Barely a week after experiencing scorching weather in Northamptonshire, the Rockstar Energy KTM truck returned to Fat Cat Motoparc near Doncaster for the second round of the Red Bull Pro Nationals to early spring temperatures and a brisk, cold wind. The weekend once again saw the team split in two as Shane Carless chose to contest the Wulfsport British Masters at Hawkstone Park in Shropshire instead.
Although Saturday was pleasant enough, Sunday morning dawned to very wet conditions, and the team riders had to use their track sessions to inspect the track and put in a good qualifying time to boot. Bryan Mackenzie put in a top three qualifying time in the MX2 class, while Mark Perfect found himself in the bottom of the pack. At Hawkstone Park, Shane Carless qualified in third in the MX1 class on his KTM 250SX-F.
At Fat Cat, the first race was tough for both riders. With sand master Marc de Reuver leading the pack, the pace around the track was fast and furious, and for Red Bull freshman Perfect, this proved to be a tough lesson. Lapped or not, Perfect was nonetheless able to achieve a goal by staying on two wheels throughout and ending fourteenth. For Mackenzie, the race got off well, but again the sand and the mud took their toll. Whilst in sixth, Mackenzie ground to a halt, literally, as sand jammed the chain.
The second race was also marred by incidents. Perfect found himself with broken goggles soon after the start and had to continue his race without any eye protection. Refusal to give up earned him three points and seventeenth overall on the day. Mackenzie, after going to ground twice whilst in the front group of the pack, worked his way back to eighth place for a fourteenth place overall on the day.
At Hawkstone Park, things went somewhat better. Here Carless found himself in third around the first lap in the first race, hard in battle with Daniel Hutchinson throughout it, ending in the same position as he’d started. The second race got off to a top five start for Carless, but he soon found his way to the front again, ending the race in third for a third place overall.
Sighed team principal Darren Wilson: “It’s been a bad day’s fishing at Fat Cats this weekend. I don’t really know what to say about the weekend other than that everything that could’ve gone wrong, did. That said, Shane at least had a better weekend at Hawkstone Park where he was third overall in the MX1 class. We’ll lick our wounds and regroup for Desertmartin in just over two weeks.”
Bryan Mackenzie (#121): I hate Fat Cat, if I ever come back here it’s too soon. It was terrible all day, one to forget all round. I had a terrible first race where we had a jammed chain, which resulted in a DNF, and in the second race had a good start, crashed twice and just hated life. I’m just going to go home and do something about the next race.
Mark Perfect (#125): It’s been another Fat Cat experience to forget. We rode the track on Wednesday hoping that I would be feeling better about it and get the bike set up a little better. Going into the qualifying and from watching on Saturday I felt good as the track looked like it had more flow and was generally a better circuit, yet the day was terrible. I thought the qualifying lap was going to be good but the track dried and got faster which left me 2 seconds from where I wanted to be. Race one I rode steady the first couple of laps and avoided all carnage on track, I kept it on two wheels and finished in 14th. Race two went wrong from the start. My goggles got filled in straight off the start and I had to ditch them after the first lap. I couldn’t find any flow and struggled so badly, so that was a race to forget.