This weekend the Maxxis Henderson LPE Kawasaki team took the trip North to round 7 of the Maxxis British Championship at Duns on the Scottish Borders. With rain leading up to the event, most feared the worst but come race day the sunshine appeared and the weather improved creating a superb track with a lot of technical sections to compete with.
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The day started well with the Practice and Qualifying sessions in the MX2 class both Bryan Mackenzie and Connor Walkley rode well and produced great times with Bryan ending up second after Super Pole and Connor just missing the cut with 15th. The MX1 class it was guest rider Billy Mackenzie who stole the show with pole position, while Gert Krestinov produced a solid 8th place.
After the lunch break it was time to start the racing and with a drying track everything was looking promising for some good racing. In the opening MX2 race of the day both Bryan and Connor gated well and at the end of the opening lap Bryan had worked his way up to third place with Connor settled in 8th place. As the race progressed Bryan slipped back to fourth before mounting a late charge to finish in third place. Connor rode a fantastic race from his eighth place start, showing strength and determination Connor moved forward to seventh for a good few laps before finishing 9th.
The second MX2 race of the day saw Bryan make a fantastic start and take the lead on the opening lap. Connor started just outside the top 10 and quickly moved into 9th place, meanwhile at the front Bryan battled hard and held the lead for the first half of the race until steam started coming from the radiator and with 2 laps to go the bike came to a halt. Connor finished the race well to finish in tenth place. The final race of the day saw another set of good starts with both riders inside the top 10. Bryan quickly moved into third place, while Connor battled for a top 10 spot. As the race went on Bryan moved into second place and brought home a solid finish behind Tonus. For Connor it was another good ride for 10th place at the finish.
The MX1 class all eyes were on guest rider Billy Mackenzie and he went into battle with Brad Anderson. When the gated dropped Mackenzie quickly set off at the front and looked to place an early lead. Gert struggled with the start and had to move forward from 15th on the opening lap. As the race went on Gert picked off riders at a steady pace and finished in 7th place. At the front Billy was locked in a battle of old rivals with Anderson, but with three laps to go Mackenzie stalled the bike and had to settle for second place. The second race of the MX1 class saw Gert make a much better start and move into 7th early on, Mackenzie made a disastrous start after missing a gear and was dead last. Both riders dug in and rode well and came home with third place for Billy and sixth place for Gert. The final race of the day saw both riders make good starts inside the top 10. Billy had to battle with traffic in the second and third corners after a lot of riders went down in the second corner, holding Billy up, but he quickly moved forward to third place. Gert was running well in fifth when a small crash dropped him to 11th, but he worked hard and finally passed Alex Snow for 7th on the last corner.
Today has been one of the best weekends of the season so far. I finished top 10 in all three races and I’m really happy with how things have gone. All weekend I have felt good and that I could go faster but I made a couple of mistakes, which I will learn from and hopefully I can keep building on this and move on to better things.
I’ve had a good day, before today the track suffered a lot of rain and everyone was expecting a mud race but the track has been mega and I’ve really enjoyed racing today. I had decent speed all day long and I’ve been in the top 3 in every session I finished. It’s just a shame about the second race with the DNF. When the bike started smoking I lost my head and slipped from the lead to third and then a couple of laps later the bike stopped. I got 6th overall with two results so I’m happy but disappointed at the same time as we should have been on the podium, but next week is another week and another race.
It’s been a disappointing day, the first race I got a bad start and rode to 7th. Then the second race I had a better start and was 6th, the speed was better in that race so I was happier. Then in the last race I got a good start and I was in the top 5 when I washed the front end in a corner and lost loads of time and had to work hard to get 7th, passing Snow on the last corner. 6th overall on the day again but I want to be at least top 5.
Today started well and I was just trying to find the pace, I felt good with my speed. I struggled with set up in the morning but we got it sorted during the day and I have a good pace in the second race. In the last race I couldn’t find my rhythm. Overall I’m happy with the day and the podium and it’s been a good warm up for next weekend’s British Grand Prix.
Today has had its up and downs, overall it’s been good though. The day started well with qualifying 2nd and 15th in MX2 with Bryan and Connor, then 1st and 8th in MX1 with Billy & Gert. In the MX2 races Bryan and Connor rode great in the first race for 3rd and 9th. In the second one Bryan quickly moved into the lead and unfortunately the bike had a water leak and resulted in a DNF, Connor scored a 10th in that one. Then in the last one Connor scored another 10th place for 9th overall. Bryan had a blinding race to finish second behind Tonus and scored 6th overall with two results on a day where he should have been on the podium. In MX1 Gert had a 7th in first race, and in the second one he finished 6th. In the last one he made a better start and was in 5th when he went down and had to work back to 7th at the finish. Gert has some great speed and just needs the luck but he is getting better every week. Also this weekend we had Billy Mackenzie as a guest rider and it was nice to see Billy as part of the team for both us and the fans. He got pole in qualifying and was leading the first race until he stalled in a tight turn finishing 2nd. In the second one he missed a gear on the start and was last but pushed hard to finish 3rd. in the last one we were hoping for the win as he had the pace all day. He unfortunately got caught in a second turn crash and had to fight to get third place. He finished in third overall which was good but it could have been so different, but that’s racing and we can now look forward to next weekend at the British Grand Prix were we have Billy and Gert in MX1 and Connor Walkley in the EMX 125 Class, I did try and get a entry for Bryan in MX1 as he is over the age threshold for MX2, but unfortunately we were unable to get him a entry which is unfortunate as it would have been nice to have had the whole team all riding at the British GP.
MX Race 1
1 Brad Anderson 2 Billy Mackenzie 3 Kristian Whatley 4 Martin Barr 5 Alex Snow 6Gordon Crockard 7Gert Krestinov 8 Nathan Parker 9Tony Craig 10Ross Rutherford
MX1 Race 2
1 Brad Anderson 2 Kristian Whatley 3Billy Mackenzie 4Tom Church 5 Martin Barr 6 Gert Krestinov 7 Alex Snow 8 Nathan Parker 9 Gordon Crockard 10 Ross Rutherford
MX1 Race 3
Brad Anderson 2 Kristian Whatley 3 Billy Mackenzie 4 Tom Church 5 Nathan Parker 6 Martin Barr 7 Gert Krestinov 8 Alex Snow 9 Mathew Moffat 10 Josh Waterman
Brad Anderson 75 2 Kristian Whatley 64 3 Billy Mackenzie 62 4 Martin Barr 49 5 Tom Church 44 6 Gert Krestinov 43 7 Alex Snow 43 8 Nathan Parker 42 9 Tony Craig 32 10 Mathew Moffat 31
MX2 Race 1
1 Arnaud Tonus 2 Elliott Banks Browne 3 Bryan Mackenzie 4 Mattis Karro 5 Jake Nicholls 6 Shane Carless 7 Mel Pocock 8 Neville Bradshaw 9 Connor Walkley 10 Jordan Booker
MX2 Race 2
1 Aruaud Tonus 2 Jake Nicholls 3 Neville Bradshaw 4 Mattis Karro 5 Mel Pocock 6 Elliott Banks Browne 7 Stuart Edmonds 8 James Cottrell 9 Shane Carless 10 Connor Walkley
MX2 Race 3
1 Arnaud Tonus 2 Bryan Mackenzie 3 Neville Bradshaw 4 Jake Nicholls 5 Elliott Banks Browne 6 Mel Pocock 7 Shane Carless 8 John Collins 9 Jordan Booker 10 Connor Walkley
1 Arnaud Tonus 75 2 Jake Nicholls 56 3 Neville Bradshaw 53 4 Elliott Banks Browne 53 5 Mel Pocock 45 6 Bryan Mackenzie 42 7 Shane Carless 41 8 Mattis Karro 36 9 Connor Walkley 34 10 Alan Keet 30
Words and images by Rick Blyth