2013 MAXXIS BRITISH MOTOCROSS CHAMPIONSHIP R2 - HM PLANT KTM UK
After an icy reception at the third round of the FIM Motocross World Championship in Valkenswaard, the turn in weather at Cadders Hill in Lyng, Norfolk, is very much appreciated.
Positively balmy temperatures, a dry track and sunshine on Sunday have turned the third round of the 2013 Maxxis British Motocross Championship around and make for spectacular racing.
The MX2 class sees a one-off return of one of the team's graduates, Jake Nicholls, who hails from these parts. He soon provides a good challenge for the team's two top riders, Elliott Banks-Browne and Nathan Watson.
Nathan is but a few hundreds of a second off Jake's pace during qualifying, taking second and keeping that in the super-final too. He then follows up in the first race with a fantastic piece of racing, battling with Elliott and then moving up into second behind Jake. There he works hard to reduce the gap to just under 30 seconds. In the second race, Nathan has to make do with third, but he remains close to Elliott throughout. In the third race he runs in fourth, but is caught out by Nev Bradshaw with just corners to go and loses that place to end fifth. He takes third on the day and moves up to second in the championship.
Elliott, having struggled with his bike setup during qualifying and the first race, tweaks things in time for race two and takes off, looking more comfortable on the bike and putting a great effort. However the man out front is just too good by his own admission at the end of the day, and he concedes gracefully with two second places in the last two races and a second place on the day. With Jake not really in the running for the championship, this is good news for Elliott as he extends his lead to thirty-one points.
James Dunn doesn't have the best of luck; his first race is cut short by a mechanical fault halfway into the race whilst in fifteenth. In the second, two crashes put paid to his ambition of a top ten result, ending that race watching from the sidelines as well. The final race though sees the return of the real James. Riding smart after a great start sees him run in the top six throughout the race, holding off not only stronger and wiser rivals, but also pulling up closer to Nathan. With the final race, James rescues his day with a sixteenth overall.
For the younger Watson, Ben, it's a mixed bag at the end of the day too. A fantastic first race result in tenth after a good battle for positions throughout is followed up with a twenty-second place in the second. There a bad start leaves him playing catch-up, with the time running out just before he hits the points again. The final race also gets off to a bad start, but here he soon is back in the points before he has a costly moment with a fence that not only costs him his position, but ultimately his race. He ends the day in twentieth.
The team now travels to Trentino in Italy for the fourth round of the FIM Motocross World Championship this coming weekend.
Elliott Banks-Browne MX2 #1
“It's been an alright day, I extended my points in the championship. I didn't ride very well, to be fair. In the first race I really struggled with my suspension, crashed and my team mate beat me, so that wasn't too good and I ended third. Then I had two seconds; in the last one I didn't make things easy for myself. Jake was riding good and I just didn't have anything for him today. In the second race I rode a lot better and he didn't pull away so much, but in the last one I got really bad arm pump, so it's just one of those days, I think. We have a lot of work to do on the suspension, set up the bike a bit better but yeah, I'm happy with the day and with extending my points lead.”
James Dunn MX2 #20
“I had a pretty bad day, really. I had two DNFs due to some mechanical problems and some bad crashes in the second race. I changed my attitude towards the last race and just tried to finish it. I did that and got a sixth and I was happy with that. I just need to keep working hard during the week and hopefully it will pay off at the weekend. I just have to keep at it and I'm looking forward to Italy next weekend.”
Ben Watson MX2 #919
“Qualifying was pretty bad; I didn't have a good time, I was around twenty-fifth and just couldn't get a good lap in. In the first race I had a really good start, was seventh and dropped a couple of places throughout the race for a tenth, which was good. In the second race I had a bad start, took me a little while to get into the race, but I pulled through to twenty-second, which wasn't too bad. Another two positions and I would've been in the points again. In the last race I had another bad start; I was starting to pull through and got to eighteenth when I ran into a fence. I picked myself back up in twentieth and then my bike broke, so that was a DNF.”
Nathan Watson MX2 #991
“Today was really good, I qualified second to Jake Nicholls, which I was very happy with and which gave me some confidence going into the first race, where I got a good start. I was around fifth, came through to third, when Elliott had a small slip-off, which gave me second, and I held him off for second, which I was happy about. In the second race, I had another good start in third, pushed hard, but ended in third. In the final race I had another good start, I don't usually get good starts like this so that really helped. I was in fourth and Nev Bradshaw got me on the last lap because I didn't realise he was coming up behind me, so I ended fifth, but I'm really happy to be on the podium.”
Roger Magee: HM Plant KTM UK Team Manager
“It's been another good day at the office for HM Plant KTM UK. Nathan Watson showed continuous progress over the last few weeks; he finished second in the first moto behind Jake Nicholls who finished third in Valkenswaard last weekend. Elliott had a small crash or he would've been second. In the second moto he put things together and tweaked his suspension and was happier. In the last race the boys brought home second and third on the podium, with the 'old boy' Jake on top. With a KTM one, two and three, we can't ask for much more on the day. Ben had a stonking tenth in the first race and he shows his potential at only fifteen years of age. After a small technical problem in the first race and a couple of crashes in the second, James Dunn also showed his potential with a sixth place in the final moto. We're looking forward to the next couple of Grands Prix, specifically Agueda where the two Watson boys will be competing in the European 250's, and then Milton Malsor for the next round of the Maxxis.”
MX2 Overall Result
1. Jake Nicholls (Wilvo Nestaan JM Racing KTM) 75, 2. Elliott Banks-Browne (HM Plant KTM UK) 64, 3. Nathan Watson (HM Plant KTM UK) 58, 4. Neville Bradshaw (Putoline Honda) 49, 5. Bryan Mackenzie (Pendrich Kawasaki) 46, 6. Jordan Booker (Kawasaki) 42, 7. Steven Lenoir (Evotech Stevens KTM) 41, 8. Graeme Irwin (Heads + All Threads Suzuki) 38, 9. James Cottrell (Putoline Honda) 27, 10. Lewis Tombs (JAR Honda by IFS) 26, 16. James Dunn (HM Plant KTM UK) 15, 20. Ben Watson (HM Plant KTM UK) 11
MX2 Championship Standings
1. Elliott Banks-Browne (HM Plant KTM UK) 134, 2. Nathan Watson (HM Plant KTM UK) 103, 3. Steven Lenoir (Evotech Stevens KTM) 101, 4. Neville Bradshaw (Putoline Honda) 94, 5. Graeme Irwin (Heads + All Threads Suzuki) 90, 6. Jake Nicholls (Wilvo Nestaan JM Racing KTM) 75, 7. James Cottrell (Putoline Honda) 67, 8. Bryan Mackenzie (Pendrich Kawasaki) 65, 9. Adam Sterry (Team STR KTM) 61, 10. Lewis Tombs (JAR Honda by IFS) 50, 16. James Dunn (HM Plant KTM UK) 30, 20. Ben Watson (HM Plant KTM UK) 25