The eleventh round of seventeen in the FIM Motocross World Championship took HM Plant KTM UK and British Champion Elliott Banks Browne to the depths of eastern Europe and the impressive Kegums facility for the Grand Prix of Latvia. The bumpy and hard-pack terrain that also contained sections of loose and fine soil was a hard test for the crew as Banks Browne continues to snub lady luck in the MX2 class. Both the 22 year old and rookie team-mate James Dunn suffered a glut of racing maladies to leave this corner of the continent without any points.
22,000 spectators found vantage points around the wide and fast layout that was as much of a strain on the motorcycles as it was on the physical and mental capacities of the riders. EBB and Dunn steered their 250SX-Fs to 21st and 20th positions in qualification.
It was on Sunday when the tale of woe started. Banks Browne tumbled on the first lap of the first moto and an impact with another rider in a separate incident forced his retirement with a sore leg. EBB took to the line to attempt the second 35 minute and 2 lap race but his progress was frustrating ended with a clutch problem on lap nine of twenty.
Dunn was searching for speed to enter into the top twenty and the points zone but he was denied in the first moto; although he completed the distance and came home 22nd from 24 runners. In the second affair his active status was annulled after just two laps with a blown shock.
EBB, leader of the British Championship, holds 20th in the MX2 FIM standings with six rounds and twelve motos remaining. The first Grand Prix of Finland for the MX1/MX2 classes since 2000 will be the next port of call for HM Plant KTM UK next week for their third FIM outing in a row.
Eliott Banks Browne: “It has been a terrible weekend. I got a bad start already in the heat race and I struggled with the settings of the bike but we made some changes and it was better for the main races on Sunday. In the first moto somebody hit me at the start and I went down, I came through quite fast but I hit someone again in the first lap. I made some positions back but then a Honda was stopped in the middle of the track and I could not avoid it. Somebody hit a bump and landed on my leg and I couldn’t even stand up. I rode with a lot of pain for about ten minutes and I could not finish. In the second one I got an OK start but the first laps were not really good, and when I managed to go on again we had a mechanical issue with the bike, something related to the clutch. I hope we can get back the results we had at the end of last year because at the moment each weekend is quite disappointing.”
James Dunn: “I had a disappointing qualifying practice. I struggled during the whole session but I turned it around nicely for the qualifying race and finished 20th, so I was pretty happy with that. In the first race I got a pretty good start, I think I came around in 22nd position but I felt more comfortable on the bike and I rode better. But unfortunately in the second race, my shock broke so I was a little bit disappointed but we still got a good result in the first moto.”