After the cold and wet weekend in the Emerald Isle, JAR Honda by IFS was hoping for a little more sunshine for the first round of the Maxxis British Motocross Championship. The hopes of a possible salvaged race day were dashed on Sunday morning when the ACU instituted a wet weather timetable that eliminated several elements of the usual schedule, and brought home the stark reality that the weather would not be any better than the week before.
The morning qualifying session saw MX2 rider Lewis Tombs qualify in twenty-fourth after an on-track incident during the session precluded him from getting a good fast lap under his belt. For MX1 rider Wayne Garrett, things were not much better with a time that put him in thirty-fifth.
The first race proved to be a bit of a challenge for Tombs. A middling start was soon turned into a top twenty position in the pack, and progress up the pack from there followed. In the closing laps, Tombs settled into a good rhythm in fifteenth, taking the position at the finish flag. Whereas for many the second race was a nightmare, for Tombs it was an opportunity. After getting through the slaughterhouse of the first two corners, he found himself in twelfth. From there, a solid and steady ride proved to be the best course of action, earning him a tenth place and a twelfth overall on the day.
Garrett did not fare much better. A start from the outside left him at a severe disadvantage, and finding himself stuck just outside the top twenty did not improve matters. With the finish timer was clicking down to zero, Garrett found a few rivals to pick off before the chequered flag, ending the race so tantalisingly close in twenty-second. The second race looked to be a foregone conclusion with some points in the bag, but much to the team’s dismay, rider and bike stopped dead on the track, unable to continue, with just seconds remaining. For Garrett, nil points on the day was a bitter pill to swallow.
Wayne Garrett – MX1:
“It’s been a tough day today. We struggled with bike setup in qualifying, just couldn’t get a good lap in and that didn’t set us up on good terms for the racing. In race one, raced a wee bit better but rode very tight and couldn’t get a good rhythm going, got really bad arm pump and ended up just outside the top twenty. Physically the track was really really tough in the second race, was comfortably in seventeenth and we had a bit of a mechanical issue and stopped two laps from the end and DNFed. All in all not a good day, but what can you do? These things happen.”
Lewis Tombs – MX2:
“Overall today was alright, I ended up twelfth which is better than last year, so I was pleased about that. During qualifying I ended up twenty-fourth, which was not great. In the first race I just didn’t get into it, rode steady away and finished fifteenth, which wasn’t great. For the second race, we re-grouped and changed a few things. The rain didn’t really help, so that was a bit of a wet race, so I just tried to survive really and ended up tenth. It was ok, not great, so Canada Heights will be better.”
Jonathan Rea – Team manager:
“As expected, the first round always throws up some surprises. It’s always a good gauge for the guys to see where they are. We struggled in qualifying with both guys, which had a knock-on effect with bad starts. Today was an uphill struggle from the start, but I was really happy with Lewis, especially in race two where he soldiered on and salvaged a tenth for a twelfth overall on the day, so we’re happy to move on. On Wayne’s side, it’s frustrating for not just Wayne to come here and not earn points, which was the goal, but we had a machine problem in race two while he was in the top twenty, so we need to take the bike back to the workshop and see what the problem is. With the small turnaround before Canada Heights, we need to work on speed or sprint laps for time qualification, because I believe that if my guys can gate good and get away at the front, they can do a lot better.”