Moggstar KTM made the trek to wet and muddy Torrington in Devon for the fifth round of the CCM British MMX Championship this past weekend. Massive rains had caused extensive disruption elsewhere in the country, but at Waggadon Farm, things just went on as normal, although many of the heavy motorhomes and trucks had to be towed into and back out of the paddock.
The Under 21 qualifying practice started promptly at 10:30, and it was the younger of the two Ratsep brothers, Priit, who had the fastest qualifying time of the four in ninth. Kristjan qualified in sixteenth, Gain Foulston in nineteenth and Tom Watts in twenty-fourth.
The Moggstar foursome were spread out in the field after the start gates fell for the first race, Kristjan this time was quickest of the four around the first corners. Priit had been shut out completely in the start and had to start from nearly last, however he put in one of the most impressive performances in he class. He steadily made his way forward, mud or not, at a steady clip of three or four competitors per lap, until, by half-time, he was unable to progress any further. He remained in fourteenth until the checkered flag. Kristjan had started in thirteenth and also made a quick move upwards before he was denied any further progress by Chris Bastick, even though he had been able to pass Bastick a few times. Last minute manoeuvres by Max Nyberg returned Kristjan to tenth.
Tom and Gavin had very similar experiences in the back of the pack. The one-lined track made it more difficult for the two to make much progress against the rapidly dispersing field of riders. Nonetheless, Tom was able to move up to eighteenth until he was passed by Kevin Wells to return to nineteenth for the remainder of the race. Gavin settled in behind Stuart Houlston and soon moved to twenty-first. A brief relegation by Luke Remmer was soon undone and Gavin had to miss out on earning a point, ending twenty-first.
In the second race, all but Gavin roared around the first two corners inside the top fifteen. Gavin had been left nearer to the back, but that gave him so much more determination to succeed and earn his points for the day. His start in twenty-fifth was the beginning of a push up the ranks, and the increasingly dry track made passing multiple rivals much easier for him. By mid-race he was twentieth, in the closing minutes of the race he moved to eighteenth place to give Tom a hard time. Tom’s start in fourteenth was a roller-coaster ride in the top twenty. A mistake just after mid-race cost him three places, from which he recovered, but not before Sam Simmons slipped by him. He refused to give up and kept Simmons in sight until the checkered flag.
Priit’s second race ended much better than the first. Just outside the top ten, he moved up into tenth place while hunting down Max Nyberg. However, his biggest rival was not Nyberg, but his own brother Kristjan, who made a daring pass to take his position in tenth. He ended in eleventh. Like Priit, Kristjan was able to make good progress in the first third of the race, rising from fifteenth to eleventh in just four laps. Chasing down his brother for tenth and keeping him in eleventh became his priority. He ended tenth.
Overall, each team member scored points in the round, Kristjan taking home the biggest slice with twenty-two points in thirteenth overall. Priit was fourteenth with seventeen points, while Tom was tied with Sam Simmons and Matt Ridgway for eighteenth with six points. His second race position gave him nineteenth. Gavin’s second race effort placed him in twenty-third with three points.
Team owner Mark Bishop declared himself satisfied with the results, although the quest for ever-better positions continues to weigh on his mind.
Moggstar KTM next races at the sixth round of the Maxxis British Motocross Championship at Skelder Bank outside Whitby, Yorkshire this weekend, while the youth riders will attend the BYMX National at Haverigg in Cumbria.