CAS Honda made an impressionable start to the 2010 World Championship season yesterday in Sevlievo, Bulgaria with solid performances from twelfth placed Gareth Swanepoel and teammate Evgeny Bobryshev.
In Saturday’s qualifying race both Swanepoel and Bobryshev earned strong starts aboard their CRF450R race machines into seventh and ninth positions respectively at the end of lap one. Swanepoel lost a position on lap five, but maintained his eighth place for today’s gate until the chequered flag. Bobryshev endured some tough battles mid-race, and was lying in tenth place two laps from the finish line when a mistake caused him to drop to 18th position by the end of the 20-minute plus two-lap moto.
In yesterday’s opening race both CAS Honda pilots stormed away from the start with Swanepoel settling into tenth position. The experienced South African racer, whom enters his second season of riding in the premier motocross class, lost a couple of places in the early part of the race until he found his rhythm.
For Bobryshev disaster had struck prior to completing the first lap of the opening 2010 World Championship moto. The luckless Russian racer, who had suffered a tumble in morning warm-up, was punted off the track on the first uphill and became tangled in the green netting, resulting in an unfortunate premature end to the 22-year-old’s MX1 Grand Prix debut.
Meanwhile Swanepoel took up 11th position on lap six of the 35-minute plus two-lap moto and maintained a consistent and strong race pace to the chequered flag around the hardpack Bulgarian track, which enjoyed 20,000 spectators over the course of the weekend.
In race two Bobryshev clinched a promising start into just outside the top ten and engaged in a battle with Jonathan Barragan in the early part of the race. The Russian racer settled in 13th place by lap six and just dropped back two places behind his teammate towards the end of the moto to finish in 15th position.
Swanepoel had suffered a poor start into just 23rd place at the end of lap one, but the South African got his head down to ride an impressive, gritty race. The CAS Honda pilot worked his way through the order, picking off his rivals lap-by-lap into a credible 13th place, which earned him a solid twelfth position overall.
The team now heads to Italy for round two of the FIM World MX1 Championship in Mantova next weekend.
Gareth Swanepoel #8: 12th Overall
“Overall it was a fairly good weekend for us. Qualifying went okay for me. I got a good start and although I was riding a bit stiff to begin with, after I’d settled it was pretty consistent and I managed to get eighth on the gate. On Sunday in the first race I got a semi-decent start, although I was still riding quite stiff and nervous, but felt I better than Saturday. I just rode consistently again and we got 11th, which I was fairly happy with. In the second race I got off the gate okay, but I went hard into the first corner and a lot of us bottle-necked together. I think someone hooked my back brake and it just stopped me dead. I was around 27th, but I just put my head down and made some good passes, which I was pleased with considering how difficult it can be to pass at this track. I finally loosened up on the bike, and that was the biggest step forward for me, because I really found my rhythm. It was good to get the first Grand Prix out the way, as I know where I’m at and what I have to work on. The bike is working really well, we just need to start the weekend how we finished it yesterday and be loose from the word go. Mantova is one of my favourite tracks, so we’ll be riding on softer ground this week in preparation, but I’m really looking forward to it.”
Evgeny Bobryshev #777: 18th Overall
“Yesterday was a little disappointing for me. We had good speed in practice and qualifying, so I was looking forward to the race. In the first moto I got a good start into around the top ten then I was pushed right off the track at the first uphill section and I became caught in the netting. I couldn’t restart because it was stuck in the bike so much and this was disappointing for me. In the second race my start was okay, and then I fight with some rider. We settled into 13th for some time and the bike was feeling good, I just found the last few laps a little difficult and finished 15th. I am not so happy really because I was hoping for more today, but with this more experience on the bike I can move forward to build on this performance. The next race is in completely different conditions, and will be tough, but I am looking forward to it.”
Neil Prince: CAS Honda Team Manager
“For me this weekend has been a fairly positive start to the season. Although the results don’t exactly depict a perfect day, both riders demonstrated some good racing, particularly in the second heat. In race one Gareth rode very consistently for the entire moto to finish just outside the top ten. Evgeny had gotten a good start to the race when a rider came across him on the first uphill and pushed him off the track. He became entangled in the green netting, and unfortunately there was no way he was able to restart. In the second heat Evgeny got another fairly good start; he was pretty consistent and just struggled a little in the last few laps, which is something we will be able to work on. He rode well considering this is his first full length MX1 race. With Gareth’s poor start, he really seemed to click with the bike more in the second moto and that’s the best I’ve seen him ride our CRF 450R yet. He came through the pack quite spectacularly to finish 13th and with it he earned a top twelve overall. I know both riders feel a little disappointed, but we definitely have made a solid start to the Grand Prix season.”