The iFly Lanes Kawasaki team made its 2013 début at the opening round of the 2013 Arenacross championship at the famous O2 venue in the London Docklands this past weekend. Represented by French Supercross veteran Eric Sorby and teenage stars James Harrison and Ben Putnam, the team made a good impression from the start, culminating in a win in the Rookie class when the night was over.
For Sorby, much of the morning sessions were spent tweaking bike setup to suit, which soon led to him posting the fastest time in his qualifying group. In the evening sessions, Sorby opened well with a win in his first heat but then found himself several places down in the second, scoring enough points to sidestep the Last Chance Qualifying (LCQ) race into the final. There he tangled with several rivals early in the race, leaving him to limp home three laps down in tenth place with a puncture.
Harrison’s day was virtually non-stop action. Doubling up in both the Pro and Rookie classes, the youngster had a very busy morning qualifying for decent positions in his evening races. Starting with his first heat in the Pro class, he underwent a baptism of fire by battling tough competition throughout before finding himself off the track with a DNF. Relegated to the LCQ race, he tried again, but did not finish high enough to progress to the Pro main event. All was not lost however. In the Rookie class, he got a taster of the main action by taking charge from the start and building his lead to two laps, taking the top step on the podium as a result.
Putnam’s début also went well after qualifying in fifth. Whilst in second behind his team-mate, he slipped and made a mistake that dropped him to the back of the pack. He soon remounted and fought his way back to fifth, time having run out just a little too soon to return to a podium position.
Commented team manager Graham Harrison: “We got off to a good start this year. Eric was fastest in the morning sessions and if it hadn’t been for his puncture he would’ve been up front. James won the Rookies but didn’t qualify for the Pro main event, but he’ll make up for it at the next round. Ben was also looking great in second before his crash, so we’re looking forward to seeing more of that at the Odyssey.”
The team now travels to Northern Ireland for the second round at the Belfast Odyssey Arena.
James Harrison (#153): I had an awesome weekend. I’m happy I won the Rookies, which was my main goal, I tried hard in the Pros but didn’t make the main. I’m going to try hard to do that in the coming rounds.
Ben Putnam (#01): I started off with a lot of nerves as it was my first proper race on the iFly Lanes Kawasaki, soon got the hang of the track and was able to get a good start. I had a little crash that put me back to tenth but was able to get back to fifth, and I’m looking forward to next weekend for the second round.
Eric Sorby (#917): The weekend was ok. I had some issues with the front end but I made the best of it. Speed was there for sure because I was the fastest guy in practice and all night. In the main event I got pushed over a jump, crashed, and came back to fifth before getting flat tires. It’s a bummer but it’s racing. I loved the track, it was awesome with big whoops, which I like. I loved the English fans and the organisation. Thank you to iFly Lanes Kawasaki and everyone who helped this weekend, see you all this weekend for good clean racing.