After a 4 week gap from racing, partly due to no scheduled events and partly due to the recent bad weather causing a postponement, the Oakleaf Kawasaki Team returned to action with a Full Squad at Lyng, Norfolk for the latest round of the British Championships.
For Taunton teenager Tommy Alba it would be the 2nd round of the MXY2 championship and after taking the opening race win of the season and an unfortunate dnf last time out he was looking to improve on his 8th place in the overall standings but the day didn’t start well and with Tommy not looking his usual self on the bike he struggled round to a disappointing 19th in qualifying, leaving him with a poor choice of start gate for the days 2 races
With qualifying out of the way Tommy was hoping for better race results and as race 1 started his poor gate choice showed as he was offline into the opening turn and found himself squeezed out, resulting in him being just outside of the top 10 for the opening few laps, he was looking better then he did in qualifying and after 4 laps he forced his way up into 10th, a lap later and he managed to gain another position and he was now in a battle for 8th. With 3 laps to go Tommy made the position his own and pulled a gap but 7th was too far ahead and he rode on to take an 8th placed finish.
Race 2 saw a similar start as Tommy again found himself on the edge of the top 10 early on but this time he was charging and picked up half a dozen places on the opening 2 laps before a crash on the far back section of the track relegated him to 18th, after taking a lap to regroup he was soon back up to speed and a few laps later he had climbed back up into 14th place, the field was now beginning to stretch itself out but Tommy managed to catch and pass 13th to gain another place back, the race was now in its later stages and 12th was a little too far ahead for Tommy as he had another small crash, to catch leaving him to take 13th at the finish.
Tommy’s results of 8th and 13th, weren’t what he was looking for going into the event and he took 9th overall on the day with 21 points but still stays 8th in the Championship standings on 46 points, 39 behind the leader.
In the MX2 class Oakleaf had Jake Millward and James Dodd competing, Jake was looking to force his way into the top 15 after picking up some top 20 point scoring finishes in the opening 2 rounds, whilst James was looking to open his points account for the year.
Qualifying saw both riders lower down the rankings than they would have liked as Jake could only set the 21st fastest lap, whilst James was further back in 34th place.
Race 1 started with James rounding the opening lap in 28th place, with Jake way down in 38th after getting caught up in one of several pile-ups. James was making steady progress and as the race headed to its halfway point he had advanced up into 24th, and Jake was carving his was through the field at a rate of more than 1 place per lap to lie in 30th 6 laps in. With a few more laps done a small crash cost James 4 places, whilst Jake continued his rise up the standings and was now just behind James. Jake made his way past James with 3 laps to go and in the process he also gained a couple more places and had the chance of a point in sight but disaster struck on the last lap as Jake ran out of fuel, leaving him to push the bike back to the truck for a disappointing dnf, with James going on to take a 26th. Both results were less than what the riders efforts deserved.
Race 2 saw Jake have a better start and he was in 19th after the first lap, with James further back in 31st place. A few more laps in and Jake had gained a couple of positions to sit in 17th but almost as soon as he got there he lost the places again and remained 19th. James was beginning to make some progress after dropping to 34th on lap 2 and was in 29th just past the halfway stage. Jake remained stuck in 19th place right up until the last lap when his constant pressure on the rider ahead paid off and he managed to put a pass on and claim 18th at the finish. James carried on putting in the effort all the way to the finish but it was to be in vain again as he could get no better than 27th by the time the chequered flag came out.
Race 3 started with a big pile up on the first turn but Jake and James came away without crashing, both were held up though leaving Jake 24th and James 30th.
As the race reached the 4 laps mark Jake had made a couple of places and sat in 22nd, on the very same lap though his bike developed a problem in the rear suspension, and a lap later with the bike almost uncontrollable due to the suspension problem around the rough Lyng track he suffered a big crash which took him unfortunately out of the race. James was riding another steady race and was picking up places, climbing up to 27th before loosing 1 place 3 laps from the end to finish in 28th.
Jake’s 2nd race 18th placed finish was the only point scoring ride from the Oakleaf MX2 riders and he now lies in 29th in the championship on 12 points, whilst James is still searching for his first points of the year.
In MX1 Oakleaf had Alex Snow riding and looking for a Top 10 finish to continue on his progress from the first 2 rounds, and improve on his 13th in the championship standings. Qualifying saw Alex set the 10th fastest lap of the session and advance him through to the top 12 ‘Superpole Shootout’ for the first time this season. The shootout went well for Alex as well as he managed to improve on his position and grab 7th place giving him a great choice of start gate for the races.
Race 1 started with Alex right on the fringes of the top 10 on the opening lap but he was soon gaining places and by lap 4 he was up to 9th, 2 laps later on and he had picked up another position and set off after 7th. Just after the halfway point in the race Alex made the pass for 7th and a lap later he gained another place for 6th but then on the last lap, he lost the place going on to cross the line in 7th.
A top 10 start in race 2 saw Alex in 9th place a couple of laps in, and as he was beginning to settle into a rhythm and look to make a pass on 8th, Alex suffered a crash relegating him to 11th and with the bike looking like it had seen better days. Concentrating on getting to the finish, Alex settled for 11th place but as the race reached its closing stages he unfortunately lost a spot going on the cross the finish in 12th place.
With the bike fixed up for race 3, Alex went out and got his best start of the day with 8th on the first lap. He held position for the first 4 laps but then lost 2 places on the next 2 laps, Alex now got the hammer down though and soon fought his way back up into 8th and with 2 laps to go he made a pass on the rider ahead to take 7th and was now hot on the heels of 6th but time was running out and he couldn’t find a way past before the finish flag was raised.
Alex’s race results of 7th, 12th and 7th gave him 7th overall on the day with 37 points and his best result so far this season, he now lies in 11th in the championship standings, just 2 points outside of the top 10.
Rider Quotes :-
Tommy Alba – ‘To be honest, it’s not been the best of weekends, I had a rubbish qualifying. I’m not feeling very well and we’ve not got the suspension set up properly, it’s a little bit out and I just didn’t feel right on the bike. Then I didn’t get very good starts but I worked my way through in the first race but only got an 8th, I know I can do better, second race I was doing a bit better to start with, 4th or 5th but then I had a crash out the back, and dropped right back. I came back through to 13th. It’s not been a good weekend, I know I don’t feel well and I can do much better but something’s not right so I need to step back over the next week and chill out a bit.’
Jake Millward – ‘Today hasn’t gone well at all by any standards really, the first race I was really struggling with cramp in my legs and hip, I was riding really stiff and then on the last lap I ran out of fuel to top that race off, then in the second it was a bit better than the first, I ended up 18th but again I had bad cramp then in the last race I did 4 laps and my shock blew, I tried carrying on but I had a pretty big crash and decided to pull in and call it a day.’
James Dodd- ‘The first race was alright, I was in the pack but couldn’t get past a few riders to get up towards the points, the second race was much the same story as the first, then in the last I got held up behind a crash at the start and was pretty much last away, I got a couple of places but that was it.’
Alex Snow- ‘Today has been good, a couple of little disappointing bits but on the whole good, the day started good, I made Superpole and got 7th. It was a good start for me a more up with where I expect to be. First race I didn’t have a good start on the concrete start pad, but I just kept going for the whole race and ended up 7th. The 2nd race, again I didn’t get a good start but I came through and was running 8ty but then I had a crash down one of the hills and the fuel cap came off, I was covered in fuel and all the levers and stuff was bent but I managed to ride on and ended up 12th. Then in the last race I got a better start, I was running pretty strong in about 6th but then I stalled it and lost my rhythm but then I came back again and finished 7th. All in all its been a positive day and I’m happy with how I’ve done. Roll on the next race next weekend at Landrake and I just want to thank all my sponsors and everyone that supports me.’