FatCat Motoparc near Doncaster is arguably known as Britain’s premier sand track. With a dyed-in-the-wool sand expert in the awning, Lanes Kawasaki was looking forward to making a great impression at the Maxxis British Motocross Championship season opener. With bright sunshine out, qualifying got underway; MX2 rider Sunny Thompson going on to score a great fifteenth place, followed shortly after by MX1 rider Marc de Reuver taking seventh place after the super-pole session.
Buoyed by his qualifying result, Thompson got off to a good first race start just inside the top twenty. Although some small mistakes early on pushed him down the pack, he soon picked up pace and, picking off rivals two at a time, found himself in the top fifteen with the finish timer ticking to zero. Thompson’s second race got off to a bad start. A crash in the first corner dropped him all the way to the back of the pack, a position that took him a fair while to fight back from. Undeterred, Thompson again leapfrogged rivals every lap, entering the top twenty with three laps to go. Some last minute passes promoted him to seventeenth at the chequered flag.
The final race of the day ended before it really started. After a start just outside the top twenty, a nasty crash left Thompson in last with an injured hand that forced retirement from the race. All was not lost however, he still scored an eighteenth place overall on the day.
Although De Reuver showed that his reputation as an awesome sand rider is very much deserved, small mistakes throughout the day meant that the results did not reflect the hard work put in. A brilliant first race start that made him a serious contender for the lead ended a lap later when a crash dropped him to the bottom end of the top ten. After remounting in tenth, De Reuver’s steady progress up the ever-thinning front of the pack ended in fifth at the chequered flag. The second race again showed early promise. A battle with rivals Karro and Krestinov ended with a crash that relegated De Reuver to ninth. After this setback, he set his sights on rivals Dougan and Parker, passing them in the closing minutes of the race to end in seventh.
The final race seemed to finally have the bugs ironed out. Giving kinsman Kevin Strijbos a hard time in the lead brought some world championship glamour to Yorkshire, but again, things went awry. Halfway into the race, De Reuver’s front end washed out yet again, putting him down hard and injuring his hand. Although he remounted in fourteenth, De Reuver felt it would be safer to retire from the race and have his injury seen to. The overall day’s end result would be an eleventh place.
Team principal Dean Lane commented on the day: “We’re a bit upset because we didn’t get the result we wanted today, but hey, there you go. Sunny’s qualifying was good; he qualified 15th. Until now we’ve been struggling in qualifying, so to get a 15th with him was really good. We’ve made some changes which obviously worked. In the races, Sunny didn’t get the best of starts, but he worked his way to 15th in the first race, and 17th in the second. In the last race he came off; we think he may have done something to his hand, so he’s having it checked.
“Marc’s qualifying was ok. In the super-pole he made mistakes in several corners and ended up 7th, which is still good. In the first race he was running in a good 3rd behind Strijbos and Karro. He went down but got going again and came back up to 5th, which was real good from where he came from. In the second race he was running up there with the front riders again, and again crashed, but this time didn’t get going quite as good as we were hoping. He ended up in 8th. In the last race he got another sensible start, got up to second and was running really well, but then slipped off. He picked the bike up but then pulled in because he’d already hurt his hand.”
Sunny Thompson: “Today I had a good qualifying in 15th; normally I’m not that good in qualifying, so that was good. In the first race I had a 15th, second race I had a crash and came back from the back to 17th, and in the third race I had a big crash and hurt my thumb. So in the end, it’s been an alright day.”
Marc de Reuver: “There were a lot of expectations here today, you know, I ride good in the sand. But yeah, I put a little bit of pressure on myself and I made silly little mistakes all day. I kept losing my front end all day, but that’s my mistake. So it’s a day best to forget.”