With the Maxxis British Motocross Championship going into its closing stages, Lanes Kawasaki made the trip to Manor Farm at Langrish in Hampshire this past bank holiday weekend. James Harrison, fresh from his weekend at the Red Bull Pro Nationals at Hawkstone, rejoined team mate Alfie Smith along with local clubman rider George Fountain and Sebastian Osborne.
Qualifying saw Harrison put in pole in the MXY2 class; Fountain, overwhelmed by the blistering pace, qualified in thirty-third. In the MX2 class, Osborne put in a mid-pack pace in twenty-third, whereas in the MX1 class, Smith improved on his seventh place in his super-pole run to end fifth.
Harrison’s day could not have been any more perfect. Two perfect runs in the lead from start to finish on a track that suited his style perfectly gave him the overall win. With the MXY2 championship finished for the year, the win also helped Harrison cement his fourth place in the championship more firmly.
Fountain, albeit a bit intimidated by his much older rivals, nonetheless put in a sterling effort, this being his first ever race at this level. Starts in the back of the pack did not stop him from making some progress throughout the race, Fountain was able to keep several rivals behind him, ending the first race in twenty-sixth and the second in twenty-eighth.
Osborne had as tough a time in the MX2 class. His first race saw him make some tremendous progress in his first few laps before settling into a rhythm in twenty-first. From there, he launched his assault on several rivals, earning himself his first point in the championship by finishing in twentieth. Buoyed by his first race result, Osborne then put together a great start in his second race in fourteenth, but two crashes cost him vital positions that dropped him out of the points. The third race was also tough for the young rider. Thirteenth around the first lap, Osborne found himself crowded out repeatedly, dropping back to nineteenth. A small mistake put him back in the dirt, from here he picked himself back up to twenty-first, only to lose the spot to Matt Bayliss, and ending the day in twenty-fourth overall.
But arguably, the best performance on the day was to be Smith’s in the MX1 class. In the first race, a start in seventh soon became a run in fourth with Smith putting some pressure on Grand Prix rival Shaun Simpson, only for Smith to have his hand forced and dropping back one position to end in fifth. The second race ended in a fifth place too after a start in eleventh which Smith turned around with rapid progress to sixth in two laps. The final race had the team first cheering, then worrying. Away in the most spectacular fashion, Smith found himself in second, chasing after championship leader Kevin Strijbos and not at all intimidated by Simpson behind him. A small mistake though cost Smith dearly and he went down hard at the half-way point, ending the day with a concussion, bruised ribs and a ninth overall.
Team principal Dean Lane was ecstatic at the end of the day: “What an awesome day, right from the word go. All the riders qualified really well, you can see from the look on my face that I’m really happy. The only downer on the day was Alfie’s crash in the last race, he was lying in second and he was holding his own between Strijbos in the lead and Simpson, and who knows, even if Simpson had got him, he would’ve still had a nice easy third overall and we would’ve had a podium finish. But there you go, that’s racing, and we’re just happy he had two solid finishes and nothing else really matters, he’s alright and he can race another day. James had two wins and qualified first, so he top-scored all day, and George and Sebastian rode really strong throughout the day as well.”
James Harrison (#153): Today was awesome, it was a perfect day really. The track was good and luckily the rain didn’t come so it was perfect all day. Won the qualifying and won both races, so I’m really happy with it!
George Fountain (#57): Today went alright, it’s a big change from club level to this, and I haven’t ridden the bike that much yet as well. It’s been a big change, the group was fast and the track was alright, it was rough and really grippy in places and slidey in others.
Sebastian Osborne (#13): Today was not the best. I got a few good starts, but didn’t put it all together. The track was really rough and I don’t ride tracks like this all the time, and getting used to it was really hard, but it was alright and next time will be better.
Alfie Smith (#41): I had a strong first race! I was running in fourth but couldn’t hold off Martin Barr, so I finished fifth. In the second race I had to pull through the pack and got another strong finish in fifth! In the last race I gated second and was feeling fit and comfortable at the front pace. Then I crashed quite big at the top of the hill and didn’t finish the race.