2013 MAXXIS BRITISH MOTOCROSS CHAMPIONSHIP R5 - HM PLANT KTM UK
Returning from a break is always good when everyone is raring to go. Foxhill near Swindon is one of those iconic tracks that gets the juices flowing, and it hosts the fifth round of the Maxxis British Motocross Championship.
The weather also has finally turned summery with the sun beating down most of the day with an occasional cloud breaking up the sunshine.
MX2 qualifying goes on a well-watered track which makes things somewhat slippery; Elliott Banks-Browne takes pole in the qualifying session, slipping to fourth in the super-pole and firing him up for the race. Steven Clarke ends super-pole in third while the elder of the Watson brothers, Nathan, ends tenth. Ben Watson and James Dunn tag-team and end in twenty-fourth and twenty-third respectively.
It turns out to be a tough day for the team as a whole. Although the first race goes swimmingly for Elliott with him taking the win by several seconds, the second race of the day is not in his favour. A crash disables his clutch and he has to limp across the finish line in eleventh. In the mixed-class super-final race, he returns to form, ending sixth for the final podium spot overall on the day.
For Steven, it's a similar tale. In the first race he finds himself in a heated battle for fifth, in which he has to concede the position to end a place down in sixth. In the second race, he is properly fired up and finds himself in the lead with just minutes on the clock, collecting his maiden Maxxis win at the chequered flag. In the final race it's over before the race really gets started. Punted into the fence in the second corner, he assesses the situation and calls it a day, ending the round in fourth, a mere point behind Elliott.
Nathan has a terrible first race start, but he soon makes short thrift of the competition and, with just a few laps remaining, returns to thirteenth place, his finishing position. His second race is much more consistent; a good start puts him inside the top ten, where he keeps more seasoned rivals at bay to take seventh place. In the super-final, Nathan again finds himself in the thick of it. It is tough going with the larger capacity bikes in the same race, but Nathan perseveres, ending as the seventh MX2 bike across the line, just a fraction of a second behind Elliott, ending tenth on the day.
Ben is having a really hard time in the first race. Shut out on the start, he starts in the back of the pack and with the pace at full throttle for much of the race, makes only modest gains to end the race in twenty-eighth. The second race is an up-and-down affair; after getting off the line in twenty-second, he finds himself battling not only team colleague James, but also KTM-mounted Shaun Springer. He comes out on top, taking twentieth, but missing the super-final by a point.
James also finds himself in the back of the pack in the first race. He finally encounters Ben, pushes hard and in the last lap makes a pass stick to take twenty-seventh. In the second race, he gets a great start, but two crashes drop him out of the top twenty altogether and he has a hard time making much progress. He ends the race outside the points in twenty-sixth.
The team now travels to Ernée in France for the eighth round of the FIM Motocross World Championship this coming weekend.
Elliott Banks-Browne MX2 #1
“It's been a pretty up and down day; it's the worst result I've had all year, but still managed to get onto the podium, so it wasn't too bad. Qualifying went well but in the super-pole I just couldn't get it together and went from first to fourth, so I've got to sort that out. In the first race I got off the start in second, caught Neville and passed him, then Dean and I had a pretty good race, so that was pretty cool. It shows I've got the speed to run with the good boys in the GPs and I just have to take that speed to a GP now. In the second race I didn't get into it in the first few laps, started to go fast again and started catching the leaders when I just washed out off one of the jumps, flew through the air and snapped my clutch lever off completely, so that was pretty tough. In the super-final I got a pretty good start, but in the second corner Lenoir and someone else came together, his bike flicked up and crushed my hand against the bar, and I struggled all race to even hold on. So it's been a really disappointing day for me, because I want to come to these races and win every race.”
Steven Clarke MX2 #511
“In the first race I didn't really get the best start and just didn't really gel with the track, it was quite hard to pass and it just wasn't that great. It fired me up for the second race, and I actually got a decent start. I didn't have it easy, I had to pass Bradshaw and Mackenzie who were both riding well, got my first Maxxis win ever and was on point going second overall into the last race. I just got tangled up going into the second corner, people crashed into me and put me into the fence and I was stuck. By the time I got going I was over half a lap down, I did a lap to try and see where I was at, crashed again, looked over at my mechanic and called it a day. I wasn't going to make it back into the top twenty for points so I thought I'd save myself from doing something silly and get ready for next weekend in France.”
Nathan Watson MX2 #991
“I qualified in tenth, which wasn't the best of the year but I was happy enough with that. In the first race I got a shocking start, was in twenty-seventh or something, but got back to thirteenth, which I wasn't too happy with. In the second race I got a better start, pushed on and ended up seventh. I was right on the back of someone but couldn't quite pass them. In the super-final I got a fairly average start and ended up sixth in MX2, so not bad, but I've had better days.”
Ben Watson MX2 #919
“I had a bad day, really, qualifying I did shocking, got a twenty-fourth I think, I've done a lot better, since I got into the super-pole at the previous round, so I was disappointed with that. First race I got a terrible start, had bad starts all day really, pulled through and got back to twenty-fourth I think, and my bike started spluttering, and basically ended up last. In the second race I had a better start, went around the outside. I was in about twenty-fifth and came back to twenty-first, so that was a bit better, but I didn't get into the super-final. I've had better weekends.”
James Dunn MX2 #20
“I came into the weekend positive; it's nice and local for me so it's nice to just pop up here in the morning and get some riding in again. In qualifying I felt better just generally my riding, but my result still wasn't great with a twenty-third. I was struggling with the starts all day really; you needed the gate pick to get round the inside and I was sort of out in the middle. I had a good jump in the second race, but my pace wasn't quite there. I'm still struggling at the moment, so maybe I should go back to the basics. It's going to have to come right soon, I've put the work in.”
Roger Magee: HM Plant KTM UK Team Manager
“All looked good in the first race with Elliott bringing back the win and Steven Clarke coming in sixth, we thought we were on for a really good day. In the second race Elliott had a small crash downhill but unfortunately when he fell he broke the clutch lever off, so he had to bump start the bike and get going, and had another crash after that. In the last race it was going to be a mixed bag with the 450s, especially around Foxhill. The ACU could've probably chosen a better round to have this mixed race, but then again it's the same for everybody. He didn't have a good race with too many 450s in front of him, but at least he brought it home again, got a podium and extended his points lead in the championship, which at the end of the day it's all about. We're now just over halfway there and he's got a fairly healthy lead, but we all know what motocross is like and until we're seventy-five points in the lead going into the last round we're not taking anything for granted.
“In the second race Steven pulled out all the stops and gave another win for HM Plant KTM UK. He showed the potential that he has and he's found his mojo again, and it's unfortunate that he crashed in the second corner of the last race when he looked as if he could put it on the podium as well, but he missed out by one point. We'll take that forward to France next week for his first European round. The two Watson brothers had a mixed day as well, but they showed that they can mix it on hard pack too. James Dunn certainly showed that he's recovering. He had some blood tests done a few weeks ago and they showed that he was deficient in Vitamin B12, and he's looking to turn that around now and hopefully a few more results on the board and get his head into gear. At least when you come away from a hard pack track and everybody is in one piece, it's a bonus. We're now looking forward to the next round of the Maxxis at Desertmartin, which is just up the road from me.”
MX2 Overall result
1. Neville Bradshaw (Putoline Honda) 56, 2. Bryan Mackenzie (Pendrich Kawasaki) 47, 3. Elliott Banks-Browne (HM Plant KTM UK) 41, 4. Steven Clarke (HM Plant KTM UK) 40, 5. Graeme Irwin (Heads + All Threads Suzuki) 38, 6. Steven Lenoir (Evotech Stevens KTM) 38, 7. Dean Ferris (Monster Energy Yamaha) 37, 8. Harri Kullas (Honda Gariboldi Racing) 34, 9. Adam Sterry (Team STR KTM) 29, 10. Nathan Watson (HM Plant KTM UK) 27, 22. Ben Watson (HM Plant KTM UK) 1, 29. James Dunn (HM Plant KTM UK).
MX2 Championship Standings
1. Elliott Banks-Browne (HM Plant KTM UK) 247, 2. Steven Lenoir (Evotech Stevens KTM) 204, 3. Neville Bradshaw (Putoline Honda) 204, 4. Graeme Irwin (Heads + All Threads Suzuki) 176, 6. Bryan Mackenzie (Pendrich Kawasaki) 160, 5. Nathan Watson (HM Plant KTM UK) 158, 7. Adam Sterry (Team STR KTM) 120, 8. Lewis Tombs (JAR Honda by IFS) 105, 9. Steven Clarke (HM Plant KTM UK) 95, 10. Jordan Booker (Kawasaki) 79, 16. Ben Watson (HM Plant KTM UK) 49, 26. James Dunn (HM Plant KTM UK) 30.