With bad weather forecast last weekend, Route77energy MVR-D Honda found itself setting up camp at Culham in Oxfordshire early on Saturday morning to take part in a reversed schedule for the final Red Bull Pro Nationals round. Also joining the team was MX2 rider Bradley Pocock, recently recovered from injury and chomping at the bit to get some bike time.
In the qualifying session, the team’s MX1 riders, Gert Krestinov and Jason Dougan, qualified in fourth and sixth respectively, positions that gave both a good start, while Pocock qualified in twelfth.
For Dougan, the first race was for the lack of a better expression, perfect. Into the lead within seconds, he kept at bay not only his class rivals, but also a very strong assault by MX2 class leader Graeme Irwin all the way to the end. The second race however got off to a horrific start. Off the track in the second corner and restarting in virtually last place, Dougan made amazing progress in the first two laps, only to find himself with a jammed back brake that resisted all efforts to unjam it. With Krestinov past him and the brake finally barely functional, Dougan felt it safer to return to the paddock rather than risk injury. Second result notwithstanding, Dougan ended the day in ninth.
Krestinov could not have wished for a better ending to his season. Holding a steady sixth place in the first half of his first race, Krestinov turned up the heat in the second half. In third with only a lap to go, he made a pass on runner-up Martin Barr to streak across the finish line in second. The second race was perfect. Escaping a second-corner melée, Krestinov took ruthless advantage of the chaos behind him to build up a sizeable gap. Untouchable throughout, Krestinov ended the race with a ten-second gap, taking the day overall and cementing his third place in the championship.
Pocock’s first race got off to an excellent start too. Fifth in the MX2 class after the first lap, Pocock kept the momentum going for several more laps before slipping back down the pack to end the race in thirteenth. The second race did not go to plan at all. After getting off the blocks in eighth after some initial mechanical gremlins, Pocock had a tough time battling against the larger 450cc bikes in the race, first slipping to tenth, then recovering to ninth. Then disaster struck. With the timer ticking down to the last few minutes, Pocock was unable to recover from a downhill swap and went down hard at the bottom of the hill, tweaking his knee in the process and not ending the race. A fifteenth overall was the end result.
With team principal Mark Chamberlain indisposed, brother and mechanic Gareth Chamberlain commented on the team’s performance at the end of the day: “The day started off really good, the first moto Jason and Gert were first and second and both rode really well. The second moto looked good again, they both got great starts, Jason just in front of Gert into the second turn, and someone else went into the turn a bit hot and ran into Jason, took Jason and himself out, and a couple of others, and Gert got away, which was good. He won that comfortably.
“Jason was coming through the pack really well, but unfortunately damaged the rear brake lever and bent it in under the case, so he had to stop and try to pull it out. He was unable to get his foot to the back brake really so he called it a day, which was a bit unfortunate. We’re just really happy that Gert got third in this championship after he started out injuring himself at the first round and struggled that day, and rode really well ever since to get third in the championship. Hopefully he can go to Little Silver in a couple of weeks and tie up third in that championship as well.”
Gert Krestinov (#37): First race started off slowly, but then I managed to get second by passing Martin Barr on the last lap, which I was really happy about, and in the second race my hope was to get a really good start, I focused on it and I did it. That was my first holeshot of the year! I just put some fast laps in and then I had a pretty big lead and it was hard to concentrate. When you don’t concentrate you make mistakes, but I really wanted to win this race and I did it and I’m happy.
Jason Dougan (#17): Started the day struggling, didn’t like the track, didn’t get a good time, but I knew that if I got the start, I could be good. In the first race I gated fourth, got up to second in the first lap and then passed Martin a lap or two later, got away a little bit and then struggled with arm pump, but managed to get the win, which I was happy with. Second race I got the holeshot, made a little mistake coming out of the first turn and let the others behind me get closer and then someone t-boned me in the second turn, went off the track and got going again and was going good, but then I caught my brake lever on something and it forced it under the case and it jammed on. By the time I got that straightened up I was getting lapped and that was it for the day.
Bradley Pocock (#321): Today started off alright, had a good qualifying, just steady away and had one fast lap, but I didn’t try all that hard, I just wanted to stay on two wheels. In the first race I got a really good start, followed Nathan Watson the whole way around, we both did the same sort of thing, then I passed up into fourth in the MX2. Cut to fourth lap and that was all my energy done, I’m not quite to race fitness at the moment, but you know, get there slowly, and I ended up dropping back a lot. I just rode my own race in the end. In the second race we had a bit of a dilemma. By the time I had my holeshot device done, there were no good gates left, so I was just winging it. Didn’t get a good start or anything, couple of people made mistakes and went down, ended up around the top ten area and a couple of people got past me in the end. Then I ended up coming down the hill, got a swap going and and tweaked my knee, and need to have that looked at.