Heads & All Threads Suzuki riders barely missed podium places at a very sunny fifth round of the MX Nationals at Canada Heights this past weekend.
With the MX Nationals moving into the second half of its calendar, the famous Kent venue just off the M25 played host to what was a reduced field due to multiple clashes with events elsewhere in the country. While this necessitated a return to the much-hated mixed-class race, it did not reduce the level of racing at all.
Qualifying on Saturday morning saw MX1 rider Graeme Irwin put in the third-fastest time, while MX2 riders Jordan Booker and Luke Burton finished their session in eighth and tenth respectively.
For Irwin, the first race did not go as planned. A crash with another competitor meant that Irwin had to restart from last, and the next thirty minutes became a battle up the field that ended in sixth. On Sunday, the first race of the day was a big improvement. Off to a great start, Irwin found himself in fourth. From there, he slowly reeled in the next rival up and with minutes remaining on the clock, made his move to third. The final race of the weekend was similar to the previous one. A start in sixth developed into a race for fifth and finally fourth in the closing laps. With a sixth, third and a fourth, Irwin took home a fourth place on the weekend.
Booker has settled in with the bike and this weekend it showed. The first race saw Booker consistently in sixth throughout. The second race of the weekend improved again; this time Booker got off the gate in fifth and ended there too. The final race had a somewhat tougher start, but Booker soon returned to tenth, from where he worked his way forward to a seventh at the chequered flag, and a sixth overall on the weekend.
Despite recent good fortune, Burton suffered from troubles again at this round. After a mid-pack start, Burton quickly returned to sixth, before dropping back to tenth. The second race began better with a start in sixth behind Booker. With a few laps to go however, Burton discovered a problem with the bike and pulled in as a precaution. He did not start for the third race, and despite the subsequent no-score ended the weekend in fifteenth.
“It’s been a pretty good weekend. Graeme, if he’d gotten better starts he would’ve done better, top three maybe, but just missed out, in fourth. A couple of crashes but hey, that’s how it goes. Jordan’s had some good rides, good starts except for the last race, there’s some room for improvement I think, he’s just got to get comfortable on the bike more. Luke had a normal day really, he wasn’t doing too well on the bike. He had a jammed brake in the second race and had to pull out, and that’s the weekend really.” — Gary Needs, standing in for Neil Prince
“Canada Heights is not one of my strongest circuits; this weekend I really wanted to do good and get on the podium here. In the first race in the second lap I came together with Elliott, and by the time we got untangled, we were dead last. I got back up to sixth, which was a good result considering the crash and the fact that my front brake lever was broken. The first race on Sunday was a steady enough ride, it was a good ride with the pace of the front guys. They got away at the start, but I was matching their lap times the whole race. In the third race I didn’t have the start, I felt good and was able to ride a good pace, but I lost the front coming around one of the corners and let a few of the others by before I got back up to fourth. No matter how fast I was going, I wouldn’t have caught those guys after that. Anyway, onwards and upwards, and hopefully next weekend I’ll be back in the ballgame and get some strong results.” — Graeme Irwin, MX1 #5
“I’m absolutely gutted about the weekend. I was in fifth place with a few laps to go and the bike just stopped. This game is tough sometimes, when you work hard every day to be the best you can be, it kicks you in the teeth. I’ve just got to stay positive and try again next weekend.” — Luke Burton, MX2 #40
“The track was tough this weekend, I just struggled a bit this weekend with being comfortable on the bike, I wasn’t riding at my best, but nonetheless went six-five-seven. In the last race I was dead last off the start, came from last to seventh, I had a few good laps in that and passed a few people, but I wasn’t riding quite the way I’d like to. The results weren’t horrendous, but I was hoping for three top fives at least to keep my position in the championship. Hopefully I can still have a couple of good rounds and get back into the top three, but I’m going to have to put some work in to get myself back to where I need to be.” — Jordan Booker, MX2 #114
MX Nationals MX1
1. Kristian Whatley (Yamaha) 72, 2. Brad Anderson (Honda) 69, 3. Nathan Watson (Husqvarna) 58, 4. Graeme Irwin (Heads & All Threads Suzuki) 53, 5. Jamie Law (KTM) 48, 6. Martin Barr (KTM) 45, 7. Tony Craig (Honda) 40, 8. Gary Gibson (Suzuki) 34, 9. Patrick Major (Kawasaki) 33, 10. Shane Carless (Kawasaki) 33.
MX Nationals MX1 Championship
1. Nathan Watson (Husqvarna) 326, 2. Kristian Whatley (Yamaha) 295, 3. Brad Anderson (Honda) 271, 4. Graeme Irwin (Heads & All Threads Suzuki) 256, 5. Jamie Law (KTM) 200, 6. Gert Krestinov (Kawasaki) 193, 7. Shane Carless (Kawasaki) 176, 8. Tony Craig (Honda) 168, 9. Priit Ratsep (Kawasaki) 154, 10. Elliott Banks-Browne (Honda) 131.
MX Nationals MX2
1. Steven Lenoir (Husqvarna) 75, 2. Bryan MacKenzie (Kawasaki) 64, 3. Neville Bradshaw (Honda) 62, 4. Rob Davidson (Kawasaki) 48, 5. Lewis Tombs (Honda) 48, 6. Jordan Booker (Heads & All Threads Suzuki) 45, 7. Luke Norris (KTM) 44, 8. James Harrison (Honda) 39, 9. Jake Millward (Kawasaki) 36, 10. Marcus Nilsen (Honda) 34, 15. Luke Burton (Heads & All Threads Suzuki) 15.
MX Nationals MX2 Championship
1. Neville Bradshaw (Honda) 294, 2. Bryan MacKenzie (Kawasaki) 277, 3. Steven Lenoir (Husqvarna) 243, 4. Jordan Booker (Heads & All Threads Suzuki) 221, 5. Lewis Tombs (Honda) 189, 6. Lewis Trickett (Yamaha) 162, 7. Adam Sterry (KTM) 155, 8. Rob Davidson (Kawasaki) 155, 9. James Harrison (Honda) 141, 10. Jason Dougan (Honda) 139, 33. Luke Burton (Heads & All Threads Suzuki) 20