With a brief Indian summer in full swing this past week, Boost Energy KTM travelled to Hawkstone Park in Shropshire for the final round of the Maxxis British Motocross Championship. The team was joined by Australian rider Louis Calvin for the day.
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Sunday morning dawned cool and overcast, and team star Martin Barr took charge early on in qualifying by setting the fastest time around the challenging track in the first lap, but had to settle for the runner-up position in the super-pole session afterwards. Team-mate Nathan Parker joined Barr in the super-pole session where he ended tenth, while Calvin qualified in sixteenth.
For Barr, the first race was near-perfect. Tucking in behind Brad Anderson, Barr kept up the pressure throughout the race to end in second. His second race was even better. Although the start left him scrapping for second with Tom Church, a mistake by leader Anderson catapulted Barr into the lead a mere three laps into the race. Keeping his cool and riding smart gave Barr a six second lead across the finish line, levelling his point score for the third race. In the final race Barr got off the start in second behind Church. Defending his position against Anderson became a bit of a cat and mouse game, switching places time and again, but a small but costly mistake put an end to Barr’s aspirations to take the day overall win and he had to settle for fourth at the finish. With the day over, Barr found himself in second overall, securing a third overall in the championship standings.
Parker’s weekend was a tough end to a difficult week. After contracting a bug towards the end of the previous weekend and bedridden since then, he was unsure whether he would end the first race. His start in tenth turned into a race with gritted teeth all the way through, earning Parker one more position against intense pressure from fellow KTM rider Jamie Law for a ninth place at the chequered flag. The second race was another struggle for Parker. After summoning all his strength for a good start, Parker valiantly defended his position in seventh from Dorren Coutts for much of the first half of the race. The continued pressure eventually proved too much and Parker had to relinquish his position to settle for an eighth place at the finish. Parker’s final race ended before it really began. A stunner of a start in fourth ended on Hawkstone Hill as his front-end tucked in and he went over the bars, hurting his neck and hand in the process. There was not much else to do but call it a day, and accept an eleventh place overall on the day. Nonetheless, Parker finishes the season in seventh place, a marked improvement over his previous year’s standings.
Calvin, not used to concrete starts, started his first race in the back of the pack but impressively made short work of several rivals in just one lap. Soon after, he found himself in thirteenth, battling Nathan Watson and Josh Waterman throughout the race and keeping the position to the finish line. The second race was another start in mid-pack, but as with the first race, Calvin made steady progress up the pack before running into stiff competition from Watson in twelfth. Biding his time, he stalked Watson to the end, and then took ruthless advantage in the last corners to pass Watson for eleventh place. Calvin found himself shadowing Watson again in his final race after a start in thirteenth. Making short work of two more rivals gave Calvin the push he needed to progress to tenth, where he gave Law a hard time for the remainder of the race, ending tenth, and tenth overall on the day.
Team principal Steve Turner declared himself content with the day’s results, saying: “It was a good end to the season today, Martin secured third place in the championship and really gave it a good shot at taking second from Whatley. He had a really good shout at winning the overall but dropped it whilst in second and had to settle for fourth. He rode really strong throughout the day and nearly took second off Whatley. Nathan came here ill, was sick all week and couldn’t keep any food down. He rode the first two races and I didn’t even think he’d finish those, but he managed to tough it out and finish them both. In the last race he had a good start and was in fourth, then binned it down the hill and his hand ended up in the back wheel and ripped all his knuckles, so he called it a day. He’s had a good season, finishing in seventh overall. I’m really pleased with the season, a third and a seventh is the best we’ve had, so we move on to next year and hope we can do even better.”
Nathan Parker: “I wasn’t looking forward to coming to Hawkstone, it’s a tough track and there’s been a bit of a heatwave this week, which has made things a bit worse for me. I’ve been ill since last weekend, I considered not going out at all this week, so I struggled all day really. I couldn’t eat anything, I was sick after the first race, and it took its toll. In the last race, I was in fourth and coming down the hill the bike just tucked on me and I didn’t have any strength to fight it and went straight over the bars. I’ve hurt my wrist and my neck again, skinned my knuckles, so it’s all ended on a bit of a sour note, but it’s still been a good season.”
Martin: “Today started off good, in timed qualifying I ended up first and in super-pole second, which still gave me a good enough gate pick. First race I got a good start and got into second behind Brad, pushed him the whole race but never got close enough to try and get by him, but I was happy with that. In the second race I didn’t get that good a start, Tom Church and I hit in the second corner, but once we got going we came through the pack again and started catching up on Brad. In the same lap that I passed Tom, Brad crashed and I went from third to first. I just raced my own race, and got a win, so that was me and Brad even in points going into the last race, and I was only a few points behind Whatley for second place in the championship. In the last race I got an OK start, but Tom just checked out and Brad and me had a thing going. Then I made a silly mistake and the front-end washed out. I got going again but I was too far behind to have any chance of getting back to the front again. If I hadn’t crashed, I would’ve had the momentum to keep going and pass Tom. All in all it was a good day and I ended up second today and third in the championship.
“I’d like to thank Steve and Boost Energy KTM, my mechanic Chris, Ken, Janet and their kids, they’ve been brilliant all year, I’ve had a fun and exciting year. I hope Steve’s happy with the results and how things have gone this year as this is my last outdoor race for him. I’m still doing the Sheffield supercross and then I move on. So thank you and it’s been a good year.”
Louis: “Today was good. I struggled all day getting off that concrete start; I kept going sideways. We changed the mapping on the bike for the last one and that went better. The guys in the team couldn’t be more helpful. The races got progressively better, I think I’m still a bit tired from the flight and training throughout the week; maybe I pushed it a bit hard with a long flight behind me. I’m looking forward to maybe having a go at doing a supercross here, maybe try the first round and see how we go.”