The third round of the Red Bull Pro National (RBPN) series took the Oakleaf Kawasaki team into the Oxfordshire countryside and Culham Park. Despite being two riders down with MX1 rider, Alex Snow recovering with his shoulder injury and the Youth Academy rookie, Gradie Featherstone unavailable, the team were still on a high from the recent podium results of Shane Carless.
The Big Wheels went out for their qualification run at just past 09:00 and the Oakleaf Kawasaki Youth Academy rider, Tom Hume, just missed out on the top twenty putting a lap in to secure twenty-first on the KX85.
Free practice for the pros took place at lunchtime, and qualification was a little over an hour later. Not forgetting, as with all RBPN events, the MX1 and MX2 are mixed into one open class, Shane Careless was to qualify fourteenth, and MX2 rider, Jake Millward in thirty-first.
A bad start to the weekend for Carless in race one as he suffered a string of bad luck, getting tangled with other riders three times in the early laps. He was stone last, tired and had too much work to do, so pulled off for a DNF.
Millward also got a bad start, and was down in thirty-third off the gate, but plucked away in the gnarly conditions, and put in some solid laps to cross the line in twenty-sixth on the track – thirteenth in MX2.
Sunday held the final two races for the pros and was a much better day for Carless. Despite getting some bad starts he managed to get his head down and place his KX450F into two solid point scoring positions. Fighting hard to come through the field, he claimed fifth for MX1 in race two, and seventh in race three to just break into the top ten overall, despite Saturdays DNF.
Millward also had a better second day aboard the KX250F, getting better starts made life a lot easier and gave him less work to do. As the track got rougher Millward stepped up a little more, coming home in eleventh in race two and ninth in race three to take eleventh overall.
A consistent Saturday for young Hume in the Big Wheel event. He made up for a couple of bad starts in races one and three, but still managed to finish the day with seventeenth, seventeenth, and sixteenth in the youths three respective races.
Sunday didn’t go quite so well for the Youth Academy rider. A reasonable start in race four but struggled with the conditions and dropped back to cross the line in twenty-first. After a red flag in race four, the big wheel class restarted and Tom again got a reasonable start inside the top twenty. He moved up into fifteenth, but four races and track conditions had taken their toll, some little mistake and fatigue saw him drop back to finish in nineteenth and take twentieth overall with his highest points score of the series so far.
Team Principle, Shaun Anthony:
“The Red Bull Pro Nationals is a great event for the team to be in as it’s a chance for the academy and pros to spend the weekend together racing in one of the UK’s biggest championships. The results didn’t really go our way in some of the races as the starts are so important at this level. Both Shane and Jake have the speed to be at the front but the starts are the key to getting a good early pace, rather than dodging others mistakes and loosing vision from pre watered preparation. Although, both stand in the top ten overall in the championship, it’s good to see at only the third round stage. There’s still a long way to go, so hopefully we can make up for poor starts in the next round at Whitby.
As for Tom, he was given the chance to work under the awning with the team which was great experience for him. He rode well but was lacking a bit of fitness after coming back from his knee injury. Tom has gone away with a training program to help him with his results at the next round and we will be making some changes to his bike as he’s growing at a fast rate ! The team worked hard as usual and look forward to Whitby and the return of Alex Snow & Rookie Gradie Feather stone where, for the first time this year, we will be at full strength. Roll On Whitby …!!! ”
The next round of the Red Bull Pro Nationals is at Whitby, North Yorkshire on the 20th-21st of July.
The next Maxxis ACU British Championship round is on the 11th of August at Hawkstone Park, Shropshire.