The Oakleaf Kawasaki Team headed to the beautiful Canada Heights circuit in Swanley, Kent, for round five of the Red Bull Pro Nationals.
Alex Snow, riding in MX1 on the KX450F, suffered some bad luck at the previous round at Whitby and went out in practice on Saturday determined to get some good results, and by posting 4th fastest, it certainly seemed he would.
He carried this speed into qualification with 10th pick of the gate, but the weekend went somewhat down hill as he made a good start in moto 1, rounding the first corner in 6th. A couple of crashes through the race dropped him well back and he crossed the line in 25th, 13th MX1.
In the second moto he was pushing hard after a bad start, but as he started to make progress he had a big moment and was high-sided hitting the deck hard. Snow tweaked his already problematic shoulder and reluctantly retired from the weekend so as not to worsen his injury.
Shane Carless, also aboard the KX450F, had another good weekend. Despite a slow start with qualifying in 20th, he gated well in the first moto and was into fifth. He crossed the line 7th, but as the riders that relegated him were of MX2, Carless was 4th in his MX1 class.
Another reasonable start in the second moto had Carless again in the top five with Neville Bradshaw of MX2 just behind him. This proved a good buffer between him and the next MX1 rider, Jamie Law, and Shane battled hard to keep his 5th position until the chequered flag.
The third moto saw Shane in much the same position as the previous two. A great start and was in the thick of it with Kristian Whatley, Nicolas Aubin, and Brad Anderson. Staying with the top 3 for much of the race, Shane was pushing. As the ever aggressive Anderson was passed by Whatley and Aubin, Shane was on him for 3rd, but couldn’t quite make the pass, and crossed the line in 4th to take 5th overall, just missing out on 3rd by two points.
It wasn’t an ideal weekend for teams former rookie champion and MX2 rider, Jake Millward, riding the KX250F Qualifying had him down the field in 30th spot. A string of bad starts in a mixed class field made life hard, and he struggled to break into the top 20. Taking 27th in the first moto, his best finish of 24th in the second, and the rough track just getting the better of him in the final moto, he took 33rd which cost him 12th overall on the day by being tied on points with Luke Burton.
The Oakleaf Academy riders, Gradie Featherstone and Tom Hume, had a somewhat mixed weekend.
In the Rookie class, Gradie had a good first moto finishing in 7th, 11th in the second and 10th in the third to wrap up the Saturdays racing.
Going into the final two motos on Sunday, Gradie hoped to improve, but some mistakes in the fourth had him cross the line in 20th, and he finished the weekend with a 10th in the final moto to take 10th overall, just missing out on 9th.
Young Tom Hume, in the Big Wheel 85 class, struggled to break into the top 20 in the first two motos on Saturday with a 21st & a 24th, but he finished the day with a much better 15th in the third.
On Sunday he stayed inside the top 20 for both motos and took 17th and 19th respectively to take 19th overall.
The next Maxxis ACU British Championship round is on the 11th of August at Hawkstone Park, Shropshire.
Red Bull Pro Nationals round six is on the 31st of August – 1st of September also at Hawkstone Park, Shropshire.