MX2 Qualifying Race
Under fantastically blue skies at Matterley, the first MX2 race got underway, and it was KTMs Jordi Tixier that got the holeshot and led the pack into the pit lane straight. Britain’s hopes of a strong finish evaporated as quickly as Max Anstie and his Garboldi Honda clattered over the green netting and off the track. Behind Tixier, Valentin Teillet was putting in a storming ride on the Kawasaki just ahead of series leader Jeffrey Herlings. Tommy had started around sixth but was soon into fourth behind his rival.
Armaud Tonus was going well before an off track excursion left him with yards of the dreaded green netting wrapped round his rear wheel. By the second lap, Herlings had muscled his way past Teillet and was going after Tixier, and behind him Searle was about to do the same. Swiss rider Valentin Guillod was having a storming race in fourth, but it was Yamaha’s Zac Osborne who was making the moves towards the front going from eighth to fifth in two laps. Tommy got himself into third place just as Herlings got round Tixier for the lead. Teillet took a fall on the second corner after the finish line and was slow to get up, eventually rejoining in a disappointing thirty fourth.
Searle soon got past Tixier to take second and you could feel the crowd willing him to hunt Herlings down but it looked like it was going to be a hard task. By this time van Horebeek was in fourth and Zac close behind in fifth. But then disaster as Tommy went down in the deep ruts just after the pit lane straight and once back up, the bike proved unwilling to fire up again. When eventually it decided to start, Searle was back to around ninth and any thoughts of a showdown were gone.
Zac and Van Horebeek continued to pressure Tixier and both got past him on lap 7 both got past to take second and third behind Herlings. Jake Nicholls was working hard a little further back, steadily moving from tenth place at the start of the race to a fantastic fifth towards the end of the race.
By the end of the eleven laps, Herlings took what looked like a very easy win, from Van Horebeek in second and Osborne in third. Tixier managed to hold onto fourth ahead of the remarkable ride from Guillod in fifth, with Tommy just squeezing past Jake to grab sixth and seventh respectively.
Whilst nowhere near a disaster, this was not the result that Tommy or the British fans wanted, but it was a qualifying race and aside from the psychological advantage, the end result was just a slightly lower gate pick for tomorrow’s races. Whether Searle can find the speed to get the win that he and the crowd will so desperately want remains to be seen.
|2||89||van Horebeek, Jeremy||BEL||FMB||KTM||25:20.972||11||0:15.297||0:15.297||2:04.413||4||47.455|