On the Diamond Jubilee weekend, Lanes Kawasaki returned to Fat Cat Motoparc near Doncaster for the second round of the Red Bull Pro Nationals. Although Saturday started off pleasantly enough with sunshine and a brisk breeze, the weather turned nasty towards the evening, drenching the track overnight and leaving the classes with distinctly muddy track conditions on Sunday morning.
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For the team’s Elite Rookie rider James Harrison, the weekend didn’t get off to a good start. Suffering from a chest infection earlier in the week, Harrison did his best to put in a decent qualifying time on Saturday morning, but finished the session in twentieth. In the first race, Harrison made the best of his position and, by riding smartly, took a seventh place over the finish jump. In the second race though, the wheels came off his plan. After getting off to a good start, Harrison suffered from breathing problems and pulled in, calling it a day for the third race also.
On Sunday, Harrison tried again, this time ending tenth in the first race of the day in messy conditions. His final race of the day, also the final race of the weekend, proved to be the best race of the weekend. With rain finally ceasing, Harrison found himself in the top five, moving into fourth place at the finish, and thirteenth overall on the weekend.
For Pro class riders Marc de Reuver and Sunny Thompson, the conditions on Sunday morning would persist throughout the day. De Reuver proved that Fat Cat was his kind of track after all by qualifying in second in the MX1 class, whereas Thompson struggled to find his groove to qualify fifteenth in the MX2 class.
Thompson was on course to his best result yet after getting a great start in the first Pro race. However, whilst in sixth, a mistake in a corner cost him not only his position, but the rest of the race as well. Lapped by the leaders whilst still attempting to restart and with no chance to catch up with the pack, Thompson felt it was best to regroup for the second race. A bad start there meant that Thompson couldn’t afford any mistakes, and this time there weren’t any. Even after ditching his goggles, Thompson persevered and ended the race in twelfth for an eighteenth place overall on the day.
In the first Pro race, de Reuver redeemed himself by grabbing not only the holeshot, but by also leading the entire race in his smooth inimitable style. A small mistake made in the second race cost him the overall win though; after slipping off, de Reuver had to work hard to slowly reel in leader Barr, but with but a few corners remaining, he was not able to close enough of the required distance and had to make do with second place. His second place overall on the day gave the team its first Red Bull podium of the year, leaving a big smile on team principal Dean Lane’s face.
“A very wet but a good weekend,” grinned Lane. “On Saturday James didn’t have the best qualifying, but for his first race he got a seventh which was good, but he DNFed the second race because he’s suffered from chest pains all week, and decided to sit out the third race. Today he came out and had a steady first race and a fourth in the second one. He mucked up the overall with the two races on Saturday, but he’s moving forward.
“In the Pro race, the qualifying wasn’t all that great for Sunny. In the first race he managed to push up to sixth, he then had a little slip-off and it took him a while to get the bike started, and with the laps being so short the leaders had already lapped him so he pulled out. In the second race he got a real bad start, started coming through and he ended just outside the top ten. He rode really strong and hard, so shame about the first one. In qualifying Marc was second, and coming into the first race he grabbed a lovely holeshot which cost us a bit of money, rode a great race in the front from start to finish and with no bother from anyone else really. In the second race he gated second behind Martin Barr, he had a silly slip off in a corner and came back to third, then got back to second but ran out of time. He needed a couple more laps and he would’ve been on the back of Barr and probably gone for the overall win. We got second on the day and we’re real happy with the first podium on the year. We’re looking forward to the next one.”
James Harrison (#153): Yesterday the whole day was rubbish really, I had a bad throat and had a bad qualifying in 19th. I had a good first race, ended 7th, and then I had to pull out of the other two races because I felt so ill. Today the first race was ok, I got a 10th which I was happy with, and in the last race I had a good start and finished 4th, so it’s all good really.
Marc de Reuver (#212): Practice was good, I was second behind Barr. In the first heat I got the holeshot and I won, but I think it’s been four years since I won a race like that, you know, holeshot and win. It was really difficult also because you have to set the pace, you’re nervous and the back markers were not so good. In the second moto I crashed in the third lap, and by the time I came back to Martin it was just too late. Second overall, I should be happy with my first podium of the year, but I’m a sportsman and I want to win.
Sunny Thompson (#177): Qualifying was alright, free practice was better than qualifying to be honest. I went out in qualifying and couldn’t really get a rhythm going, so I had a 24th which wasn’t too bad. I don’t know what’s wrong with me, I need to open the throttle a bit more. The first race was alright, I got off the start really good, was lying in 6th and then crashed again, made a silly mistake and couldn’t get going again. In the second race, I hit the gate and came from the back and ended up 12th I think, so that was alright, not bad.