The May Bank Holiday weekend was bathed in sunshine and last weekend looked promising for round four of the Maxxis British Championship at Milton Malsor, Northants. Unfortunately, rain closed in mid-afternoon, but thankfully, not as heavy as had been forecast.
The day started quite sunny and the practice and qualifications got under way with MX2 starting off the proceedings.
In the initial qualifying session Graeme Irwin posted an impressive fourth fastest behind Steven Clarke, Nathan Watson, and Elliot Banks Browne. Then, in the one hot lap Superpole qualification, Irwin made a couple of small mistakes on his flying lap which dropped him into sixth.
The first race started and Irwin gated in twelfth, but by the end of the first lap was up into sixth. By lap two he had moved into fifth and at two thirds race distance he had moved into his final finishing position of third.
In race two, Irwin got tangled with some other riders and went down in the first corner. He quickly remounted, but was stone last during the first lap and started to work on damage limitation. By lap five he had climbed from thirty-sixth to nineteenth and continued to push. Lap eleven, and he moved into the top ten. Some great riding saw Irwin finally finish in seventh after fourteen laps.
The weather had changed quite significantly by race three and the track was very greasy in places. Irwin made a good start in fifth but had complained of stomach cramps after his hard charge in race two. Not feeling one hundred percent, he still managed to come home in seventh and finished sixth overall (tied with Bryan Mackenzie in fifth) on the day, bringing him from fifth to fourth in the championship.
“It was a good day overall really, I rode well, but I just struggled to get the starts.
It’s close [in the championship], but it’s only half way through, and anything can happen.”
“The next Red Bull round should be good, it’s a circuit like nothing else. I’m just worried about the tide coming in! [laugh]“
In MX1, Luke Burton had a tough time. In qualifying he crashed hard over one of the many jumps around the circuit, and only managed to post a time to qualify in thirtieth.
Struggling after his crash in race one, Burton gated twenty-second and made his way into nineteenth and the points, but a small off cost him, and found himself in last position. He picked riders off as he made his way back up to finish in twenty-third.
In race two & three Burton soldiered on, but the rain and slick conditions made an already difficult day harder. With some mistakes and having to stop for goggle changes he finished twenty-sixth in both races.
“I rung my bell pretty good in qualifying and I suffered from it all day. I couldn’t concentrate and string a lap together, but I didn’t want to let the team down.
My shoulders pretty sore, so I’m taking a couple of days rest, then preparing for Weston this weekend.”
In the MXY2 class, young Olly Townsend had a difficult and unlucky day.
In race one he got a bad start toward the back of the field, but was made progress and reached twenty-sixth, posting times that should have seen him higher. Unfortunately on lap nine of eleven he struggled to start his machine after a small off which cost him all of his progress, and he finished in thirty-third.
Disaster as an electrical fault on lap one of the second and final race saw an end to his day.
The teams manager, Neil Prince said;
” It wasn’t a great day, but we got a good result in MX2. Graeme rode really well, despite some bad starts, and If we can bring the Luke we see through the week in training to the meetings we’ll be sorted.”
The Red Bull Pro Nationals will be held on a purpose built track on the beach of Weston-super-Mare, Somerset this weekend the 18th & 19th of May.
The next ACU Maxxis British Championship round is at the huge Foxhills circuit, Swindon on Sunday the 2nd of June.