You would have all looked at the results by now, but they do not always tell the full story. Here are some of the things that you may have missed.
- Although Graeme Irwin did not have any spectacular results this past weekend (a sixth, eighth and thirteenth), the way that he achieved them deserves an abundance of praise. The Irishman caught his leg whilst training midweek, and dislocated his knee and broke his kneecap. It went back in without causing too much damage, but he was still in a lot of discomfort on the roughest track of the year. Despite all of this, he still kept himself in the running for third in the championship – damage limitation at its best!
- Speaking of the Irish, Martin Barr returned to action this past weekend following the shoulder injury that he sustained at Lyng. However, he was not returning to the MX2 class that he started the year in, as he tackled the premier MX1 class aboard a 350F. FatCat isn’t the best place to return from injury, but he still salvaged a thirteenth in moto one (after an incident on lap one). A fall in race two lost him some spots too, and he then elected to not start the final moto.
- Max Anstie continued to struggle with his bike this past weekend, as he didn’t finish (or even start) all three motos. The Bike It Cosworth Yamaha rider has gone 1-1-DNF-DNF-DNS-DNS in his six races thus far this year, but he could have won them all, had his bike gone the distance. The reason for his DNF in moto one was that the exhaust fell off, but he was back for race two and went out for the sighting lap. Anstie then just disappeared, he rode off and was not seen again, for reasons unknown – he was revving his bike in a questionable manner towards the end of the sighting lap, which indicated yet another problem. We’ll have more on this later in the week.
- It seems that whenever we go to FatCat, there is bad weather either on the day or in the hours prior to the event. This year was no different, and there was again standing water in the middle of the track, which resembled a lake. Well, yet again a rider took a dip in there – it was MX2 rookie Rob Davidson this time around. He rebounded in the final two motos, and claimed a twelfth and a thirteenth, which were some of the better finishes that he has had this year.
- Mel Pocock had a rough day at FatCat, but bad luck contributed to that. Mel crashed in turn two of the second moto, so had to work his way up from the back – he ended seventh. In the final MX2 encounter, his KTM was stuck in fifth gear, which is obviously far from ideal. Although he lost a chunk of points, he limited the damage, which has to be the goal on days such as this.
- The guys at FatCat had prepared a radically changed circuit for the third time that the Maxxis British Championship visited their venue. It combined the two tracks that they have there together and there was a new start too. Everyone was very happy with the changes, and said it was the best track they had seen there. I was a fan of the new start, as it was really quite fair – most of the top riders went to the middle, which is a testament to how fair it was.
- The track was so physically demanding that riders were dropping like flies all day, and only the best survived. In the third MX1 race, only twenty four riders finished and Shaun Simpson, the eventual winner, lapped up to seventh! The top two were one minute and six seconds ahead of Nathan Watson in third, and then Gert Krestinov was thirty-one seconds further back in fourth.
- Adam Sterry claimed his first overall podium in the Maxxis British Championship, after coming close many, many times. When coupled with his moto win from earlier in the year, this has been a great year for the MX Vice columnist. In many years, we will be looking back at 2014 as the year that both Sterry and Watson broke through.
- Alex Snow had a day to forget, as a first turn crash and a run in with a backmarker hindered him in race one; he salvaged a single point in that one. Snow then had a clutch problem from the second the gate dropped in race two, so attempted to limit the damage again with a fifteenth.
- Shane Carless was very underprepared heading into FatCat, as he was still struggling with his hand injury from Whitby. After riding once before the sixth round, he elected to take part in an attempt to salvage some points. He did just that, as he claimed ten points, which is “better than nothing,” as the team put it.
- Why didn’t Lewis Gregory line up in the third MX1 moto? He had a crash in moto two, which damaged his bike, and he did not have a spare available. He was already on his practice bike, as his race bike was over in Belgium, ready for him to practice at Lommel for the final EMX300 round.
- MXY2 contender Liam Knight (Dyer and Butler KTM) stepped up tot he MX2 class for the first time, and scored points in all three motos! It seemed as though he was in a battle every time that I noticed him, but he went the distance and actually had a brace of fourteenths, which is quite impressive.
- Well, this has been a year to forget for Elliott Banks Browne, as he is injured again. EBB went down on the Thursday before FatCat and suffered a concussion. Although he attempted to ride practice, he decided to pack it in and had left the track by midday, unfortunately. Whether he will be back on-track at Canada Heights (round five of the MX Nationals) remains to be seen. We will obviously have an update on that closer to the time.
- Silly season is in full swing, folks! It’s an interesting time in the paddock, as there are rumours circulating all of the time. It seems that there will be one less team in the British paddock next year (at least), unfortunately, and there are a few riders that are trying to secure deals at the moment. Tommy Searle was also a hot point of discussion, as he has been linked to an abundance of factory teams, although he may be close to finalising a deal with a very strong squad.
Words: Lewis Phillips
Image: Stefan Paetow