HM Plant Red Bull KTM UK concluded the 2011 British Motocross championship with a double podium as Tom Church and Jake Nicholls took third overall in each of the MX1 and MX2 classes for the final round of the series at Hawkstone Park yesterday.
In the MX1 class Church entered his final British Championship weekend determined to end on a high note. After qualifying his KTM 350 SX-F in third position, the 29-year-old racer gated into third in the first race. Kristian Whatley managed to get by on lap two of the 20-minute plus two lap moto, and Church concluded the race in the final spot of a four-way train from the front at the chequered flag.
In the second race Church got another good start and was in second by the end of lap one. In a three-way battle for the lead with Brad Anderson and Martin Barr, Anderson went down and Church was looking comfortable in second position. However, a charging Anderson caught the KTM pilot with four laps to go and Church was forced to settle for a still strong third position.
In the final moto of the day Church holeshotted the race and put his all in as he stretched a lead over the chasing pack. It was looking like a perfect win for the KTM-ace, when in the last three laps Anderson reeled him in and he was forced to settle for a respectable second place, which confirmed a podium finish for his final British MX1 championship outing before his retirement next year.
In the MX2 class, after qualifying second, Nicholls didn’t get the best of starts into eighth by the end of lap one, while teammate Jordan Booker also had a disastrous first lap after crashing in the second turn. Nicholls managed to fight his way back to fifth place, while Booker went down again at the top of the notorious Hawkstone hill and was unable to complete the race.
In race two Nicholls, who is recovering from illness, got a good start and lead from the first lap. The 20-year-old racer put on a hard fight with Arnaud Tonus, who eventually got the better of him, in an exciting battle throughout the race to finish in second place. Booker gated into eighth place and settled into a steady rhythm to finish in ninth position.
In the final race of the day Nicholls gated in third and set about chasing Tonus while Booker also got a good start into sixth position. Nicholls had some issues mid-race and was forced to settle for second place again and third overall, while Booker had a race-long battle with Kayne Lamont, which he succeeded in to take sixth place and a strong ninth position overall.
Tom Church #4: MX1 3rd Overall
“It’s been a good day, but also a tough day because the track rode really fast and everyone was pushing so hard. I managed to get on the podium at the end of it and it’s good to end on a high note. In the last race I really wanted to win it and I tried so hard, but I just didn’t have enough in the tank, although I’ve really enjoyed today. The team has been great. I was really lucky to get this ride, unfortunately with Graeme being injured, but it all worked out and they’ve done a really good job and my mechanic has worked really hard. We’ve still got a few more races left with the supercross though, which I’m looking forward to. I’d like to say thanks to the team and I’m glad we’ve had some good results. It would have been nice to get a win and I’ve loved riding the 350 SX-F, but I’m looking forward to the beach race next weekend at Weston then the British supercross series before I finish.”
Jake Nicholls #45: MX2 3rd Overall
“I got ill this week, as I’ve been carrying a bit of a chesty type bug with a sore throat, so I didn’t ride from Tuesday and I was a bit tight coming into today. In the first race I got a bit of arm pump and didn’t feel good at all, as I struggled to get my breathing and rhythm right. In the second one I managed to give Arnaud a bit of a fight and ended up second. Then in the third race Arnaud got out front and I tried to chase him, but he got away a bit. When I tried to push I struggled to breathe and then halfway in I had a bit of a bike problem. I lost a lot of time so I aimed to keep Bryan (Mackenzie) behind me, although I really wanted to push Arnaud to the finish. It’s been a really good three years and I’d like to thank Roger and his family, as well as my mechanic Wayne, as everyone has been really good to me. Thanks also to Fox and Shift as well as everyone in the team, the sponsors and so on, as it’s been good. Finally, special thanks must also go to HM Plant, Red Bull and KTM UK for their sponsorship over the past number of years. It’s a shame I have to move on but I’m looking forward to my new challenge.”
Jordan Booker #114: MX2 9th Overall
“Qualifying was good, in fact the best it’s been all year, as I was seventh after superpole. In the first race I got to a bit of a bad start off the gate, and collided with Jake, but I came out about top 10. I then washed out in the second turn and was dead last. I put in the lap of my life and got from last to 15th in one lap and then at the top of Hawkstone hill I cleaned out a hay bale and went straight over the bars. Someone clipped the back of my head when I was down, so it was quite eventful! I have been feeling a little bit dazed since that. In the second race I had an eighth place start and dropped back one for ninth, but I wasn’t feeling great. I had a good sleep before the last one and came out guns blazing. I gated in seventh and got to sixth. I had a really good battle with Kayne Lamont. We were bar bashing and probably passed each other 10 times and I held onto sixth. I’d like to say thanks to all of the HM Plant Red Bull KTM UK team, as well as all the sponsors for everything this year. I’d also like to say a big thanks to Mark Stokoe for hooking me up with everything I’ve needed for this year too. I can’t thank everyone enough, a huge thanks to Roger Magee for giving me the opportunity to ride for him, as it’s been the best year of my life racing at the Grand Prix events. I’d also like to thank Tom Church for all his help both on and off the bike all year, even before he joined the team and I wish him all the best for the future.”
Roger Magee: HM Plant Red Bull KTM UK Team Manager
“It’s been a bitter sweet sort of day at the last round of the British Championship today. Jake was able to put it on the podium for his last ride with the team this year and I want to take this opportunity to thank him for the last three years, as it’s been good. We’ve enjoyed his progress since he came to us in 2009 and we wish him all the best for next year, even though we’ll be competing against him. Jordan finished the season well with a really stonking sixth place in the last race. He’s shown the potential that he has and hopefully he can continue that progress next year. With Tom it’s been his last British Championship race, which has been pretty emotional for everybody. To get the holeshot and lead the race in the last one he gave it his all and I’d like to thank him for his input since he joined the team earlier in the year. I’d like to wish him all the best in the supercross series, and I’m sure his life will change a lot in January when he becomes a father.”