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Tough opening race for Team Oakleaf

The 2012 Motocross season really kicked off last weekend for the Oakleaf Kawasaki Team at the opening round of the 2012 British Motocross championships, which took place at Fatcat Moto Parc near Doncaster, with James Dodd and Jake Millward  in the MX2 class, and Alex Snow in MX1.

With the sun shining and temperatures feeling mild for March,MX2 qualifying opened the days proceedings at the notoriously deep sand circuit with Jake settling well and posting the 19th fastest lap time of the session, just 1 second away from the top 15 whilst James struggled in the testing deep sand as he continues his return from injury and set the 38th fastest lap, times were tight though and just a couple of seconds less would have seen him up in the 20’s. Alex’s qualifying went better as he managed to set the 13th fastest lap time, a fraction off of the top 10 but he was disappointed to miss out on the top 12 superpole session.

The MX2 race 1 didn’t start well for the Oakleaf riders as both James and Jake got caught up behind a 1st turn crash and came round lap 1 in 29th and 35th respectively. Jake was soon charging and began to pick up places, whilst James was riding solidly and holding position. As the race headed towards the halfway stage Jake had made his way up into the mid 20’s and still on the hunt for places whilst James had slipped a couple of spots in to 31st. Jake continued his fight, picking up places right until the end and crossed the finish in a creditable 22nd and James fought back to pick up a place on the final lap to finish in 30th.

MX1 race 1 was next on the schedule and Alex got a storming start and was well inside the top 10, as the race began to settle down after a few laps Alex lost a few places and found himself  in a battle for 10th. After battling for a few laps Alex made 10th his own on lap 8 but as the race began to reach its conclusion a problem with his goggles caused Alex to crash loosing what looked to be a definite top 10 finish, he soon regrouped and got back going to finish the race in 14th.

A better start for Jake in MX2 race 2 saw him inside the top 20 but a crash saw him fall back into last on lap 2, whilst James found himself on the edge of the top 30. James soon started to pick up a few positions and was making good progress, and Jake soon got back on the gas after his crash and caught the pack before beginning to pick up places himself. as time went on James managed to get himself up into 20th and a point scoring position but with just a lap to go he was passed and went on to cross the finish in 21st, and Jake’s brave ride from last was in vain as he crossed the line in 22nd just behind James with both riders just missing out on points.

Another decent start from Alex in MX1 race 1 again saw him inside the top 10, and after holding 9th in the opening half of the race a crash saw him slip back into 17th, after regaining his momentum and rhythm he managed to gain a place and take 16th but the field was now spread out and despite his best efforts he couldn’t catch the rider ahead and crossed the finish in 16th.

A great start from Jake in the 3rd and final MX2 race of the day saw him lead up the start straight but he was squeezed out into 2nd as the riders got to the 1st corner, by the end of the opening lap he found himself sitting in 8th place and running with the big dogs! James hadn’t done so well though and a opening lap crash saw him at the back of the field. A small mistake on the now treacherously tricky sand track saw Jake slip back to 14th a few laps in, a couple of laps further on and Jake had unfortunately lost a few more places and found himself sitting in 17th. James was continuing to battle on but with the track so hard and strength sapping, his lack of bike time in the winter was beginning to show, despite this he did manage to pick up a few places and go on to finish 32nd. Jake was continuing to battle on in the point scoring places though and switching between 16th 17th and 18th as the laps went by eventually finishing 17th for a well earned 4 points.

To finish the days racing was Alex’s 3rd MX1 race and he again got a decent start and was in 10th place early on, he lost a place 4 laps in and then held 11th right up until the closing stages of the race when he unfortunately lost another place, going on to finish in 12th, and 13th overall on the day with 21 points.

At the end of the day team boss, Shaun Anthony reflected on the days proceeding by saying ‘ All our riders have come away knowing that they can do better but it was a tough and very high demanding track and their efforts were 100% committed , it was unfortunate that some crashes that put riders out of better finishes that their efforts deserved but as a team performance were all going away healthy and as a new team we have achieved a better day than many of the more experienced teams , roll on the next round at Canada Heights, where our 4th rider Tommy Alba will make his debut in the MXY2 class. Also as always it’s a big thank you to all the sponsors and everybody involved’

Rider comments –

Alex Snow – ‘It’s not really been a rough day but he hasn’t gone as smooth as we would have liked, Qualifying was average, in race 1 I felt good early on but then I had a bit of arm pump, and then a problem with my goggles and I crashed and ended up 14th, in race 2 I started well and was going quite good, I was happy with my early laps but then a small crash put me out of my rhythm and it turned into a pretty bad moto, the last race was ok, I managed to stay on the bike this time and bought it home 12th but all in all its been pretty average so I’m a bit disappointed but hopefully we get better at the next one’

Jake Millward – ‘Today has gone alright, my riding was quite good, I just seem to be falling off too much, I don’t know what it is but I keep loosing the front end but in the last race I got a really good start and managed to score some points, that was the basic aim for today so I’m quite happy to have achieved that’

James Dodd – ‘ After missing a lot of pre season with my shoulder injury I knew coming here for round 1 was going to be hard because this is one of the most demanding tracks around, I was disappointed with qualifying and race 1 but felt a lot better in race 2 after making some minor changes to my bike settings and was gutted to just miss out on picking up a point, by race 3 I was knackered and it was real hard just to stay on the bike, overall I’m kind of disappointed but at least my shoulder held up and I’m going away healthy.’

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