All of the hard work that Phoenix Tools Honda put in during the off-season led them to Lyng, the first round of the 2016 Maxxis British Championship, this past weekend. With two new riders beneath the awning and a return to the familiar surroundings of Honda, the team were eager to get things underway.
Gert Krestinov, a former GP winner, has proven on countless occasions that he has the speed to contend for a spot on the podium, but is perhaps underrated by some. After qualifying in a respectable tenth, he proved to be more of a racer as he pushed into the top five on the first lap of moto one. The Estonian was sat in fifth for the duration and right in the hunt for fourth, but had to give way to the hard-charging Graeme Irwin on the final lap. A sixth place was a solid result to start but the season, but Gert was seemingly looking for more.
Using all of the power available to him, Krestinov rocketed out of gate in moto two and started inside of the top three. Proving once again that he is competitive with the best riders in the country, he held third for half the race before crashing hard. Battered and bruised, ‘37’ got up and salvaged a tenth for eighth overall on the day.
Bad starts unfortunately plagued Carlton Husband, as he spent a lot of the day charging from the back. Husband ended lap one of the first moto in seventeenth, which wasn’t exactly ideal, but he put his head down on the one-lined track and started making progress. When the chequered flag flew at the end of the twenty-five-minute moto, he had climbed all the way to twelfth in a promising ride.
The second MX2 moto was almost exactly the same as the first race, except for the fact that Carlton’s start was even worse. After starting lap one outside of the points, he again charged forward and started picking off the riders ahead of him. Husband had salvaged a fifteenth by the end of it, which gave him fourteenth overall on the day. Although the result left him frustrated, he is just six points down on the rider who sits seventh in the series standings.
The third and final rider on the squad, Jamie Carpenter, had a very successful outing in MXY2. After qualifying sixth, he ended lap one second in the first moto and occupied that spot for the duration. Thirteen seconds separated him from the leader at the end. The second moto was quite similar, but Jamie was involved in a gruelling battle for the runner-up spot this time around. After swapping positions on multiple occasions, Carpenter just lost out on the spot and ended up third. That was still more than good enough for second overall, which sets him up well for the remaining seven rounds.
Gert Krestinov: “It was an okay weekend. I don’t have enough riding hours yet, so my arms tend to get stiff, as the weather in Estonia is still very cold. It should get better in a few days, so I can ride more. The first race was okay and I finished sixth, but the second race was going even better. I was riding in third place, but then made a mistake and crashed quite hard. I still managed to finish in tenth for eighth overall though. I’m happy with the bike and team, so in the coming weeks I expect better things.”