After the country had been gripped in the high heat of the last week, it was a welcome respite when the Oakleaf Kawasaki team headed North to Whitby and a much cooler, overcast weekend for round four of the Red Bull Pro Nationals (RBPN).
With the teams MX1 rider, Alex Snow, returning from a shoulder injury sustained early in the season, the team was back at full force and confident of some good results.
Mixed group pro qualifying showed Snow hadn’t lost too much speed during his time away by posting fifteenth fastest, Shane Carless in twentieth, and Jake Millward twenty-eighth.
A great start to the weekend on Saturday for Carless, he took the holeshot in the first moto and maintained good pace throughout, holding sixth well, until a mistake in the latter stages caused him to drop some places and finish in tenth.
Snows first race back in the RBPN wasn’t ideal. He managed to get a reasonable start inside the top fifteen but couldn’t avoid an incident right in front of him. He collided with another bike, badly damaged his forks and was forced to retire from the race.
Millward got a bad start and was well down the field, but he put in consistent laps and climbed his way up to finish seventeenth.
Race two was another bad one for Snow. Despite a good start with him and Carless in the top ten, he went down and was at the back of the field with Millward, who had also had a fall. Another off in the late stages after making it into the top twenty saw Snow cross the line in twenty-sixth.
Carless was riding well in seventh but was forced to retire after developing a problem with his rear wheel.
Millward, despite his earlier crash, again put in some solid laps and pushed hard to cross the line in twentieth.
In the third and final pro race of the weekend, it was Millwards turn to have some bad luck. He got in a tangle toward the back of the field and caught his foot in a rut injuring his leg, but he continued to finish the race and pick up some valuable points to take eighth overall.
Snow managed to get a decent start and was jostling for position most of the race. He managed to cross the line twelfth, .5 of a second in front Jamie Law to take thirteenth overall.
Carless again had a great start, with another holeshot but was squeezed out into turn two. He still consistently put in solid lap after lap to finish in a relatively comfortable eighth and took tenth overall for the weekend.
The Oakleaf Kawasaki Academy riders put in a very consistent weekend of riding. Gradie Featherstone, the teams rookie rider, gated well in all four races and was inside the top ten. However in race four, if he had managed to get away with the front runners, his pace was enough to compete for a podium. He finished the weekend with seventh, sixth, seventh and seventh, taking eighth overall, tied on 137 points with Liam Knight and James Harrison in sixth and seventh.
In the big wheel event, young Tom Hume, rode a much better weekend aboard his KX85 than the previous RBPN round at Culham. Just outside the top ten in the first three races, he got his head down in the fourth, and crossed the line in tenth to do just enough to finish tenth overall being tied with George Grigg-Pettitt on 120 points in eleventh.
Round five of the Red Bull Pro Nationals is at Canada Heights, Kent on the 3rd & 4th of August.
The next Maxxis ACU British Championship round is on the 11th of August at Hawkstone Park, Shropshire.
Kev Reid Images.