Returning home from a strong weekend at Hawkstone Park, Route77energy MVR-D Honda stopped off at Langrish in Hampshire for the penultimate round of the Maxxis British Motocross Championship.
With Jason Dougan joining team-mate Gert Krestinov, qualifying got under way mid-morning. Dougan soon showed that while not one hundred percent fit yet, he was very much capable of sticking with his healthy rivals by qualifying in second, and then in the super-pole, snatching pole from Belgian leader Kevin Strijbos. Krestinov put in two consistent times, qualifying in the super-pole in seventh.
With qualifying out of the way, Dougan continued his assault on the pack with a stunner of a first race. Although no match for the Belgian, Dougan continued to dog Strijbos for much of the race, before coming under pressure from Grand Prix rival Shaun Simpson. With two laps to go, Simpson succeeded in passing Dougan, much to Dougan’s dismay. Hoping to continue on the high set by his first race, Dougan again came out of the gate in second, but a small incident with Simpson at the top of the hill cost him everything. Restarting in last, Dougan set to work again, gaining a few positions every lap and returning to the top ten at the chequered flag.
In the final race, Dougan found himself outgunned on the start. Chasing after Simpson for his third place, Dougan made some progress mid-race, only to find himself hunted down by his own team mate, and passed on the last corners by KTM-mounted Jamie Law. With a fifth place in his pocket and his previous race results, Dougan ended the day in fourth, six vital points off third place.
For Krestinov, Langrish was a completely new track to learn, and the Estonian relished the opportunity. Mid-pack around the start chicane, Krestinov patiently reeled in his rivals to move into eighth place with half a race to go. Bumping into some tough competition, he made only modest progress in the latter half, ending the race in seventh. Learning from the first race, Krestinov chose a better line and got off the start in fifth, moving into third shortly after. With leader Strijbos long gone, Krestinov set his sights on Simpson instead, reducing the gap between them to fourteen seconds, not nearly enough for second place.
Krestinov’s final race would be his best. Although outside the top five in the first lap, Krestinov again reeled in rival after rival, eventually squeezing past team mate Dougan for third and taking third overall on the day.
Team principal Mark Chamberlain declared himself very pleased: “Today went very well really. To be fair it was Gert’s first time here and Jason is not yet 100%, but I thought both rode really well. Gert improved throughout the day and he was on the pace in the last race of the day, and Jason was good in the first race, and the second one woulda-coulda-shoulda been good, but he came together with Simpson and it was a bit harsh, but that’s racing really. It messed Jason’s rhythm up a little bit for the last one; he tried a little too hard but overall I thought he’d done well. And a third and a fourth, we can’t complain at that.”
Gert Krestinov (#37): Langrish is a new track for me, so it was exciting for me to learn something new. As the day went on I got better every race. The last race was really good for me, I made some nice passes and got some really good lines and my goal was to get on the podium and I made it, so I’m really happy about it.
Jason Dougan (#17): Overall I’m happy with how I did. I got pole in qualifying, and in the first race my speed was good. I had a coming together with Simpson in the second race, went from last back to ninth and in the last race I just struggled. I had no energy left, I felt a bit sick today but yeah, fourth overall, not bad.