After 14 weeks out Nez Parker returned to Fatcat MotoParc for round 5 of the British Masters Talon Kawasaki. Nez had been sidelined with a suspected ACL related knee injury since Landrake earlier on in the season. Luckily for Nez and Talon Kawasaki it came down to the removal of a cartilage in the knee and not the repair of an ACL, but an op in Belgium and 2 months rehabilitation was still needed.
In what has been a difficult year for the team and its partners and sponsors, it was a huge relief to be back racing and seeing Nez do what he does best. With 2 practice sessions under his belt, Nez felt that FatCat would be a good place to return and gain some valuable race fitness.
A low key setup with Mechanic Toby Lightbown and Team Manager Rob Boseley on hand to assist, Sunday really was the start of the season for the team and with 7 rounds left Nez and Talon Kawasaki are looking to make up for lost time and start to quickly challenge for podiums.
Qualification was a great indicator to how Nez would fair and Nez didn’t disappoint and went straight out on Lap 1 and put in the fastest qualification time before finally settling for 5th after 9 laps in MX1. With the knee feeling good, fitness ok, it was just a case of getting rid of a few cobwebs, and every lap throughout Sunday we started to see bit by bit the return of Nez Parker.
Race 1 and Nez was 15th out of the gate and by the end of lap one had moved into 12th behind the FatCat sand specialist Nathan Watson. Quickly adjusting to the track by the end of Lap 2 Nez had pushed himself in front of Watson and MX2 rider Jordan Booker and up into 8th place and pushing hard to catch the pack of riders just in front of him. By Lap 9 Nez found himself in 4th position and catching 3rd when disaster struck in the form of a puncture! With high winds pushing the riders in the air and the tyre barely on the rim, Nez rode out the race and on the last lap dropped one place to Nathan Watson, a bitter blow after all the hard work, but still a great feat with a 5th position on his return.
Toby worked to get a new Dunlop Geomax on the bike and a change of Talon Sprocket ready for Race 2 in the hope of pushing for a better start out of the gate. Unfortunately Nez got boxed in and pretty much found himself at the back of the combined MX1 & MX2 field. Not a great start to race 2 but a good test for Nez and the team to see how his pace was compared to the riders who have been riding consistently over the past 3 months. 16th position at the end of lap 1, Nez produced a consistent display picking riders off one by one each lap, to finally to take 5th position once more in MX1 and 5th position overall on the day. It was a great result for both Nez and the team, two consistent rides, the Kawasaki 450 KXF performing brilliantly, with some more bike time this week to regain full bike fitness we’ll be in great shape for the remaining championship Redbull, Maxxis and Masters rounds.
Team owner James Burfield:
I could honestly write a book on what has happened this season. This year has been a baptism of fire and i’m just thankful of having really great people around me. Without the tireless support and hard work of Caroline Burfield, Rob Boseley, Emma Roocroft, Toby Lightbown, Rob Sartin and of course Nez, I think I would have walked away from the sport I love. The team has 7 rounds left and we are determined to finish this season on a high for our Sponsors, Partners and everyone involved. We have a fantastic bike and a rider that is capable of podiums and with a few more races under our belt it’s looking like we can go into 2014 positively. Its been a far from ideal year with the team pretty much starting from scratch in April and I would personally like to thank Rob Sartin from Talon Engineering and Ross Burridge from Kawasaki UK for their unwavering support they have continued to show me since day one. Next Stop is the Redbull Pro Nationals for us and we’ll be there with our full Transporterland setup.
MX1 Rider Nez Parker:
Last weekend was my first race back in 3 months due to an injury picked up at the Redbull Pro Nationals at Landrake back in April. Although FatCats is one of the more difficult tracks on the calendar, it was the right time health/injury wise to return with the knee getting back to full fitness. To come away with a couple of steady results (5-5) was the main goal and to gain some valuable race fitness. I felt my riding was pretty good but I tired a lot in the 2nd moto and getting 2 awful starts didn’t give me an easy time. My knee wasn’t sore after the weekend which is another positive that means I can train and ride this week rather than having to rest! Really looking forward to riding at Canada Heights this weekend for the Redbull Pro Nationals.
Picture Credit – Jemma Lavendar