This past weekend, Rockstar Energy KTM embarked on the journey to take it to its ‘home round’ of the Maxxis British Motocross Championship, across the sea at Desertmartin. With Ben Howell still on the mend, the team was limited to the MX2 class this weekend.
The qualifying session was a mixed bag; Bryan Mackenzie scored high in the timed qualifying session, but two mistakes in the super-pole cost him four places. Shane Carless found himself stranded with electrical issues, and after jogging back to restart qualifying on his second bike, ended twenty-fifth. Mark Perfect rounded out the team with a thirty-second place.
Mackenzie’s first race got off to a good start. A top ten start turned into a rapid ascent towards the front of the pack, but a stall in a corner cost him several positions. A crash several laps later dashed any hopes of a top five end, but it did not stop the Scot from trying. At the chequered flag, he ended right where he started, in eleventh. The second race was much improved. Mackenzie found himself in fifth place early in the race and made life difficult for Irish rival Edmonds in fourth. With three laps to go, he found himself under pressure and at the finish line had to make do with sixth place. The final race was sheer poetry. Into the first corner in third, he moved into second soon after before getting embroiled in a heated battle for the position. Throughout the race it would be a cat and mouse game, and with the leader out of contention with four laps to go, Mackenzie was in prime position to mount an attack for the lead, but it was not quite to be. Nonetheless, second place was the highest yet scored this year, giving him something to smile about, and placing him sixth overall on the day.
The first race for Carless got off to a mid-pack start, but the Welshman soon found himself in the points and the heat of the battle. Threading his way past his rivals, he was close to a top ten goal when he found himself on the sidelines yet again, gremlins having struck his bike for the second time that day. After more manic equipment changes in the awning, he was back on the start line for the second race. Again in mid-pack around the first few corners, he made rapid progress back into the top fifteen by mid-race. Two more hard passes, one with the clock ticking to zero, put him in thirteenth place at the finish. The third race improved again. This time a start in the top fifteen put Carless on track for a top ten finish, and a last-lap pass on rival Lewis Tombs put him just short of his goal, ending eleventh for a thirteenth overall on the day.
Mark Perfect’s races also improved throughout the day. Crowded out on the start every time, the youngster made steady progress throughout the race to work his way forward on the fast circuit. In the first race he only got into his rhythm halfway in, but from there it was a consistent place by place improvement to end in twenty-fifth. In the second race, rapid progress to twenty-seventh followed on from his first race performance, and a hard battle ensued for the position for much of the race. With the last lap board out, Perfect moved up one more place to regain the position he’d lost. The final race started where the second left off. Starting in twenty-seventh, Perfect was careful not to let mistakes ruin the day for him. Steady progress throughout with some hard passes late in the race moved him into twenty-third place, with a point-scoring position just outside his grasp.
Team principal Darren Wilson declared himself pleased with the weekend’s outcome: “Today got off to a bit of an eventful start. We had a few gremlins with Shane’s bike in practice, which seemed to develop a bit of an electrical fault, but we had that sorted for the first race. Shane rode alright today, the second and third races I feel were the best of the day for him. It was a flash of the old Shane coming back, so I’m quite pleased with that.
“Young Mark had a really good strong race in the second race, I’m really impressed with him. His position doesn’t reflect the effort he put in, he seems to have found his place here, hopefully next year he’ll start climbing the ladder a bit. Bryan qualified quite well and I was very pleased with that, but in the super-pole he made a mistake in a couple of corners and that put him back to eighth. In the first race he gated fourth, and was on the back of Mel Pocock, and in the third corner he didn’t come off but he stumbled, he went back and crashed two or three times after that, just pure determination trying to get up the leader board. In the second race he couldn’t seem to find his rhythm at all, he was having a problem with the big step up in the back, was getting all cross rutted and stuff, he lost a bit of confidence and that lost him some time. We made some adjustments to the bike for the third race, and that seemed to come together with a second place, which is where we should be, overall quite pleased with the weekend, and looking forward to round six at Hawkstone Park.”
Bryan Mackenzie (#121): The day started off ok, did ok in qualifying but then in super pole I went back a few positions because I messed my lap up twice. At the start I still managed to get the gate I wanted so I was quite happy with that. Good start in the first race but then there was a bit of a tangle in one of the turns and I got caught up in that. Came back through, the bike stalled once, and crashed once, so it was just a bad race for me. The second moto was a little bit better, still was struggling with one specific section of the track, I was really unhappy about that and got a sixth. In the last race at got the best start of the day, I guess I had to make the most of it today with that last race, so I had an awesome race with Mel from pretty much start to end, and then we saw Elliott go down and I thought I’d take one more go at it, and if it didn’t work out, I’d take the points, because that’s the best result I’ve had all year. I got close, make a mistake just pushing, pushing, pushing, and settled for second. I’ve left here on a high, smiling.
Shane Carless (#68): During qualifying I had some electrical issues with the bike, which wasn’t too good. In the first race I went out on my practice bike, which is standard and it broke with two laps to go. In the second race I used another bike from the team and came through to thirteenth. In the last race I didn’t have a good start but came back to twelfth, so, a crap weekend again.
Mark Perfect (#125): Desertmartin seems a bit better, I seem to have picked up the pace a bit, had three top 25 positions, so we seem to be improving. I’m trying to hang with the guys I should be hanging with, and today’s the best day in the British championship so far, so hopefully we’re moving in the right direction.