Strong Performances at Desertmartin for Maxxis Henderson LPE Kawasaki
Round five of the Maxxis ACU British Championship returned to action following an 8 week break in the calendar. For the Maxxis Henderson LPE Kawasaki round 5 featured a trip across the water to Northern Ireland to the superb venue of Desertmartin. After heavy rain leading up to the event, many people were expecting the track to be wet, but dry weather and a strong wind on the Saturday helped dry the track out.
The day started off with the practice and qualifying sessions for both the MX1 and MX2 classes. With MX2 out first it was Connor Walkley that suffered the first drama with a big crash on his opening laps and had to pit to regroup and repair his bike. As the session moved on Bryan Mackenzie moved into 7th place and would advance to the Superpole and for Walkley it was a very strong 18th placing. In the Superpole Bryan set a blinding lap time and sat on pole for most of the session only to slip back to second after Arnaud Tonus went fastest. In the MX1 class Gert Krestinov struggled a bit with set up and tyre selection but was still able to produce a solid 6th place after the Superpole lap.
After a short lunch break it was time to start the racing with the first of the MX2 class. Bryan started the race strongly inside the top 10 but as the rain came down Bryan ran out of tear off’s and had to remove his goggles, this left him struggling with sand in his eyes and blurred vision. The race ended with a solid 6th place finish, for Connor a top 15 start help the youngster get out front with the front runners and push hard all race long to finish in 12th place. The second MX2 race of day saw Mackenzie round the first turn in fifth place with Connor in 17th place. For Connor the race would end very soon after he had a very big crash forcing him out of the race, meanwhile Mackenzie rode a solid and controlled race to finish in third place. The final MX2 race of the day would see Mackenzie go down on the first corner after another rider ran into the back of him. Up at the front Connor pulled his best start of the day and rounded the opening lap in 7th place. In the opening laps Connor put his head down and was able to produce a great 9th place finish for his best result as a Pro rider in the Maxxis. After picking himself up off the ground on the first corner Mackenzie set off charging through the field continually producing super fast lap times and managed to recover to a credible 8th place passing team mate Walkley on the last lap.
In the first MX1 race it was to be a race to forget for Krestinov, after a bad start Gert crashed on the opening lap and then while recovering into the points suffered a further series of crashes and finished down in 17th. After the disappointment of the opening race Gert was looking for much stronger results in the remaining two races, In the second race Gert was in the top ten on the first lap but quickly made his way through to finish in a strong fourth place. Then in the third & final race of the day Gert gated inside the top 15 and pushed on all race long to finish in another solid 4th place.
Connor Walkey – I’ve been in the war’s a bit this weekend with a crash in Practice this morning and then a big crash in the second race and hit my head. I got a 12th in the first race which I had to fight hard for so that was good. After missing the second race I got ready for the last one and got my best ever result in a Maxxis with 9th place. It was really good as I’ve never been as strong in the sand as the hard pack. I’ve learnt from my mistakes today and hope to get a top 10 overall at the next round.
Bryan Mackenzie – I’ve been on a bit of a roll of late with good result so I was looking forward to coming hear as I really enjoy the track. In Superpole I got second fastest which is one of my best results this season. Then the first race I opted for tear-offs and it started raining so I had to throw away my goggles and ended up with loads of sand in my eyes and could only finish 6th. The second race was much better and I pushed on for third. Then the last race it all went wrong in the first turn, Pocock slid the backend and someone touched me from behind. So I was last and just never stopped pushing and passed Connor for 8th on the last lap. I’ve finished 4th overall and I’m now 5th in the championship so it’s good.
Gert Krestinov – Qualifying went ok and I finished in 6th but I made the wrong tyre selection. The first race was a mess. I crashed early on and then as I was coming through I kept crashing with the slower riders and finished 17th. The second race I finished 4th and again 4th in the last race. It was ok but I wanted to finish one race on the podium.
Steve James – This weekend has been very special for me, it’s the first time I’ve been here to Desertmartin and I’m really impressed by the venue with the hard standing paddock electric hook ups, water supply, jet wash bays, brick built toilets etc & the track is just awesome. In MX2 Bryan nearly had pole in Superpole until Tonus pushed him back to second and Connor got 18th. In MX1 Gert qualified in 6th place in both Q1 & Q2. In the opening race Bryan had to take his goggles off and got a lot of sand in his eyes but rode well for 6th and Connor rode good for 12th as well. The first MX1 race was one to forget as Gert made a number of mistakes and crashed 3 or 4 times and finished down in 17th. The second MX2 race was really good for Bryan as he managed to finish in 3rd and put himself in a position for an overall podium if he had a good last race. Connor crashed hard and didn’t finish the race. The second MX1 was much better for Gert with a solid 4th place. Last MX2 race Bryan went down on the first turn and that lost him the chance of the podium, but he worked very hard to recover to 8th place. Connor had a storming ride in what is his first season as a Pro to finish in 9th place was a great result and shows he has the pace. Gert’s last race was his best coming from 15thth to 4th at the finish. All three riders are moving up in the championship with Bryan in 5th and Gert in 6th place so both riders are fixed on that top 5 in the championship which is where we want to be. Overall day has been a good day and we can all go home happy with the results.
MX2 Overalll: 1st Tonus, 2nd Nicholls, 3rd Banks Browne, 4th MACKENZIE, 5th Clarke, 6th Karro, 7th Rowson, 8th Pocock (SUZUKI), 9th Osborne, 10th Bradshaw, 13th WALKLEY
MX2 Championship Standings: 1st Tonus (329), 2nd Osborne (300), 3rd Banks Browne (267), 4th Pocock (214), 5th MACKENZIE (181), 6th Rowson (175), 7th Karro (148), 8th Clarke (133), 9th Nicholls (123), 10th Keet (122), 23rd WALKLEY (43)
MX1 Overall: 1st Anderson, 2nd Barr, 3rd Whatley, 4th Snow, 5th Parker, 6th Law, 7th KRESTINOV, 8th Garrett, 9th Rutherford, 10th Simmons,
MX1 Championship Standings: 1st Anderson (323), 2nd Whatley (291), 3rd Barr (247), 4th Sword (197), 5th Dougan (194), 6th KRESTINOV (188), 7th Church (183), 8th Snow (177), 9th Parker (168) 10th Law (150)