After a very slow start to summer, the Maxxis British Motocross Championship experienced a scorcher of a weekend at the fourth round at Milton Malsor this past weekend, but for Lanes Kawasaki, this did not quite translate into the results expected.
Qualifying got underway shortly before 9am with weather already at a respectable temperature. In the MX2 class, Sunny Thompson laid down a lap time that put him in twenty-second place. In the MX1 class, Marc de Reuver set a time for eleventh overall after super-pole, and in the MXY2 class, James Harrison set a time that placed him fourth-fastest in his class.
For Thompson, the day went from bad to worse. Although he found himself crowded out of the front on the start, Thompson soon worked his way to eighteenth, where he ran into some severe resistance. Keeping rivals behind him at bay for the majority of the race, he was not able to make much more progress, ending the race in sixteenth. The second race ended before it really started. A crash on the start left him in the back of the pack, and after landing hard off a jump whilst trying to catch up, the chain snapped and left him powerless on the side of the track. With the third race turned into a super-final that combined the top twenty finishers of the first two races, Thompson was unable to make up any more points with a third race, ending the day in twenty-fourth.
Marc de Reuver got off to a better start in the MX1 class. Finishing the first lap in seventh, he found himself embroiled in successive battles with rivals Simpson, Barr and Coppins. Settling into a reasonable rhythm, de Reuver kept other rivals from challenging his position, ending the race in eighth. The second race was a disaster from the beginning. Starting in last after being shut out on the first corner, de Reuver caught his leg in a rut and severely twisted his knee, leading to an early end to the race three laps later. Nil points notwithstanding, de Reuver was still in the top twenty to enter the super-final. Here he attempted to redeem himself with an absolute blinder of a holeshot. After leading the pack through the back half of the track, he was relegated to second. Settled into a good position in third, he lost a challenge mounted by Strijbos, lost control in a corner, and to add insult to injury, was unable to restart the bike for a lap. With the day lost, de Reuver retired for a fifteenth place overall on the day.
The team’s youngest rider proved to be the highlight. Although Harrison found himself on the ground in each of his two starts, sheer determination and hard work gave him the impetus to be the best finisher in the team all day. In both races, Harrison took advantage of mistakes in the early stages, moving into the top twenty within a lap or three. From there, solidly picking off a rival or two per lap, he moved steadily up the pack to end in eleventh and eighth respectively for a ninth overall on the day.
“Today’s probably a day we’d like to forget really,” stated team principal Dean Lane at the end of the day. “Qualifying didn’t go all that great with all riders, although James qualified fourth, which was the best of the bunch. James had two diabolical starts where he got brought down in both, but he grafted real hard and came back to an eleventh and a ninth.
“In the first MX2 race, Sunny had a bad start but grafted real hard and came through to fifteenth. In the second race, Sunny got brought down on the start and was starting to come through when he landed heavy off a jump and snapped the chain; end of race. Marc gated not too bad in the first MX1 race, was fifth but just didn’t look comfortable at all, but he finished a good eighth. In race two, Marc got a real bad start, but coming through he tweaked his knee badly in a rut around a corner. He tried to carry on, but then realised that he couldn’t. Then it was down to the all-comers; Sunny didn’t get in because it was only the top 20 out of each class. Marc got a blinding start, first out of the gate, led it for about a quarter or half a lap, when he got passed by Shaun Simpson. He was in second and third for a while, and had a bit of a dice-up with Kevin Strijbos, went down on a corner, and couldn’t restart the bike. Therefore he had to pull out of the race.”
James Harrison (#153): I had a good qualifying, I was fourth which I was happy with. I was up for the race, went out for the first one, braked for the first corner and got rammed and had a crash and hurt my finger badly. My bike wouldn’t start either, so I had to come from last to eleventh I think. In the second race, first corner again, someone came across and hit me, and I went down big again. That time I got back to ninth. I was riding better than I rode at Lyng, I just need to stay on for the first few corners.
Marc de Reuver (#212): I’ve ridden a lot of tracks, but this one is special. The first practice went so-so, in the first heat I was eighth, in the second heat I crashed when I was in sixth or something, but when I restarted, I badly twisted my knee and had to pull out. In the third race I took the holeshot, and I was in third place and I felt comfortable, but then I crashed and I couldn’t get the bike started for a whole lap, and that was it.
Sunny Thompson (#177): The first race was ok, I just tried to score some points, had a sixteenth which was not bad, and in the second race I crashed on the start, got back up and then the chain snapped, so didn’t get through to the last one.