After fifteen rounds across the world, the FIM World Championship finally hit the British Isles and the already legendary Matterley basin, near Winchester, and the Oakleaf Kawasaki team headed there with an almost full compliment of riders.
Alex Snow was to ride the prestigious MX1 class aboard the KX450F, with Shane Carless set to join him as promoters choice for his efforts throughout the year, but due to a lack of communication from the organisers Shane would ride in the MX3 class on the KX450F. Riding the KX250F were Jake Millward in the Amateur Class and the Oakleaf Academy rider, Gradie Featherstone, in the European Championship.
Unfortunately, after sitting in 18th, Gradie Featherstone suffered a heavy landing in qualification with two laps to go and fractured his wrist and requires surgery, obviously cutting short his weekend.
Jake Millward had a consistently great weekend in the Amateur class and the youngSheffielder certainly proved his worth.
In the first race, Millward got off the a great start and was in second, just behind a flying Josh Waterman. He managed to fend off 3rd place man, James Dodd for much of the race but with three laps to go, Dodd put a move on that stuck and Millward crossed the line in 3rd.
Millward didn’t quite get the same start in race 2, and was in 4th, but he slipped past Gavin Stevenson into 3rd on lap 3. Unfortunately, this race was red flagged after the race leader, Josh Waterman, had a huge crash, and as it was passed the half way point, the race was not re-run. Millward claimed his 3rd place on the track and took 3rd overall. The teams first podium of the MX GP Festival.
Shane Carless, in the MX3 class had a mixed weekend but certainly ended on a high. In qualification he posted 9th fastest, but with just under 3 seconds separating the top 10, it could be anyone to take the victory in the following two races.
Race one and Carless didn’t get the start he wanted in 8th. He climbed up into 7th but with eleven minutes still left on the clock he lost the use of his back brake completely. Undeterred he kept his head down and crossed the line in 6th.
Determined to improve in race two, Carless made a flying start and slotted into 2nd behind Klemen Gercar. Pushing hard, Carless put Gercar under pressure and on lap six Carless took the lead in style to a deafening mass of cheers and air horns, and held it all the way to take the chequered flag, taking 3rd overall, the teams second podium of the festival and their first in a World Championship.
Alex Snows put a great performance in MX1. He qualified in 17th with just 4 seconds separating him and the seven times World Champion, Antonio Cairoli in 1st.
The first race started great and Snow found himself in 16th on lap one. With some tussling for positions in the early stages, he was up and down between 14th and 18th throughout the race, but he managed to come home in 16th, his best GP finish to date.
In the second race, Snow managed to get another good start and was in 14th but in the early stages he fell and tweaked his already problematic shoulder, forcing him to cruise and finish in 21st, and take 22nd overall.