The fifth round of the Red Bull Pro Nationals was a bit of a homecoming for JAR Honda by IFS team rider Lewis Tombs as it was held just across the Thames Estuary at Canada Heights in Kent.
Qualifying on Saturday afternoon saw Tombs qualify in sixth in the MX2 class, setting in motion a string of sixes that would persist throughout the weekend.
The first race, midway through Saturday afternoon, saw Tombs get off to a good start. Seventh around the first corner, he soon found himself on a heated battle for sixth, switching positions throughout the race before gaining the upper hand and finishing sixth at the chequered flag.
On Sunday, the first race was a model of consistency. After some early gains that saw Tombs settle into third for the majority of the race, he found himself under sustained attack in the last three laps, losing three places by the chequered flag and ending sixth again. The final race was a repeat of the first race with a start in seventh and a finish in sixth. Three sixes earned Tombs a sixth overall on the weekend.
On the other side of the Irish Sea, team rider Wayne Garrett loaded up on Saturdaymorning to make the trip to Desertmartin for the sixth round of the Irish Championship. Once there, he qualified second in the MX1 class under overcast conditions.
Garrett’s first race got off to a flying start in fifth. After catching up to the leaders and getting tangled up with rival Richard Bird, he found himself on the rear wheel of eventual race winner Gary Gibson. With a second place in his pocket, he set out to grab that win, but a problem with his rear wheel meant that he had to be content with another second place.
Garrett ended the final race of the day in the same position as he started, in third, to end the day in second overall.
Lewis Tombs – MX2:
“I qualified sixth MX2 which is good; I knew I had good speed because I was hanging with Neville on my qualifying laps. In the first race I rode alright, finished sixth which was a good start to the weekend and set me up well for the rest of the weekend. In the second race I had a good start and was running third MX2 and was catching up towards Martin and stayed there for much of the race. Towards the end Graeme caught and passed me and I just lost the plot really and finished sixth again. The last race was another sixth; I got with the group ahead which was second up to where I was and it was quite a good battle actually and finished sixth. It was good because I gained towards the guys in the front and was hanging with them.”
Wayne Garrett – MX1:
“I had a solid enough day considering that up until Saturday I had been struggling with a hand injury that was keeping me from practicing during the week. In the first race, I started fifth and by time I got to third, I was five seconds behind the leaders. In the last lap I was on the leader’s back wheel but couldn’t get past and finished second. I led the second race for a while only for a heavy landing to burst the rear moose. It slid about for the rest of the race, but I held on to second again. In race 3 I started third and finished third, but I had a few issues and lost touch with the leaders, so settled in and brought bike home.”
Richard Rea – Team Coordinator:
“Lewis gave a good account of himself this weekend. It was the best performance we seen of him this year! Although we only managed sixth overall, this does not give him the credit he deserves. The most important thing we have to look at is that we raced at the front and we have closed the gap. There is some work needed for the last three laps but this is something I’m confident we can put right.
“Wayne stayed at home this weekend to race the Irish championship. We also had good results there and it is good to see his confidence grow stronger. His hand is now fully healed and we look forward to going back to England next weekend.”