After deciding to step up a level at the end of the 2011 Motocross season, Team Oakleaf Kawasaki arrived at the opening race meeting of the 2012 season and turned heads with their increased profile. Arriving at the Hawkstone Park circuit near Shrewsbury in Shropshire the team’s new race truck pulled in and parked up in amongst the established teams and even some of the factory Grand Prix MX teams and looked ‘well at home’ in its new surroundings of the main paddock area.
With James Dodd still recovering from his shoulder injury sustained at the tail end of 2011 and Tommy Alba too young to race in the event, the team had only Alex Snow and Jake Millward competing.
As the sun came up on Sunday morning and the fans started to arrive in their masses, Jake prepared to kick off the season as the MX2 class was the first in action for their qualifying session, with a real good pre season behind him Jake soon settled into his groove and amongst an all star line up with at least a dozen GP riders included, he did well and set the 22nd fastest lap time of the session.
Next up was Alex in the MX1 class, and the notoriously technical track was already beginning to get rough and becoming a real test of the rider but again as with Jake, Alex looked settled and with another dozen or so GP riders he also did well as he went and set the 18th fastest lap time of the session.
After qualifying was the lunch interval, and this proved to be a busy time in the Oakleaf camp, as the public seemed interested in the new set-up and many went away pleased after getting their hands on the teams new 2012 posters.
With lunch done, it was time for the business part of the day as Jake went down to the start line for his first race of the day, as the bikes powered off the start Jake came round the opening lap in 30th, he soon started making progress up the standings though and after a few laps he had got up to 23rd place but a small mistake just before the halfway stage saw him slip back to 26th. Jake soon regained his composure and got back on to the tail of the riders ahead of him, he was now engaged in a good battle and with the race reaching its closing stages he picked up a couple of places and went on the cross the finish line in a valiant 24th place.
Next race out on track was Alex’s first, and a solid start saw him in the top 20 but as the race settled down he was running in 13th, as the race went on though he began to lose places and began to slow, appearing to have a bike problem Alex was forced to retire before the end of the race with clutch problems being the diagnosis.
It was now time for Jake’s second race and a better start than in the previous encounter saw him lying on the edge of the top 20 after a lap. He picked up a few places early on and held 18th place for the majority of the 25minute + 2 lap race, but with 3 laps to go he managed to reel in the rider ahead of him and soon put a pass on to move into 17th . Jake soon created a gap and went on to score a solid 17th placed finish.
Alex’s second race was next up and after the disappointment of race 1 he was looking for a good result in this one. A similar start to race 1 saw Alex in the mid-teens early on and once things had settled down he was holding a steady 15th place but gradually reeling in the rider ahead, as the time ticked down Alex caught 14th but it wasn’t until the final lap that he managed to make a pass and crossed the finish line in 14th.
With points going down to 15 place in each race, Jake just missed out on scoring in the second race but Alex’s 14th in race 2 saw him score 2 points and take 16th overall.
All in all it was a good weekend for the team, with a great effort from everybody involved and a great warm up for the opening round of the British Championships in 2 weeks time on the 11th March at Fatcat near Doncaster.