Under the Radar: Ryan Houghton

By now the first round of the 2013 Maxxis British Championship is a distant memory; already everyone has focused on the rounds that lie ahead. However, a handful of riders did not get the recognition that they deserve following their performance at FatCat. The torrid weather conditions ignited issues for many riders, which hindered the results of most. But despite this, there were a few riders that caught my eye at different points in the day. Ryan Houghton was one of these riders; the Monster Energy BikeIt Yamaha rider was quite impressive.

Coming into the season, there was not really a lot of hype surrounding Ryan; after a broken leg ruled him out for a good portion of 2012, it seemed as though most had forgotten about him. But Houghton reminded us why he was the 2011 MXY2 champion as soon as the timed practice session got underway. Using ‘the eye test’ it was apparent that he has the speed to run upfront. In that session he finished eleventh, right behind Stephen Sword. Although his lap time (1:41:287) left him almost five seconds off of the pace, the speed that he showed later in the day proved that the qualifying times are not always a good representation of a riders speed.

When Ryan Houghton rounded the first turn third in the first moto, most fans had to reach for their programs to figure out who exactly was on the number nineteen Yamaha. At first I was interested to see if Ryan could stay near the podium for the duration of the moto. Unfortunately, he fell after three laps; we never got an answer to that question. But, in those opening three laps Ryan proved that he had the raw speed, and ability to fight for podiums potentially. When you look at his thirty-fifth from the first moto, it seems like a disappointing ride. However, what it doesn’t reveal is that he showed a lot of potential. In that moto, he forced a lot of people to sit up and take notice (myself included). Why exactly did Houghton finish thirty-fifth? After his fall, he could not get the bike restarted for quite some time.

Although the second moto was not quite as spectacular for Ryan Houghton, he proved that he is capable of moving forward through the pack after a bad start. Despite the challenging conditions, Ryan moved up to ninth by the finish after starting fifteenth; this result left him in fourteenth overall. Like a lot of the riders, Houghton dumped his goggles quite early in the moto, which makes his charge through the pack even more impressive.

When you think about it, should it really have been surprising to see the 2011 MXY2 champ running at the front of the pack? We probably should have expected to see this type of ride from him. However, after his disastrous season last year it was impressive to see him at the front of the pack straight away. Honestly, I am quite looking forward to seeing what he can do in the coming weeks and when the EMX2 series starts in May. Ryan Houghton definitely showed a lot of potential at the first round of the 2013 Maxxis British Championship; there are plenty of positives that he can extract from the day. 

Words by Lewis Phillips

Image courtesy of Elliot Spencer

MX Vice Editor || 25

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