LPE suffers defeat at Hawkstone

After a strong showing in Yorkshire the weekend before, LPE Kawasaki was looking forward to the fourth round of the Maxxis British Motocross Championship at Hawkstone in Shropshire. The summer weather that disappeared during the week made way to showers on Saturday and then promptly reappeared on Sunday morning. Qualifying started off well too; in the MX2 class Elliott Banks-Browne ended in the top ten while Daniel Arnold ended just outside the top fifteen. In the MX1 class, Kristian Whatley was the top contender with a qualifying place in tenth and Jamie Smith rounded out the top twenty. Lewis Rose sat out the round to heal up for his next round of the DEP Two-Stroke Championship.

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The races were significantly different though. Elliott suffered catastrophe from the beginning; in his first race he was caught up in a multi-bike pile-up in the start loop, leaving his bike mangled but in his eyes still rideable, and began working his way forward. It was all in vain though as the bike did prove to be too damaged to make much of an impact, and he made the decision to pull in for safety sake. The second race did not go to plan either; already sore and banged up from the first race, Elliott wrenched his knee while in ninth and struggled to continue. Halfway into the race he was unable to continue and pulled out again.

Daniel’s first race was a stunner; a start just outside the top ten began a fantastic race mostly in eleventh place. On the last lap, whilst in tenth, everything went to pieces. With three corners to go, Daniel emerged from the infamous bomb hole and lost control of the bike. Quick to pick it up, he couldn’t get it started and lost five places to end in fifteenth. The second race also started off well, but a crash dropped him back to seventeenth, and several laps later a massive crash ruled him out of contention altogether. He ended the day just outside the top twenty.

In the MX1 class, things did not go to plan for Kristian either. While in sixth and descending the treacherous staircase portion of the track, the front end washed out and dropped Kristian to twenty-first. He recovered to seventeenth by the end of the race. The second race went to plan again with Kristian starting in sixth and ending one position down after a tough battle with Grand Prix veterans Jason Dougan, Tom Church and James Noble, and tenth on the day.

Jamie Smith had the most consistent day of all riders. Starting in the top fifteen, he rose to eleventh before the tough track got the better of him and he dropped back three places. The second race again got off to a good start just outside the top fifteen, but the run was marred by a washed out front end that deposited him in the sand and cost five places. Nonetheless, Jamie scored vital points after ending nineteenth and eighteenth on the day, and was pleased with his return to Britain’s top championship.

Team owner Steve James: “It’s been an up-and-down day for us really. The day started off really good with qualifying, everyone qualified in the top twenty. Kristian would probably had a top three in his qualifying but in his last lap he slipped off just before the timing system so he ended up tenth. Elliott was eighth.

“In the first MX2 race Elliott went down in the first corner and went through the fence, so he ended up not finishing that race unfortunately. Dan was running a good top fifteen race and worked his way to tenth and was doing really well in that place, in the last lap coming out of the bomb hole he went down and couldn’t get the bike started and he finished fifteenth.

‘In the second race Elliott was in the top ten and was going fairly well, but he twisted his knee in a rut and that put the end to his race for the day. That’s two DNF’s, which is very unfortunate for him because he was hoping to be on the road to recovery this week and getting back to where we should be, but unfortunately that’s put us back a bit again. Dan was running in the top fifteen again, but he had a big off, went into the chestnut fencing and hurt his ribs and back. So that was a DNF for Dan too.

“In the MX1, Kristian gated in the top five, Jamie in fifteenth. Kristian made a small mistake that put him back but he came back to seventh, and all the riders in front of him were strong Grand Prix riders. Jamie was eighteenth on the day, Kristian was tenth, and is in ninth in the championship. In the next round with two good rides, Kristian could be looking at a possible sixth in the championship.

“The highlight of the day for us though is our guest rider from Kawasaki Europe, Gareth Swanepoel. He took both wins and the overall, which is absolutely fantastic. He works from under our awning and it was great to see a Kawasaki out there taking the overall.”

The next race for Kawasaki Motors UK’s official motocross team will be the next round of the ACU MMX Championship at Blaxhall Pits in Suffolk in a fortnight.

Image by Ray Chuss

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