mistake cost him the place for a fifth place across the finish line. Nothing went to plan in the final race of the weekend. A mid-pack start turned into a fightback from the back of the pack after two crashes cost valuable places, ending the race one position up in sixteenth for a seventh place overall on the weekend.

For Pro Nationals rider Neville Bradshaw, qualifying got underway on a moist and tacky track on Sunday morning, ending fourth in the MX2 group. In the first race, Bradshaw got off the line in tenth. Four laps and six positions later, Bradshaw found himself in a lonely third place to the end with class runner-up Lenoir too far ahead to make any significant progress. The second race got off to a better start, Bradshaw this time embroiled in a tough battle from the start. Relentless in trying to find a way around MX1 rival Jamie Law, Bradshaw finally began to make headway in the latter half of the race. After putting the pressure on rivals Lenoir and Mackenzie, Bradshaw made a last-lap pass for third which he was unable to keep, culminating in a fourth place at the finish and a podium spot in third overall on the day.

Matt Hutchins, team principal, commented on the day: “It’s been a really good weekend in the MX2 Pro class with Neville this weekend. He had a steady first race on his own a bit but rode really well, in the second race he had a really good ride. He was fourth in the race, but really came on strong in the end, made a pass on Bryan Mackenzie but Bryan managed to get it back. Third overall is a really solid start to the championship. Jordan struggled a bit this weekend. He had a couple of good rides, struggled with starts and just had a weekend of crashes, so we need to go home and work on a few things, and be strong for the next one.”

Jordan Divall (#63): Qualifying was good; I got a third in that. In the first race, I had to come from last to ninth. The second race was a good race, I was second for most of it and dropped back to third for the last few laps. Today was ok. I had to come through from an average start to fifth, and the last race was just terrible. I had a terrible start, got taken out and I don’t even know where I finished.

Neville Bradshaw (#272): Today was a decent day, qualifying went alright, was fourth. In the first race I had a lonely third. In the second race, I started in fifth or sixth and worked my way up to fourth. In the last few minutes I got a really good pace going, got onto the back of Mackenzie and Lenoir, and we had a real good battle. I passed Bryan on the last lap but he went for a do-or-die move around the outside and managed to get back in front of me. We got together at the bottom corner and I lost a bit of time, and couldn’t quite make that up again, but my speed was good and an overall third I guess is a good start to the championship.

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