Solid top five result at Maxxis season opener for Evotech Stevens Honda

New to the Maxxis British Motocross Championship calendar is FatCat Motoparc, and it is at this unassuming but tough location where the British motocross season officially started. With two of its three riders present, Evotech Stevens Honda got off to a mixed start on a beautiful winter Sunday morning. Qualifying saw team veteran Neville Bradshaw put in a sixth place, which he also confirmed during the subsequent super-pole session, while new starter Jordan Divall found himself further down in thirty-third.

Although Divall’s morning had not quite gone as planned, his first race proved that a top twenty place is not out of the question. Starting in the back of the pack, Divall worked his way forward to find himself in twenty-first with a few laps to go, repelling a last-ditch challenge to his place by fellow Honda rider Anthony Reville with the last lap board out. The second race built on the results of the first with a great start mid-pack, but disaster struck in the second lap. Taken down after some race contact, Divall found himself starting from scratch again. By mid-race, he was back in the top thirty. Another small race mistake just over two thirds through the race led to another crash that ended not only the race, but the round as well, with a broken collarbone.

Bradshaw found himself locked in battle for sixth place for most of the first race after an early challenge for fifth and not being able to make it stick. Seeing off a challenge by Tyco Suzuki’s Stuart Edmonds along the way, Bradshaw had to make do with sixth in the end. His second race start was much improved with a temporary lead, but another tussle with rivals Irwin and Banks-Browne pushed Bradshaw back to fifth. With minutes to go, Bradshaw found himself back in fourth place again, the best result on the day. The final race start did not go to plan at all. Shoulder and bar action on the long start straight left him worse off, and most of the race was spent fighting forward on an increasingly challenging track. By halfway, Bradshaw found himself back in the top ten and in the closing seconds closed in on fifth place. It was not to be; he was forced to accept sixth and a fifth overall place on the day.

With a top five result in the bag, team principal Matt Hutchins declared himself happy that the first round was over: “It’s been a very difficult track today; I’m pleased we’ve come away almost in one piece because there’ve been a lot of accidents. I’m just really happy with 5th overall, for us it’s ok, but Neville’s not at all happy with the way he rode. It’s still a good start for us. It’s a real shame about Jordan; he rode really well in the first race and missed the points by one place, then unfortunately crashed in the second race, which resulted in a broken collarbone. We hope to get him back on the bike by the first round of the Red Bull series at the end of April.”

Neville Bradshaw: “Qualifying was alright. I was sixth, and sixth again after super pole. In the first race I struggled to find my rhythm and ended that in sixth. The second race I grabbed the holeshot and led that for a little while, and then dropped to fourth in the end. In the last race I came together with another rider off the gate, was 25th at the end of the first lap and worked my way back to 6th. I was 5th overall on the day, but I was not happy at all with my riding. I knew it was going to be a tough weekend, coming to a sand track, and I’m not that good in the sand. Three motos, scored points, fifth in the standings, so I have some work to do at Canada Heights now.”

Jordan Divall: “I didn’t qualify too well; I think I ended up in 33rd. In the first race I got a bit tangled up, so I was last off the start, but I made my way through to 21st. In the second race, I got a much better start, in the top twenty I think, but got taken out by someone. I picked it up and then got going again. Towards the end of the race I went a bit squirrelly, went down and broke my collarbone. I should be back for Landrake.”

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