Following a four week break in the Maxxis ACU British Motocross Championship the Maxxis Henderson LPE Kawasaki squad headed to Desertmartin in Northern Ireland looking for a fresh start and some good results. After a tough start to the season in the MX2 Class due to illness and injury Ray Rowson has been moved up to the MX1 class and was hoping for a strong start to his MX1 Campaign.
With rain in the week leading up to the event many people were concerned as to how the event would run and what the conditions would be like, but with dry weather for most of the weekend the track dried up and the racing was fantastic.
Sunday started with the practice and qualification session and in the MX2 Class Connor Walkley went out on track in hope of producing a good lap time. Connor rode well & was able to produce a solid lap time that would place him in 17th which was a big improvement to his past qualification positions and would set him up well for the rest of the day. In the MX1 class Ray went out with his eyes set on making it into the top 12 for Superpole, Ray produced a lap time that would place him in 10th in Q1, then during the Superpole lap Ray was able to cut almost a second off his previous best and move up to 7th position which was very good.
After the lunch break it was time for the first race of the day, with Connor in the MX2 class. After a slow start Connor was quickly inside the top 20 after the opening few corners, but a heavy crash on lap 2 would drop him all the way down to 30th. With a lot of work to do Connor set about picking riders off and would eventually finish in 17th place. The Second MX2 race of the day Connor made a much better start and settled into a steady race pace as he worked his way forward. By mid race Connor had made it up to 13th place but was unable to hold off the late charge from Shane Carless and would eventually finish 14th. The final race of the day in the MX2 class would see Connor suffer another slow but he got his head down and pushed through to 15th place within a few laps he was riding very well but the track was now very rough and Connor had used up a lot energy coming through so unfortunately Connor was unable to maintain the pace and suffered with arm pump on the last couple of laps which cost him 4 places and dropped him back down to 19th at the finish which was unfortunate after all the effort he had put in but it was still a better day overall.
The first MX1 race of the day saw drama off the start with one of the leading riders crashing hard off the start, Ray was able to avoid the carnage and finish the opening lap inside the top 10. As the race progressed, Ray settled into a steady pace and would progress forward to finish in a solid 7th place. The second MX1 was to be much the same as the first, with Ray starting in 5th place. Ray lost a couple of places on the opening laps and would battle hard all race long for a solid 7th place finish. Ray’s last MX1 race of the day saw another top 10 start and Ray quickly moved forward into 5th place and was looking good, but with limited time on the 450 at race pace and the track at its roughest Ray began to stiffen up a little at the end of the moto so thought it best to back it off a little to bring it home and have a good overall from 3 solid races rather than take any risks and would finish in 9th place, for joint 7th overall on the day.
Today has been a much better day for us, with a lot less stress, we came to go racing, finish all the races and enjoy it and that’s just what we did. Two weeks ago I made the decision to put Ray on the 450 and today would be his first British Championship in the MX1 Class for over two years and considering he has only been on the bigger bike a couple of weeks he has adjusted well and is showing great potential, with 7th in qualifying it set him up well for the day. He had two strong 7th places in the first two races and going into the last race 6th overall was possible, Ray started well and was running 5th early in the race but unfortunately Ray faded towards the end of the race and with the combination of the track getting very rough and the lack of big bike fitness Ray wisely decided to back it off a bit and finish the race rather than risk a DNF or possible injury which was definitely the best thing to do. Ray showed today he has the speed of the front guys and he can get out of the gate, the bike was good and Ray is happy with it. Bike time and bike fitness is the easiest thing to sort and can be worked on before the next round so we can progress from here now. Ray ended up joint 7th overall and 19th in the Championship so that is something we can build upon and the results can only get better as Ray has more time to adjust to the bike. In the MX2 class, Connor had a lot better day and finished 16th overall and has moved up a place in the championship to 13th. He rode better today and more solid, I’m happy with the way Connor rode, he made improvements in all the areas I had spoken with him about and tried really hard, unfortunately for Connor his overall result didn’t reflect on how well he had ridden but if he can keep up the hard work he will soon hit the targets we have set for him and work towards the top ten standings. All in all though we can all go away from today happy and more focused.
It’s been a good day, I qualified well in seventh in the Superpole. Then during the races I felt I rode well for two 7th and a 9th in the last race. I’m feeling a bit stiff and sore now but we are going in the right direction and hopefully we can keep it up going into the next round.
Today wasn’t the best of day’s for me, I struggled a little bit with the bike set up and had some silly crashes during the races. Overall I felt good on the bike and it’s a shame that my results don’t reflect that. I’m looking forward to the next race and improving on my results.