Barely two weeks after a gaining the lead in the Red Bull Pro Nationals championship in Scotland, Evotech Stevens Honda returned to Canada Heights for a reload of the cancelled round held at the track four weeks previous. With the weather significantly changed compared to the first Canada Heights visit, the team’s youth riders Joe Bamfield and Jordan Divall went all out to set the tone early; in qualifying, Divall would put in the fourth-fastest time, with Bamfield trailing behind in eighth.
For Divall, the first race got off to a cracking start. Third around the first lap, he fought hard against advances by rivals Alba and Harrison, but had to make do with a fifth place at the finish flag. The second race saw Divall getting off the start in eighth, and here Divall ran into some tough competition in the form of his own team-mate, who held him off from start to finish. In the final race of the day, Divall found his form again, this time running in second from beginning to end, not quite able to touch the leader ahead of him.
On Sunday morning, Divall again put on a great performance. Second behind Honda rider Ben Watson until the halfway point, he came under pressure by James Harrison, who was able to make his way past with the time ticking down to zero. Divall streaked across the finish line in third. The final race on Sunday was Divall’s best. Taking the lead out of the tight left-hander, he tried to stay ahead of the pack for the remainder of the race, but had to make do with a runner-up position in the end, taking fourth place overall on the weekend.
For Bamfield, the weekend was marred by bad starts. Starting mid-pack nearly every race, Bamfield worked hard every race to return to the top five, a goal always so near, but just out of reach at every chequered flag. Taking two sevenths and and a sixth on Saturday, Bamfield had to make do with a ninth in the first race on Sunday morning as the wet clay surface made racing treacherous. The final race on Sunday provided a picture of what Bamfield was truly capable of. A brilliant start saw Bamfield off in third place around the first lap, and with round leader Harrison hot on his heels, he fought off the repeated challenges to take third place at the chequered flag, and fifth overall on the weekend.
For team rider Bradshaw, the Sunday would prove to be tough. Although the morning’s qualifying session saw Bradshaw line up third in the MX2 class, the races would prove to be a challenge. A heavy downpour drenched the circuit and with the clay surface not absorbing much water, the first race got off to a rather muddy start. Sixth around the first lap, Bradshaw found himself making steady progress up the mixed pack. With mud jamming his goggles, Bradshaw had to make the tough decision to lose any eye protection, a decision that proved painful mere laps later when a rock hit his face, leaving him with a swelling eye. Running into tough MX1 competition prevented Bradshaw from making much further progress, ending the race in second.
With his eye swelling shut, Bradshaw braved the second race anyway. Caught in a crash off the start and getting going in mid-pack, Bradshaw made some rapid progress initially, but with race pace increasing and his vision impaired, he struggled to continue up the pack, opting to take a hit on his race position in favour of finishing the race safely. With a fourth place and a second place in his pocket, Bradshaw took the overall win of the round, extending his lead by fifteen points.
Commented team principal Matt Hutchins: “It’s been a very successful weekend for all three riders, with Neville taking the overall win today and leading the MX2 championship. It’s been a good day for Jordan Divall, he’s stepped his pace up in the last few weeks, and also particularly for Joe Bamfield particularly in the last race, taking third and achieving a result that we knew he could.”
Joe Bamfield (#54): Saturday was alright, I had bad starts and had sixths and sevenths. Sunday’s first race was rubbish, I got a really bad start, got stuck behind someone and just couldn’t get by him, and in the last race I got a good start and managed third, so I’m happy.
Jordan Divall (#63): Qualifying this weekend was a bit scary because I crashed on both my fast laps, but luckily I put in one more fast lap and came fourth. In the first two races I struggled, I got a seventh in the first one and an eighth in the second. Then something just clicked and I got second in the last race. Today started off good with a third and in the last race I was leading for a bit and Dan Thornhill got me, I just raced my own race and ended second.
Neville Bradshaw (#272): It was a hard day I guess, I got the job done but it was quite tough though. We had to switch bikes before the first race and we had a big storm, so it made track conditions quite hard. I got a really bad start and halfway through the race lost my goggles. Then a few laps later I got hit by a rock in my eye and it split my eye open. I could feel it swelling and the eye was closing during the moto, and I managed to get back to second in that one. In the second race someone crashed in the first turn and I got caught up in that. I couldn’t concentrate that well with my eye, every time I looked down all I could see was black where it had swollen, so I got up to fourth, so I just figured I’d just ride around there. I made quite a few points back on the championship, and I’m 25 points or so in the lead now. Yeah, overall it was good day, made up points and came away with the red plate again, I’m going to Holland next week, then have a weekend off and then back to the series at Hawkstone Park. It’ll be nice if I can wrap it up early.