Sometimes, you have one of those days where everything that can go wrong, does. In a big way. The TV expires right at the most crucial moment of the game. The puppy piddles on your photo album. The geyser gives up the ghost in a puff of steam. All on the same day. Kevin Strijbos will look back upon the fourth round of the Maxxis British championships with the kind of unfond memories one reserves for such kind of day.
The Belgian was trotting high as he reported for duty at Milton park, and indeed, as the day got cracking, it indeed looked as if he was set to continue along the ways which brought him to a world championship podium just a week before. Even the Superpole session was not bad at all, for even though Matiss Karro topped the board, it was only by the tiniest of fractions, nothing too much to be worried about.
The troubles started for the Belgian rider when the gates dropped for race 1, though. After a good start, his efforts came to naught when some obstinate clods of mud clogged the rear wheel and brakes of his HM Plant KTM, forcing him to stop and remove the offending items with his hands. By the time all of this had been done, he was pretty much dead last, and had to scythe through the entire field to get to his finish position of ninth.
The second race divvied up not the most brilliant of starts, but still Kevin was in the top 10 when the grunting pack passed the timing beams for the first time. He fought on, and by lap 8 he was in third position. The leading duo were, alas, by now long gone, and he kept his pace, hoping to capitalize on any errors. In fact he crashed again near the end, losing more time, but still crossed the line in third position, one race podium at least in the bag for the day.
Just when it looked as if his luck could not get any worse, the third race happened. The first part of it looked well promising, mind. Kevin recovered from a bad start and brought his rig right up to third place within six laps. He looked set to take the battle to the leaders, but then he suddenly disappeared off the timing screens. A bit of investigation after the race revealed the reason. The bike’s throttle had cried enough at the landing of a big jump, leaving the rider with no way of applying locomotive power. One can imagine the languages overheard by the English countryside as a throroughly peeved rider trudged back to the pits a the end of an exasperating day.
Kevin’s sea of troubles conspired to keep him down to 8th place overall for the day. Now for most riders this would be a perfectly acceptable result, but he was disgruntled indeed. Having come into the event as championship leader, he went away from it placed third in the championship.
Even though it was a day to forget, Kevin was philosophical about it all at the end of proceedings. “It was a bad day, and I mean really a bad day. The bike’s throttle broke on a big landing – fortunately it didn’t break just before the jump. I was 31 points in front in the championship and now I’m 10 behind. But next time we will bounce back. I like the sand track at Desert Martin so I’m looking forward to that.”
Before he can focus on fighting for the British championship lead again, Kevin has the small matter of the French Grand Prix ahead of him, and h will soon make his way to St Jean D’Angely to defend his sixth position in the world standings.
Reporting by Tinus Nel