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Oakleaf Redbull Pro National Round Up @ Fatcats

With Tommy Alba sidelined through illness, the Oakleaf Kawasaki Team headed north to FatCat for round 2 of the 2012 Red Bull Pro Nationals with a 3 rider line up, Alex Snow in Pro MX1, James Dodd in Pro MX2 and Jake Millward, who led the championship going into the weekend, in the Rookie class.

With how the race format was set out the Pro’s weren’t to compete until Sunday, but a stacked schedule for Jake would see him qualify and have 3 races on Saturday with a further 2 races then on Sunday, and the weekend started in good shape for Jake as he soon got to grips with the deep sand of the Doncaster venue, setting the 2nd fastest lap time but just 0.033 seconds from pole position.

Race 1 saw Jake get a good start, and within 2laps he had taken the lead and was soon pulling out a gap at the front. Going the whole race without really being challenged but still being kept honest by Ben Watson in 2nd,  a race win seemed in the bag until a mistake in amongst the backmarkers saw Jake loose the lead, handing the race to Watson leaving Jake to get going again and cross the finish in 2nd place.

After the disappointment of loosing the win at the death in race 1, Jake made amends in the 2nd one, as a flawless display saw him grab the holeshot, pullout a lead and take the win, without a challenger in sight. Race 3 was a carbon copy of race 2 for Jake as again he got his Kawasaki KXF250 out the gate in 1st and rode off into the distance leaving everybody else to battle it out whilst he cruised to another race win.

Sunday saw the arrival of rain, and this made the day exceedingly difficult for riders, mechanics and everybody else that was involved but Jake blocked it out and carried his speed from Saturday into these final 2 races. In race 4 he was beaten to the holeshot by Watson but it wasn’t long before Jake’s pressure in 2nd forced Watson into a mistake, handing the Oakleaf rider the lead and he was now a man on a mission as he reeled of the laps, extending his lead each time round until disaster struck 2 laps from the end as Jake’s bike stopped and wouldn’t restart, forcing him into a retirement.

After race 4’s bad luck, Jake went out for race 5 on his spare bike and struggled off the start but he was soon starting to pull his way up the standings, picking up places each lap, but despite his best efforts Jake could only mange to get himself up into 3rd by the finish ,behind Dan Thornhill and Jack Kelly.

Even though Jake suffered the DNF he still managed to take 4th overall on the weekend, with Watson claiming the overall win, Thornhill took second overall and he also claimed the championship lead and with it the Red leaders plate, but Jake sits just 9 points behind in 2nd after 2 of this years 7 rounds.

In the Pro ranks Alex Snow was looking to cement his position in the championship top 5 and was looking in good form but could only set the 8th fastest time in qualifying, but as race 1 started he soon settled into his rhythm and was holding a good 6th position in the MX1 class, but the heavy condition’s took their toll on the machine and with just over a lap left to go, Alex’s bike broke down leaving him with a long walk back to the pits, with the clock ticking down to race 2 it was a race against time for Alex’s mechanic to get the bike fixed and ready to go again for the 2nd race, but with all the Oakleaf Team pitching in with a helping hand where needed, Mat did a great job to get the bike down on the startline just in time. All the hard work was rewarded when Alex got a good start and not far into the race he had made his way up into 4th, but he was to be passed by Nicolas Aubin. With a 5th place finish now looking likely, Alex had a minor drama a handful of laps before the finish as he stalled the bike, taking valuable seconds to get the bike running again he was passed by Gert Krestinov, leaving Alex to rejoin the action and then go on to finish 6th.

Alex’s unfortunate DNF cost him valuable points with his 6th in race 2 giving him 15 and 9th overall on the day, and as a result he has now dropped to 7th in the Championship standings.

In the Pro MX2 class, James Dodd was making his debut in this years Red Bull series after having to miss the opening round a few weeks back, and as seems to be a trend with him this year he struggled to set a good qualifying lap and was down in 18th place but was still hopeful of better race results.

His start in race 1 saw him in the mix and he was in around the edge of the top 10 but it wasn’t long before the wet sand forced him to use up all his goggle roll offs early on, and he lost a couple of place before visibility problems caused him to make a couple of mistakes and lose a couple more positions. He eventually battled away to finish in 15th place.

James’s 2nd race was very much a similar story to race 1, a good start saw him battling away on the edge of the top 10 but as in the previous race he was forced to lose his goggles halfway through after again running out of roll off film. He soon lost a handful of positions as he adapted to not having goggles, but once he did he picked up a couple of spots on the last few laps to finish in 14th.

James’ results saw him take 15th overall on the day and he now sits in 20th in the championship despite missing the first round.

Rider comments:-

Jake Millward – ‘ It’s been an alright weekend, I couldn’t have asked for much more on Saturday with 2 wins and a 2nd but Sunday wasn’t as good in race 4 I had a comfortable lead and the bike seized up, so that gave me a dnf which was a bit of a downer, then in the last race I started down in about 15th and pulled all the way back through to 3rd, I was on my spare bike and still riding pretty good. I’ve still ended up 4th on the weekend even with the dnf so it isn’t too bad, I’m only a few points behind the leader so bring on the next round!.’

Alex Snow- ‘Today hasn’t been great, qualifying was pretty average but in the 1st race I didn’t think I was riding too bad, I was in a pretty comfortable 6th in MX1, which for round FatCat was pleasing as its not my favourite place, but unfortunately due the heavy conditions the clutch went with about a lap and a half to go, so I couldn’t finish. I was gutted about that but everyone worked hard and got the bike sorted out for the next moto, and I came away with a 6th in that one. I was up to 4th at one point, passed Aubin but then he came back past and I tightened up a bit in the middle of the race, then a pebble or something got caught in the chain with about 4 laps to go and I stalled the bike, so that cost me abit of time, but all in all I’m pleased to get out of here in one piece, which is better than last year so roll on the next one.’

James Dodd- ‘Qualifying went just like normal really, but it wasn’t too bad really because the start isn’t too good for anyone unless your in the top 5 or so out of the gate. In the 1st race I was going ok, I had a pretty decent start and coming through a bit but I had 2 small crashes and I lost my goggles,  but I ended up with 15th which wasn’t too bad, then the 2nd race was pretty much the same, I had an alright start and was coming through but then I had to take my goggles off again, but I picked up a few places towards the end of the race so I’m pretty happy about that. Overall it’s been a better weekend for me.’

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